May 21, 2012 at 6:00 AM
5/21 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket was doubled up by Norfolk for the second day in-a-row, poor pitching and defense doomed Portland, Salem used a three-run seventh to pull out a close victory, and Greenville won an exciting game in 10 innings.
It was another tough day for the slumping PawSox, as they fell to the Norfolk Tides (BAL), 6-3. Down 1-0 in the fifth, Scott Podsednik hit his first home run for Pawtucket, scoring Josh Kroeger to take a 2-1 lead. Kroeger was the offensive star for the PawSox, going 3 for 4 with a double. Brandon Duckworth could not hold the lead, giving up three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fifth. The PawSox got a run back in the seventh when Ryan Lavarnway came in to score on a Podsednik double play ball. Lavarnway had not appeared in a game for the PawSox since Thursday because he was with the Red Sox in Philadelphia in case Jarrod Saltalamacchia needed to miss any time. Mark Melancon came on in relief in the eighth and gave up his first run in Triple-A this season, raising his ERA to 0.64.
Despite a strong offensive performance, Portland fell to the Binghamton Mets (NYM), 11-7. Binghamton scored in each of the first six innings, knocking Sea Dogs starter Chris Balcom-Miller out of the game and getting to reliever Jeremy Kehrt as well. Balcom-Miller went the first 4.0 innings allowing 5 runs, 3 earned, while allowing 4 hits and 5 walks. Already down 4-0 in the third, Jeremy Hazelbaker got Portland on the board with a solo home run to right. Hazelbaker went 2 for 5 on the day. Down 9-3 in the seventh, Portland got back into the game. Reynaldo Rodriguez hit a three-run home run to cut the lead in half, then Bryce Brentz doubled and came in to score on a Derrik Gibson single. Brentz continued his hot hitting, going 4 for 5 with a double. He pushed his season average to .302 after hitting only .216 in April. With the lead down to two, the Tides scored again in the eighth and ninth to seal the victory.
Salem got another great start from Brandon Workman, and defeated the Frederick Keys (BAL), 3-2. Workman went the first 6.0 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, walking 1 and striking out 7. Despite his good start, Salem was still down 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, Jackie Bradley, Jr. singled and came home on a Sean Coyle single. Bradley went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk. After a Travis Shaw walk, Coyle and Shaw pulled off a double steal to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Xander Bogaerts came through with a single to put Salem up 3-2. Michael Olmsted struck out the side in the ninth to secure the victory.
Despite blowing a ninth inning lead, Greenville still managed to edge past the West Virginia Power (PIT), 6-5. The Power got to Drive starter Miguel Pena for two runs on three hits in the first. A Drew Turocy RBI single in the third and a wild pitch allowing Boss Moanaroa to score in the fourth tied the game for the Drive. Pena allowed another run in the fifth, and ended the game throwing 5.0 innings allowing 3 runs on 7 hits, walking none and striking out 7. Still down 3-2 in the seventh, the Drive took the lead. Lucas LeBlanc singled to score Moanaroa and then Henry Ramos came in to score the go-ahead run on a throwing error by the Power pitcher. Moanaroa gave the Drive an insurance run in the eighth with a sacrifice fly, but Michael McCarthy blew the lead in the ninth, giving up two runs to tie the game. The game went to the tenth, when Keury De La Cruz hit a bases loaded single to win the game for the Drive.
Player of the Day: Bryce Brentz's four hits improved his batting average in May to .426. While he is still striking out in over 25 percent of his at-bats, Brentz is showing more balance at the plate and is not missing the pitches he is supposed to hit. He has more than made up for his rough April, as his overall numbers are solid for a 23-year-old in his first run through Double-A.