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May 29, 2012 at 7:21 AM

Cup of Coffee: Weems, Swinson lead Greenville on Memorial Day

Jordan Weems (Kelly O'Connor)
5/29 Cup of Coffee: On a slate full of day games for the Sox affiliates, only Greenville came up with a victory, extending their winning streak to four games by beating Savannah. Pawtucket fell to Norfolk, Portland was shut out by New Britain, and a late rally by Salem came up short.

In the first meeting of a four game series at McCoy, Pawtucket took a 6-4 loss to the Norfolk Tides (BAL). It was a tough afternoon for starter Doug Mathis, who was victimized by three home runs in the loss. In all, Mathis allowed 6 runs on 10 hits in his 5.1 innings, walking 1 and striking out 2. After allowing a solo home run in the third, Pawtucket took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the inning on a two-run home run by Nate Spears. Norfolk added a pair in the fourth by stringing together four straight hits, a solo homer in the fifth, and a two-run blast in the sixth knocked Mathis out of the game and put Pawtucket down 6-2. A strong performance by the PawSox bullpen helped keep them in the game. Garrett Mock threw 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits, striking out 3 without walking a batter, and Alex Wilson followed with a sharp 2.0 shutout innings of his own, giving up only one hit and striking out 2. Pawtucket cut the deficit to three in the seventh when Josh Kroeger doubled, advanced to third on an Alex Hassan single and scored on a Ronald Bermudez sacrifice fly. Kroger then hit a solo home run in the ninth to bring the PawSox within two, but Norfolk was able to slam the door on the rally and escape with the victory. Kroeger was the offensive standout for Pawtucket, going 2 for 4 with a double, homer, and pair of runs scored. Hassan and Jonathan Hee also had two-hit days.

Portland's longest winning streak of the season ended at four as they were shut out 3-0 by the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN). All of the scoring came in the New Britain half of the third inning, as Chris Hernandez took the tough-luck loss in a quality start for Portland. Hernandez allowed the 3 runs on 6 hits in 6.0 innings, walking 3 and striking out 2. Brock Huntzinger allowed only one baserunner - a hit batsman - in 3.0 innings of work in relief striking out 2. The Sea Dogs biggest threat came in the seventh, as they loaded the bases on singles by Dan Butler and Nick Natoli and a walk by Derrik Gibson, but former Sea Dog Daniel Turpen struck out Shannon Wilkerson to end the threat. Gibson was the only batter to reach base twice for Portland, going 1 for 3 with a walk and extending his hitting streak to four games.

Salem fell behind early and a comeback attempt fell short as the Lynchburg Hillcats (ATL) held on for a 5-3 victory. Lynchburg got to starter Ryan Pressly for a run in the first, two in the second, and two more in the third, putting Salem in a 5-0 hole. Pressly finished 5.0 innings, giving up the 5 runs on 9 hits. He struck out 4 and walked 2. Manuel Rivera pitched 2.1 scoreless innings in relief, allowing three hits and walking 2. Andrew Jones was next out of the pen, allowing only 1 hit in 1.2 shutout innings. After six shutout innings, the Red Sox finally got to Lynchburg starter J.R. Graham in the seventh. Matty Johnson led off the inning with a walk, advancing to third on a single by rehabbing outfielder Ryan Kalish. Kalish then stole second, giving Salem two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Travis Shaw knocked in Johnson with a sacrifice fly to left that also moved Kalish to third, and Kalish came in to score on a Xander Bogaerts grounder to shortstop, cutting the Lynchburg lead to 5-2. Salem staged another rally with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, as Shaw was hit by a pitch and scored on a double by Bogaerts, bringing up the tying run - the first time since the first inning the Red Sox brought the tying run to the plate. Unfortunately for Salem, Lynchburg pitcher Juan Jaime got Christian Vazquez to fly out to right, ending the threat. Jackie Bradley went 1 for 4, extending his on-base streak to nine games. He has reached safely in 38 of his last 39. Johnson was the only Salem player to reach base twice, going 1 for 3 with a walk. 

The only victory of the day belonged to Greenville, who beat the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM) by a score of 6-2. Scott Swinson was sharp while taking Henry Owens' usual spot in the rotation, going 5.0 shutout innings, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 2 without walking a batter. Owens is not injured, but was instead skipped simply for regularly scheduled rest. The Drive got off to a 1-0 lead in the second inning, as Lucas LeBlanc walked, advanced to second on a Drew Turocy single, and came around to score on a single by Jordan Weems. Greenville then added a pair in the third. David Renfroe led off the inning with a double, and he came in to score on a Henry Ramos triple. LeBlanc followed with an RBI single that put Greenville up 3-0. Savannah cut the lead to one in the sixth inning, as Travis Taijeron took Charle Rosario deep for a two-run homer. Rosario allowed 2 runs on 3 hits in 2.0 innings, walking 1 and striking out 1. The Drive responded in the bottom of the inning, when Weems led off with a single, moved up to third on a Jose Vinicio single and scored on a Keury De La Cruz grounder to the second baseman. Greenville added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. Weems led off the inning with a double, and De La Cruz hit his eleventh home run of the season. It was the 25th extra base hit by De La Cruz in 2012, one more than he had in all of the 2011 season. Matthew McCarthy pitched 2.0 scoreless innings, allowing 1 hit and 1 walk, earning his first save of the season. Weems, a third round pick in 2011, had his second three hit performance in three games, going 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored. LeBlanc went 2 for 3 with a walk, Ramos had a double and triple as part of his 2 for 4 afternoon, and Turocy also had a 2 hit game.

Player of the Day: It was another big night for Jordan Weems, who continued to break out of his early-season slump in a big way, going 3 for 4 with two doubles, two runs scored and an RBI. During his four game hitting streak, Weems has gone 8 for 18, raising his season average from .157 to .206.