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April 22, 2010 at 5:47 AM

MIddlebrooks, Kehrt lead Salem to doubleheader sweep

4/22 Cup of Coffee: Daisuke Matsuzaka had a successful rehab start in Pawtucket, while Salem got two quality starts and a big night from Will Middlebrooks to sweep a doubleheader.

Pawtucket rode Matsuzaka's solid start and some clutch hitting to an 8-4 victory over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (PHI). Matsuzaka, in his third and final rehab start, went 5.2 innings, allowing 4 runs, 3 earned on 6 hits while striking out 8 and walking none. With two outs in the second, Pawtucket got back-to-back singles from Mark Wagner and Dusty Brown to load the bases. Bubba Bell then walked to force in the first run of the game and Kevin Frandsen added an RBI single to give the PawSox the early 2-0 advantage. Brown added a sacrifice fly in the third and Fransden a solo home run in the fourth to give Pawtucket a 4-1 advantage after four. The PawSox put the game out of reach in the sixth, adding four runs to give them the 8-2 advantage. Bell led off the inning with a walk, and Matt Sheely reached on a bunt attempt that the third baseman threw away, allowing Bell to advance to third. Sheely quickly stole second and Jorge Jimenez was intentionally walked before Aaron Bates was walked to force in a run. Daniel Nava followed with a 3-RBI double to cap the scoring. After Matzusaka was pulled in the sixth, Robert Manuel, Alan Embree and Dustin Richardson combined for 3.1 perfect innings of relief. Frandsen and Nava were both 2 for 5 to lead the offense.

While pitching was very good overall for the other affiliates Wednesday night, Portland starter Kyle Weiland was roughed up in a 10-4 loss to the Binghamton Mets. Weiland went 4.0 innings, allowing 8 runs on 6 hits, including two home runs, while striking out 5 and walking 3. Portland got on the board in the first on Ryan Kalish's third home run of the year, making the score 4-1 Binghamton after one. In the bottom of the fourth, Nate Spears and Ray Chang opened the inning with back-to-back hits and Lars Anderson added a sacrifice fly to give the Sea Dogs their second run of the evening. Anderson knocked in Chang in the sixth with an RBI double, and Portland scored their fourth and final run of the evening in the eighth, when the inning opened with consecutive walks to Kalish and Che-Hsuan Lin. A wild pitch advanced the runners and Chang reached on catcher's interference, and Anderson followed with his third RBI of the night on a groundout to first. Newly acquired Santo Luis pitched 2.0 innings of scoreless relief, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3. Tommy Hottovy pitched the final 3.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits while striking out 4 and walking 1. Portland only accumulated six hits, with Spears going 2 for 4 and Chang 2 for 3 to lead the offense.

In the first game of a doubleheader, Salem held the Lynchburg Hillcats (CIN) to 1 hit in their 9-1 victory. Starter Fabian Williamson was excellent, going 5.0 innings, allowing only 1 hit and 1 run while striking out 5 and walking 3 for his third victory of the early season. Salem scored twice in the first, getting an RBI double from Tim Federowicz and an RBI single from Middlebrooks. The Red Sox added three more in the third inning on costly mistakes by the Hillcats. Anthony Rizzo started the rally by reaching on a walk. Middlebrooks followed with a single and Ryan Dent was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rizzo then scored on a balk and Mitch Dening reached on an error by the first baseman that allowed two more runs to score. In the fifth, Dening added an RBI double to bring the score to 7-1. The Red Sox added two more in the sixth on an RBI double by Rizzo and an RBI single by Middlebrooks. The clear offensive leader in the game, Middlebrooks went 4 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI as the Salem designated hitter. Mitch Herold pitched the final 2.0 innings in the seven-inning affair, striking out three without allowing a hit.

The second game of the Salem-Lynchburg doubleheader saw Jeremy Kehrt toss another gem for the Red Sox in their 5-3 victory. Kehrt went 5.0 innings, allowing 2 runs, one earned, on just 2 hits while striking out 8. Salem got RBI singles from Drew Hedman (1st), Luis Segovia (2nd), Ryan Lavarnway (3rd), and Oscar Tejeda (4th), and added their final run in the fifth when Rizzo scored on a throwing error by the catcher to outpace the Hillcats. Kyle Fernandes pitched the final 2.0 innings, allowing 1 run on 3 hits and striking out 2 to record his first save. Tejeda, Hedman and Segovia were all 2 for 3 to lead the offense.

Greenville outlasted the West Virgina Power (PIT), 6-4, in a back-and-forth affair. The Drive quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on Michael Almanzar's RBI double. In the third, Jeremy Hazelbaker hit his first home run of the season to knock in two and put Greenville back on top 3-1. The Power handed the Drive two more runs in the top of the sixth, when a costly fielding error by the first baseman allowed Dan Butler and Ronald Bermudez to score. Another error in the ninth allowed Chris McGuiness to score the sixth and final Greenville run. Drive starter Roman Mendez went 4.0 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits while striking out 6. Pedro Perez picked up the win, going the remaining 5.0 innings, allowing 1 run on just 2 hits, striking out 3 and walking 1. Hazelbaker swiped his tenth stolen base of the season, tying him for the minor-league lead, stealing third base in the fifth. Bermudez was 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles to lead the Greenville offense.

Player of the Night: Will Middlebrooks, who continued his hot hitting, going 4 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored in Salem's 9-1 game one victory.