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July 4, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: DSL Sox get lone win for affiliates while Barnes, Ranaudo falter again

Francisco Taveras

7/4 Cup of Coffee: Down nights from the system's top two pitching prospects headline a bad night in the system, as the DSL Sox were the only team able to pull out a win.
Rochester (MIN) got all the runs it needed in the top of the seventh, as Pawtucket's recent skid continued in a 5-3 loss at home. Brandon Duckworth cruised through his first 6.2 innings, scattering three hits and striking out six, but he was unable to get the third out of the inning, allowing a pair of home runs and a pair of doubles before being lifted for Will Latimer, who allowed a walk and a double to provide the Red Wings with their winning margin. The lone bright spot for the PawSox was right fielder Juan Carlos Linares, who went 3-for-4 with a double, driving in a run and scoring another. Rehabbing Scott Podsednik, who played left field in the fourth game of his rehab stint with Pawtucket, added a single and a pair of walks, and was caught stealing in his lone attempt. The PawSox have now lost 14 of their last 17 games.
Anthony Ranaudo got himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning and threw a perfect second before once again coming apart in the third as Trenton (NYY) topped the Sea Dogs at Hadlock, 11-3. Ranaudo failed to record a strikeout in his outing. Although he was able to induce an inning-ending groundout to second to recover from three-consecutive two-out singles, the Portland starter was unable to command his pitches in his final inning, allowing five runs, four earned, on two singles, a home run, a double, a hit batsman, a walk, a failed double-play ball, and a wild pitch before he escaped.  Ranaudo's three-inning outing marked the third time in the last four games that he has failed to pitch into the fourth inning.

In relief of Ranaudo, Chris Balcom Miller did not fare much better, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk, striking out three. Carl Crawford, in his first game with Portland after five rehab games in the Gulf Coast League, went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and stole third base. Although the Sea Dogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first with Crawford walking, advancing on a groundout, stealing third, and scoring on Bryce Brentz's sacrifice fly, Trenton's five-spot in the third provided the winning margin, and six runs in the fifth through seventh innings allowed the Thunder to pull away.
For the third straight start, Matt Barnes failed to finish the fourth, as he allowed six runs in just 3.2 innings as Salem lost at Myrtle Beach (TEX), 10-3. Barnes opened with two perfect innings, but allowed a pair of runs in the third on a single, triple, and sacrifice fly. In the third, he recorded the inning's second out with a runner on, but allowed the next five batters to reach on four basehit singles and a walk, also uncorking a wild pitch, before being lifted. Barnes has now allowed 14 runs over 8.1 innings in his last three starts after allowing just seven over 72.2 innings in his first 13 starts.

Other than Barnes' outing, it was a quiet night for the Red Sox, who managed just four hits, although they walked seven times. Closer Michael Olmsted allowed just one batter to reach in his 2.0 innings, although that came on a solo home run.
Greenville got one of its two runs on a Keury De La Cruz solo home run, but an eighth-inning rally allowed Charleston (NYY) to hand the Drive a 3-2 loss. The River Dogs got the scoring started in the third, taking a 1-0 lead, but De La Cruz's fourth-inning blast tied the game, and Dreily Guerrero plated Henry Ramos with the go-ahead run on a single in the fifth. Yeiper Castillo made the lead hold through the sixth, going 6.0 strong innings in which he allowed one run on six hits, a walk, and a hit batter, striking out five. However, the River Dogs got to reliever Tyler Wilson in the eighth, thanks in part to a Guerrero throwing error on the turn in a double-play attempt, to take the lead and the game. Of note, just a single walk was allowed by either team's staff, that being taken by Charleston's Dante Bichette, Jr. in the sixth off Castillo.
In a pitchers' duel in Lowell, Mike Augliera and Francisco Taveras did their part to help keep the game scoreless through seven, but Tri-City (HOU) stormed back from two down to score seven in the ninth, as the Spinners fell, 7-2. Augliera threw the first two innings, retiring six in a row, three on strikeouts, after a leadoff walk. Taveras took over in the third, eventually allowing just a pair of hits and a pair of walks in his 5.0 innings, striking out four. After Dylan Chavez pitched a clean eighth, the Spinners rallied in the bottom of the frame, as Deven Marrero led off with a walk, moved to third on a Mike Miller single, and scored on Kendrick Perkins's single to left. Mookie Betts later brought Perkins in on a sacrifice fly to give the hosts a 2-0 advantage entering the ninth.

As with the other games, however, the game came apart in one inning. Chavez was unable to record an out in the ninth, hitting three batters and allowing three singles before allowing a sacrifice fly, which center fielder Williams Jerez dropped, and then exiting. Jadd Schmeltzer allowed a pair of inherited runners to score before getting out of the inning, but the damage was done.

At the plate, Perkins led the way, going 3-for-4 with a double to raise his season line to .304/.400/.536 in 15 games. Catcher J.T. Watkins added a pair of hits as well, his first hits as a professional.
The GCL contest was highlighted by what reportedly was Jacoby Ellsbury's final rehab start with the rookies before moving up to Portland, although the major leaguer went 0-for-4 as the designated hitter in the Sox' 2-1 loss to the Orioles. The Sox were unable to solve O's pitching, with David Soplika scoring the club's lone run thanks in large part to a wild pitch and a passed ball. Fireballing right-hander Frank Montas allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in 3.0 innings, striking out five. Montas was better than his line would suggest, as the two Oriole runs scored in the second thanks to a walk, an infield single, an RBI single to right, and an infield groundout. Sully Bonnelly pitched four scoreless innings of relief, scattering two hits and a walk, followed by Robby Scott, who allowed a hit in his scoreless inning. Jake Davies was the star at the plate, going 3-for-4.
The DSL Sox notched the system's lone win, topping Pirates1, 6-3, on the back of another strong outing from Keivin Heras. Heras allowed just an unearned run in 6.0 innings, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out one. For the season, 17-year-old Heras has allowed just 17 hits and six walks in 29.0 innings, posting a 3-0 record and 0.62 ERA, although the free passes he handed out on Tuesday ended a streak of three straight walk-less games for the young Venezuelan. 

The Sox went up 2-1 in the third on Andres Garcia's RBI triple and Manuel Margot's sacrifice fly. In the sixth, Alixon Suarez helped add to the lead by leading off with a triple and scoring on a single by Anthony Amaya. The Sox doubled their runs in the ninth, as a throwing error and a Osvaldo Almengo home run. Amaya went 3-for-4 to pace the club. In relief, Enfember Martinez earned the save by allowing one run in the final 3.0 innings, giving up four hits and striking out three.
Player of the Night: Francisco Taveras helped keep Lowell tied in a scoreless game for five innings. Filling the role of piggyback starter after the arrival of some of the college draftees, Taveras has not allowed a run in his last two appearances, allowing five hits and six walks in 9.0 innings while striking out seven.