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April 29, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Cup of Coffee: Daisuke strikes out seven in Portland

4/28 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket and Greenville saw their bullpens give up late leads, Daisuke Matsuzaka made a rehab appearance in Portland, and Salem extended its winning streak to four games. 
Aaron Cook
(William Parmeter)

Pawtucket is now on its first three-game losing streak of the season after falling to the Columbus Clippers (CLE) 6-4. With his May 1st opt-out date looming, Aaron Cook delivered another quality start, allowing 3 runs in 6.1 innings. He allowed 5 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 5. Pawtucket got on the board in the top of the third when Daniel Nava doubled and came in to score on an Alex Hassan single. Hassan hit another RBI single in the fourth, and came in to score on a two-run double from Che-Hsuan Lin. Andrew Miller came on in relief of Cook with a one-run lead in the seventh, and struck out the first two batters he faced to end the inning. He stayed in the game to face left-hander Lonnie Chisenhall to lead off the eighth, but allowed a sharp single to center. Miller was replaced by Tony Pena, Jr., who would allow a single, sacrifice fly, and two-run home run to give the Clippers the 6-4 lead. Alex Wilson came into the game after Pena allowed the home run and induced two ground-outs to end the inning. Pawtucket had five players record two hits, including Nava, Hassan, Pedro Ciriaco, Mauro Gomez, and Will Middlebrooks

Making his second rehab appearance, and first with the Sea Dogs, Matsuzaka was able to improve on his first start and lead the Sea Dogs to a 9-1 win over the Reading Phillies (PHI). Daisuke set down the first 7 batters he faced, and allowed only 3 hits in his 4.2 innings of work. He allowed only 1 run while walking 2 and striking out 7. The Sea Dogs were able to give him plenty of run support as well, in what was one of their best offensive showings of the year. Portland pushed across two runs in the third on an RBI double from Reynaldo Rodriguez and RBI single from Oscar Tejeda. The offensive onslaught continued in the fourth, as Portland scored four more times. Ryan Dent and Derrik Gibson had an RBI apiece before Rodriguez knocked the Phillies starter out of the game with a two-run single. Rodriguez, Dent, and Dan Butler all had two hits to lead the Sea Dogs offense. Second baseman Heiker Meneses had to leave the game after diving to catch a line drive in the top of the third. While there is no word on the severity of his injury, Zach Gentile tweeted that he was heading to Portland.

Salem won its fourth game in a row, squeaking by the Carolina Mudcats (CLE), 3-2. In what was by far his best start of the year, Ryan Pressly tossed 6.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, walking 1 and striking out 6. Salem gave Pressly an early lead when Xander Bogaerts singled to score Sean Coyle in the top of the first. Salem added to its lead in the second when Jackie Bradley, Jr. hit a deep fly ball to the opposite field for a two-run double. Bradley, who has been one of the hottest hitters in the minors recently, is now batting .447 over his last ten games, and his 1 for 3 performance yesterday actually lowered his batting average on the season to .362. Felix Sanchez also had a good showing, going 2 for 3 with two stolen bases. Salem got 2.0 hitless innings out of Marco Duarte and 1.0 hitless inning out of Michael Olmsted to secure the victory. 

Greenville blew a late lead, and eventually lost to the Lakewood BlueClaws (PHI) 6-5 in 12 innings. Greenville took a 3-1 lead in the fifth when Keury De La Cruz connected for a two-run triple to right field. Lucas LeBlanc helped extend the lead in the sixth with a sacrifice fly, and De La Cruz provided another insurance run with a solo home run to lead off the top of the seventh. De La Cruz finished the game 3 for 7, while LeBlanc went 3 for 6. Ahead 5-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, Drive reliever Matty Ott came out for his third inning of work. After loading the bases on two singles and a walk, Ott gave up a grand slam to tie the game. The game remained tied until the twelfth, when Nefi Ogando came on in relief of Justin Erasmus, who had just thrown 4.0 scoreless innings. Ogando was not able to record an out, and the BlueClaws hit a walk-off single to win the game. Drive starter Jason Garcia threw the first 4.0 innings, allowing only 1 run on 1 hit while striking out 7. 

Player of the Day: Jason Garcia made his first start of the season after appearing strictly out of the bullpen. The results were solid for Garcia, who struck out 7 in 4.0 innings. The seventeenth-rounder in the 2010 draft will be nineteen all season, and will be an interesting arm to follow this season.