The Pawtucket Red Sox failed to put the cherry on top of an entirely successful season Tuesday night, falling to the Pacific Coast League champion Reno Aces 10-3 in the Triple-A Championship Game.
Things were over fairly quickly for the Paw Sox, as a pitching matchup gave Reno a commanding early lead. Journeyman Nelson Figueroa got the call for the Sox, and surrendered three runs in the first, including a two-run shot from Brent Clevlen. The Aces matched their production in the second with three singles and a double, making it six runs and chasing Figueroa from the game very early on.
Meanwhile, Reno turned to top prospect Trevor Bauer, selected third overall in the 2011 MLB Draft. Bauer would retire the side in the first, and work around a leadoff double from Danny Valencia in the second to make Reno's runs unanswered.
The Aces didn't slow down much against the Pawtucket bullpen, pushing across two more runs off of groundball specialit Chris Hernandez in the third, partially thanks to an error from outfielder Bryce Brentz, and then two more when Keon Broxton homered off of Brock Huntzinger in the fifth.
The Sox would ultimately get to Bauer as the Reno Ace struggled with control in the middle innings, offering up three walks in the fourth, including one to Che-Hsuan Lin with the bases loaded. Tony Thomas would add a leadoff homer in the fifth, leaving the score at 10-2 after five.
There was no bullpen implosion coming for the Aces, however. Apart from one run offered up by Sam Demel in the seventh, they held down the big lead, leaving the strong pitching efforts of Alex Wilson, Jose De La Torre, and Tony Pena Jr. futile.
It's a loss in the last game of the year, but the Triple-A Championship is more an exhibition than anything. After taking the seven-game League Championship series, it's a blow that should not sting too badly.