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August 10, 2012 at 7:11 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bogaerts blast leads Portland in Double-A debut

8/10 Cup of Coffee: In his first appearance in a Sea Dogs uniform, Xander Bogaerts (pictured) homered to give Portland the victory. Elsewhere, the DSL Red Sox split a doubleheader as they try to make a playoff push, and Lowell continued its winning ways. 

Pawtucket fell into an early hole and could not claw back, falling to the Syracuse Chiefs (WAS) in a 6-3 decision. A Danny Valencia throwing error led to five unearned runs in the third inning off of Billy Buckner, who fell to 4-6. Andrew Bailey pitched an inning of relief as he continues to rehab and looked sharp, striking out two and giving up one hit. It was the second scoreless inning in as many days for Bailey. Daniel Bard followed, giving up a run on one hit and two walks while striking out one in his lone inning. Jose De La Torre added 2.0 shutout innings, striking out three. Nate Spears was the offensive standout, going 2 for 3 with a third-inning solo home run.
The Double-A debut of Xander Bogaerts could not have been scripted any better, as the 19-year-old shortstop led Portland to a 5-3 victory over the Akron Aeros (CLE). After being called up from Salem earlier in the day and finding himself hitting sixth in the Portland lineup, Bogaerts led off the sixth inning with a shot over the center field fence to break a 3-3 tie. Portland never relinquished the lead, and the blast made a winner out of Jeremy Kehrt, a fifth consecutive victory for the right-handed starter. Since the All-Star break, Kehrt is 5-0 with a 1.97 ERA.

Bogaerts finished the night 2 for 5, and a cast of his former Salem teammates pitched in. At the plate, Jackie Bradley went 1 for 4 with a walk and a run scored, while Travis Shaw also had a 1 for 4 evening, adding a walk and a double. On the mound, Ryan Pressly and Michael Olmsted each added 2.0 scoreless innings of relief to secure the victory, with Olmsted credited with his second save.
With Bogaerts moving on, Salem could not generate much offense in a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Mudcats (CLE). Yeiper Castillo had a strong start, tossing 6.0 innings, allowing a pair of runs on six hits while walking one and striking out seven. Andrew Jones took the loss in relief, giving up a run in his 3.0 innings of work. Heikier Meneses and Adalberto Ibarra had matching lines, both going 2 for 4 with a triple, but it was not enough, as Salem dropped the rubber match of their three-game series. 
Greenville's contest against the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM) was called after the first inning because of rain. The two will play a doubleheader this afternoon.
Lowell remained red hot, knocking off the Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM) 3-1 to win their eleventh in 13 games. Brian Johnson got the start and was again sharp, throwing 2.0 hitless innings, striking out two. The Red Sox second pick in the first round of the draft has yet to allow a run in 5.1 innings across his first three starts. Jacob Dahlstrand allowed just one run on three hits in 5.0 innings to pick up the victory, and Braden Kapteyn struck out four in his 2.0 hitless frames to earn the save. After falling in a 1-0 deficit in the sixth, the Lowell offense kicked in during the bottom of the inning. With one out, David Chester knocked a solo home run to even the score at one. Mookie Betts followed with a single, and Matt Marquis hit a two-run blast to give the Spinners the lead. Betts and Marquis both had three-hit nights for Lowell.
A ninth-inning rally for the GCL Red Sox fell short in a 7-6 loss to the GCL Rays. Jose Colorado and Miguel Rodriguez both had RBI doubles in a three-run bottom of the ninth inning, but it was too little too late. Matt Spalding had another solid performance on the mound, allowing one unearned run on three hits in his 4.0 innings of work, striking out four and walking only one. Cody Kukuk made his second relief appearance, giving up a run and striking out two in 1.0 inning. Rodriguez had two hits off the bench for the Red Sox, while Tzu-Wei Lin and Iseha Conklin both chipped in with a pair of singles. 
The DSL Red Sox dropped the first game of their doubleheader with the DSL Pirates1, 5-0. The offense was shut down by Pirates pitching, managing only three singles in the contest. Starting pitcher Randy Perez took the loss, allowing 4 runs on six hits in 2.0 innings of work.

Revenge was sweet in the nightcap, however, with the Red Sox emerging with the 2-1 victory. The offense again had its struggles, managing only four hits, but one of them was a two-run, sixth-inning homer by Alixon Suarez. Luis Ortega earned the victory. moving to 5-3 on the season by allowing just one run on three hits in 5.0 innings. Carlos Garcia and Leonel Vazquez pitched in with a scoreless inning apiece to hold on to the victory.
Player of the Day: Xander Bogaerts. On the evening the Red Sox top prospect is promoted to Double-A, his solo home run proves to be the game-winning hit. Adding to the excitement, Bogaerts is the fourth youngest player at Double-A or higher, following phenoms Jurickson Profar, Dylan Bundy and Bryce Harper.

Photo credit: Xander Bogaerts by Kelly O'Connor