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Hernandez leads PawSox over Braves

On a night when the only thing colder than the weather was the bats, the Pawtucket Red Sox squeaked out a 3-0 win over the Gwinnett Braves.

Shortstop Stephen Drew — who recently resigned with the Red Sox after helping the team to a World Series championship last season — made the start for Pawtucket as he continues his minor league preparation before moving into Boston starting lineup. Drew struck out looking twice, but hit a sharp single off the pitcher. He added two routine assists with little trouble.

While two strikeouts inspire little confidence for Drew’s progress, he saw six pitches in each of his at-bats and small minor league samples rarely represent the way a player will perform on the big stage.

Drew is expected to get the start at designated hitter on Thursday.

The PawSox were led by pitcher Chris Hernandez, who shook off a rocky start to the season with 7 strong innings of 3 hit, no run ball. The hurler struck out 8 Braves, before being relieved by Dalier Hinojosa, who cruised through the last two frames to pick up the save.

The Braves 5-9 hitters went 0-13 with 6 strikeouts.

Eight of the game’s nine innings went by without a run being scored, a big bottom of the seventh was all the PawSox needed. A Christian Vazquez single and Dan Butler hit by pitch set the stage for centerfielder Shannon Wilkerson. A ringing RBI double from the small speedster broke the scoreless tie and ended up as the game-winning hit. Ryan Roberts followed him by singling in two runs to complete the third 3-run frame in as many games for the home squad.

Two innings later, Hinojosa struck out Derrick Mitchell to end the game, and the PawSox improved to an even 27-27 on the year.

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