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April 26, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Rivera gem leads Drive to victory


4/26 Cup of Coffee: A double-header sweep by Greenville and a come-back win by Portland highlighted a full slate of action for Sox minor leaguers.

Not even Star Wars Day at McCoy Stadium could save the PawSox, as Adam Mills and the Pawtucket bullpen allowed 19 hits en route to a 10-3 loss to Buffalo (NYM). After shining in his previous start, Mills was very hittable on Sunday, allowing runs in each of the first three innings and struggling through 5.0 frames in all, allowing 6 runs on 11 hits. The Bisons swung early and often against Mills, who threw only 88 pitches in his outing despite facing 26 batters. Angel Sanchez went 2 for 3 with a walk for the Red Sox, and Mark Wagner also had a nice day, going 2 for 4 with a double. Each man also had an RBI. Leadoff hitter Josh Reddick continued his struggles, going 0 for 4 and committing an error in the first inning, his third of the season.

A close game through eight ended up a comfortable win for Portland, which scored 5 runs in the ninth and defeated Trenton (NYY) 9-5. The game began as a see-saw affair, as Ryan Kalish doubled home Nate Spears to give the Sea Dogs a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, only to see Trenton tie things up in the bottom of the frame. A Juan Apodaca solo home run reestablished the Portland lead in the second, but Trenton once again came back, scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the third. Apodaca, who ended up 4 for 5 in this one, once again came through in the seventh, this time tying the game 4-4 with an RBI double, but the big bats didn't truly come to life until the ninth. The first five Sea Dogs reached in the inning, with Lars Anderson providing the loudest blow in the form of a three-run home run, his fifth already on the season, part of a 2-for-5, 4-RBI day. Kalish and Che-Hsuan Lin, meanwhile, each stole their fifth base of the season in the inning, and Spears also cashed in with a two-run double. Felix Doubront, Tommy Hottovy, and Robert Coello were solid enough on the mound, allowing 5 runs but combining to strike out 12.

As their major league counterparts battled in Boston, Salem and Frederick (BAL) played a far more anticlimactic game, with the Keys prevailing 15-4. The Red Sox actually led in this game after Will Middlebrooks led off the top of the second with his first home run of the year, but Frederick struck back with a 5-run third and never looked back. All 5 runs in the third were unearned against Brock Huntzinger, as second baseman Oscar Tejeda made two errors in the inning. The Keys scored 5 more unearned runs in an 8-run eighth after an error by Middlebrooks, giving Frederick 10 unearned runs total in the game. Both error makers for Salem did partially redeem themselves with good days at the plate, with Tejeda going 3 for 4 with a triple and Middlebrooks going 2 for 5. Ryan Lavarnway continued his assault on the Carolina League, mashing his sixth home run of the year while going 2 for 5 to raise his season line to .377/.424/.754.

Things started off rocky for Kendall Volz and Greenville in Sunday's first game against Lexington (HOU), but a tenacious late-inning comeback led to a 6-3 Drive win. Volz allowed 2 in the first and another run in the second but gutted his way through 5.0 innings, earning the win when Greenville took the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Dan Butler and Ronald Bermudez drove in those fifth-inning runs, while Michael Almanzar provided insurance with his 2-run double in the sixth. Jeremiah Bayer provided 2.0 scoreless frames to close things out.

In game two, it was a stellar pitching performance by Manny Rivera that stole the show as the Drive won again, 4-0. Rivera allowed only 2 hits in his 5.0 innings of work, striking out 4. Anatanaer Batista brought the shutout home with 2.0 scoreless frames of his own. Greenville gave its mound magicians an early lead to work with, as Chris McGuiness drilled his second home run of the year to center in the first. That blast drove in Jeremy Hazelbaker, who singled earlier in the inning and stole his twelfth base of the young season. Two more Drive runs crossed the plate in the fourth, as Bermudez homered to lead off the inning and Reymond Fuentes followed with a double and later scored on a wild pitch. Almanzar also had another solid game, going 2 for 3 with a triple.

Player of the Night: Manny Rivera, who tossed 5.0 shutout innings to help Greenville to a double-header sweep.