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September 4, 2012 at 7:21 AM

Cup of Coffee: Hee, Linares lead PawSox to dramatic win over Yankees in regular season finale

9/4 Cup of Coffee: The book on the 2012 season closed Monday for three of the Red Sox affiliates. Salem and Greenville both ended the year with victories, while Portland dropped its finale. The regular season also came to an end for Pawtucket, which beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to split its four game series. Pawtucket and Scranton will become even more familiar with each other, as the two clubs begin a best of five series in the International League semi-finals on Wednesday. Lowell, the only Sox affiliate with games remaining after Monday, took the loss.
In its final regular season tune-up, Pawtucket knocked off the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NYY), 6-4 in 12 innings. With Jeremy Hazelbaker on second and one out in the bottom of the twelfth, slugger Juan Carlos Linares drove a deep fly over the left field seats to close the regular season in stunning fashion. Linares also doubled in the game – his second back from the disabled list – to go 2 for 6 with two RBI and a run scored. Jon Hee (pictured) had a big afternoon for Pawtucket. At the plate, the shortstop reached base four times, going 3 for 5 with a walk and two RBI. Hee then took the mound to pitch a 1-2-3 twelfth inning, getting credit for the victory after Linares hit his walk-off. After beginning his Triple-A career 0 for 12, Bryce Brentz singled down the third base line in the second inning, and followed up with another base hit in the seventh. Brentz finished the night 2 for 5.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright made the start for the PawSox, allowing two runs (one earned) on only three hits in 6.0 innings, striking out four and walking three. Scott Atchison followed with the first appearance of his rehab stint, tossing a scoreless seventh inning. Brock Huntzinger made his second Triple-A appearance, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk in his 1.0 inning of work. Jose De La Torre and Josh Fields combined for 3.0 innings of shutout ball to keep the score tied until the heroics of Hee and Linares.

The win wraps up the regular season for the wild-card champion PawSox with a split of the four game series with the Yankees. Pawtucket will host Scranton to begin a five-game International League semi-final series on Wednesday night. Zach Stewart vs. John Maine will be the pitching matchup. 
Portland's season came to an end with a 7-3 loss to the Reading Phillies (PHI). Brandon Workman struck out six in 5.0 innings, allowing three runs on four hits. Chris Martin gave up a run on three hits in two innings to take the loss. Marquez Smith led the offense, going 3 for 4 with a two-run home run in the eighth inning. Top prospect Xander Bogaerts went 1 for 4 with a double, giving him an even 60 extra-base hits across two levels.
After a tough second half, Salem finished its season on a high note with a 9-4 victory over the Winston-Salem Dash (CWS). Keith Couch earned his 11th win of the year, allowing four runs (only one earned) in 5.0 innings, striking out five while walking two. The bullpen was dominant, as Mike McCarthy, Scott Swinson and Marco Duarte combined for 4.0 shutout innings of one-hit ball. David Chester, promoted last week from Lowell, helped lead the offense. The first baseman hit a fifth inning solo home run and drove in three in all, going 2 for 3 with a walk. Matty Johnson scored three times during his 3 for 5 afternoon, and Keury De La Cruz continued where he left off in Greenville, going 2 for 5 with a double and three RBI.
Despite only collecting three hits, Greenville took a 4-2 victory over the Hickory Crawdads (TEX) to close its season. Fourteenth-round draft pick Dylan Chavez earned his first professional victory, tossing 3.0 scoreless innings of relief, allowing only two hits and striking out five without walking a batter. Kevin Brahney had 3.0 shutout innings of his own, also striking out five. Tyler Lockwood gave up a run in 2.0 innings to earn his ninth save. Garin Cecchini entered the final contest sitting on 49 stolen bases. After a second inning walk, the third baseman was gunned down trying to rob second. He would get another opportunity, however, after another walk in the fourth inning when he nabbed his 50th base of the year. Cecchini then stole third as well to finish with 51 steals while getting caught only six times in 2012.
In the only game of the day that wasn't a regular season finale, Lowell dropped a 4-1 decision to the Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM). Frank Montas got the start for Lowell – his first after receiving a promotion at the end of the Gulf Coast League season. The flame-throwing right-hander tossed 3.2 innings, allowing one unearned run on five hits while striking out four and walking one. Francisco Taveras took the loss in relief, giving up three runs (only one earned) in 4.0 innings of work. Mike Miller went 2 for 4 with a double and Jake Davies also collected a pair of hits for the Spinners.
Player of the Day: In an exciting regular season finale, Jon Hee reached base four times and expanded his usual utilityman role by becoming the game-winning pitcher. It was the second appearance on the mound in 2012 for the 27-year-old Hawaiian, who also saw time at all four infield positions while splitting the year between Pawtucket and Portland. Hee became the 25th pitcher to get credit with a win for the PawSox in 2012, a list that includes twelve single-game winners.

Photo credit: Jon Hee by Kelly O'Connor