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July 16, 2012 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Spears blasts walk-off home run to lift Pawtucket

7/16 Cup of Coffee: It was a rough day for the affiliates, as only Pawtucket was able to come away with a victory, but the Sox were represented well in the DSL All-Star Game.

Nate Spears launched a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 14th to give the PawSox a 5-4 victory over Buffalo (NYM). Brandon Duckworth threw the first 5.2 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on seven hits. With the score tied at two in the bottom of the sixth, Che-Hsuan Lin hit a two-run double to give the PawSox the lead. Alex Wilson gave the runs right back, allowing a two-run home run in the top of the seventh. Daniel Bard, Mark Prior, and Clayton Mortensen combined to throw 6.0 innings of scoreless relief for the PawSox as the game went deep into extra innings.

With nowhere else to turn in the top of the 14th, the PawSox brought on third baseman Andy LaRoche, who was 0 for 5 in the game, to pitch. He threw a scoreless inning allowing only one hit, and picked up the victory thanks to Spears' heroics. Scott Podsednik led the offense with four hits, while Lin, Juan Carlos Linares, and Alex Hassan all had two hits.
A day after Stolmy Pimentel carried a no-hitter into the sixth, the Fisher Cats (TOR) returned the favor against the Sea Dogs, avoiding the sweep with a 5-1 victory. Chris Hernandez was let down by his defense as he allowed four runs in 5.0 innings, with only two of the runs being earned. Hernandez did not receive much offensive support either, as the Sea Dogs did not collect their first hit until Jackie Bradley Jr. hit an RBI single in the sixth. Portland's only other hit came on a Matt Spring double in the ninth, though six different players did draw a walk in the game for the Sea Dogs.
Greenville could not keep up with the hot bats of Charleston (NYY), falling 11-5. Charleston came out swinging, scoring six runs in the first two innings against Michael McCarthy. The Drive got back into the game with a four-run fourth inning, highlighted by a two-run single from Henry Ramos and a two-run double from Boss Moanaroa. The RiverDogs pulled away, scoring five times off Justin Erasmus to put the game out of reach. Moanaroa went 2 for 3 with a walk, and David Renfroe went 2 for 5 and scored two runs.
Lowell continued to struggle this season, losing to the Staten Island Yankees (NYY) 8-3. With two outs in the third, Matt Gedman committed an error to extend the inning. The Yankees took advantage, knocking a three-run home run off of Jacob Dahlstrand to take the lead. Aneury Tavarez led off the next inning with a home run, but the Spinners would ultimately leave the bases loaded, scoring only one run in the inning. Tavarez hit an RBI single in the sixth to bring the Spinners within one, but the Yankees scored two in the seventh and three in the eighth as they coasted to victory. Deven Marrero went 2 for 3 with two walks and two stolen bases, while Tavarez and Gedman each added two hits.
In the DSL All-Star Game, catcher Alixon Suarez shared MVP honors with the Blue Jays' Jorge Contreras, as the American League topped the National League, 6-3. Suarez started the game at catcher and had a two-run double in the second inning, his only at-bat of the game. Manuel Margot entered the game in right field in the sixth and grounded out in his two at-bats, while Keivin Heras threw a perfect seventh inning, getting a fly out and pair of groundouts.

Player of the Night: Even though Nate Spears only had one hit on the day, it was big enough to earn him Player of the Night honors. His walk-off home run helped the PawSox avoid a four-game sweep, and helped get Andy LaRoche his second professional victory. 

Photo Credit: Nate Spears by Dave Letizi