June 29, 2012 at 7:30 AM
6/29 Cup of Coffee: It was a night of exciting action and big performances down on the farm. Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Deven Marrero stayed hot to lead Portland and Lowell, five home runs and 18 hits powered Salem on a night when Matt Barnes was not at his best, while Pawtucket had a night much like the major league club with Brandon Duckworth in the Franklin Morales role.
|Brandon Duckworth (Kelly O'Connor)|
In an 11-inning thriller at McCoy, Pawtucket fell to the Charlotte Knights (CWS) by a score of 1-0, foreshadowing Boston's tough night out in Seattle. Brandon Duckworth was exceptional, throwing 7.0 shutout innings, allowing only two hits, and striking out five without walking a batter, but Charlotte's Simon Castro matched him pitch for pitch. Junichi Tazawa followed Duckworth with two perfect innings of his own, striking out four. SoxProspects.com northeast scout Ian Cundall was in attendance, and he reported it was the best velocity he'd seen out of Tazawa since his 2010 Tommy John surgery, topping out at 96 mph. The Knights finally broke the scoreless tie in the 11th as major league veteran Greg Golson knocked a solo home run off of Will Latimer, who took the loss. The PawSox collected only five hits in the contest, and only Alex Hassan was on base more than once, going 1 for 3 with a walk.
Portland escaped with a 4-3 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR). What seemed like the same story every night in the first half for Salem has turned into a recurring theme since his move north - Jackie Bradley, Jr. led the charge with yet another big night, going 2 for 4 with a double, run scored and an RBI. He hasn't missed a beat since his promotion - literally - as his sterling 1.006 OPS at Portland exactly matches his number at Salem. Bradley's RBI single in the third started the scoring, and he came in to score on a double by Bryce Brentz. Catcher Dan Butler continued his excellent month of June (.305/.423/.508), doubling and scoring what proved to be the winning run. There was also promising news on the mound, as Anthony Ranaudo had an encouraging performance, allowing only two runs on six hits in 5.0 innings. He walked three and struck out three. Recent independent league signee Jason Urquidez picked up the win in relief, and Aaron Kurcz struck out three in 1.1 scoreless innings to earn the save.
Both the weather and the bats were scorching in Salem. On a night where the thermometer read 96 at first pitch, the Red Sox held off the Potomac Nationals (WAS) in a 16-14 slugfest that saw a combined 43 baserunners and the two teams collect 18 hits apiece. Top prospect Matt Barnes was roughed up in his worst outing as a pro, laboring through 32 pitches in his 1.0 inning, giving up three runs on four hits and a walk. The offense picked him up in a big way though, scoring six in the first, eight in the second and two in the third while the bullpen held on for dear life. The Red Sox offense had five home runs in the explosion. Xander Bogaerts hit his 12th of the year, and his eighth in the month of June. Brandon Jacobs hit his sixth round-tripper, along with his 19th double of the season, and Shannon Wilkerson, Michael Almanzar and Heiker Meneses all went deep as well. The most impressive line of the night belonged to Sean Coyle, who has been showing signs of breaking out of a season-long slump recently. Coyle went 4 for 5 with a double, and RBI and two runs scored. After hitting only .211 in the first half, Coyle has gone 11 for 27 since the break.
Greenville could not capitalize on several opportunities in a 4-2 loss to the Rome Braves (ATL). Rome made four errors, but Greenville went only 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position in defeat. David Renfroe went 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI singles to provide the scoring for the Drive. Garin Cecchini went 1 for 3 with a walk, and stole his 27th base of the year. Yeiper Castillo dropped his third consecutive decision, falling to 3-4 on the year, as his allowed three runs on five hits in 5.0 innings of work, striking out five and walking three.
After falling behind early, Lowell came back to sink the Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK) 6-5. Number one draft pick Deven Marrero continued the excellent start to his pro career, going 3 for 5 with a run scored and his first stolen base. After falling behind 3-0, a Kendrick Perkins home run got them on the board in the fourth. The following inning, the Spinners loaded the bases with one out, and things started to unravel for Vermont, as a pair of throwing errors led to three runs scoring, putting Lowell up for good. 2011 second-rounder Williams Jerez went 2 for 4 on the night. Francisco Taveras picked up the win in relief, throwing 4.0 shutout innings, allowing three hits while striking out three and walking four.
The GCL Red Sox bats were quieted by the GCL Orioles in a 7-2 loss. The good news came on the mound, as starting pitcher Frank Montas was again very sharp, throwing 3.0 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out four without giving up a walk. It is the second consecutive scoreless outing to start the season for Montas, likely the hardest thrower in the Boston system. In the third game of his rehab stint, Carl Crawford went 1 for 3 with a walk at the plate, but the big story was that he reported no pain after a throw to the plate from left field. Three of the five Red Sox hits came off the bat of Jesus Loya, playing right field in his first start of the season.
In a heartbreaker, the DSL Marlins walked off with the 4-3 win against the DSL Red Sox. There were several positives on the night, however, starting on the mound, where starter Edwar Garcia went 6.0 full innings, a rarity in the DSL. The tall 18-year-old righty allowed only 1 unearned run on three hits. He did not allow a walk and struck out four, facing only 21 batters in those six innings. At the plate, Manuel Margot continued to make a name for himself, going 2 for 5 with a triple and an RBI. A center fielder who came in with an excellent defensive reputation, Margot is excelling with his bat as well, with a .305/.392/.524 line and 12 stolen bases in 13 attempts. Raymel Flores, a regular shortstop who was in the lineup yesterday as the designated hitter, also went 2 for 5, and also added a triple, his league-leading eighth on the year. Anthony Amaya added three hits and Alixon Suarez had two for the Red Sox.
Player of the Day: There are many worthy candidates, with several excellent performances on the day both at the plate and on the mound, but the nod here goes to Pawtucket starter Brandon Duckworth. While he received no offensive support, he pitched his best game of the year, allowing only two hits in his 7.0 innings of work. The veteran righty lowered his ERA on the season to 3.39.