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April 15, 2013 at 6:47 AM

Cup of Coffee: Maier powers Pawtucket to extra inning victory


4/15 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket improved to 9-1 in an extra inning thriller, while Portland was edged in a close contest. Salem nipped Myrtle Beach, and Greenville was blanked by Lexington

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The PawSox continued their impressive start to the 2013 campaign, defeating the Rochester Red Wings (MIN), 5-2, in 11 innings. Jeremy Kehrt received the start for Pawtucket, hurling 3 2/3 innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, while striking out two.

Down 2-0 in the seventh, the PawSox tied the game on an RBI single by Drew Sutton. The game remained knotted until the bottom of the 11th, when Mitch Maier smacked a two-out, three-run, walk-off home run. Pawtucket originally trailed in each of the four games in the series against Rochester, but ended up sweeping the series by outscoring the Red Wings, 24-8.

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Unlike their Triple-A counterparts, Portland could not pull off an extra-inning victory, falling to the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN), 6-5, in 10 innings. Matt Barnes had a rough outing, lasting just 2 1/3 innings and allowing five runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out one. Keith Couch followed Barnes with 4 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit and two walks to go along with three strikeouts. The Sea Dogs got off to a quick start, plating a run in the first inning on an RBI ground out by Travis Shaw.

Down 5-1 in the fifth, Portland tied the game on a pair of RBI doubles by Shaw and Tony Thomas. The game remained tied until the bottom of the tenth, when Will Latimer allowed a game winning walk off single. Every member of the Sea Dogs lineup reached base at least once except for Kolbrin Vitek, who was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

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A ninth inning rally gave Salem a 7-6 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX). Mike Augliera received the start for the Red Sox, tossing five innings and allowing three runs on five hits with three walks. Down 4-0 in the seventh, Salem tied the game on RBI singles from Blake Swihart and Sean Coyle, an RBI double from Nick Natoli, and a sacrifice fly from Felix Sanchez.

With the game tied in the ninth, Myrtle Beach took advantage of two Red Sox errors to plate two runs in the top of the inning, taking a 6-4 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Salem staged a two-out rally, receiving RBI doubles from Coyle and Keury De La Cruz. A costly throwing error by the Pelicans right fielder brought home the winning run, allowing the Red Sox to walk off victorious. Coyle and third baseman David Renfroe led the Salem offense with two hits each.  

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Greenville's offense could not get into drive as they were blanked by the Lexington Legends (KC), 4-0. Cody Kukuk fell to 1-1 after hurling five innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on three hits and two walks, while striking out four. Jeffrey Wendelken provided three innings of scoreless relief, surrendering two hits and a walk, while striking out one. Mike Miller was 3 for 4 with a double to lead the Drive offense.

Player of the Day: Mitch Maier made his lone hit of the day count, hitting a walk-off three-run home run in the 11th inning of Pawtucket's 5-2 victory over Rochester. Maier, who had spent his entire career as part of the Kansas City Royals organization, is off to a solid start to his Red Sox career. The 30-year-old outfielder hit .346 in spring training before a wrist sprain set him back. Maier is not usually known for his power, as he hit just six home runs last year between Triple-A Omaha and Kansas City.

Photo credit: Mitch Maier by Kelly O'Connor

John Gray is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.

 
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