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June 16, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Bowden shines in PawSox victory

6/16 Cup of Coffee: There were a number of close contests for Sox affiliates on Tuesday night, and luckily the good guys won their share of them.

Michael Bowden looked like a top-flight prospect and the PawSox generated just enough offense to get by Louisville (CIN), 2-0. Bowden was masterful against the bats of the Bats, holding them to just 3 hits while walking nobody and striking out 4 in 7.2 innings. Robert Manuel went the rest of the way, striking out 2, for his thirteenth straight scoreless outing and eighth save in eight opportunities. Pawtucket scored both of its runs in the third, when with the bases loaded an nobody out, Niuman Romero grounded into a force out at home. However, an error by the Louisville catcher allowed Jorge Jimenez to score from third on the play, and Tug Hulett's sacrifice fly one batter later made it 2-0. The PawSox collected only 5 total hits in the game.

Though not quite as dominant as their Triple-A counterparts, Kyle Weiland and the Portland bullpen also threw up a goose egg, allowing the Sea Dogs to sneak by Erie (DET) 1-0. Weiland allowed at least one base runner in every inning he worked, but kept them all on the bases, pitching 5.2 scoreless frames while relinquishing 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5. He also hit 2 batters. He left the game with a lead thanks to Matt Sheely, who doubled home Yamaico Navarro with two outs in the fifth. Mitch Herold and Bryce Cox took it from there, allowing only 1 hit the rest of the way and striking out 4.

Down by a run after the first inning, the Salem offense exploded in the middle innings and the Red Sox won comfortably, 10-6 over Wilmington (KC). The comeback began in the Salem fourth, when Jorge Padron's RBI double tied things at 1. But the real fireworks came with two outs in the fifth, when Ryan Lavarnway, Oscar Tejeda, Will Middlebrooks and Padron collected hits in succession, and when the dust had settled it was 6-1 Salem. The Red Sox collected 3 more in the sixth and another in the seventh, highlighted by Ryan Dent's triple and double, to make the lead a formidable 10-1. Up until that point, Stolmy Pimentel and Cesar Cabral had held the Blue Rocks to just 1 run on 6 hits in 7.0 combined frames, striking out 5, but things got very interesting against Will Latimer in the late innings. After allowing a run in the eighth, the first five Wilmington hitters reached in the ninth, two by way of errors by Dent and Middlebrooks. But Latimer did settle down and closed out the inning to seal the win. There were several good offensive showings for Salem, led by Tejeda's 3-for-4 performance, while Padron was 3 for 5. Mitch Dening was 2 for 3 with a walk and 3 RBI, and Lavarnway and Dent each had 2 hits as well.

A good start by Manny Rivera went by the wayside, as Greenville couldn't hold on to an early lead and lost to Greensboro (FLA) 6-2. Rivera delivered the game scorelessly into the sixth, pitching 5.2 innings allowing only 2 hits and 1 walk, striking out 4. He left with a 1-0 lead thanks to Ronald Bermudez, who hit an RBI single in the fifth, but things fell apart in a hurry against Jordan Flasher in the seventh. The Drive reliever allowed 5 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, and just like that it was 5-1. Bermudez brought Greenville a bit closer with his fifth home run of the year in the eighth, a solo shot, but it was too little, too late. The Drive managed only 6 hits in the game.

Early scoring and late scoring carried the day in the Dominican Summer League, as the Red Sox toppled the Mets, 4-2. Curtney Doran's sacrifice fly in the first made it 1-0, and Xander Bogaerts tripled and scored on a wild pitch in the third to double the lead. Bogaerts, who has had a nice start to his professional career, is now hitting .364/.512/.576 to lead the Red Sox offense. Those runs should have been enough, as Yunior Ortega baffled the Mets through 5.0 innings, allowing only 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 4, but 2 unearned runs against Sully Bonnelly knotted the score at 2 in the sixth. Bonnelly was redeemed in the eighth, though, when Roberto Duncan and Jesus Loya each collected RBI sacrifice flies, and Ricardo Betancourt slammed the door over, allowing only 1 hit over the final 3.0 innings.

Player of the Night: Michael Bowden, who dazzled in his 7.2 innings to help Pawtucket to a close victory.