June 11, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket received arguably its best pitching performance of the season, Portland could not hold a late lead against the Flying Squirrels, some of the top prospects in the system helped Salem complete a come-from-behind victory, and Greenville could not hold on despite a great debut from Noe Ramirez.
The PawSox got back on the winning track, defeating the Gwinnett Braves (ATL), 6-1. The Braves struck first with a solo home run in the second inning off of Justin Germano, but that was the only mistake he would make. Germano, who has been great for Pawtucket, pitched a complete game three-hitter, walking two and striking out four. He got some help from his offense in the seventh inning, as the PawSox pushed six runs across. Lars Anderson led the inning off with a single, and moved to third on a Mauro Gomez double. With first base open, Josh Kroeger was intentionally walked, but the plan quickly backfired for the Braves. The ever patient Alex Hassan followed with an RBI walk and then Nate Spears roped a two-run single to give the PawSox the lead. Jonathan Hee followed with a two-run triple to break the game open. Hee, Spears, and Gomez all had two hits on the day.
A four-run eighth for the Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF) doomed the Sea Dogs, as they fell 4-3. Drake Britton, who threw 5.0 hitless innings in his Double-A debut, had an impressive encore on Sunday. He finished the game throwing 5.1 innings allowing no runs on three hits while walking two and striking out five. After walking six in his first Double-A start, Britton seemed to find his control and was able to keep his ERA at 0.00. The Sea Dogs staked Britton to an early lead, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first on a Juan Carlos Linares double and Matt Spring single. Jeremy Hazelbaker added an RBI single in the sixth to extend the lead to three. The lead would not last as Josh Fields allowed a three-run home run in the eighth to tie it and a two-out RBI double to give the Flying Squirrels the lead. Hazelbaker went 2 for 4 with a walk and Bryce Brentz went 2 for 4 with a strikeout.
Salem took the role of the Flying Squirrels in its game, mounting an eighth inning comeback to defeat the Potomac Nationals (WAS), 3-2. Potomac manufactured a run in the first as the leadoff hitter hit a single, stole second and third base, and came in to score on a ground out. That was the only earned run Salem starter Brandon Workman would give up, as he pitched 6.0 innings allowing five hits while walking none and striking out five. He gave up an unearned run in the sixth as the Salem middle infield committed two errors which allowed a run to score. Salem scored its first run in the fourth inning when Xander Bogaerts walked and scored from first on a Carson Blair double. Down one run in the eighth, Bogaerts and Brandon Jacobs hit back-to-back home runs to give Salem the lead. Michael Olmsted closed the game out with a perfect ninth to earn his twelfth save of the season. Bogaerts finished 3 for 3 with a double, home run, and walk. Jackie Bradley, Jr, went 2 for 3 with two walks and his fourteenth stolen base of the year.
Despite Noe Ramirez's sparkling debut, the Hickory Crawdads (TEX) walked off against the Drive, winning 4-3. Ramirez, a fourth-round draft pick in 2011 who signed for $625,000 out of Cal State Fullerton, threw 5.0 perfect innings in his professional debut, striking out five. Greenville gave him some breathing room in the third inning, as David Renfroe hit a two-run single and Boss Moanaroa followed him with a sacrifice fly. The lead would hold until the seventh, when a Jose Vinicio error proved costly. Vinicio uncorked an errant throw with one out, and three runs scored later in the inning after the third out should have been recorded. The game remained tied until the ninth when the Crawdads hit a double and a single to win it. Blake Swihart led the offense, going 2 for 4 with a double.
Player of the Day: Several players have cases for winning Player of the Day including Drake Britton, Xander Bogaerts, and Noe Ramirez, but Justin Germano's complete game three-hitter was the most impressive performance of the day. Germano is now sporting a cool 2.56 ERA in 77.1 innings with Pawtucket. The 29-year-old had two poor starts in the middle of May, but has not allowed more than two runs in any other appearance this season.