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April 19, 2010 at 8:44 AM

Tejeda, Salem offense carry Red Sox to victory


4/19 Cup of Coffee: After rain washed out Portland's Friday and Saturday games, they finally played some baseball at Hadlock Field on Sunday, resulting a pair of down-to-the-wire decisions. Big offense and see-saw scoring characterized the rest of Sunday's slate.

Four Rochester (MIN) errors and more hot hitting from Darnell McDonald helped Pawtucket claim game two of the series by a score of 6-3. Scoreless into the top of the third, Josh Reddick untied things with his first home run of the season, a two-run shot with two outs. The PawSox grabbed another run in the fourth, with Aaron Bates taking advantage of a dropped foul pop-up by the Red Wings catcher by singling to left, reaching second base on an error by the left fielder, and scoring one out later on a double by Dusty Brown. Back-to-back doubles by McDonald - his second of two in the game, giving him six already on the season - and Tug Hulett plated three more runs in the top of the fifth, giving Michael Bowden and four Pawtucket relievers plenty of support to seal the victory. Bowden was solid if unspectacular in the game, throwing 3.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 2 hits, walking 3 and striking out 2. Fernando Cabrera made things interesting in the ninth, allowing the tying run to reach base with two outs, but settled down to earn the save.

Despite mounting a brief comeback attempt against Trenton (NYY) in the ninth, the Sea Dogs dropped the first of two seven-inning games by a score of 3-1. The day started and ended poorly for Portland starter Stephen Fife. The tall right-hander allowed back-to-back doubles to start the game, but then pitched brilliantly until the fourth, when 3 walks led to a second Thunder run and a 2-0 Trenton lead. The Sea Dogs finally registered their first hit in the bottom of the frame when Che-Hsuan Lin singled to left, but wouldn't manage another one until the bottom of the seventh. Leading off the inning and with his team trailing 3-0, Lars Anderson lofted his second home run of the season to left. Ray Chang followed Anderson's home run with a walk, but that was all the offense Portland could muster.

Frustrated at the plate in game one, the Sea Dogs wasted no time getting on the board in game two, riding a two-run first inning to a 2-1 victory. Ryan Kalish led off the first with a walk and promptly stole second, then reached third on a passed ball by the Trenton catcher. Two outs later with Kalish still standing on third, Luis Exposito and Anderson came to the rescue, hitting consecutive doubles to make it 2-0. After going 2 for 4 with 2 walks combined on Sunday, Anderson is now hitting .294/.368/.559 in 2010. That small offensive output was all Casey Kelly and the Sea Dogs bullpen would need, as SoxProspects.com's top-ranked prospect extended his season-opening scoreless innings streak to 5.0 with 3.0 flawless frames in this one. Kelly allowed 2 hits and struck out 2. Eammon Portice and Jason Rice were nearly as good, allowing only a run on 2 hits and 2 walks combined over the final 4.0 innings to seal the victory. Portland managed a split of Sunday's games despite collecting only 5 total hits between the two contests.

There was plenty of offense to go around down in Virginia, as Salem erased an early 2-0 deficit to come back and win big over Myrtle Beach (ATL), 9-3, completing the series sweep. Stolmy Pimentel started for the Red Sox and allowed back-to-back two-out home runs in the first ,but then settled down, going 5.0 innings total allowing just those 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks. That first-inning speed bump was no problem for the Salem offense, which pounded out 15 hits in the game. Alex Hassan started the scoring with a two-run home run in the second, his first of the year, and the three more Salem runs crossed the plate in the third after the team opened the inning with four consecutive singles. Oscar Tejeda's first home run of 2010 made it 6-2 in the bottom of the fourth, and a three-run bottom of the seventh put the game on ice. The middle of the Salem order came up big in this one, with Tejeda (3 for 5), Anthony Rizzo (3 for 4), Ryan Lavarnway (2 for 5) and Will Middlebrooks (2 for 4) all collecting multiple hits. William Vazquez also had a good night, going 3 for 4 himself. Lavarnway is now hitting .462/.488/.821 on the year.

It was a back-and-forth battle in Lexington, but the Drive were unable to upend the Legends (HOU), losing 6-3. Christian Vazquez drew first blood for Greenville with his RBI single in the first, but Yeiper Castillo gave it right back in the bottom of the second and gave up the tie in the third when he allowed a two-out two-run double to make it 3-1. After the Drive tied things up again with a two-run fourth, the teams traded scoreless frames until Anatanaer Batista wore down in the sixth, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk in the inning. Greenville would bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth with one out in the form of Ronald Bermudez, but the Drive left fielder grounded into a double play to end the threat. It was a 7-hit day for Greenville, but only Michael Almanzar netted more than one, going 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.

Player of the Night: Oscar Tejeda, who helped power Salem to victory by going 3 for 5 with a home run and 3 runs scored.