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May 31, 2013 at 7:23 AM

Cup of Coffee: Betts, Roberson shine, but Greenville falls in slugfest


5/31 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough night on the farm, as none of the affiliates could manage a win. Pawtucket took a tough loss in extra innings, Portland and Salem struggled at the plate, and Greenville lost in a slugfest.

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Pawtucket fell 3-2 in 10 innings to the Indianapolis Indians (PIT), who earned a split of the four-game series.  Steven Wright, starting for the PawSox, allowed two runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings, while striking out five and walking three. Wright was matched by old friend Kris Johnson, as the Red Sox top pick back in 2006 limited Pawtucket to a pair of runs in seven innings. The game remained tied due to the work of Pedro Beato, who threw 2 1/3 shutout innings, allowing only two hits.

Making his first appearance since being optioned from the major-league club on Wednesday, Alex Wilson took the loss. The right-hander pitched a scoreless ninth, but struggled when he returned for the 10th. After allowing a leadoff double, a single gave the Indians runners on first and third. The decision to issue an intentional pass to give the PawSox an out at any base worked intially, as Wilson induced a 4-2 putout with the infield in. However, with the bases still loaded, Wilson uncorked a wild pitch that Ryan Lavarnway could not contain, allowing Alex Presley to race home with the winning run for the Indians.

On the offensive side, Bryce Brentz went 1 for 4, driving in his team-leading 38th run with a fourth-inning double. Dan Butler went 3 for 4 and is 6 for 13 in his last three games, raising his batting average from .181 to .219. Ronald Bermudez also picked up a pair of base hits.

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A big second inning was Portland's downfall, as it fell 7-2 to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR). Drake Britton was unable to pitch around a Xander Bogaerts error to lead off the second, and New Hampshire used five hits, including three doubles, to put together a five-run inning. Only one of the five runs allowed by Britton was earned, as the left-hander gave up seven hits in five innings. Other than the second, Britton cruised through the New Hampshire lineup, striking out seven and walking only one. Bogaerts had a solid night at the plate, going 1 for 2 with a double, a sacrifice fly, and a hit by pitch. The shortstop is now riding a modest four-game hitting streak. 

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Salem had trouble stringing a rally together in its 7-3 loss to the Potomac Nationals (WAS). Garin Cecchini had his second consecutive multi-hit game, as the Carolina League leader in both batting average and on-base percentage went 2 for 4 with a run scored. Keury De La Cruz also went 2 for 4 and added his 17th double of the season, putting him second in the league. The biggest hit was a solo home run in the second inning by Carson Blair.

It was the first time since his first start of the season that Mike Augliera allowed more than three runs. The right-hander gave up four on six hits in six innings, falling to 4-2 on the season. Madison Younginer, promoted from Greenville earlier in the day, struggled in his Salem debut. He allowed three runs on two hits and two walks in 2/3 of an inning. Both of Younginer's outs came by way of the strikeout.

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A day after snapping its four-game losing streak, Greenville took a tough loss in an offensive battle, falling 9-8 to the Asheville Tourists (COL). Keaton Briscoe, a 24th-round pick in the 2012 draft out of British Columbia, mashed his first professional home run. The fourth-inning solo blast gave Greenville a 7-3 lead, which it was unable to hold. 

The start for pitcher Brian Johnson was a mixed bag. Johnson gave up three runs on seven hits in only four innings, raising the right-hander's ERA back above 4.00. However, only one of those seven hits went for extra bases, and Johnson struck out five, while walking only one. Yunior Ortega took the loss in relief, allowing six runs on seven hits in three innings. Gerardo Olivares struck out four in two shutout innings.

Mookie Betts has not let the end of his 19-game hitting streak slow him down. Betts has a hit in each of the three games after the streak ended on Sunday. Last night, the second baseman went 1 for 4 with a double, a walk, and a pair of runs scored. Tim Roberson (pictured) led the offense with a 3 for 4 night, adding a double and a run scored, while driving in a pair. 

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Player of the Day: Originally signed as a catcher, Tim Roberson has seen most of his time at designated hitter and first base in 2013. His three-hit night on Thursday displayed what has been a surprisingly potent bat. After hitting .200 with only four extra-base hits in 2012 for Lowell, Roberson has compiled a .314/.329/.457  line since joining the Drive in early May. 

Photo Credit: Tim Roberson by Kelly O'Connor

James Dunne is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.

 
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