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April 28, 2010 at 8:08 AM

Miller on the money for Portland

4/28 Cup of Coffee: No matter what kind of game you like, Tuesday had it on the menu, with Sox affiliates earning a split of the four games played. The accounts of a solid defeat, a crisp and clean pitching gem, an epic late-inning offensive explosion, and a game marred by errors are to follow:

A close game through eight ended up a lopsided score as Indianapolis (PIT) downed Pawtucket 7-2. Kason Gabbard, making his first start of the season for the PawSox, allowing only 3 runs, 2 of them earned, in 4.1 innings, leaving with his team trailing 3-0 in the fifth. Pawtucket drew closer in the bottom half of the frame, as a lead-off single by Kevin Frandsen and back-to-back doubles by Daniel Nava and Josh Reddick plated 2 runs to make it 3-2. Nava, who went 1 for 3 with a walk, is now hitting .328/.397/.459. The score would stay 3-2 through the next 2.0 innings, but things got away late as Joe Nelson allowed a run in the eighth and Fernando Cabrera was touched for 3 runs in the ninth. Pawtucket put two men on in the ninth, but ultimately couldn't push another run across. Both pitching staffs struck out 10 in this one, but Pawtucket hurlers also walked 10 against only 2 free passes for Indianapolis.

As the Boston Red Sox were getting excellent pitching north of the border, Portland pitchers tossed a gem of their own, shutting out Binghamton (NYM) 2-0. Ryne Miller's 6.0 shutout innings led the way, as the big righthander allowed only 1 hit and 2 walks in his outing. Jason Rice and Bryce Cox were equally impressive in relief, allowing only 1 hit combined the rest of the way. The Sea Dogs tallied just enough offense to win in this one, starting in the fifth when Lars Anderson singled, stole second, and scored on a two-out single by Chih-Hsien Chiang. Ryan Kalish blasted his fourth home run of the season in the sixth to extend the lead, but it was Anderson who was the hitting star in this one, collecting 3 of Portland's 7 hits in his 4 at-bats to raise his season line to .355/.408/.677. Chang and Will Vazquez were each 1 for 3.

With a 5-3 deficit staring them in the face entering the bottom of the seventh, the Salem Red Sox came roaring back, scoring twelve times over the final two innings to crush former Sox affiliate Wilmington 15-5. The teams traded chances in the early going, driven by the wheels and power stroke of Oscar Tejeda, who hit his fifth home run of the season in the second and scored a run after stealing his fifth base of the season in the fifth to tie the score at 3. After the Blue Rocks took the lead with single runs in the sixth and seventh, three Salem runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the seventh when David Mailman hit a two-run double and was subsequently driven in by Jon Hee. In the bottom of the eighth, Red Sox hitters had two streaks of five straight hitters reaching base, with the big blows coming off the bats of Pete Hissey and Tim Federowicz, who each hit two-run doubles. There was no shortage of heroes on the offensive side of the ball in this one, with Tejeda and Hee leading the way with 3 hits each. Hissey, Mailman, Ryan Dent, and Mitch Dening each had 2 hits. One cannot overstate the mound work of Mike Lee, either, who quieted the Wilmington offense with 2.1 solid innings of relief to earn the win.

There was more offense to be found in South Carolina on Tuesday, but the Greenville Drive came out on the wrong side of that affair, losing 14-7 to Lexington (HOU). Ryan Pressly, Pete Ruiz, and the Drive defense gave the team little hope right out of the gate, as the Legends scored 3 runs against Pressly in the first and 7 more against Ruiz in the second and third. Only 1 run charged to Ruiz was earned, however, as 2 errors by Vladimir Frias led to 6 unearned runs. Greenville tried to mount a comeback, scoring a run in the third on a Chris McGuiness RBI single and 3 runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Wilfred Pichardo and a two-run double by McGuiness. But Lexington scored 4 more unearned runs in the seventh against Jeremiah Bayer on Frias's third and fourth errors of the night to put the game out of reach. McGuiness and Ronald Bermudez were the top offensive performers, with each man going 2 for 4.

Player of the Night: Ryne Miller, who fired 6.0 shutout innings, yielding only 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 3 to help Portland to victory.