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September 5, 2011 at 8:36 AM

Bradley Jr.'s first home run helps Greenville inch closer to playoff spot

9/5 Cup of Coffee: Red Sox affiliates took 4 of 5 games on Sunday, with Lowell winning a positively exhilarating game to round out the day.

Pawtucket eked out a win against Rochester (MIN), 4-3. Back and forth action led the game to be tied at 3-3 after 5 innings. The score stayed that way until the bottom of the 8th, when Will Middlebrooks hit what turned out to be the game-winning RBI single. The Paw Sox were led by Daniel Nava, who went 2-3 with a walk, a double and 3 RBI. Alex Wilson started for Pawtucket and continued to pitch well. Wilson surrendered 5 hits and 3 runs in 6 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out 6. Through 4 starts since being promoted, Wilson has yet to give up more than 3 runs in any start. Hideki Okajima picked up the win in relief by throwing 2 scoreless innings. He allowed 1 hit, did not walk anyone and struck out 3.

Portland was shut out by New Hampshire (TOR), 7-0. The Sea Dogs had only 2 hits in this game, a 3rd inning single by Ryan Dent and a 9th inning triple by Mitch Dening. Charlie Haeger started for Portland and took his first loss since joining the team. Haeger allowed 7 hits and 6 runs in 6 innings of work, including surrendering 3 home runs. Such is the life of a knuckleballer. Haeger walked 1 and struck out 5. Despite the rough start, he still has great numbers since becoming a member of the Sea Dogs. In 8 starts, Haeger is 4-1 with a 3.24 ERA.

Salem tripled up Myrtle Beach (ATL), 6-2. The Red Sox were down 2-0 after 3 innings, but shut down the Pelicans the rest of the way, while going deuces wild themselves. They scored 2 runs in the 4th, 5th and 8th innings. Offensively, the team was led by Matt Spring, who went 2-4 with a home run and 3 RBI. Spring's 2-run shot in the 4th inning tied the game. Anthony Ranaudo started for Salem and picked up the win, evening his record at 5-5. Ranaudo pitched 5 innings and allowed 4 hits and 2 earned runs. He walked 2 and struck out 4.

Greenville pounded out a staggering 18 hits en route to defeating Hickory (TEX), 10-5. The Crawdads scored 4 runs in the 3rd to take the lead, 4-1. The Drive answered by scoring 9 runs in the next 4 innings, including a 5 run 5th inning that was highlighted by Jackie Bradley Jr.'s first professional home run, a 3-run bomb. Greenville was led by Bradley (3-5, double, home run, 3 RBI), Christian Vazquez (4-6, 2 doubles, home run, 2 RBI) and Henry Ramos (4-5, double, 2 RBI). Keith Couch started the game and got the win, improving his record to 7-5. Couch allowed 8 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings of work. He walked 1 and struck out 3.

Lowell won a marathon game against Connecticut (DET), 6-5, which lasted an unbelievable 16 innings. After scoring 3 runs in the top of the 8th, Lowell led 5-0. Improbably, the Tigers scored 1 in the bottom of the 8th and 4 in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game at 5-5. The scored stayed that way until the top of the 16th, when Keury De La Cruz scored on a wild pitch. Lowell held on to win the game that no team deserved to lose. The Spinners were led by Adalberto Ibarra, Matt Marquis and Tim Roberson, who each had 3 hits and an RBI. Luis Diaz started the game and pitched well, though he long figured out of the decision by game's end. Diaz pitched 6 scoreless innings and allowed 4 hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out 1. The win was picked up by Roberto Ramos. Yes, the same Roberto Ramos who is an outfielder for this team. Ramos pitched 2 perfect innings and struck out 1 to earn the win in a game that will not soon be forgotten.

Player of the Day: Jackie Bradley Jr., who went 3-5 and slugged his first pro home run to help Greenville beat Hickory.