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September 2, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Cup of Coffee: PawSox clinch playoff birth and Cuevas makes history

9/2 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox won the Wild Card for the second consecutive year, Stolmy Pimentel ended his season on a high note, and William Cuevas put an exclamation point on his dominant season. 
Nelson Figueroa threw 8.0 shutout innings, and Dan Butler connected for two home runs as the PawSox beat the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (NYY) 2-0 to clinch the International League Wild Card spot. Figueroa was brilliant, allowing only five baserunners and striking out six on his way to his 12th win of the season. Butler provided all the offense, blasting a solo home run in the sixth and seventh innings to put the PawSox on top. Josh Fields pitched a perfect ninth to earn his fourth save and keep his Triple-A ERA at zero over 12.2 innings. 

The PawSox have two more games against the Yankees to finish up the season, and then start a playoff series against the team on Wednesday at McCoy Stadium. 
Stolmy Pimentel finished his season strong, leading the Sea Dogs to a 6-1 victory over the Reading Phillies (PHI). Pimentel improved to 5-0 at home, tossing 6.0 innings and allowing one hit and two walks while striking out six. After going 0-9 with a 9.12 ERA in Double-A last season, Pimentel turned it around in 2012, with an ERA of 4.59 over 115.2 innings. After struggling again in the first half of the season, Pimentel was great in the second half, allowing only 39 hits in 54.0 innings after the All-Star break, with an ERA of 3.17. 

The Sea Dogs provided more than enough offense for Pimentel, with Zach Gentile's three-run double accounting for most of the damage. Ronald Bermudez, who came into the game for Jackie Bradley Jr. after he tweaked his ankle, went 3 for 3 with three RBI singles. Gentile went 3 for 4 with a double and a stolen base, and Xander Bogaerts went 2 for 4 while also committing his fourth error in Double-A. 
Matt Barnes had his final start of the season cut short due to rain, and the Winston-Salem Dash (CWS) beat Salem, 8-1. Barnes allowed one run on two hits in 3.0 innings before the game was delayed due to rain. Manny Rivera took over after the rain delay, and was hit for five runs in only 3.0 innings. Salem got its lone run in the fourth when David Chester singled home Brandon Jacobs, but that was not nearly enough to keep up with Courtney Hawkins and the Dash. Chester went 2 for 4 while Jacobs went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. 
The Drive blew an early lead, but came back to beat the Hickory Crawdads (TEX), 7-6. The Drive got run-scoring singles from Blake Swihart and Jordan Weems on their way to a four-run first inning. The Crawdads chipped away against Noe Ramirez, and eventually tied the game at four. Ramirez allowed four runs in 5.2 innings, walking one and striking out seven. The Crawdads took a 5-4 lead in the top of the seventh, but the Drive rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning as Cody Koback hit an RBI double, stole third, and scored after catcher Jorge Alfaro's throw sailed into left field. 

The Drive added a much needed insurance run in the eighth when Weems singled home Boss Moanaroa to take a two-run lead. The Crawdads scored a run in the ninth, but Nathan Striz got a huge strike out with runners on second and third to end the game. Weems and Moanaroa each had three hits to lead the Drive. 
William Cuevas (pictured) made history on Saturday, but the Spinners fell to the Tigers (DET), 1-0. Cuevas, who pitched 6.0 shutout innings while striking out nine, set the Spinners record for lowest ERA in a season. Cuevas' 1.40 ERA bested Kyle Weiland's 1.50 ERA from 2008. Unfortunately, the Spinners could not provide any offense for Cuevas, as they managed only three hits on the day. The Tigers scored their lone run on a seventh-inning sacrifice fly, and that proved to be the difference. 
Player of the Night: William Cuevas finished the season allowing only 12 runs in 77.1 innings of work. His peripheral stats were solid as well, as he struck out 72, walked 15, and allowed only 55 hits on the season. The 21-year-old, who was signed out of Venezuela back in 2008, spent three years in the Dominican Summer League, but has had a lot of success since coming stateside last year. He is slated to open next year in the rotation in Greenville .

Photo Credit: William Cuevas by William Parmeter