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July 6, 2010 at 11:20 PM

Butler muscles up in Drive rout


7/7 Cup of Coffee: Overall, things went pretty poorly for Sox affiliates in Tuesday's action. Greenville broke out the bats to save some organizational face, and the DSL Sox earned a solid win, but the rest of the slate didn't go so well.

Kris Johnson's recent string of bad outings continued, and despite a late rally Pawtucket fell 6-3 to Lehigh Valley (PHI). Johnson spotted the Iron Pigs 6 runs in his 5.0 innings, yielding 9 hits and 2 walks. Meanwhile, Pawtucket was putting on a display of futility at the dish, grounding into two double plays and accumulating only 3 hits through eight. In the ninth, an improbable rally seemed to be afoot, as the PawSox put the first four hitters of the inning on base. But another double play put a damper on things, and Pawtucket couldn't quite come all the way back. Veteran newcomer Argenis Reyes had the best night at the plate, going 2 for 4, while Lars Anderson walked twice as part of a 1-for-4 performance.

Top prospect Casey Kelly was also a bit off his game, and the Portland offense wasn't quite good enough to overcome, losing 6-5 to New Hampshire (TOR). Kelly allowed 6 earned runs on 7 hits and 3 walks in his 5.1-inning start, although he did strike out 8. After giving up 2 of those runs in the first, the Sea Dogs spotted Kelly a lead in the bottom half of the frame, scoring 3 runs punctuated by Chih-Hsien Chiang's two-run double. That's how things would stay until the fifth, when 3 Fisher Cats runs put Portland behind again. A two-run single by Nate Spears in the seventh brought the Sea Dogs within one, but that's as close as they could get, going down quickly and quietly in the eighth and ninth. Chiang was the top performer at the plate, going 2 for 4 with 2 doubles.

Another top prospect on the hill, another poor outing down in Salem, where Stolmy Pimentel and the Red Sox lost big, 7-1 to Myrtle Beach (ATL). 3 runs, 5 hits and 3 walks belonged to Pimentel, who went the first 5.2 innings. The other 4 runs, only 2 of which were earned, belonged to Zach Hammes, who relinquished them in 1.1 innings of work. Salem collected 8 hits in the game, but didn't score until the eighth, when Oscar Tejeda singled with two outs. Jon Hee, who was 2 for 3, and Mitch Dening, who was 2 for 4, led the offense, with Dening bringing his season line up to .282/.356/.367 in the process.

A 20-hit barrage helped back a great start from Pete Ruiz as Greenville rolled 10-2 over Kannapolis (CWS). The Drive struck first when Chris McGuiness doubled in a run in the first, but the Intimidators tied things up in the third, and it looked like the makings of a tight one. But a five-run Greenville fifth, highlighted by Shannon Wilkerson's two-run double, put an end to that chatter quickly. Single runs in the sixth, on a Wilkerson single, and in the eighth on a Dan Butler home run added to the lead, and a two-run single by Butler in the ninth put things very much out of reach. Butler was one of three Drive hitters with at least four hits, going 5 for 6 with a home run and 4 RBI, joining McGuiness (4 for 6, 2 RBI) and Wilkerson (4 for 5, 3 RBI and a walk). Michael Almanzar chipped in with 3 hits in 6 at-bats, and Derrik Gibson was 2 for 4 with 2 walks. On the mound, it was Ruiz who got the win working the first 5.0 innings, giving up a run on 5 hits and a walk, striking out 6.

It was also a dismal day for Lowell, which made 3 errors and lost 6-2 to Aberdeen (BAL). The Spinners didn't score until the eighth in this one, when Miles Head doubled in a run with two outs and another scored on a passed ball. Prior to that, the IronBirds had grown a 6-0 lead against starter Keith Couch and a pair of Spinners relievers. Couch faired decently, giving up 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits and a walk in 4.0 innings, while Wilson Matos gave up a run in his 2.0 innings, and Tyler Lockwood gave up 2 runs in his 2.0 frames. Head and David Renfroe were the offensive leaders, with each collecting 2 hits.

The GCL Red Sox and GCL Orioles (BAL) found themselves rained out on Tuesday.

After falling behind 2-0 early, the DSL Red Sox battled back to take a 4-2 decision over the DSL Dodgers (LAD). Sox starter Luis Diaz allowed the 2 Dodgers runs on 4 hits and a walk in 5.0 innings, but left the game off the hook thanks to 2 Red Sox runs in the fifth. After loading the bases with 1 out, Derward Ruiz singled in the first Red Sox run, and one out later Xander Bogaerts walked with the bases loaded to tie the game. The Sox broke through in the seventh, when Dreily Guerrero tripled to lead off the inning and scored on an RBI single by Bogaerts. Ruiz drove in an insurance run in the eighth, but it was plenty for Carlos Pinales, who allowed only 1 hit and 1 walk in 4.0 relief innings to earn the win. Roberto Duncan also had a nice game at the dish, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a steal. The Red Sox drew 7 walks in the game.

Player of the Night: Dan Butler, whose 5-for-6 performance included a home run and 4 RBI in a big win for Greenville.