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September 2, 2010 at 8:31 AM

Ebert helps lock down Greenville win


9/2 Cup of Coffee: It was a dismal day on the whole for Sox affiliates on Wednesday, as only division-leading Greenville came away with a win.

A close game early got out of hand in the late innings, as Pawtucket saw its winning streak end at eight with a 9-3 loss to Lehigh Valley (PHI). After allowing a first-inning run, PawSox starter Ramon A. Ramirez settled down nicely, pitching the next 4.0 frames without incident. The score was tied at 1 heading into the sixth, thanks to Lars Anderson, who hit his tenth home run of the year in the fourth. But that’s where Ramirez finally lost steam, combining with reliever TJ Large to allow 3 runs and giving the Iron Pigs a 4-1 lead. Pawtucket narrowed the lead to one in the seventh, scoring on a Gustavo Molina home run and an error later in the inning, but Lehigh Valley really opened things up in the eighth, scoring four times and tacking on another in the ninth to put the game out of reach. Anderson had a nice night, going 2 for 4, while Gil Velazquez also had 2 hits. Improbably, Dusty Brown stole his first base of the season in this one as well.

The Sea Dogs found themselves down big early and attempted a comeback, but came up just short in a 6-5 loss to Binghamton (NYM). Alex Wilson was lit up in this one, allowing 6 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in just 3.0 innings to put Portland behind the eight ball. But while relievers Mitch Herold and Eammon Portice kept the game scoreless from there, the Sea Dogs kept chipping away, scoring single runs in the second (Jorge Padron single), fourth (error), and seventh (Ryan Lavarnway single) to cut the lead in half. Two more came across in the eighth thanks to a Juan Carlos Linares double, putting the tying run in scoring position with one out, but Portland couldn’t push the final run across. Lavarnway, Padron, and Linares each had 2 hits in the game.

Salem managed only 4 hits all game and dropped a 4-2 decision to Potomac (WAS), falling to 5.5 games back of first place Winston-Salem in the Carolina League South. The Red Sox actually scored first in this one, after Ryan Dent doubled and later scored on a ground out in the second, but 4 unanswered Nationals runs made it 4-1 after five. Meanwhile, Salem’s bats showed little life, going down in order in the fourth through eighth innings. In the ninth, Oscar Tejeda tried to spark a rally with a double, and although he scored later in the inning on an error, that was all the Red Sox would get. Miguel Gonzalez allowed all of Potomac’s runs over his 5.0-inning start, allowing 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. Seth Garrison and Patrick Ryan pitched in effective relief from there to keep it close, but the offense couldn’t pull through.

In the South Atlantic League, first place Greenville strengthened its lead in the Southern Division to 1.5 games with a resounding 7-2 win over Charleston (NYY). The Drive put this one out of reach early with a six-spot in the second inning, with runs scoring on a Christian Vazquez single, Zach Gentile double, two run-scoring errors and a two-run home run by Jeremy Hazelbaker. The inning only ended when Michael Almanzar hit Reynaldo Rodriguez with a batted ball. Shannon Wilkerson chipped in a sacrifice fly an inning later to make it 7-0. Manny Rivera started the game and lasted 4.2 innings, yielding the 2 Charleston runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 7. Tom Ebert earned his tenth win of the year with 4.1 solid innings of relief, allowing only 2 hits while striking out 5. Vazquez turned in the finest evening at the dish, going 3 for 4, while Almanzar and Reymond Fuentes each went 2 for 4.

The calendar turned to a new month, but Lowell’s struggles continued, as the Spinners had as many errors (4) as hits and lost 11-1 to Tri-City (HOU). Tyler Wilson allowed the brunt of the damage, racking up 8 runs (6 earned) on 6 hits and 3 walks allowed in 3.1 innings. Stephen Fox was a bit better in his 3.2 innings, allowing 3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits and a walk, while Wilson Matos turned in the best performance of the night with 2.0 scoreless frames to finish things up. Lowell scored its lone run in the seventh, when Bryce Brentz laced an RBI double to center. Felix Sanchez had 2 hits in 4 at-bats from the lead-off spot, and Josue Peley registered the other Spinners knock as part of a 1-for-3 performance.

Player of the Night: Tom Ebert, who allowed only 2 hits in 4.1 relief innings to seal a big Greenville win.