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April 25, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Keury De La Cruz, Salem walk off with big win

4/25 Cup of Coffee: All three Red Sox affiliates in action Wednesday night played tight games at home, but only one team — the Salem Red Sox — sent fans home happy. The Sea Dogs and Drive came up short after falling behind early.


Just when you were starting to think — again — that nothing could stop Jackie Bradley Jr., 5 for 7 the last two games, the Pawtucket Red Sox and Buffalo Bison (TOR) got rained out.


In Portland, the Binghamton Mets (NYM) laid it on the Sea Dogs early, jumping out to an 8-0 lead after an inning and a half. Portland got most of it back, but the home team ultimately fell, 8-6, missing out on a series sweep.

Right-hander Kyle Kaminska got rocked, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings. Relief pitchers Pete Ruiz (two innings) and Miguel Celestino (2 1/3) held the Mets scoreless the rest of the way.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third baseman Michael Almanzar collected two RBI apiece to continue their torrid weeks. Bogaerts smacked his third triple of the season in the sixth inning, while Almanzar went 2 for 5 with a double to raise his average to .329.

Center fielder Peter Hissey (2 for 4) and designated hitter Tony Thomas (2 for 4, triple) also collected multi-hit games.


The Salem Red Sox did what their Double-A counterparts could not: complete a late-game comeback. Right fielder Keury De La Cruzs two-run double scored shortstop Nick Natoli, and third baseman Garin Cecchini, as Salem walked off against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC), 5-4.

With the hosts down 3-1, second baseman Sean Coyle homered to left to draw Salem within one. After left-hander Robby Scott, who ended up with the win, yielded a home run in the ninth to make it 4-2, left fielder Brandon Jacobs lifted a sacrifice fly to score Coyle. That set the stage for De La Cruz’s heroics.

Right-hander Kyle Stroup scattered nine hits and a walk in five innings, giving up three runs (two earned) and striking out three.

Cecchini reached base all five times he stepped to the plate. He went 2 for 3 with a pair of walks and reached on an error during the ninth-inning rally.


Frank Montas’ early-season struggles continued, as the Greenville Drive lost to the Lakewood BlueClaws (PHI), 7-5, after a ninth-inning rally of their own fell short. The right-hander struck out five, while giving up four runs on six hits in four innings.

The Drive were down 7-1 before they plated a pair on a two-run home run from right fielder Aneury Tavarez in the sixth. They then scored two more in the ninth on a Jordan Weems double and Dreily Guerrero sacrifice fly. Second baseman Mookie Betts, who hit a leadoff home run to get Greenville going, grounded out to end the game.

Not a single Drive player registered more than one base knock, but shortstop Jose Vinicio tripled for his lone hit.

Right-hander Madison Younginer struck out two in his scoreless inning of work.


Player of the Night: Keury De La Cruz, whose 2-for-4, two-stolen base night ended with a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth to push Salem by Wilmington for the team’s fourth win in five games. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound right fielder has managed a hit in all but one of Salem’s games this season, including a current four-game stretch in which he is 6 for 16 with four doubles and eight RBI. De La Cruz is ranked 17th overall on SoxProspects.com, third among outfielders.

Photo Credit: Keury De La Cruz by Kelly O'Connor.

Tim Healey is a staff writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.