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April 14, 2012 at 8:03 AM

Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket, Portland rally for wins

Matt Barnes (Kelly O'Connor)
4/14 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox and Sea Dogs rallied off of key homers by Will Middlebrooks and Bryce Brentz, respectively, to win.

Middlebrooks' home run rallied The PawSox in the sixth in a 4-3 win over the Rochester Red Wings (MIN) at Frontier Field.  The game started with two quick Red Wing runs off of Pawtucket starter Aaron Cook. After going down in order in the first two innings, the PawSox recorded a tally in the third, when Alex Hassan scored after a Rochester fielding error. The Red Wings struck again in the fourth, when Mike Hollimon homered to make the score 3-1. Pawtucket answered in the sixth inning when Middlebrooks blasted a three run homer to score Jose Iglesias and Daniel Nava and take the go-ahead lead. The PawSox pitching staff was able to keep the Red Wings offense at bay for the rest of the game. Junichi Tazawa came on in the sixth and threw two scoreless innings, with only 1 man reaching on a walk. Clayton Mortensen took the mound for the two final innings and recorded 1 hit, no walks, and 3 strikeouts.

Four runs late in the game propelled Portland to a 4-3 home victory over the Binghamton Mets (NYM). The Mets struck first, taking a 3-0 advantage in the first when Matt Den Dekker blasted a three-run homer off of Sea Dogs starter Chris Hernandez. However, Portland pitching was able to keep Binghamton off the board for the rest of the night. Hernandez pitched through the fifth inning, giving up 6 hits, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts. Eammon Portice came on to pitch in the sixth, but was replaced by Caleb Clay  in the seventh when he got into trouble with the bases loaded and no outs. Clay, who was credited with the win, helped retire the next two batters to end the inning and then pitched a perfect eighth inning. Aaron Kurcz closed out the game for Portland, letting no men reach and striking out 2. The Sea Dogs were scoreless until Juan Carlos Linares scored off of a sac fly from Oscar Tejada in the sixth. Brentz blasted a home run in the seventh to make the score 3-2. Portland finally took the lead in the eighth when Linares hit a two-run homer to score Kolbrin Vitek.

Greenville couldn't hold onto the lead when the West Virginia Power (PIT) tied the game in the eighth and won 3-2 in extra innings at Appalachian Power Park. The Drive was the first to score, when Jose Garcia stole second and third base and then scored on a Blake Swihart sacrifice fly. Greenville put another tally up in the fourth inning when Keury De La Cruz was driven in by a Matt Marquis ground out to take the 2-0 lead. After that, however, The Drive was scoreless. The Power didn't record a run until the eighth inning, thanks to a great outing by Greenville starter Matt Barnes. Barnes pitched for 5 innings, giving up only 1 hit, no walks, and striking out 7. Jason Garcia came on in the sixth and pitched the remainder of the game. Garcia, who was credited with the loss, gave up 5 hits, 2 walks, and recorded 3 pitching errors. West Virginia got their first tallies of the night in the eighth when Willy Garcia hit a two-run homer. With the score tied at 2, the game went into extra innings. The Power scored in the tenth when a wild pitch by Garcia scored Alen Hanson. At the plate, 5 members of The Drive recorded hits, but Garin Checcini was the only batter to have multiple hits with 3.

The Salem Red Sox and Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX) battled back-and-forth throughout the game, but The Pelicans came out on top with a 8-6 lead at LewisGale Field. Salem started out hot, scoring 2 runs in both the first and second innings. In the first, Sean Coyle and Brandon Jacobs scored off of a Travis Shaw single. Then in the second Jackie Bradley doubled to score Drew Hedman, and Coyle popped out but drove in Bradley. Drake Britton took the mound to start the third inning, replacing starter Rich Hill.  The Pelicans got to Britton right away, scoring 4 runs in the third. With the score tied at 4, Salem struck again in the fourth when Jacobs walked, scoring Hedman. The Pelicans answered again with two runs off of Britton in the fifth. Britton, who picked up his second loss of the season, pitched 4 innings giving up 4 hits, 6 runs, and 2 walks and recorded 4 pitching errors. Jeremiah Bayer came on to replace Britton in the seventh, and pitched the remainder of the game for Salem. Myrtle beach recorded 2 more runs in the eighth when Yefry Castillo reached on a fielder's choice, making the score 8-5. The Red Sox tried to muster a comeback in the bottom of the eighth, but only came up with 1 run when Felix Sanchez singled, scoring Shannon Wilkerson.

Player of the night: Even though Greenville couldn't keep their lead, starter Matt Barnes had a near-perfect outing, pitching five innings of shutout baseball with only 1 hit with no walks and 7 strikeouts.