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August 15, 2012 at 6:28 AM

Cup of Coffee: A Workmanlike performance energizes Portland

8/15 Cup of Coffee: Brandon Workman made a nearly flawless Double-A debut as Portland reigned supreme on Tuesday evening. Pawtucket and the GCL Sox also pulled off victories, while Salem and the DSL Sox suffered late-inning collapses.
A seven-run fourth inning allowed the PawSox to be on the winning end of a slugfest against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NYY), 9-7. Billy Buckner picked up the victory for his 5.0 innings of work, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks while punching out two. The freshly promoted Josh Fields continued his early dominance at the Triple-A level, hurling 2.0 scoreless innings and striking out two. Daniel Bard added 0.1 innings of relief that could be only classified as ugly, allowing two runs on four walks. Pawtucket's major offensive blow came in the fourth, when Andy LaRoche smashed a two out grand slam that came as part of a seven run barrage. Mauro Gomez added an RBI double, and Juan Carlos Linares went 4 for 5 with two runs scored and an RBI to pace the PawSox offense.
Portland found the win column thanks to the sparkling debut of Brandon Workman (pictured) along with an offensive explosion, thrashing the Altoona Curve (PIT), 13-2. Workman twirled 6.0 scoreless innings in the start, allowing just two hits and striking out six to pick up the victory. While Workman was certainly the story, the Sea Dogs offense plated 11 runs in the first four innings as they looked to shine as well. Seven of the nine Portland starters had two hits apiece. Ronald Bermudez and Marquez Smith hit solo home runs, and Xander Bogaerts added a three-xrun shot of his own. Since being promoted to Portland, Bogaerts is 8 for 19 with two doubles, two home runs and four RBI. Travis Shaw and Christian Vazquez each added two doubles and two RBI in the blowout. 
Looking to break a five game skid, Salem looked promising early, but fell apart late as they dropped a 10-9 decision to the Winston-Salem Dash (CWS). Matt Barnes was superb in his 5.0-inning start, allowing just one hit and three walks while striking out three. Michael Gleason, Pete Ruiz and Will Latimer did not provide much relief in their combined 3.2 innings, allowing ten runs on nine hits and five walks. Michael Almanzar was 2 for 3 with two solo home runs and three RBI. Drew Hedman hit a solo home run in the sixth to expand the Red Sox lead to 6-0. Salem led 9-4 going into the ninth, after plating three runs in the top of the ninth. A wild bottom of the ninth ended on a two-out walk off RBI single that brought Salem's losing streak to six games. 
Greenville was shut down in a 5-0 loss to the Rome Braves (ATL). Henry Owens dropped to 11-5 after lasting just 1.0 inning, allowing three runs on three hits and two walks, striking out two. Kyle Kraus was impressive in relief, hurling 3.0 shutout innings, allowing three hits and punching out four. Keury De La Cruz and Cody Koback each had two hits to lead the Drive offense.
The GCL Red Sox clawed their way to a come-from-behind 7-5 victory over the GCL Rays (TB). Mario Alcantara was ineffective in his 3.2 innings of work, allowing two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out two. Cody Kukuk picked up his first professional victory thanks to his 2.0 perfect innings of relief, striking out three. Carlos Pinales added his first save of the season after a shutdown ninth inning. Finding themselves down 5-4 after the fifth, the Red Sox plated an unanswered run in the sixth, eighth and ninth on a Jose Colorado RBI single, Keaton Briscoe sacrifice fly and a Nathan Minnich sacrifice fly. Colorado was 3 for 4 with two doubles, a run scored and three RBI to lead the Red Sox offense. 
For the second day in a row, the DSL Red Sox lost an extra-inning heartbreaker to the DSL Mets2, 7-6 in ten innings. Luis Ortega tossed the first 5.2 innings for the Red Sox, allowing four unearned runs on seven hits, striking out three. Carlos Garcia dropped to 1-3 as he allowed three runs on seven hits and a walk in 4.1 innings of relief. Down 5-2 after six, the Red Sox plated three in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI single from Roberto Duncan and sacrifice flies from Robert Del Rosario and Aneudis Peralta. The teams remained tied until the tenth, when the Mets grabbed two runs in the top of the inning to take a 7-5 advantage. The Red Sox scratched out a run in the bottom half of the inning, but ended the game with the tying run on first. 
Player of the Night: Brandon Workman, who received the victory in his Double-A debut. Workman, 24,  was recently promoted from High-A Salem after going 7-7 with a 3.40 ERA in 20 starts. Even more impressive for Workman is his ability to miss bats, having struck out 107 in 113.2 innings of work in Salem. The 2010 draftee is impressive in his sophomore season after going 6-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 26 starts for Low-A Greenville last season. 

Photo credit: Brandon Workman by Dave Letizi