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April 22, 2012 at 7:23 AM

Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket slugs its way into first place

4/22 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket, led by Will Middlebrooks, continued its hot hitting, Portland lost its third consecutive game to the Binghamton Mets (NYM), Salem was rained out, and Greenville used a late rally to defeat the Augusta GreenJackets (SFG). 
Ryan Lavarnway
(Dave Letizi)

In what has become a daily occurrence, a home run by Middlebrooks propelled the PawSox to victory, defeating the Durham Bulls (TB) 9-5. The PawSox got on the board in the bottom of the first when Jose Iglesias doubled and was driven in on a Mauro Gomez home run. Middlebrooks led off the bottom of the second with a line drive home run just inside the right field foul pole. This was the fourth straight day with a home run for Middlebrooks, and he ended the day going 2 for 5. Lars Anderson joined the party in the fifth, hitting a home run to deep right-center field, his first of the season. Pawtucket tacked on three more runs in the sixth, as Iglesias, Ryan Lavarnway, and Middlebrooks all singled, while Gomez and Daniel Nava drew walks. Iglesias finished the game going 2 for 4 with a double and a walk, while Lavarnway went 2 for 3 with 2 walks. Ross Ohlendorf started for Pawtucket, tossing the first 5.2 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits. Mark Melancon made his second solid appearance for the PawSox, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings. Rich Hill made his first Triple-A appearance on his rehab assignment, going 1.0 inning and allowing a solo home run, but striking out 2. 

Portland continued to have trouble with Binghamton, as the Mets defeated the Sea Dogs 6-1. Portland jumped out to a lead in the third inning on a solo home run from Matt Spring. The Mets tied the game in the fifth off of starter Chris Martin, who went 5.0 innings allowing 1 run on 2 hits, walking 0 and striking out 3. He was relieved by Will Latimer, who only managed to record two outs while allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk. The Sea Dogs had chances to score, but two double plays, a pick-off, and Jeremy Hazelbaker being thrown out at home trying to score on a Ryan Dent single limited their chances. Dent led the offense going 2 for 3 with a walk. 

Greenville completed a thrilling come-from-behind win with a two-run bottom of the eighth to edge past the GreenJackets 4-3. Augusta scored all three of their runs in the top of the first off of Drive starter Luis Diaz. Diaz was able to settle down and throw 5.0 innings allowing only 5 hits, after allowing 4 in the first inning. The Drive bats were silent until the fourth, when Blake Swihart led off with a walk, and Garin Cecchini followed him with a single. They both moved up a base on a passed ball, and scored on ground outs from David Renfroe and Keury De La Cruz. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Swihart led off by reaching on an error by the GreenJackets third baseman, and a Renfroe walk put the go-ahead run on base with only one out. Lucas LeBlanc pinch ran for Renfroe, and scored from first on a Henry Ramos double to put the Drive ahead. Justin Erasmus came on to throw a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season. 

Player of the Day: Ryan Lavarnway reached base four times, going 2 for 3 with 2 walks in the PawSox victory. There were a number of PawSox hitters who could have won Player of the Day, including Nava, Iglesias, and Middlebrooks.