August 14, 2012 at 7:06 AM
8/14 Cup of Coffee: NESN picked a good night to showcase some of Pawtucket's top talent at its best, Rich Hill struggled in his first rehab appearance in the GCL, and the DSL Red Sox fell in the 15th inning after a thrilling comeback.
With the major league squad off, Pawtucket made the most of its opportunity to impress the NESN audience, beating the Buffalo Bisons (NYM) 5-1. Three pitchers combined for a four-hitter, as Chris Hernandez had his strongest start since his promotion to Triple-A. The crafty left-hander tossed 6.0 innings, giving up a run on three hits, walking one and striking out seven. Chris Carpenter pitched a perfect seventh inning to earn the win, his first since joining the Red Sox organization. Carpenter now has a miniscule 0.75 ERA in twelve appearances for the PawSox. Jose De La Torre finished off the win with 2.0 innings, allowing one hit and striking out two.
With the score tied at one heading into the eighth, the Sox offense broke the game open with back-to-back home runs - a two run blast by Mauro Gomez (pictured) followed immediately by a shot off the bat of Andy LaRoche. It was the 24th home run of the year for Gomez, putting him into a tie for second in the International League. Gomez finished the game 3 for 4 with a walk, run scored and three RBI.
Salem dropped its fifth straight, falling 4-3 to the Winston-Salem Dash (CWS). Miguel Celestino gave up two runs in 5.0 innings, and reliever Andrew Jones took the loss, allowing a pair of runs (one earned) in 3.0 innings of work. Drew Hedman and Adalberto Ibarra had matching lines, both going 2 for 4 with a double, as the Salem offense continues to struggle following a series of high profile promotions to Double-A.
Greenville mustered only five hits in its 3-2 loss to the Rome Braves (ATL). Mickey Pena took the loss in his second start since his return from the disabled list, giving up three runs on four hits in 5.0 innings, striking out four and walking three. Pena's record fell to an even 6-6 on the season, despite an excellent 2.61 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 4.59 K/BB ratio, each placing the Texan among the South Atlantic League leaders. Matty Ott, Dylan Chavez and Nathan Striz combined to throw 4.0 shutout innings to keep the Drive close. Thee offense faltered, however, as Keury De La Cruz's double representing the only extra base hit of the evening.
The first rehab appearance of Rich Hill as he works his way back from an elbow injury was the main story in the GCL Red Sox 7-3 loss to the GCL Rays. Hill, who was placed on the disabled list back on June 9, struck out the first batter he faced, but walked the next two to reach his pitch limit. Willie Ethington was unable to strand them, and gave up a run of his own in the second. Jose Colorado continues to swing a hot bat, going 2 for 4 with his first triple of the year, reaching base for the ninth consecutive game.
The DSL Red Sox dropped a stunner to the DSL Mets2, falling 9-8 in fifteen innings. After falling into a 7-2 deficit, the Red Sox scratched and clawed their way back, scoring two in the sixth, another two in the seventh, and tying it up in the ninth on a Roberto Duncan sacrifice fly that scored Robert Del Rosario. The teams matched zeros for the next five innings, but the Red Sox struck in the 15th. Ricardo Andujar singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A Manuel Margot single moved Andujar to third, where he scored on a wild pitch to give the Sox their first lead since the top of the first inning. However, the joy was short lived, as the Mets scored two in the bottom of the inning to walk off with the victory.
Not to be forgotten in the loss was the outstanding relief work of German Tavarez and Leonel Vazquez to allow the Red Sox to get back into the game. Tavarez tossed 4.0 innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit while striking out two and walking a pair. Vazquez followed with 3.0 scoreless innings of his own, striking out four and walking two. Alixon Suarez continues to pace the Red Sox offense. The All-Star catcher went 3 for 6 with a HBP, double, triple, one RBI and two runs scored, bringing his season line to .285/.402/.460. Margot is rebounding from a July swoon, going 3 for 7 with a double and a pair of runs scored.
Player of the Day: Mauro Gomez has led the Pawtucket offense for much of the season, and he wins top player recognition for the second consecutive day. Getting the start at designated hitter, he went 3 for 4, driving in three of the PawSox five runs, two of which came on an eighth inning home run. Gomez's .597 SLG now leads the International League by 60 points, and his .369 OBP puts him seventh. He also leads with a .311 batting average, places second with 24 home runs, and third with both 32 doubles and 71 RBI.
Photo credit: Mauro Gomez by Kelly O'Connor