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May 13, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bradley's five hits highlight exciting night

5/13 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket extended their winning streak to four games with a late victory, Portland could not get the best of Trenton for a second straight night, Salem used an impressive offensive onslaught to power its way to victory, and Greenville won a nail-biter behind some solid pitching. 

For the second time in three nights, the PawSox won a game in the eighth inning, coming from behind to defeat the Columbus Clippers (CLE), 7-6. Making his second rehab appearance with the PawSox, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched the first 5.1 innings, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits, walking 1 and striking out 5. He allowed two home runs, a two-run shot in the fifth and a solo home run in the sixth that chased him from the game. Matsuzaka is eligible to make two more starts with the PawSox before his rehab stint ends. Offensively, the PawSox were led by Josh Kroeger and Ryan Lavarnway. Kroeger belted a two-run home run in the third and went 2 for 3 with a walk, while Lavarnway went 2 for 4 with a walk. With the game tied in the bottom of the eighth, Jose Iglesias reached on a throwing error by the third baseman, moved to second on a Lars Anderson walk, advanced to third on a fly out to right field by Lavarnway, and came in to score on a Kroeger sacrifice fly. Garrett Mock made the game interesting in the top of the ninth, loading the bases with one out, but induced a double play to end the game. 

Portland was up early but could not hold the lead, falling to the Trenton Thunder (NYY), 5-1. Portland scored a run in the top of the first thanks to back-to-back doubles from Oscar Tejeda and Reynaldo Rodriguez. Starter Billy Buckner was solid through the first five innings, allowing only two hits, but the Thunder got to him in the sixth. A walk, back-to-back home runs and a single chased him from the game. In-all, he threw 5.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits. Caleb Clay came on in relief and got out of trouble in the sixth, but allowed a two-run double in the seventh which put the game out of reach. 
Jackie Bradley, Jr.
(Kelly O'Connor)

Every starter reached base at least once for Salem as they pounded their way to a 9-4 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX). As has been the case for the entire season, Jackie Bradley, Jr. was the star of the game. In five at-bats, he went 5 for 5 with a double and 3 RBI. One can make the case that Josh Hamilton is the only hitter in professional baseball more locked-in than Bradley right now. Bradley got Salem off to a good start, hitting a leadoff double and coming in to score on a Travis Shaw single. It was more of the same in the second for Salem, as they scored three runs. Hits from Michael Almanzar, Shannon Wilkerson, and Carson Blair, who all had two hits on the game, and a single by Bradley accounted for the damage. Salem had another three-run inning in the fifth. Three straight singles from Brandon Jacobs, Christian Vazquez, and Almanzar loaded the bases, and they all came in to score on singles by Blair and Bradley. Buried in all the offense was a promising start from Drake Britton. Britton threw 4.0 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits while walking 4 and striking out 3. Britton has been inconsistent this season, but he has allowed no earned runs in three of his last four starts. 

Greenville pulled out a close win on the road, defeating the Augusta GreenJackets (SF), 2-1. Henry Owens  did not allow a run for his third straight game, throwing 6.0 innings allowing only 2 hits, walking 3 and striking out 8. In his last three starts, Owens has thrown 15.0 innings, allowed 5 hits, walked 10 and struck out 18. Owens has struck out seven hitters or more in six of his seven appearances this season. Greenville staked Owens to an early lead when Blake Swihart singled home David Renfroe in the second. Greenville extended its lead to two in the fifth when Jose Vinicio came in to score on a Keury De la Cruz force out. Augusta got to reliever Tyler Wilson  for a run in the seventh, and the Greenville lead remained at one going into the ninth. Tyler Lockwood came on for the Drive to close out the game, but ran into some trouble. After surrendering a leadoff walk, Augusta tried to bunt the tying run into scoring position, but third baseman Garin Cecchini threw to second to gun down the lead runner. The next batter singled, but Lockwood then got a strikeout to put the Drive within one out of victory. Another walk loaded the bases, but Lockwood got the final batter to ground out to end the game. 

Player of the Day: Jackie Bradley, Jr. continued his dominance this season, and his five hit performance last night may be his greatest performance to date. Bradley, who has the highest on-base percentage in professional baseball, is showing he has little left to prove in High-A, and a move to Double-A may be coming sooner rather than later.