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May 19, 2010 at 8:59 AM

Doubront on his game in Portland victory

5/19 Cup of Coffee: Two pitching gems and some lackluster offensive performances highlighted Tuesday's slate for Sox affiliates, which included a double-header down in the Carolina League and an alumnus appearance up in Portland by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Kris Johnson turned in arguably his best outing of the year, helping Pawtucket topple Norfolk (BAL), 6-0. The PawSox lefty went 6.0 scoreless innings in this one, allowing 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. He was staked an early lead in the second, when Aaron Bates led off the inning with his fourth home run of the year. Two innings later, it was Bubba Bell's turn to flex the power stroke, sending his first home run of the season out to right to drive in 3 and make it 4-0. Bell, who is now hitting .283/.336/.354 on the year, went 2 for 4 with 4 RBI in the game. He was joined by Bates, Angel Sanchez, and Gustavo Molina, who each has 2 hits as well. After Johnson left the game, Scott Atchison and Dustin Richardson were dominant in relief, striking out 8 while allowing 2 hits combined to seal the win. Atchison has now gone 6.0 straight scoreless innings.

Two first-inning runs and the magic arm of Felix Doubront were just enough for Portland, which outlasted New Britain (MIN) 2-1. Jacoby Ellsbury, on loan to the Sea Dogs during his rehab assignment, got things started with a walk and scored two batters later on an error. It was the only time Ellsbury would reach base, as he went 0 for 3 with a walk while playing center field for Portland. Next up was Luis Exposito, who drove Che-Hsuan Lin home from third with a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. That was all the scoring Doubront would need, as the 22-year-old went 7.0 shutout innings in this one, allowing 7 hits and striking out 6 to lower his season ERA to a tidy 2.51. Robert Coello made things interesting in the eighth, allowing four straight one-out singles to allow the Rock Cats to cut the deficit in half. But Coello settled down and escaped the inning, and then pitched a clean ninth to earn the save. Portland ended up with only 4 total hits in the game, two of which belonged to Yamaico Navarro.

After finishing up a dominant offensive showing against Myrtle Beach over the weekend, Salem put in a feeble effort in Tuesday's double-header at Kinston (CLE), losing game one 3-1. Indians starter Alex White was once again dominant against the Red Sox, holding Salem to just 3 hits over 6.0 innings. That gives the team just 5 hits this year against White in 13.0 innings. One of this hits in this one, though, was the seventh home run of the year for Ryan Lavarnway, a towering shot out to left-center field leading off the second inning. The Red Sox DH continues to have his way with the Carolina League, raising his season line to .338/.419/.553. Fabian Williamson and Lance McClain were less than stellar on the hill, allowing 10 hits and walking 4 in 6.0 combined innings. Salem made some noise in the top of the sixth, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but could not capitalize.

The struggles continued for Salem in game two, and despite drawing 6 walks, the team lost big, 8-3. Four of those walks came in the second inning to drive in a run, but that only made the score 5-1, as Kinston struck early and often against Jeremy Kehrt. All 5 first-inning runs against the Red Sox starter were unearned, though, when the flood-gates opened following Drew Hedman's error with two outs. Possibly rattled by the shaky defense behind him, Kehrt followed the error with a wild pitch, a hit batsman, and 2 home runs allowed to make it 5-0 in a flash. Two more walks in the top of the third gave Hedman a chance for redemption, and his two-run double brought Salem back within two. But Blake Maxwell was something less than effective in relief, allowing 5 hits and 3 runs in the fifth inning to put the game out of reach.

A late Greenville rally was not quite enough, as the Drive dropped a close one to Lexington (HOU) 4-2. Pete Perez started this one for Greenville, and despite allowing a lot of baserunners - 4 hits and 4 walks in 4.0 innings - left the game having allowed only 1 run. Jeremiah Bayer made things a bit more difficult by allowing 2 runs in the sixth to put the Drive in a 3-0 hole. Greenville had managed only 3 hits to that point, but turned things around in the top of the eighth, when Vladimir Frias and Jeremy Hazelbaker hit back-to-back home runs to bring the Drive back within 1. But Bayer allowed another run in the bottom of the frame to make it 4-2, and although Greenville put two runners on in the ninth, the team couldn't quite make it all the way back. Hazelbaker had the best game offensively for the Drive, going 2 for 4, and Derrik Gibson stole his eleventh base of the year.

Player of the Night: Felix Doubront, who fired 7.0 shutout innings to help lead Portland to a close victory.