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June 24, 2011 at 6:12 AM

Vazquez powers Greenville over Legends

6/24 Cup of Coffee: For the first time this season, all seven minor league squads were in action on Thursday. Pawtucket, Greenville, GCL and DSL all found themselves victorious while Portland, Salem and Lowell came up short in their contests.

In a close extra inning contest, Pawtucket nipped the Louisville Bats (CIN), 4-3. Starter Kevin Millwood hurled 6.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, striking out 7. Franklin Morales added an inning of relief, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and a walk, striking out 1. Tony Pena picked up his fifth win for his 2.2 innings of relief, allowing just 4 hits and 2 walks. Randy Williams picked up his second save by recording the last out of the tenth inning. Pawtucket scored a run in each of the first two innings, receiving a sacrifice fly from Daniel Nava and a Ryan Lavarnway RBI ground out. Louisville scored singular runs in the first, fourth and seventh innings and held a 3-2 lead heading into the eighth. In the eighth, Lars Anderson ripped an RBI double to tie the contest. The game remained scoreless in the ninth and headed into extra innings, where Pawtucket scored the winning run in the tenth on a Nava RBI double. Nate Spears collected three hits, including a double, to lead the PawSox offense.

Portland came out on the wrong end of a highly touted pitching matchup as Manny Banuelos and the Trenton Thunder (NYY) thwarted the Sea Dogs, 6-2. Chris Balcom-Miller dropped to 1-3 for his 5.0 inning performance, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits and 4 walks, striking out 4. Jeremy Kehrt added 2.2 innings of relief, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits while punching out 4. Cesar Cabral contributed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief, striking out 2. Down 4-0 in the fifth, the Sea Dogs plated their only runs of the contest on a Matt Spring solo home run and a Jeremy Hazelbaker RBI single. Portland bats were relatively quiet the rest of the way, with only Spring and Alex Hassan achieving multi-hit games.

Despite an early lead, Salem’s bullpen faltered late, allowing the Kinston Indians (CLE) to claim a 5-3 victory. Drake Britton received the start for the Red Sox, going 2.0 innings, allowing 1 hit and 2 walks while striking out 3. Tom Ebert followed Britton with 4.0 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit and 3 walks while punching out 4. Mitch Herold was charged with the loss for his 2.1 innings of work, allowing 5 runs on 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 2. Michael Gleason recorded the final two outs of the ninth, allowing a hit and a walk. Salem jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, thanks to Kolbrin Vitek’s first home run of 2011 in the first inning. In the fourth, Michael Almanzar’s RBI single gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Kinston tied the contest with two runs in the seventh and plated three runs in the top of the ninth to secure the victory. Vitek, Dan Butler and Zach Gentile each had two hits to lead the Salem offense.

Opening up the second half of the season, Greenville easily defeated the Lexington Legends (HOU), 8-2. Drive starter Keith Couch was stellar over his 6.0 innings of work, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits while striking out 6 to pick up his third victory of the season. Juan Rodriguez followed Couch with 2.0 innings of scoreless relief, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out 3. Garrett Rau tossed a scoreless ninth inning, allowing a walk and striking out 2. Greenville wasted no time getting on the board, receiving a Brandon Jacobs RBI double in the first to hold a quick 1-0 lead. Lexington retaliated in the bottom half of the inning for two runs, their only scoring of the contest. In the third, the Drive plated four runs on a Miles Head bases loaded walk, Christian Vazquez two run home run, and Heiker Meneses coming home on a double play ball. Vazquez added a solo home run in the sixth to give Greenville a 6-2 lead. In the ninth, a Felix Sanchez RBI single and a Meneses RBI double added two more insurance runs and put the Drive on top 8-2. Head, Vazquez and Sanchez each had two hits to lead the Greenville offense.

In a close contest, Lowell fell to the Tri-City Valley Cats (HOU) 3-2. Mike Lee received the start for Lowell and was outstanding, tossing 5.0 innings, allowing an unearned run on 3 hits and a walk, striking out 6. Hunter Cervenka picked up the loss for his 3.0 innings of relief, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out 3. Down 2-0 in the eighth, the Spinners tied the game on as Jose Garcia scampered home on a wild pitch and Boss Moanaroa laced an RBI single. Tri-City plated a run in the bottom half of the inning and held Lowell scoreless in the ninth to claim victory.

Looking to even their record at 2-2, the GCL Red Sox nipped the GCL Orioles (BAL) 3-2 in 10 innings. Raul Alcantara was lights out during his 5.0 inning start, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk, striking out 4. Jadd Schmeltzer made his professional debut with 2.0 innings of relief, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 3 hits and a walk, striking out 1. Also making his professional debut, Andrew Jones picked up the victory for his 2.0 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just 1 hit. Michael Olmsted picked up his second save for a 1-2-3 tenth inning during which he struck out 2. Down 2-0 in the ninth, the Red Sox tied the game on a Jose Colorado RBI single and a Nick Robinson RBI ground out. In the tenth, Dreily Guerrero scored the winning run as he came home on Aneury Tavarez’s RBI single.

In a game with nearly as many errors as there were hits, the DSL Red Sox shut out the DSL Mets2 (NYM), 3-0. Sully Bonnelly tossed 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing no hits while walking 3 and striking out 3. Oscar Melendez moved to 2-0 for his 3.0 innings of relief, allowing 2 hits and 2 walks. The only scoring of the contest was done by the Red Sox in the seventh, as they plated three runs on RBI singles by Jair Bogaerts and Robert Del Rosario. The Mets did not record a hit through 7.2 innings. The two teams combined for 6 hits and 5 errors.

Player of the Night: Christian Vazquez, who went 2 for 4 with two home runs, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI in Greenville’s 8-2 victory over Lexington.