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July 15, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Cup of Coffee: Pimentel leads Sea Dogs, Barnes gets back on track

7/15 Cup of Coffee: Stolmy Pimentel pitched one of his best games in Double-A, and Matt Barnes returned from the Futures Game to have a good performance against a team he has struggled with all year. 
After an impressive first few starts with the PawSox, Zach Stewart was hit hard by the Buffalo Bisons (NYM), as Pawtucket fell 8-2. After allowing four runs in his first three starts with the team, Stewart allowed five runs in only 3.2 innings. He gave up eight hits and walked three, though he did double his strike out total with five in the game. After originally being listed as day-to-day after fouling a ball of his leg on Friday, Jose Iglesias made the start and went 2 for 5 with a double. He is now batting .297 in July.

In what was most likely his second-to-last rehab start, Carl Crawford went 2 for 5 and scored a run. In all, Crawford has hit .306 with a .432 on-base percentage across three levels on his rehab assignment. Juan Carlos Linares hit a sacrifice fly in the third and a solo home run in the eighth to account for both of Pawtucket's runs.
Stolmy Pimentel took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and the Portland bats were hot in a 9-1 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR). After giving up 13 runs in his previous 21 innings against the Fisher Cats this season, Pimentel was dominant, allowing only three base runners over 7.0 innings while striking out six. Pimentel has been wildly inconsistent this season, but starts like this show why the Red Sox have him on the 40-man roster. All-Star Aaron Kurcz threw 2.0 hitless innings in relief while striking out three.

Portland's bats gave Pimentel more than enough run support, collecting 18 hits on the day. Marquez Smith led the way, going 4 for 5 with a home run, while Jackie Bradley Jr. snapped an 0 for 18 skid by going 2 for 4 with a double and a walk to get his on-base percentage back over .400 in Double-A. Reynaldo Rodriguez, Dan Butler, Pete Hissey, Derrick Gibson, and Zach Gentile all had multi-hit days as well for the Sea Dogs.
Matt Barnes was able to get back on track, but Salem was shutout by the Lynchburg Hillcats (ATL), 1-0. Barnes, who has struggled with the Hillcats all season, finally turned things around, allowing one run over 5.0 innings, walking two and striking out four. The lone run came in on a second inning sacrifice fly. There was a scary moment in the second inning, as Xander Bogaerts was hit in the face with a throw while attempting to break up a double play. While he did require stitches, Alex Speier of WEEI.com reported that Bogaerts should be okay in a couple of days.
Thanks to a lockdown outing from its bullpen, Greenville was able to defeat the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY), 9-6. The Drive jumped out to an early lead when Jordan Weems roped a two-run double in the second inning, and came in to score a couple plays later on a fielding error. Drive starter Jason Garcia was cruising until the fourth, when he allowed six runs on three hits and three walks. The Drive came back and tied the game in the sixth thanks to a two-run home run from Henry Ramos and an RBI single from Jose Vinicio. They followed the same pattern in the seventh, scoring three runs on a two-run home run from David Renfroe and an RBI single from Blake Swihart

After Garcia was pummeled, it figured to be a long night for Drive pitching, but the trio of Kevin Brahney, Tyler Lockwood, and Nathan Striz combined to allow only four base runners in the final 5.1 innings, while striking out four. Renfroe and Swihart each went 3 for 4 with two runs scored, while Ramos and Garin Cecchini added two hits apiece. 
While the Drive bullpen shined, the Lowell bullpen had a much tougher day, as the Spinners lost to the Staten Island Yankees (NYY), 12-4. Pat Light made his second start, and threw 2.0 innings allowing one run on four hits, walking none and striking out three. It was all downhill from there for the Spinners, as Zachary Good gave up six runs in 1.2 innings, due in large part to the six batters he walked. Tyler Wilson had a rough day out of the bullpen as well, allowing four runs in 4.0 innings.

The top of the Lowell lineup was responsible for five of the seven hits, as leadoff man Dreily Guerrero went 3 for 5 with a double and Deven Marrero went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk. Marrero is now batting .353 over his last eight games. 
Kolbrin Vitek doubled in his first game action since May 21st, but Frank Montas did not make it out of the first inning in a 4-2 loss to the GCL Twins (MIN). Vitek, who has missed time with an intercostal strain, went 1 for 3 with a double as the designated hitter. Montas, who had been dominant in his first four appearances, saw his ERA balloon from 1.38 to 3.29 after allowing three runs while only getting two outs before being pulled. The bullpen did not allow an earned run over the final 8.2 innings, with Sully Bonnelly leading the way with 3.0 scoreless innings. Tzu-Wei Lin went 1 for 3 with a walk. 
Player of the Night: Stolmy Pimentel allowed only two hits over 7.0 innings last night, leading the Sea Dogs to victory. Pimentel's ERA now sits at 5.37, which is a drastic improvement over his 9.12 ERA in Portland last season. While his strikeout totals still do not match up to his raw stuff, his walk rate in Double-A has declined by 24 percent this season. 

Photo Credit: Stolmy Pimentel by Dave Letizi