May 3, 2013 at 7:53 AM
5/3 Cup of Coffee: It was a split result on the day for Red Sox affiliates. Pawtucket cruised, while Portland continued to roll. On the other side, Salem dropped an extra-innings thriller, and Greenville fell short.
Little went wrong for Pawtucket in its 10-1 victory over the Durham Bulls (TB). A week after his demotion, the embattled Alfredo Aceves got the start, his first minor league appearance in two years. The right-hander was sharp, scattering two hits across six shutout innings, striking out six and walking four, while picking up the win. Craig Breslow tossed a scoreless seventh as he continues his rehab, giving up two hits and striking out one. Following five starts, Chris Hernandez made his first appearance of the season out of the bullpen, allowing a run on three hits in two innings. Hernandez may continue to work in a piggyback role behind Aceves.
The offense delivered a 13-hit attack, with five players delivering two-hit performances. Jackie Bradley, Jr. brought his average back to .300 with his second consecutive multi-hit game, going 2 for 4 with a walk and a run scored. Justin Henry and Brock Holt also reached base three times, both delivering two hits and a walk, with Holt driving in three, scoring two and stealing a base. The other two-hit games belonged to Ryan Lavarnway, who added a double, and Jeremy Hazelbaker, who extended his hitting streak to nine games. With a double, Bryce Brentz has an extra-base hit in four consecutive games, and seven in his last 10.
Portland held on for a 7-4 win in another morning matchup against the Reading Fighting Phils (PHI). Anthony Ranaudo was excellent once again. After needing 27 pitches to finish the first inning, Ranaudo settled in, retiring eight in a row at one point. The April SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Month held Reading scoreless through five, before allowing a solo home run with one out in the sixth, the first he has allowed in 2013. In his final line, Ranaudo gave up just the one run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings, raising his ERA to an even 1.00, and moving to 4-0 on the year. He struck out four and walked one, throwing 58 of his 85 pitches for strikes.
The bullpen struggled some in relief of Ranaudo, but held on for the win. Keith Couch gave up two runs on three hits in 2 2/3 innings, striking out three without issuing a walk. Daniel Bard came on for the ninth, and could not find his control, with a strikeout sandwiched between a pair of walks. Bard also threw two wild pitches. Brock Huntzinger was summoned to get the last two outs, recording his sixth save of the year.
A big night by Xander Bogaerts led the Portland bats. Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to seven games with a first-inning home run that gave Portland a lead that it would never relinquish. The shortstop added an RBI double in the third, finishing the night 2 for 5. Travis Shaw had two more walks, extending his season-long on-base streak to 24 games. Shaw leads the Eastern League with 25 free passes. Christian Vazquez chipped in with a fifth inning solo home run, his second of the season.
It was a tough night for Salem, as they were unable to hold a 6-2 lead, dropping a 7-6 decision to the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC) in 11 innings. Starter Mike Augliera allowed two runs on five hits in five innings pitched, striking out four and walking two. A four-run sixth by Wilmington off reliever Nefi Ogando evened the score at six apiece, where it remained into the 11th. Matty Ott kept the game tied, tossing three shutout innings, but was removed after giving off a double to lead off the bottom of the 11th. Nate Striz relieved him, but a bunt followed by a sacrifice fly sealed the game for Wilmington.
The offense had several opportunities, compounding the frustration. Salem went 3 for 18 with runners in scoring position, leaving 14 men on base, including the bases loaded in the 10th. David Renfroe (pictured) led the attack, going 4 for 5 with two doubles, a walk, a RBI, and three runs scored. Blake Swihart and Henry Ramos both had three-hit games. Garin Cecchini extended his hitting streak to nine games with an eighth-inning single, and also added a pair of walks.
Greenville dropped its second straight to the Rome Braves (ATL), 7-4. The Drive continued to struggle to generate offense, mounting only six hits against Rome pitching, none for extra bases. Drew Turocy delivered a two-hit game for Greenville. Mookie Betts went 0 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored, continuing a strange run for the second baseman. Across Betts' last 10 games, he is in a 3 for 31 slide, but during that time he has compiled 14 walks and scored nine runs.
Justin Haley fell to 0-4 on the season, giving up five runs on three hits in three innings, striking out four, while walking three. Jeffrey Wendleken gave up a pair of runs on four hits in his three innings, and Braden Kapteyn tossed two scoreless to close out the night for Greenville.
Player of the Day: Salem was unable to hold on for the win, but that was little fault of David Renfroe. The first baseman entered the game mired in a 4 for 36 slump that saw his batting average dip below .200. He broke out on Thursday, reaching base five times, delivering a pair of doubles, and scoring three of Salem's six runs.
Photo Credit: David Renfroe by Kelly O'Connor
James Dunne is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.
James Dunne is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.