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April 28, 2013 at 7:47 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ranaudo flirts with perfection in Portland victory

4/28 Cup of Coffee: Anthony Ranaudo struck out nine in a dominant performance, Garin Cecchini and Sean Coyle remained locked in at the plate, and the PawSox used a three-run ninth inning to send the Pawtucket fans home happy. 


Pawtucket rallied for three runs in the ninth, walking off with a 6-5 victory over the Columbus Clippers (CLE). In his first start since pitching in Boston on April 21, Allen Webster struggled with his control, walking three in four innings of work, and throwing only 42 of his 79 pitches for strikes. All of the walks came in a long first inning, but he was able to settle down and retire 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. He ended up allowing four runs on three hits, while striking out five.

Down 5-2 going into the eighth, the PawSox were able to cut the lead to two on an RBI double from Mark Hamilton. In the bottom of the ninth, singles from Drew Sutton and Justin Henry tied the game, and then Brandon Snyder drew a walk with the bases loaded to end it. Sutton went 3 for 3 with two walks, while Henry and Hamilton each had two hits. Jackie Bradley Jr. played right field for the second straight night, which leads one to believe that he would be called up if Shane Victorino needs to go on the disabled list.


Anthony Ranaudo improved to 3-0, as his dominant performance led the Sea Dogs to a 6-0 victory over the Trenton Thunder (NYY). Ranaudo retired the first 13 hitters of the game before allowing a one-out triple in the fifth. The runner was stranded at third after a strikeout and a fly out ended the inning. The only other hit he allowed was an infield single in the sixth. In all, Ranaudo went six innings, allowing the two hits, walking none and striking out nine, which represents a career-high. His ERA now sits at 0.83 in 21 2/3 innings this season. 

The big hit for Portland came in the fourth, when Shannon Wilkerson hit a three-run triple. Wilkerson went 2 for 4 with a walk, and Travis Shaw went 1 for 5 with a double to extend his on-base streak to 20 straight games. Xander Bogaerts has not played since April 24, but poster slyfox reported in our Forum that he is attending his sister's wedding. 


Garin Cecchini and Sean Coyle continued to have their way with Carolina League pitching, slugging Salem to a 7-2 victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats (ATL). Coyle singled to lead off the first, stole second, and scored on a Cecchini ground out. Cecchini added RBI triples in the third and fifth innings, and Coyle added a solo home run in the sixth. The duo combined to go 4 for 7 with three extra-base hits and two walks. Coyle is still winning the OPS battle this season, as his 1.159 beats Cecchini's 1.106 mark. 

Michael McCarthy received more than enough support from the offense, as he allowed two runs in five innings, while adding seven strikeouts. Noe Ramirez and Nate Striz continued their solid seasons in the bullpen, combining to throw four scoreless innings. Keury De La Cruz and Blake Swihart each went 2 for 4 with a double, and Swihart also threw out the only would-be base stealer. 


The Drive blew a two-run lead in the ninth, but recovered to win 5-4 in 10 innings over the Delmarva Shorebirds (BAL). Mookie Betts tripled and scored on a wild pitch to give Greenville a first inning lead. Betts later added his 18th walk of the season, and the second baseman has only struck out eight times on the year. Brian Johnson could not hold the Shorebirds, giving up two runs in the third. Those were the only runs Johnson would allow in four innings, and he walked two and struck out four.

The Drive reclaimed the lead in the sixth with doubles from Boss Moanaroa and Jordan Weems, and then added an insurance run in the eighth on David Chester's fourth double of the season. Jeffrey Wendelken, who had thrown four flawless innings of relief, allowed back-to-back doubles to put the tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth, and then a Betts throwing error allowed the run to score. In the bottom of the 10th, Drew Turocy walked and came around to score on an Aneury Tavarez single to win the game.  Chester led the offense, going 3 for 4 with two doubles, while Turocy went 2 for 4 with a double, a triple, and a walk.


Player of the Night: Anthony Ranaudo was dominant in his six innings of work, in what was arguably the best game for any Red Sox pitching prospect this season. After entering last season as the second-ranked prospect in the system, Ranaudo dropped all the way down to 15 after a season that was derailed by injuries and poor performance. He is climbing back up the rankings after every start, and he has statistically been one of the best pitchers in the minors this season.

Photo Credit: Anthony Ranaudo by Kelly O'Connor

Jim Crowell is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.