May 28, 2012 at 6:00 AM
5/28 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket clobbered five home runs to beat Toledo, Portland won its third straight game against first-place New Britain, Salem lost a rain-shortened game to Frederick, and Greenville needed 11 innings to defeat the RiverDogs.
The ball was flying out of McCoy Stadium on Sunday, as the PawSox beat the Toledo Mud Hens (DET), 7-4. After Toledo got a first inning run off of Brandon Duckworth, Pawtucket responded swiftly. Back-to-back home runs to lead off the bottom of the first from Pedro Ciriaco and Nate Spears, and a one-out home run from Lars Anderson set the table for the game. Anderson hit an RBI single in the third to put the PawSox up 4-1, and after the Mud Hens scored three runs to tie the game, Anderson went deep again in the sixth to give the PawSox the lead. He finished the game 3 for 3 with a walk and 3 RBI in addition to his two home runs. Still a one-run game in the eighth, Anderson started the inning with a walk and came in to score on an Alex Hassan home run. Hassan was 2 for 3 on the day and hit the fifth home run for Pawtucket. Will Inman pitched a perfect ninth to earn his third save of the season.
Portland used a well-balanced offensive attack to defeat the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN), 8-5. The game did not start well for the Sea Dogs, as they saw themselves down 4-0 after the top of the fourth. All the runs came off starter Chris Martin in his 4.0 innings of work. However, the tandem of Juan Carlos Linares and Reynaldo Rodriguez slowly got them back in the game. Linares led off the bottom of the fourth with a double, and trotted home on a Rodriguez home run. Thanks to the terrific bullpen work from Jeremy Kehrt, the score was still 4-2 heading into the seventh. Kehrt pitched 3.2 shutout innings allowing only 1 Rock Cat to reach base, and striking out 2. Jeremy Hazelbaker led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple and came in to score on a Shannon Wilkerson single. Linares and Rodriguez followed with a single and a double respectively, tying the game and putting runners at second and third with nobody out. Dan Butler singled home Linares, and Rodriguez came in on a Derrik Gibson sacrifice fly. Portland ended up scoring five runs in the inning, and wrapped up its third consecutive victory. Linares finished 3 for 5 with a double while Rodriguez went 3 for 5 with two doubles and a home run. Hazelbaker continued to swing the bat well, going 2 for 3 with a triple, home run, and walk.
Mother Nature was not on Salem's side, ending the game with two outs in the top of the eighth, with the Frederick Keys (BAL) winning 2-1. Salem threatened in the top of the first, as Jackie Bradley, Jr., Matty Johnson, and Ryan Kalish hit three straight single to lead off the game, but Bradley was picked off and Kalish was caught stealing. To read more about Kalish's first two appearances this season, check out this column from our Senior Columnist, Jon Meoli. Frederick got its two runs in the first inning on a two-run home run off of starter Miguel Celestino. Despite the ominous start to the contest, Celestino pitched well, tossing 6.0 innings allowing only 2 runs, 1 earned, walking 2 and striking out 2. Salem inched closer in the second when Xander Bogaerts singled and was driven in on a Michael Almanzar single. Bogaerts and Bradley each had two hits in the game. Unfortunately, that was as close as Salem would get, as the rain came in and forced the umpires to call the game.
It took 11 innings, but the Drive defeated the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY) for the third straight day, 3-2. Keury De La Cruz hit a home run in the fourth to break the pitcher's duel and put the Drive up 1-0. The RiverDogs finally got to Yeiper Castillo in the sixth, tying the game up with an RBI ground out. Castillo went 6.0 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits, walking 3 and striking out 1. The Drive took the lead back in the seventh when Blake Swihart singled home Henry Ramos, but the RiverDogs scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game off of Matty Ott. The game went to the eleventh, where De La Cruz came up big again, launching a solo home run to put the Drive ahead. He went 2 for 4 with two home runs, including what proved to be the game-winner.
Player of the Day: Lars Anderson belted two home runs in a game for the first time since 2009 with Portland. Power has been the biggest question mark for Anderson in recent years, so performances like this are very promising. He now has six doubles and four home runs in May, while walking more and striking out less. The 24-year-old still has time to work on his game in Triple-A, and the power numbers are something to keep an eye on.