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April 23, 2010 at 5:00 AM

Portland, Salem rally late for victories

4/23 Cup of Coffee: Portland and Salem rallied late in their respective games to pull out victories, while Pawtucket ruined an otherwise stellar night of pitching from the farm system.

Pawtucket was unable complete the sweep of the Iron Pigs (PHI) on weak pitching performances from starter Fabio Castro and Ramon A. Ramirez, falling 12-2. Castro lasted only 3.0 innings, giving up 6 runs, 5 earned, on 9 hits. Chad Paronto stopped the bleeding temporarily, pitching 2.0 scoreless innings, but Ramirez put the game out of reach, giving up 6 more earned runs in 2.0 innings of work. The PawSox offense briefly showed life in the seventh, but was able to score only 2 runs on hits by Daniel Nava, Kevin Frandsen, Jorge Jimenez, and Angel Sanchez. Fernando Cabrera ended the night on a high note for the bullpen with a hitless inning of relief in the eighth, striking out 1. Nava, Sanchez, and Matt Sheely each finished the night 2 for 4.

Portland pulled out a 3-2 win over Trenton (NYY) on great pitching by a pair of right-handers and offensive heroics in the ninth inning. Starting pitcher Eammon Portice went 5.0 strong innings, giving up only 1 run on 3 hits and no walks. He was particularly adept at keeping the ball on the ground, posting a 10-2 groundout-flyout ratio. Robert Coello followed that up with 3.0 hitless innings of his own, striking out 5 batters in the process. Trenton struck first in the game, grabbing a run in the fifth inning, but Portland quickly answered, tying the score at one apiece on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Kalish in the seventh. With the score still tied going into the 9th, Lars Anderson and Ray Chang provided the clutch hits with back-to-back two-out solo shots. Bryce Cox got the save, but not before allowing a home run with two outs and nobody on in the ninth. Jose Iglesias also had a big night, going 3 for 4 with a triple.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox had a late-inning rally of their own in Salem, beating Lynchburg (CIN), 5-2. Salem jumped out to an early lead in the first on a double by Peter Hissey followed by a Ryan Lavarnway two-run homer (4). However, it was not to last as Lynchburg scored a run in the second and third inning off starter Caleb Clay. In total, Clay went 5.0 innings giving up 1 earned run on 4 hits. Still tied at 2 runs apiece going into the seventh, the Red Sox took the permanent lead on a bases-clearing double by Anthony Rizzo, scoring Mitch Dening, Alex Hassan, and Tim Federowicz. Will Latimer pitched 3.0 innings of scoreless relief, and Lance McClain got the save in his second appearance of the year.

There was no need for any late-inning offense in West Virginia (PIT) ,as the Drive scored 3 runs in the second inning and never looked back, winning 6-1. Catcher Dan Butler sparked the second-inning rally with a two-run homer, the first of two for him on the night. Ronald Bermudez followed suit with a solo shot of his own in the second. Ryan Pressly kicked off a night of solid pitching for the Drive, allowing only 3 hits in his 3.0 scoreless innings. Pitching in relief, Pete Ruiz followed that up with 5.0 innings, giving up 1 earned run. Anatanaer Batista closed out the night with a perfect ninth inning, striking out 2 batters.

Player of the Night: Dan Butler, who went 2 for 4 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI to raise his average to .235 on the season.