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April 10, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Thomas grand slam leads PawSox to win

Cup of Coffee 4/10: Tony Thomas' outstanding day at the plate was enough offense to carry Pawtucket, while one of the Red Sox top draft picks helped the Drive pitch a shutout to earn a victory in his professional debut.

Pawtucket jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, beating the Buffalo Bisons (NYM) 8-3. Buffalo scored a run in the bottom of the first, but the PawSox plated four in the top of the second on a Tony Thomas grand slam. Another home run, this time from Josh Reddick, gave Pawtucket a 5-1 lead in the fifth. The score remained 5-1 until the top of the eighth, when Lars Anderson laced an RBI single to center. After allowing a run in the bottom of the eighth, Pawtucket picked up two more insurance runs off of a Thomas single and a Yamaico Navarro groundout. Matt Fox picked up the win for the PawSox, pitching 6.0 innings of 4-hit ball, allowing 1 run and striking out 4. Hideki Okajima pitched a scoreless seventh and gave way to Michael Bowden, who gave up two runs in his 2.0 innings of work.

In the only loss for Red Sox affiliates yesterday, Portland's contest was bookended by allowing four runs in both the first and ninth, as they fell to the Reading Phillies (PHI) 13-5. Stolmy Pimentel was making his Double-A debut in this one, and struggled early on, finishing with a final line of 3.0 innings pitched, allowing 5 runs and 6 hits, walking 3 and fanning just 1. Portland's big inning was the fourth, when an RBI double by Oscar Tejeda and a 2-run home run by Will Middlebrooks cut the Phillies lead to 6-3. But that was the closest the Sea Dogs would get, with Reading scoring in each of the final four innings to complete the blowout. Middlebrooks knocked in another run with a double in the sixth, and Tim Federowicz picked up an RBI single in the ninth.

Anthony Ranaudo, taking to the pitcher's mound as a member of the Red Sox organization for the first time, got the start for Greenville yesterday. He twirled 5.0 innings of 3-hit ball to earn the win, as the Drive shut out the Augusta GreenJackets (SF) 7-0. In the first inning, Bryce Brentz tripled, then scored on a throwing error in the next at bat. Brentz tripled again in the third inning, this time picking up an RBI. The Drive scored another run in the fourth on a Brandon Jacobs solo home run. Greenville broke it open in the fifth with four more runs and extra-base hits coming from James Kang, Lucas LeBlanc, and Brentz once again. After Ranaudo's day was done after five, Keith Couch came on for the Drive and picked up right where Ranaudo left off. He pitched the final 4.0 innings, allowing just 1 hit, while striking out five to earn the long-form save.

Salem can't seem to get their season started. After having Friday's game against the Frederick Keys (BAL) rained out, the teams scheduled a doubleheader for Saturday. However, those games were also washed out. Weather permitting, the two will play a doubleheader on Sunday.

Player of the Night: Tony Thomas, whose grand slam led the PawSox to a victory. He finished 2-for-4 with 5 RBI, and also stole a base.