July 17, 2012 at 7:21 AM
7/17 Cup of Coffee: During a busy night on the farm, Greenville won in a thriller, while Pawtucket and Lowell slugged their way to victory. The GCL Red Sox split a doubleheader, Brandon Workman had a big strikeout game but took the loss for Salem, and the DSL Red Sox fell in extra innings.
In leading Pawtucket to an 8-5 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs (TOR), Mauro Gomez (pictured) was looking to show he belongs back in the majors. The International League All-Star made his return to the Pawtucket lineup after a ten day, six game stint with the big club by going 3 for 4 with two doubles, a home run, and three runs scored. Gomez ranks second in the league in both doubles and slugging percentage. Juan Carlos Linares hit a solo home run in the sixth inning as part of his fourth multihit game in his last six, and Mike Rivera went deep as well. Tony Pena, Jr. pitched 5.0 shutout innings to earn his first win of the season, scattering five hits, striking out four and walking two. Continuing his rehab from right elbow surgery, Chris Carpenter made his first appearance with the PawSox, walking one in his 1.0 scoreless inning. Daniel Bard continues to have inconsistent results, allowing a two-run home run while walking one, striking out one and throwing a wild pitch in his 1.0 inning for work.
Drake Britton struggled as Portland dropped an 11-4 decision to the Reading Phillies (PHI). Britton gave up eight runs on nine hits in only 3.2 innings, as he walked four and struck out two. He took the loss to fall to 1-3 since his promotion to Portland and 4-8 overall across two levels on the year. Jackie Bradley, Jr. had a big night, going 2 for 3 with a double and a triple before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth. The news out of Portland was that there was no injury involved, and that he was removed to give him some rest on a muggy night with the team down by eleven. The double was his 35th of the year, trailing only Joey Votto of the Reds in all of professional baseball.
A pair of two-run homers in the third inning doomed Brandon Workman and Salem, who fell to the Frederick Keys (BAL), 7-6. Workman struck out a season-high ten batters while walking only two in 6.0 innings, but the two home runs were part of the nine hits he allowed in taking the loss. Michael Almanzar went 2 for 4 with a two run homer and a walk for Salem. Christian Vazquez continues to swing a hot bat, also going 2 for 4 with a walk. In ten July games, Vazquez is hitting .400/.512/.600. Travis Shaw reached base four times, going 1 for 2 with a double, two walks and a hit batsman. Brandon Jacobs also had a good night at the plate, going 2 for 5 with two RBI and a double.
Greenville took a 3-2 victory from the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY) in thrilling fashion. Tied 2-2 with two outs in the top of the ninth, Cody Koback tripled to right field to score Henry Ramos. Luis Diaz gave a solid performance in his start for the Drive, allowing a run on five hits in 6.0 innings, striking out three without walking a batter. Nefi Ogando took the win in relief to go to 2-4 on the year, and Matty Ott pitched a perfect ninth to earn his fourth save. Keury De La Cruz went 2 for 4 with a double and run scored as he continues his breakout season, and Garin Cecchini added his 25th double and 32nd stolen base of the year.
Lowell pounded out 17 hits in its 11-5 thrashing of the Staten Island Yankees (NYY). At the center of the barrage was Aneury Tavarez, who did not make an out, going 3 for 3 with a double, two walks, and two RBI. Matthew Gedman, who went 3 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored, is now 10 for 25 in his last five games. Kendrick Perkins also had a three-hit night, but struck out twice to raise his league leading total to 41 in only 102 at bats on the year. Deven Marrero was the only Spinner without a hit, though he did reach base via a walk. Buoyed by the frequent, early Raynel Velette coasted to the win, allowing two runs on four hits in his 5.0 innings, striking out six and walking one.
In the first game of their doubleheader, the GCL Red Sox fell 5-2 to the GCL Rays. Kolbrin Vitek made his second rehab appearance as the 2010 first-rounder works his way back from an intercostal strain. Vitek went 0 for 1 with a walk before exiting in the fifth inning. Jose Colorado hit his first home run of the year, a solo shot in the seventh inning. Mario Alcantara took the loss for the Red Sox, giving up three runs on three hits in 3.0 innings. He struck out seven while walking five, both season highs for the right-hander. Oscar Melendez struck out five without walking a batter in 4.0 innings of relief, giving up a pair of runs on five hits.
In the mid-afternoon "nightcap" the Red Sox were able to earn a split, taking a 3-2 victory. Jonathan Aro notched his first win of the season, allowing two runs (one earned) on only two hits across 5.0 innings, while striking out five and walking two. Thirteenth-round pick JB Wendelken earned his first save for his 2.0 shutout innings. He allowed two hits and struck out one. Tzu-Wei Lin continued his impressive introduction to pro ball, going 1 for 2 with a walk and a run scored. He has now scored seven runs in his eight games, and carries a .387 OBP.
The DSL Red Sox took a tough 4-3 loss in extra innings to the DSL Pirates. With two outs in the tenth inning, Luis Ramos walked Pirates center fielder Tito Polo. An error by Andres Garcia on a grounder that could have ended the inning gave the Pirates first and third. At that point. Polo took the game into his own hands, stealing home to give the Pirates the go-ahead run that would eventually seal them the game. It was a tough-luck first professional loss for Ramos, who did not give up an earned run or a hit in his 2.0 innings. Before the error, Garcia was having a good game, going 2 for 3 with a walk. Alixon Suarez, fresh off his co-MVP award in Sunday's DSL All-Star Game, had another big night, going 2 for 5 with a triple.
Player of the Day: In his second big-league stint, Mauro Gomez got a bit more playing time, going 8 for 24 in six starts. In his return to Triple-A Pawtucket, Gomez looked more like a man who belonged in the majors. Gomez turned in a three-hit, eight total base display that raised his season line for the PawSox to .317/.371/.634. Despite his recent two week layover in the bigs, Gomez ranks second in the International League in doubles, and third in both total bases and home runs.
Photo credit: Mauro Gomez by Kelly O'Connor