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August 16, 2010 at 7:30 AM

Big day for Rodriguez propels Drive to victory


8/16 Cup of Coffee: A postponement and two scheduled off days left a light slate on Sunday for Sox affiliates, which split the games they did play.

An effectively wild start from Rich Hill and a three-run fifth inning improbably propelled Pawtucket to a 3-1 win over Buffalo (NYM). Hill had some command issues in his 5.0-inning start, issuing 4 free passes, but allowed only 2 hits and 1 run while striking out 5. Chad Paronto, Santo Luis, and Fernando Cabrera took things from there, allowing a combined 2 hits over the final 4.0 innings to preserve the win. Down 1-0 heading into the fifth and in the process of being no-hit, the PawSox pushed their first run across on a Gustavo Molina RBI double and took the lead two batters later on a two-run bomb off the bat of Gil Velazquez, the infielder's first home run of the year. Those ended up being the only two hits of the game for Pawtucket, which managed only 6 total base runners.

A twelve-hit attack and a four-run ninth-inning lead weren't enough for visiting Portland, which fell 5-4 in dramatic fashion to Richmond (SFG). The loss spoiled a sparkling start turned in by Jeremy Kehrt, who allowed only 1 hit and 2 walks in 6.0 innings, striking out 4. In the meantime, the Sea Dogs built a lead, scoring first on a Jorge Padron RBI single in the fourth. In the fifth, Portland expanded the lead thanks to Nate Spears, whose three-run home run made it 4-0. Eammon Portice delivered the shutout safely to the ninth, but that's where Bryce Cox ran into a heap of trouble, putting the tying and winning runs on base with one out before being replaced by Ryne Reynoso. Reynoso wasn't much more effective, as he allowed singles to both batters he faced to give the Flying Squirrels the walk-off win. Che-Hsuan Lin had a terrific game out of the lead-off spot, going 3 for 5 with a steal, while Padron and Matt Sheely both had 2 hits.

Salem's game at Wilmington (KC) was postponed.

Greenville exploded out of the gate, almost let the lead slip away, but finished strong to capture a 10-6 win at Asheville (COL). The first two Drive runs came across in the first, courtesy of a Reynaldo Rodriguez RBI double and an RBI single by Christian Vazquez. Just an inning later, Rodriguez struck again, driving in two more with another double, and scampering home himself on a Michael Almanzar single to make it 5-0. An error and a Reymond Fuentes double each brought home a run in the third and fourth, respectively, and up until that point Manny Rivera had been cruising. He ran into some trouble in the fourth, however, when he allowed 5 runs, and ended up allowing 6 runs in 4.1 innings, though he did strike out 5. Some great relief work from Jordan Flasher and Jeremiah Bayer put out the fire and saved the day for Greenville, as the latter went the final 3.0 innings and struck out 6 to earn a well-deserved save. A Vladimir Frias triple, a passed ball, and yet another RBI hit from Rodriguez added insurance late in the game. The Drive first baseman ended up 3 for 4 with 2 walks, 4 RBI, and 4 runs scored in the game. Frias, Almanzar, Vazquez, Fuentes, and Zach Gentile all had multiple hits as well, as Greenville managed 16 in all. Fuentes also stole a base, his 35th of the year.

The Lowell offense had a great game on Sunday, but unfortunately the Mahoning Valley (CLE) offense had a better one, as the Spinners lost a fire fight at home, 10-8. Things started out well, as Kolbrin Vitek launched a two-run home run in the first, his fourth of the year. Not to be outdone by his fellow 2010 draftee, Bryce Brentz hit a two-run home run of his own in the third, making it 4-1. The Scrappers drew within one in the fifth, but Lowell pushed the lead back to two when Vitek knocked home Jose Iglesias, who had tripled, with a single to make it 5-3. The see-saw kept rocking into the seventh, when Mahoning Valley tallied two to tie the game in the top of the inning only to see Lowell take another lead in the bottom half on a double by Brentz. But the top of the eighth was a disaster for the Spinners, as five Scrappers runners crossed home plate to make it 10-6. Iglesias did his best to bring the Spinners back, driving in two with a single in the bottom half, but that was as close as his team would get, leaving the tying runs on base in the ninth. Madison Younginer actually turned in a decent start, allowing 3 runs but only 1 earned in 5.0 innings. The game was less kind to Stephen Fox, Jay Broughton, and Tyler Lockwood, who each allowed at least 2 runs in their outings. Vitek led the way at the plate, going 4 for 5, while Iglesias, Brentz, and Josue Peley each had 2 hits.

The GCL and DSL Red Sox both had Sunday off.

Player of the Night: Reynaldo Rodriguez, who was 3 for 4 with 2 walks, 4 RBI, and 4 runs scored in a big win for the Drive.