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July 31, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Cup of Coffee: Matsuzaka makes rehab start; De La Cruz hits walk-off blast for Greenville

7/31 Cup of Coffee: Pitching was the story on Tuesday night, as there were several close games down on the farm. Greenville and the DSL Red Sox both had extra-inning victories. Lowell came out on top of a pitcher's duel that lived up to expectations, while the GCL Red Sox staff twirled a shutout. Pawtucket had the only loss of the night, as a ninth-inning comeback fell short. In all, only nine runs were allowed in the five games by Red Sox pitchers.
Pawtucket could not get any offense going in support of Daisuke Matsuzaka's rehab effort, falling 2-1 to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NYY). Matsuzaka was solid in his first appearance since being placed on the disabled list on July 2 with a right trapezius strain. He threw 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up four hits, walking one and striking out three. He threw 47 pitches, 30 of them for strikes. Nelson Figueroa took a tough-luck loss in relief, allowing only one run on three hits in 4.1 innings, striking out six and walking one, and leaving with the PawSox down 1-0. Alex Wilson pitched the eighth, giving up a run on two hits while striking out two. Ryan Kalish narrowed the deficit with an RBI groundout in the ninth inning.
Keury De La Cruz's (pictured) home run to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning sent Greenville home a 4-3 winner over the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY). It was the 16th homer of the year for De La Cruz, who also hit his 26th double earlier in the game. Extra innings were needed after the bullpen couldn't hold the lead for Jason Garcia, who gave up only two hits in 6.0 scoreless innings, adding three walks and three strikeouts. Left-hander Dylan Chavez, the only member of the 2012 draft class who has reached Greenville, threw two perfect innings in relief, striking out two. Nefi Ogando surrendered a three-run home run in the ninth that knotted the game up at 3-3. Ogando sharpened up after that, pitching out of jams in the 10th and 11th innings and picking up the win.
Lowell came out with a 2-1 victory over the State College Spikes (PIT) in a highly anticipated pitchers duel between supplemental first rounder Pat Light and 17-year-old Pittsburgh phenom Luis Heredia. Light threw 2.0 strong innings, striking out four and allowing only one hit. SoxProspects.com Northeast Scout Ian Cundall was in Lowell to get a look at Light. He reports that Light touched 94 and got both strikeouts on his slider. Jacob Dahstrand picked up the win in relief, allowing a run on three hits in his 5.0 innings of work. Braden Kapteyn tossed 2.0 hitless innings to earn the save. Mike Miller led the way on offense, going 2 for 3 with a run scored, a hit by pitch and a stolen base. Mookie Betts and Kendrick Perkins also had two-hit nights.
Four pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout for the GCL Red Sox as they beat the GCL Orioles, 4-0 (BAL). Sergio Garcia, who gave up all five hits, put in 5.0 innings of work, striking out four along the way and leaving with the score tied at zero. The outing concludes a strong July for Gomez. The right-hander went 3-1 in six appearances, with a 2.10 ERA and 0.90 WHIP over 30.0 innings. Luis Bastardo, Stephen Williams, and Gerardo Olivares combined for 4.0 hitless innings. Bastardo earned the win in his first game of the year after missing the first several months of the year with an injury. 

Jose Colorado went 2 for 3 with a double, hit by pitch, run scored and an RBI to lead the offense. David Sopilka added two hits of his own. Jeremias Pineda saw his hitting streak come to an end after 15 games. Pineda continues to lead the Gulf Coast League with a .400 batting average.
The DSL Red Sox won a 4-3 thriller over the DSL Yankees2 (NYY), scoring a run to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, then winning in a walk-off in the 10th inning. Trailing 3-2 in the ninth, Aneudis Peralta led off the inning with a double. He advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Roberto Duncan ground ball to the first baseman, evening the score at three. In the 10th inning, Andres Garcia hit a one-out grounder to the pitcher, who threw the ball away, allowing Garcia to reach second base. He moved up to third on a Manuel Margot ground out, and scored the winning run when Alixon Suarez delivered a clutch two-out base hit.

Leonel Vazquez pitched a perfect tenth, striking out one to earn the win. Vazquez followed starter Dioscar Romero, who went the first 5.0 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits, and Yankory Pimentel, who tossed 4.0 scoreless innings, striking out three. Suarez and Peralta paced the offense, as both had 2 for 4 nights at the plate.
Player of the Day: Keury De La Cruz hit a dramatic walk off home run to lead off the bottom of the 11th inning for Greenville. The blast continues a breakout season for De La Cruz with the Drive. The 20-year-old outfielder has 48 extra-base hits on the season after compiling 47 in the two previous years combined in Lowell. His season slash line currently sits at .312/.356/.540. The two-hit night on Tuesday represents the fifth multi-hit effort for De La Cruz in his last six games.

Photo credit: Keury De La Cruz by Kelly O'Connor