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April 27, 2010 at 6:09 AM

Greenville's seven run rally leads to comeback win

4/27 Cup of Coffee: A solid start by a former first round pick in Pawtucket and an exciting seven run eighth inning rally by Greenville highlighted the day for the affiliates.

Trying to bounce back after a disappointing 2009 season, Kris Johnson pitched 5.0 solid innings to help the PawSox beat the Buffalo Bisons (NYM) 5-1. Making his first start after a few rocky bullpen outings, the left-handed Johnson allowed just 5 hits and 1 unearned run while striking out 3. Pawtucket jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, getting a solo home run from Kevin Frandsen and a bases-loaded walk to Dusty Brown. A pair of sacrifice flies by Matt Sheely and Josh Reddick expanded the lead to 4-1 after the 4th. The Pawtucket bullpen was superb upon Johnson's exit as Robert Manuel and Joe Nelson combined to pitch the final 4.0 innings, allowing just one hit. Daniel Nava added his first home run of the year in the 6th and is now hitting .328 for the season.

Portland's game against the Binghamton Mets was rained out and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on July 2. The two teams begin a brief two game series on Tuesday night.

Strong offensive performances couldn't help Salem overcome a disappointing start by Fabian Williamson as the Red Sox fell to the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC) 7-6. Williamson, who was looking to remain undefeated and move to 4-0 on the season, went 5.0 innings, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits walking 3 and striking out 2. The Red Sox got on the board in the second as Ryan Dent's RBI single and Peter Hissey's RBI double knotted the score at 2-2. Salem did not score again until the sixth when they staged a two out rally, highlighted by Will Middlebrooks solo home run and Alex Hassan's bases-loaded walk. Ryan Lavarnway and Hissey added RBI singles in the 7th and 8th, but it was not enough to overtake the Blue Rocks. Jeremy Kehrt followed Williamson out of the bullpen, pitching 4.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking 1. Hissey and Tim Federowicz were both 3 for 5 to pace the Red Sox offense.

In Greenville it looked like it was going to be a long night as the Drive's offense was stagnant through the first six innings, but a seven run eighth inning rally gave Greenville a 8-6 victory over the Lexington Legends (HOU). Starter Roman Mendez, who was looking to bounce back from his early season struggles, went the first 2.0 innings allowing 5 unearned runs on 6 hits and struck out 2. Key errors by Michael Almanzar and Ronald Bermudez helped the Legends jump out to a 5-0 lead. Trying to hold Lexington in check, reliever Dennis Neuman followed Mendez, going 4.0 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits. Trailing 6-1 going in the bottom of the eighth, the Drive staged a massive rally to take a 8-6 lead. Almanzar and Dan Butler reached base to start the inning and were knocked in on Bermudez's three-run home run. Zach Gentile welcomed a new Lexington pitcher with a walk and scored on Kenneth Roque's two-run blast. Wilfred Pichardo and Derrik Gibson both reached base and created havoc, with each stealing a base and scoring. Cesar Cabral pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save. Jordan Flasher picked up his second victory of the season by pitching 2.0 scoreless innings.

Player of the Night: Kris Johnson, who tossed 5.0 solid innings, allowing one unearned run on 5 hits while striking out 3 in Pawtucket's 5-1 victory.