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May 4, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Clay dominant in Salem victory

5/4 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket continued its recent slide into the International League North cellar and Portland's 12 hits were not enough against Reading. The lone highlight of the evening was a masterful pitching performance from a former first round pick in Salem's shutout victory

Two late inning runs were not enough for Pawtucket as they fell to 0-7 all time at Gwinnett (ATL) with Monday's 4-2 loss. Starter Michael Bowden had another mediocre start, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in his 4.2 innings of work to pick up the loss. Down 3-0 after six, the PawSox picked up two in the seventh on Bubba Bell's RBI double. The Braves tacked on an insurance run off of reliever Scott Atchison in the bottom half of the inning to expand their lead to 4-2. Making it interesting in the ninth, Pawtucket brought the winning run to the plate but could not muster any heroics. Atchison went 2.0 innings of relief, allowing 1 run on 1 hit while striking out three. Dustin Richardson did not allow a hit in his 1.1 innings of work, but did walk three in addition to his three strikeouts. Bell, Lars Anderson and Jorge Jimenez were all 2 for 4 to lead the Pawtucket offense.

Portland brought the winning run to the plate in the ninth but fell 4-3 to the Reading Phillies (PHI). A strong start from Kyle Weiland kept the Phillies off the board early, as he went 4.0 innings allowing just one hit while walking 2 and striking out a pair. Three consecutive hits from Luis Exposito, Che-Hsuan Lin and Jose Iglesias gave the Sea Dogs their best scoring opportunity of the game in the fourth, but only one run crossed home as Chih-Hsien Chiang grounded into a double play to kill the rally. Sea Dogs reliever Eammon Portice was roughed up for 3 runs in the sixth, allowing five consecutive Phillies hits. A key fielding error by William Vazquez helped allow the fourth and decisive Reading run to score in the seventh. Portland closed the gap to 4-3 with Nate Spears two run home run in the bottom half of the seventh. The Sea Dogs put runners at the corners in the bottom of the ninth, but Ryan Kalish weakly grounded out to first to end the game. Portice pitched 3.0 innings allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits while striking out 1. Ryne Lawson pitched the final 2.0 innings for the Sea Dogs, allowing 2 hits and 3 walks. Spears and Ray Chang were both 3 for 5 as they hit at the top of the order to lead the Portland offense.

Looking to stay atop the Carolina League standings, Salem got a dominating performance from Caleb Clay on its way to a 4-0 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC). The Red Sox jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the top of the first, getting an RBI double from Anthony Rizzo and a sacrifice fly from Ryan Lavarnway. Salem added singular runs in the fourth and sixth on RBI singles from Luis Segovia and Alex Hassan. The four runs were all Clay needed as he pitched 6.0 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out three to pick up his second victory of the season. Lance McClain and Blake Maxwell combined to pitch 3.0 scoreless innings in relief of Clay, each allowing just one hit. Mitch Dening was 2 for 4 to have the only multi-hit game for either side.

Greenville was rained out in Augusta and will play a doubleheader this evening.

Player of the Night: Caleb Clay, who went 6.0 innings allowing just 1 hit while striking out 3 in Salem's shutout win over Wilmington.