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April 20, 2010 at 6:28 AM

Pawtucket and Portland flash power in victories

4/20 Cup of Coffee: With the big club struggling on offense, Pawtucket and Portland were both powered to victory by key homerun's and Greenville used a combination of speed and timely hitting to bring home victories on Monday.

Clutch hitting and a relentless offensive attack helped Pawtucket overcome a late rally by the Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 9-8. The PawSox would open the scoring in the first, as Tug Hulett reached on an error by the left fielder, advanced on Kevin Frandsen's double, and scored on a Mark Wagner sacrifice fly. Josh Reddick doubled with one out in the third and scored on Daniel Nava's RBI single to make the score 2-0 PawSox. With the score 2-1 after three, Pawtucket exploded for 5 runs in the top of the fourth. Fransden led things off with his second double of the game and came around to score on Aaron Bates second home run of the season. Bubba Bell followed with another double, and Ryan Khoury reached on an error by the shortstop. Reddick would bring home 2 more runs with his RBI triple and score when Nava laced an RBI single. Pawtucket would add their final two runs in the top of the fifth as Fransden hit his third double of the game and scored on Wagner's home run. The lead gave starter Randor Bierd a lot of breathing room, as he pitched 5.0 innings giving up 3 runs on 3 hits (2 HR) while walking 4 and striking out 2 for his second victory of the season. Rochester nearly came all the way back in the bottom of the sixth inning as reliever Chad Paronto gave up 5 runs (4 earned) on 4 hits (1 HR) in just 0.1 innings. Joe Nelson got the final two outs of the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh to squash the Rochester rally. Robert Manuel pitched a scoreless ninth to record his first save.

A balanced offensive attack and strong pitching led Portland to a 7-3 victory over the Binghamton Mets (NYM). After Binghamton scored 1 in the top of the first, Portland got an RBI groundout from Luis Exposito and an RBI single by Lars Anderson to pull ahead 2-1 after 1. Four walks in the second inning led to 2 more Sea Dog runs, as Che-Hsuan Lin walked with the bases loaded to force in the first run and Nate Spears lofted a sacrifice fly to give Portland the 4-1 lead. Anderson's third homerun of the season gave the Sea Dogs a 5-1 advantage after three. Ryan Kalish's 2-run homer in the sixth would cap the scoring at 7-3. Starter Felix Doubront picked up his second victory of the early season by going 5.0 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, walking 2 and striking out 2. Robert Coello and Bryce Cox combined to pitch the final 4.0 innings of relief, allowing only 2 hits.

Lynchburg (CIN) got to Salem pitching early and often as the Red Sox were downed 9-5. Starter Brock Huntzinger allowed 3 first inning runs and went 4.0 innings, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 3 and striking out 2. Salem would get 2 runs of its own in the bottom of the first, scoring on Anthony Rizzo's RBI double and Ryan Lavarnway's RBI groundout. Peter Hissey would add an RBI single in the bottom of the second to briefly tie the game at 2. Salem would again tie things in the bottom of the fourth on Oscar Tejada's solo homerun. The tie would be the closest the Red Sox would get however, as reliever Mike Lee would allow 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits as he suffered the loss. Salem would muster another run in the bottom of the sixth on Alex Hassan's RBI groundout, but could not compete with Lynchburg's 17 hit output. Blake Maxwell pitched 2.0 innings of relief, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 1

While Pawtucket and Portland used power to attain victory, the Greenville Drive was aided by 6 stolen bases and a strong start by Kendal Volz to beat the Lexington Legends (HOU) 6-3. The Drive scored two in the first, showing just how dangerous their speed can be. Derrik Gibson led off the inning with a walk and ended up on third after Wilfred Pichardo laced a single to right. Pichardo then stole second easily and moved to third as Chris McGuiness grounded out to knock in Gibson. Pichardo would score when Michael Almanzar collected his fourth RBI of the season on a sacrifice fly. Volz was outstanding in collecting his second victory of the season, holding the Legends scoreless during his 5.0 innings in which he allowed 4 hits and struck out 2. Speed brought the Drive 2 more runs in the top of the sixth as Pichardo again set the pace. Pichardo walked and then promptly stole second base to start the inning, moving to third on a McGuiness flyout. Jeremy Hazelbaker walked with two outs and almost immediately stole his eighth base of the early season. Pichardo and Hazelbaker would score when Dan Butler roped an RBI double to center. Hazelbaker and Butler would help tack on two very important insurance runs for Greenville in the top of the eighth. Hazelbaker would single to lead off the inning and Butler would reach on an error before they pulled off a double steal to advance to second and third. Zach Gentile knocked them both in with his RBI single to give the Drive a 6-0 advantage. Jeremiah Bayer would struggled in the ninth, allowing three runs, but picked up his third save. Bayer went 4.0 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits (1 HR) and striking out 3 while walking 1

Player of the Night: Lars Anderson, who continued his hot hitting, going 2 for 4 with his third homerun of the season and notching 2 RBI in a 7-3 Portland victory.