June 4, 2012 at 6:00 AM
6/4 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket won another close game, Portland's offense struggled against the Curve, Salem scored early and often, and Greenville could not come back against Charleston.
Thanks to the heart of its order, Pawtucket won the rubber game of its series with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI), 4-3. The combination of Ryan Lavarnway and Lars Anderson proved to be too much for the IronPigs. In the top of the first, Lavarnway hit a two-out single and scored from first on an Anderson double. In the fourth, Lavarnway doubled, moved to third on an Anderson ground out, and came in on a sacrifice fly from Josh Kroeger. The IronPigs got the two runs back in the bottom of the fourth off of starter Doug Mathis, but the PawSox responded with two more runs in the fifth. Jonathan Hee doubled in Nate Spears and Alex Hassan drew a bases loaded walk to put the PawSox up two. That was enough for Mathis, who threw 6.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, walking none and striking out 3. Garrett Mock struck out the side in the ninth for his fifth save. Lavarnway finished 3 for 5 with a double while Anderson went 2 for 3 with a walk.
Despite a solid pitching performance, the Sea Dogs fell to the Altoona Curve (PIT), 2-0. Chris Hernandez started the game and pitched well despite some early troubles. In the second, he gave up a two-out double to score a run, but struck out the next batter with runners on second and third to end the threat. He faced a similar situation in the third, giving up an RBI two-out double, but got the next batter to fly out. He threw 5.2 innings allowing 2 runs while striking out 4. The best chance for the Sea Dogs to score came in the bottom of the ninth. Shannon Wilkerson and Ryan Kalish led off with singles, but the next three batters went down in order to end the game. Oscar Tejeda appeared in his first game since straining his hamstring on May 15th, and he went 0 for 4 as the designated hitter.
The Salem bats exploded to defeat the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX), 12-1. After a relatively quiet first inning, the Salem offense went on a tear. An Adalberto Ibarra ground out, and doubles from Matty Johnson and Jackie Bradley, Jr. put Salem up 3-0 after two innings. Salem tacked on another run in the third when Xander Bogaerts doubled and came in on a Christian Vazquez single. The fourth was another big inning for Salem. Sean Coyle and Travis Shaw hit RBI doubles, and Bogaerts connected on his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot to left field. Bogaerts paced the offense, going 3 for 4 with a double, home run, and three runs scored. Travis Shaw also had a terrific game, going 3 for 5 with two doubles and a home run. Salem did not need a strong pitching performance to win this game, but it got one anyways. Keith Couch, who had made four of his past five appearances out of the bullpen, got the start and tossed 6.0 innings allowing only 1 run on 5 hits.
Greenville was 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position, and fell to the Charleston RiverDogs, 5-3. Starter Madison Younginer pitched the first 3.2 innings allowing 4 runs, 3 earned, walking 1 and striking out 2. He was removed from the game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Stay tuned to the the SoxProspects Injury Report for more details as they come in. Down 4-0 in the fifth, Keury De La Cruz continued his terrific season with an RBI single to score Jordan Weems. Jose Garcia brought the Drive within two with a home run in the seventh, but it was not enough. The Drive bullpen pitched well after Younginer left the game, allowing only one run over 5.1 innings.
Player of the Night: On a night when many Salem players had great performances, Travis Shaw stood out the most. An unheralded 2011 ninth-round pick out of Kent State, Shaw has been competing with Bradley, Jr. for the best offensive season in the system. His triple slash is currently .341/.423/.566, and he has raised himself to the number 28 prospect on the SoxProspects rankings after the starting the season at number 59. With more games like this, he will be rising even more.