May 12, 2013 at 8:06 AM
5/12 Cup of Coffee: Two PawSox pitchers dominated on Saturday, while the Sea Dogs wasted a strong start from Matt Barnes. Salem lost a back-and-forth slugfest in walk-off fashion, but the Drive were on the right side of a walk-off victory in Greenville.
Rubby De La Rosa and Chris Hernandez combined on a two-hit shutout, as the PawSox beat the Charlotte Knights (CHW), 4-0. After walking two batters in the first inning, De La Rosa settled down, retiring 11 of the last 12, including striking out the side in the second and fourth innings. In all, he tossed a season-high 71 pitches in four innings, allowing only one hit and striking out seven. He has not allowed a run in his last 14 innings, while walking four and striking out 19 in that span.
Hernandez was equally impressive in relief, allowing only one baserunner and striking out five over five innings. Hernandez, working as a piggy-back starter for the third time this season, has had good success since moving to the bullpen on May 2. In three appearances he has surrendered only two runs in 11 innings, while improving both his strikeout-to-walk ratio and groundball-to-flyball ratio.
The PawSox were led on offense by Mark Hamilton, who went 2 for 4 with two solo home runs, his fifth and sixth of the season. Bryce Brentz went 2 for 4 with a double, but had to leave the game after appearing to injure his hamstring in the top of the eighth. He was attempting to score from second on a Brock Holt single, but had to retreat back to third base and was tagged out.
The Sea Dogs could not hold onto a late lead, wasting a strong start from Matt Barnes, as they fell to the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN), 5-4. The Sea Dogs were able to give Barnes an early cushion, as they scored four times in the first three innings off Twins prospect Alex Meyer. Tony Thomas tripled in Xander Bogaerts in the first, and Christian Vazquez laced a two-run single in the third on a soggy night in New Britain.
Ever since the calendar turned to May, Barnes has been nearly unhittable. He went five innings on Saturday, allowing only one run on three hits in five innings, while walking three and striking out seven. His lone blemish came on a solo home run in the second. Barnes has allowed two runs in his 17 May innings, giving up only 11 hits and striking out 21. This was the turnaround Barnes was looking for after a shaky April.
But Barnes was denied his third straight win after the bullpen lost the lead. Daniel Bard walked four and threw two wild pitches while recording only two outs, and Miguel Celestino gave up three runs in 2 1/3 innings, including a go-ahead two-run home run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Bogaerts went 2 for 3 with two walks, and he is now batting .310/.429/.621 in his last eight games.
It was a back-and-forth game for Salem, as the Red Sox ultimately fell to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX), 9-8. Henry Owens had his first poor start of the season, allowing eight runs, six earned, in 3 1/3 innings. He gave up five runs before recording an out in the first inning, as the Pelicans clubbed a three-run home run and a two-run home run to take the lead. Owens committed an error to lead off the third inning, and the run eventually scored on an inside-the-park home run on a fly ball that was misplayed by the Salem outfield.
Noe Ramirez was able to quiet the Pelicans' bats, striking out six in 3 2/3 shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 2.66 in the process. Brandon Jacobs had his best game of the season, launching two home runs, and Blake Swihart and David Renfroe each had two hits and an RBI.
Henry Ramos' sixth-inning home run brought Salem within one run, and the team tied it in the eighth on a Sean Coyle sacrifice fly. The Pelicans answered right back, scoring a run in the ninth to walk off with the victory. Garin Cecchini had to leave the game after a pitch hit him in the shoulders and then hit his neck. However, he told Salem broadcaster Evan Lepler that he is okay and will be "hitting line drives tomorrow."
David Chester (pictured) hit a walk-off home run, as the Drive beat the Augusta GreenJackets (SF), 6-5. The GreenJackets could not stop Chester, with the first baseman hitting an RBI double in the first, a two-run double in the third, and then the walk-off home run in the ninth. He went 3 for 4 with eight total bases, four RBI and a walk. Cody Koback was frequently on base in front of Chester, going 2 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base.
Francellis Montas threw three solid innings, giving up one run, while striking out six. After Jeffrey Wendelken gave up four runs in four innings, Madison Younginer threw two perfect innings of relief, striking out five of the six batters he faced.
Player of the Day: David Chester's walk-off home run was the highlight of a busy night on the farm. Chester, a 33rd-round draft pick in the 2011 draft, is now batting .278/.381/.530 on the season, including a .379/.438/.897 line in his last eight games.
Photo Credit: David Chester by William Parmeter
Jim Crowell is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.
Jim Crowell is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.