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May 15, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Balcom-Miller returns to mound in another tough night for affiliates

5/15 Cup of Coffee: For the second straight day, Red Sox affiliates were unable to tally a victory on a day which included a doubleheader for Portland.

Pawtucket fell behind early and was handily dispatched by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NYY) 10-2. The Yankees scored all of their runs in the first three innings, seven of them coming against PawSox starter Kris Johnson. His struggles on the year continued as he was shelled in his 2.0 innings pitched, allowing 7 runs on 8 hits without a walk or strikeout. Tony Pena, Jr. came on in the third and yielded three more runs, but pitched through the fifth allowing the 3 runs on 8 hits. Two pitchers making their first appearance for the Triple-A club in 2011 tossed the final four innings, but were there under different circumstances. Newly-promoted Tommy Hottovy took the ball in the sixth and allowed just 1 hit over his 2.1 innings pitched while fanning 3. Hottovy was moved up to the PawSox after Felix Doubront was placed on the 7-day disabled list retroactive to May 11. He gave way to Dan Wheeler, who is with Pawtucket on a rehab asssignment. Making his first minor league appearance since 2004, Wheeler also pitched effectively, allowing just 1 hit while striking out 3 in 1.2 innings pitched. Pawtucket scored their only two runs in the sixth on Josh Reddick's two-run home run, his 10th of the season.

Portland was scheduled for two seven-inning affairs against the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN) and came up short in both games, dropping the first contest 6-3. Alex Hassan got Portland on the board right out of the gate with a solo home run in the first to give the Sea Dogs the early 1-0 lead. However, Stolmy Pimentel allowed runs in both the second and third, followed by three runs in the fifth inning and took the loss. He finished with 4.1 innings pitched, allowing 5 runs on 8 hits while striking out 1 and walking 2. The 21 year old is still in search of his first win at the Double-A level after dropping to 0-5 on the season. Kyle Fernandes took over and pitched the rest of the way, allowing a run of his own in the fifth. Trailing 6-1 in the top of the sixth, Portland mounted a mini-rally punctuated with a two-RBI single by Will Middlebrooks. It was all the Sea Dogs offense could muster, however, as they fell in the first game of the doubleheader.

As it turned out, the two RBIs from Middlebrooks in game one would be the last runs the Sea Dogs would score on the day, as they were shutout by the Rock Cats in game two by a score of 4-0. The Sea Dogs added Miguel Gonzalez from Salem earlier in the day, and he got the start for Portland. Gonzalez threw 4.0 innings and gave up 4 runs on 7 hits while walking 1 and striking out 1. Eamonn Portice tossed the final two innings for the Sea Dogs and allowed just one baserunner, a walk in the fifth inning. Hassan gave Portland its first hit of the game in the fifth on a double, and is now one two-bagger shy of the Eastern League lead with 13 on the season. Oscar Tejeda and Vladamir Frias picked up hits in the sixth and seventh respectively, but that was the extent of the Sea Dogs offensive output as they dropped their fifth straight.

It took extra innings, but Salem was unable to hold on to a late lead as they were defeated by the Winston-Salem Dash (CWS) in 10 innings. Chris Balcom-Miller made his first start since April 28 and pitched well, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits over 5.0 innings while walking 2 and striking out 3. Kolbrin Vitek opened the scoring for Salem in the bottom of the first on an RBI single. The Dash answered back with runs in both the third and fourth to take a 2-1 lead. Salem tied it in the seventh on an RBI single from Matt Spring. After Jeremiah Bayer completed his 3.0 innings of perfect work out of the bullpen, the Red Sox managed to score two runs in the bottom of the eighth without the benefit of a hit. Dash pitching issued three walks in the inning, while the runs came across on a wild pitch and a Vitek sacrifice fly. However, Salem called on Kendal Volz to shut the door and was unable to do so. He allowed two runs in the ninth to tie it, followed by the go-ahead run in the tenth to give Winston-Salem the lead and the eventual win.

After a bench-clearing brawl in their game on Friday night, cooler heads prevailed between Greenville and the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY) on Saturday. However, both teams took their frustrations out on the baseball as they combined for 32 hits in Charleston's 17-7 drubbing of the Drive. After Charleston scored two in the top of the first off of Manny Rivera, the Drive tied it with a pair of runs in the bottom half. Brandon Jacobs and Lucas LeBlanc collected back-to-back RBI singles to knot the score up at two. Heiker Meneses gave Greenville the lead in the second on an RBI fielder's choice. After three RiverDogs runs in the top of the third, LeBlanc doubled in a run and Jose Garcia gave the Drive two more with a home run to left, and Greenville led 6-5 after just three innings of play. Rivera held Charleston scoreless through the rest of his outing, going 4.0 innings allowing 5 runs on 10 hits while striking out 1 and walking 2. The bullpen struggled for the Drive, however, as they combined to allow 12 runs over the final 5.0 innings, including a disastrous ninth inning in which Charleston scored eight times. Garrett Rau, who was one of the four players ejected from Friday's contest, was charged with 7 runs over just 0.2 innings after he walked four of the nine batters he faced. Rau was replaced on the mound with second baseman Drew Dominguez, who made his only other professional pitching appearance with Lowell in 2009 where he tossed a perfect ninth inning. He was not as fortunate in this outing, allowing a home run to the first batter he faced, but was finally able to get the last out of the inning after two more batters reached base. Trailing 17-6, David Renfroe hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth for the Drive. Bryce Brentz's 25-game hit streak remained intact as he was out of the lineup for Greenville and did not collect an at bat.

Player of the Night: Alex Hassan, who went a combined 2 for 4 with a home run and a walk in a doubleheader against New Britain. The 23-year-old outfielder is now hitting .370/.476/.529 on the year and leads the Eastern League in OPS.