June 10, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket's late comeback fell just short, Portland received a stellar pitching performance, Matt Barnes led Salem to a victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader but Potomac got its revenge in Game 2, and Greenville could not keep pace with Hickory.
Pawtucket fell just short, losing to the Gwinnett Braves (ATL) 5-4. Tony Pena, Jr. started strong, but was touched for two runs in the fifth. He finished the game throwing 5.0 innings while allowing two runs on five hits, walking one, and striking out seven. Down 3-0 in the sixth, Pawtucket finally got on the board with a solo home run from Ryan Kalish, who went 4 for 5 on the day. Pawtucket pulled within one run in the eighth when Lars Anderson doubled home Mauro Gomez. The Braves scored two runs in the ninth off of Garrett Mock, but the PawSox kept fighting. In the bottom of the ninth, Pedro Ciriaco hit an RBI single, and Kalish followed him with an RBI single of his own. With runners on first and third, Gomez flied out to right to end the game.
Portland used a three-run sixth inning to defeat the Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF), 3-1. Chris Hernandez turned in one of his best starts of the year, pitching 7.0 shutout innings while allowing only four hits. Hernandez was able to get a victory thanks to Reynaldo Rodriguez, who hit a three-run home run in the sixth. Rodriguez had two of the three hits for Portland, and the home run was his twelfth of the year. Brock Huntzinger nailed down the save, allowing one run in 2.0 innings.
Matt Barnes continued to roll as Salem beat the Potomac Nationals (WAS), 3-0. Barnes lowered his ERA to 1.32 with Salem, and 0.93 overall, with 7.0 shutout innings on Saturday. He allowed five hits, three walks, and notched five strikeouts. Offensively, Salem was led by Christian Vazquez and Michael Almanzar, who had two hits apiece. Vazquez connected on a two-run double in the second inning to score Almanzar and Xander Bogaerts, while Travis Shaw hit his seventh home run of the season in the fifth to push the lead to three.
Salem did not fare as well in Game 2, losing to Potomac 6-1. Shaw was not done, connecting on another home run to give Salem a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Glad to see Barnes on the bench, Potomac answered right back with two runs of off Manny Rivera in the first. Rivera was his own worst enemy in the second as he walked a batter, committed an error, and tossed a wild pitch. In all, three runs scored to give Potomac a commanding lead. Salem only collected three hits on the game, struggling to get anything going after Shaw's home run.
Greenville lost a slugfest with the Hickory Crawdads, falling 11-7. Fresh off his SoxProspects Pitcher of the Month Award in May, Mickey Pena allowed five runs in 4.0 innings. Despite his poor start, the Greenville offense did its best to keep the team in the game. After scoring a run in the third and a run in the fourth, Greenville put two runs on the board in the fifth on singles from Garin Cecchini and David Renfroe. Still a one run game, The Crawdads got to Justin Erasmus for six runs in the sixth to break the game open. Greenville got three runs in the eighth, with two runs coming in on Hickory errors, and the third coming in on a Jose Vinicio double. Vinicio was 2 for 4 on the game.
Player of the Day: Matt Barnes continued to show why he is the best pitching prospect in the system, tossing a 7.0 inning complete game shutout. While he has only tallied eight strikeouts in his last 13.0 innings (after racking up 78 in his previous 54.2 innings), he has not allowed a run and has only given up nine hits. He is proving that he is not just getting by because of his stuff, but because his is a great pitcher.