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April 15, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Buckner helps Sea Dogs beat Dykstra and the Mets

4/15 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket won its third straight game, the Sea Dogs notched another win over the Binghamton Mets (NYM), and Xander Bogaerts hit his first Carolina League home run in a Salem victory, but Greenville was unable to defeat the West Virginia Power (PIT) to complete a sweep for the system. 
The PawSox used a well-balanced offensive attack to defeat the Buffalo Bisons (NYM) 9-6. A Mauro Gomez single scored Daniel Nava to put the PawSox up 1-0 in the top of the first. Pawtucket would give the lead back in the second, after an error by Gomez allowed two unearned runs to score off of starter Alex Wilson. The PawSox broke the game open in the top of the fifth, scoring five runs. Alex Hassan led off the inning with his ninth walk in eight games, and Nava followed him with a walk as well. After Jose Iglesias' second sacrifice bunt of the game put the runners on second and third, Ryan Lavarnway was intentionally walked to load the bases. With one out, Lars Anderson hit a ball sharply to the right side that ate up the first baseman, allowing two runs to score. Will Middlebrooks then broke the game open with a three-run home run over the wall in left, giving the PawSox a 6-2 lead. Wilson gave up his first earned run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single, and he finished the day tossing 5.0 innings allowing the 1 earned run on 8 hits, walking 1 and striking out 3. His ERA is currently 1.80 after two starts. The Bisons got to PawSox reliever Chorye Spoone for three runs in 2.0 innings, but a three run seventh secured the win for Pawtucket. A Hassan two run single, and Iglesias RBI single were the big hits for Pawtucket. 

Portland managed to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, beating Binghamton 5-3. Right-hander Billy Buckner (no relation) got the start for Portland, pitching 5.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, while walking 2 and striking out 5. He was given a 2-0 lead in the fourth after Bryce Brentz and Oscar Tejeda each hit RBI doubles. The Mets answered with a two-run double in the top of the fifth to tie the game. In the bottom of the sixth, the Sea Dogs loaded the bases on three consecutive walks to start the inning. Derrik Gibson doubled to score two runs, and Kolbrin Vitek followed with a single to score another run and extend the Portland lead to three. The Mets got a run off of reliever Josh Fields in the eighth, but it was not enough as the Sea Dogs managed to hold on for the win.

Salem, wearing a tuxedo jersey, was able to fight off a late comeback from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX), winning 8-6. Miguel Celestino turned in another solid start, throwing 5.0 innings giving up 2 runs, both of which came on a fifth inning home run. Salem was able to get on the board first, scoring three runs in the third inning. A Drew Hedman single, Sean Coyle double, and a wild pitch from 2007 Red Sox draftee Nicholas Tepesch gave Salem a 3-0 lead. The score was 3-2 in the sixth when Bogaerts launched his first High-A home run deep to left field, extending the lead to 4-2. After Salem got an insurance run in the seventh to make it a three run lead, the Pelicans started to fight back. Ruben Flores came on in relief in the eighth, and he started the inning by walking the first batter and then hitting the next two batters to load the bases. A sacrifice fly and single pushed two runs across, cutting the Salem lead to one. With runners on second and third and two outs, Flores buckled down and struck out the final batter to preserve the lead. Salem answered back with three runs in their half of the inning, with two runs coming in on a single by Christian Vazquez, and the other coming in on a Bogaerts fielder's choice. The Pelicans were not done fighting however, scoring two more runs in the top of the ninth off of Michael Olmsted. With the tying run at the plate, a fly ball was hit deep to right, but Shannon Wilkerson made a diving catch to end the exciting game.

The only loss in the Red Sox system came in West Virginia, as the Power doubled up on the Drive 6-3. Madison Younginer struck out 6 batters without allowing a walk over 5.0 innings, but also allowed 7 hits and 4 runs, 3 of which were earned. The Power got three runs in the second on a home run, error by shortstop Bryan Johns, and RBI triple. A home run by Boss Moanaroa in the third cut the Power lead to two, and a RBI single by Cody Koback in the fifth cut the lead to one. The Power, living up to their name, hit another home run in the fifth, and that proved to be the winning run. Yeiper Castillo came on in relief of Younginer, throwing the final 3.0 innings, giving up 2 runs while walking 0 and striking out 4.

Player of the Day: Will Middlebrooks continued his hot start to the season, going 2 for 4 with his third home run and first walk of the season. He is proving that he is adjusting to Triple-A pitching, and this is exactly what Red Sox fans want to see from Boston's top prospect.