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April 18, 2010 at 6:05 AM

Vazquez grand slam carries Drive

4/ 18 Cup of Coffee: While Portland was rained out for a second straight evening, Greenville and Salem put another notch in the victory column Saturday evening.

The PawSox fell behind early and spent the entire game clawing back, but never managed to pull ahead as Rochester (MIN) downed Pawtucket 6-5. The Red Wings got to starter Fabio Castro early, tagging him for 2 runs in the first before he walked in a run to put Pawtucket down 3-0 in the second. Darnell McDonald tripled and scored on a balk in the top of the fourth to begin the Pawsox' first comeback of the evening, and an RBI double by Jorge Jimenez brought them back to within 1 an inning later. Joe Nelson allowed 2 runs to make it 5-2, but the PawSox rebounded with two of their own in the top of the seventh, and Aaron Bates doubled to score Tug Hullett in the top of the eighth to tie the game at 5. Fernando Cabrera allowed an RBI double in the eighth that put Rochester up for good. Castro went 3.0 innings, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits, and Ramon A. Ramirez tossed 2.0 innings of scoreless relief. Angel Sanchez was 3 for 4, while Bates and Daniel Nava each had a pair of hits.

A night after an incredible offensive display in their home opener, Salem notched their third straight win, topping Myrtle Beach (ATL) 7-4. Ryan Lavarnway picked up right where he left off with an RBI single as Salem scored 3 in the first. The Pelicans pulled even in the top of the fifth, but Drew Hedman responded with a 2-run single in the bottom half to put Salem on top for good. Lavarnway was 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored, raising his batting average to a system-high .471. Will Middlebrooks had a pair of doubles, and Anthony Rizzo was 2 for 5 with 2 runs scored. Starter Alex Wilson rebounded from a tough first outing to give Salem 5.0 innings of 4-hit ball. He gave up 3 runs (2 earned), and struck out 4. Jeremy Kehrt pitched the last 4.0 innings and earned the save, striking out 2 and allowing just an unearned run.

Meanwhile, a case of first inning control issues for Lexington starter Brandt Walker loaded the bases for Christian Vazquez, who made no mistake in depositing one over the left field wall and providing the Greenville with all the offense they would need in a 5-3 win over Lexington (HOU). Ryan Pressly got the start for the Drive, allowing 2 earned runs in a solid 3.0 innings. He struck out 5, as did Pete Ruiz, who threw 4.0 innings in relief. Ruiz earned the win, allowing just 2 hits and 1 run. Cesar Cabral tossed 2 shutout innings for the save. Vazquez and Derrick Gibson were the only players with more than 1 hit on the evening for the Drive.

Portland was once again rained out. They will play a doubleheader Sunday, with the first pitch slated for 1:00 tomorrow afternoon.

Player of the Night: Christian Vazquez, whose first inning grand slam put the Drive up for good in a 5-3 victory Saturday evening.