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June 18, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket pitching stellar in victory

6/18 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket's pitching shut down the Bisons, Portland and Salem blew late leads, and Greenville used the long ball to jump the GreenJackets in the standings. 

Brandon Duckworth
Pawtucket rode its brilliant pitching to victory, beating the Buffalo Bisons (NYM), 6-1. Starter Brandon Duckworth threw the first 6.0 innings allowing only an unearned run on three hits, walking two and striking out nine. Daniel Bard followed him tossing 2.0 shutout innings, allowing two hits, striking out two, and most importantly, walking none. Bard has now allowed two walks in his 5.0 innings of relief with Pawtucket, while striking out eight. Mike Rivera led the offense, going 3 for 5 with a home run and 3 RBI. Che-Hsuan Lin did a little bit of everything, going 2 for 4 with a double, walk, stolen base, and outfield assist. Cody Ross went 0 for 4 and committed an error in his first game back in the outfield on his rehab assignment. Ross said his foot "felt great" and he will now be reassessed in Boston. 

Portland dropped a heartbreaker to the Richmond Flying Squirrels (SFG), losing 5-4 in 10 innings. Stolmy Pimentel tied his longest start as a professional, going 7.0 innings allowing two runs on five hits, walking one and striking out three. He induced 11 ground ball outs while allowing only three fly outs. He left with a 3-2 lead after home runs from Bryce Brentz and Juan Carlos Linares put the Sea Dogs on top. In the bottom of the eighth, Brock Huntzinger allowed a two-out RBI double to tie the game. In the top of the tenth, the Sea Dogs went ahead on a Brentz sacrifice fly, but Aaron Kurcz allowed two runs in the bottom of the inning, and the Bisons walked off with a win. 

The Salem bullpen had a complete meltdown, giving the Carolina Mudcats (CLE) a 14-8 victory. The Salem bats came out hot, scoring all eight of its runs in the first six innings. Michael Almanzar went 3 for 4 with a walk, Jackie Bradley, Jr. broke out of his mini-slump, going 2 for 3 with a walk, and Xander Bogaerts went 1 for 3 with two runs scored. Salem was up 8-3 in the eighth, but the bullpen collapsed, giving up 10 runs in the inning. Manny Rivera gave up the first six runs and Andrew Jones gave up the last four. In all, 13 Mudcats batters came to the plate, collecting 10 hits, with eight of the hits coming with two outs. 

The Drive overcame a rocky start to defeat the Augusta GreenJackets (SFG), 4-3. Augusta jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second, getting to Drive starter Luis Diaz. Diaz was able to recover, throwing 5.0 innings allowing five hits, walking none and striking out one. Greenville chipped away at the deficit, scoring one run in the third, two in the fifth on a Jason Repko home run, and took the lead in the sixth on a Henry Ramos home run. Repko and Ramos each went 2 for 4, with Repko drawing a walk. Michael McCarthy and Tyler Lockwood combined to throw the final 4.0 innings without allowing a run. 

Player of the Day: Brandon Duckworth's 6.0 inning performance was arguably his best of the season, and his nine strikeouts set a season high. Duckworth has now thrown 22.1 innings in June with a 2.42 ERA.