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July 6, 2010 at 6:00 AM

Middlebrooks powers Salem to victory

7/6 Cup of Coffee: The affiliates had a bleak Monday as only Salem was able to bring home a victory thanks to a huge night by Will Middlebrooks.

With Fabio Castro making his first start since May, Pawtucket was overwhelmed by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI) 8-2. Castro went the first 2.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. Blake Maxwell followed Castro out of the bullpen in his first appearance since being promoted from Salem and tossed 3.2 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and a walk while punching out a pair. Kason Gabbard recorded the last two outs of the seventh, allowing 1 run on 1 hit and a walk. Fernando Cabrera pitched a scoreless eighth inning, yielding a hit and 2 walks. The PawSox were held scoreless until the eighth when Josh Reddick laced a sacrifice fly to bring the score to 8-1. Bubba Bell’s RBI single in the ninth accounted for the only other Pawtucket run as they only mustered five hits on the evening.

Despite pounding out more hits than the visiting Fisher Cats, Portland fell to New Hampshire (TOR) 5-3. Kyle Weiland got the start for the Sea Dogs, going 6.0 innings, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks while striking out 5. Ryne Miller followed Weiland and had another rough outing, going 1.1 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits. Jason Rice hurled the final 1.2 innings allowing just one hit. Portland took an early 2-1 lead in the second, receiving a pair of runs on a Luis Exposito solo home run and a Matt Sheely RBI single. The Sea Dogs tied the contest at 3-3 on a Chih-Hsien Chiang sacrifice fly, but allowed two eighth inning runs to fall to their third straight loss. Exposito, Sheely, Chiang and William Vazquez all had two hit nights to pace the Portland offense.

Salem received a huge night from their All-Star third baseman as they battered the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (ATL) 10-6. Miguel Gonzalez made his sixth start for the Red Sox, tossing 5.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3. Kyle Fernandes came on in relief, throwing 2.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 1 hit and 3 walks while punching out a pair. Will Latimer finished the final 2.0 innings of the game by allowing 2 runs on 3 hits. The Red Sox got on the board in a big way in the second, plating four runs on a Middlebrooks RBI single, Drew Hedman sacrifice fly and a costly wild pitch by the Pelicans pitcher. Leading 4-1 in the fourth, Salem added two more on a Mitch Dening RBI single and a throwing error by the Myrtle Beach third baseman. The Red Sox touched home four more times in the seventh as Middlebrooks hammered a grand slam to deep center field to give Salem a 10-2 lead. Middlebrooks was 3 for 5 with the grand slam and 5 RBI.

Looking to avoid dropping their second game in a row, Greenville could not overcome the Kannapolis Intimidators (CHW) as they lost 5-2. Manuel Rivera took the hill for the Drive and pitched 4.2 innings, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits while allowing three home runs. Pedro Perez pitched the final 3.1 innings of the game in dazzling fashion, allowing no hits while striking out 6. Greenville scored its lone runs in the sixth inning as Chris McGuiness hit his tenth home run of the season to bring home a pair. McGuiness was 2 for 4 to have the only multi-hit game for the Drive.

The beginning of Jed Lowrie’s rehab assignment was not enough for the Spinners to overcome a 19 hit attack from the Aberdeen Ironbirds (BAL) as they were downed 9-6. Starter Tyler Wilson was scorched in his 4.0 inning outing, allowing 5 runs on 11 hits to pick up his second loss of the early season. Reliever Garrett Rau did not fare much better, going 3.0 innings while allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and a walk. Kyle Rutter pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning as the last man out of the Lowell bullpen. The Spinners took an early 1-0 lead in the second as Chia-Chu Chen hit a solo home run, his first of the season. After the Ironbirds tied the score in the bottom of the inning, Lowell added three in the third on a Kolbrin Vitek RBI single, a Brandon Jacobs RBI single and a Bryce Brentz double play ball that plated a run. Sean Killeen’s two run home run in the sixth accounted for the only other runs of the game for the Spinners. Vitek, Jacobs and Felix Sanchez each had two hits to lead the Lowell offense. Lowrie was 1 for 2 with 2 walks in his return to action.

Looking to continue their torrid start to the season, the GCL Red Sox fell to the GCL Orioles 6-2. Jason Garcia made his professional debut as he went the first 2.0 innings of the contest, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and a walk while striking out 2. Eric Curtis followed Garcia by tossing 4.2 innings of relief, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits while punching out 3. Scott Swinson pitched the final 2.1 innings of the game, allowing 1 run on 3 hits while striking out a pair. The Red Sox scored their lone runs of the game in the first, as Heiker Meneses stole home and Keury De La Cruz scampered home on a wild pitch. Mark Wagner was 2 for 2 to have the only multi-hit game for the Red Sox.

The DSL Red Sox continued their recent struggles by dropping their third consecutive game, falling to the DSL Royals 5-3. Mario Alcantara started the game for the Red Sox, allowing 2 unearned runs on 4 hits and a walk. Kiler Gil followed Alcantara and received the loss as he allowed 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk. Down 2-0 in the fourth, the Red Sox tied the game on Curtney Doran’s RBI single. Javier Gutierrez roped an RBI single in the fifth to give the Red Sox a 3-2 lead, but the Royals scored three times in the seventh to take home the victory. Dreily Guerrero was the only Red Sox to have a multi-hit game, going 2 for 5.

Player of the Night: Will Middlebrooks, who went 3 for 5 with a pivotal grand slam and 5 RBI in Salem’s 10-6 victory.