May 9, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Right-hander Doyle had his best game since his season debut, shutting out the Gwinnett Braves (ATL) for six innings, scattering four hits and two walks, while striking out five in the Pawtucket Red Sox’s 4-1 road win.
First baseman Mark Hamilton gave the PawSox a 1-0 lead when he singled in the first to plate second baseman Jonathan Diaz, who ended his night 2 for 4 with a walk. Center fielder Ronald Bermudez (3 for 4, two doubles) added a two-RBI single in the fifth to make it 4-0.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias, playing for the first time since he was pulled mid-game Saturday after not running out a ground ball, had one single in five trips to the plate.
The Portland Sea Dogs got similarly impressive pitching, first from left-hander Morales then from fellow southpaw Drake Britton, as they routed the Reading Fightin Phils (PHI), 10-4.
Morales, continuing to work his way back from a bulging disc, allowed two hits and fanned three in his two scoreless innings. In his first game since experiencing back soreness after his April 17 rehab appearance with Greenville, Morales threw 18 of his 24 pitches for strikes.
Britton, making what was technically a “relief” appearance for his first time as a Sea Dog and fourth time in pro ball, allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits in six innings. He struck out five to win for the third time in his last four decisions.
Portland came out swinging as soon as Britton entered the game, scoring 10 runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Left fielder Tony Thomas (pictured) had the big blow in the third, sending a fly ball to left to score shortstop Xander Bogaerts and right fielder J.C. Linares, doubling what had been a 2-0 Sea Dogs lead. Bogaerts (three RBI) collected his only hit of the night, a triple, to score a pair in the fourth. Thomas tripled him in two batters later, then designated hitter Michael Almanzar singled to score Thomas.
Center fielder Peter Hissey (3 for 5, two RBI) and second baseman Heiker Meneses (2 for 4) each posted multi-hit nights, but Thomas stole the show with his perfect night. He went 4 for 4 with two doubles, a triple and three RBI out of the five-hole.
Rain again threw a wrench into Salem’s plans, as it had its game versus the Carolina Mudcats (CLE) postponed. The contest will be made up as part of a Thursday doubleheader set to start at 11 a.m.
After a soggy couple of days down south, the Greenville Drive finally got a pair of games in against the West Virginia Pirates (PIT), but it didn’t go nearly as well as the Drive had hoped. The host Pirates took game one, 7-3, before Greenville’s six-run final inning came up just short in a 7-6 game two loss.
Left-hander Cody Kukuk got the start and the loss in the opener, giving up four runs on six walks and two hits in three innings. Right-hander Jason Garcia didn’t fare much better in the second half, and three Greenville errors didn’t help his cause. He yielded six runs (three earned) in 4 1/3 frames, giving up four hits and three walks.
Center fielder Cody Koback reached base four times on the day to go with his two RBI, and second baseman Mookie Betts went a combined 2 for 5 with a homer, a double and three runs scored. He also walked three times over the two games.
Betts’ final walk came in the midst of a two-out, six-run Drive rally in the top of the seventh in game two. But left fielder Drew Turocy, who started the inning with a walk of his own, grounded out with Koback as the would-be tying run on first to end the game.
Player of the Night: Tony Thomas, who raised his average from .248 to .274 with a perfect 4-for-4 performance (two doubles and a triple), as Portland trounced Reading, 10-4. The 26-year-old right fielder isn’t the most prolific of batters, getting on base at a .333 clip, but 19 of his 31 base knocks this season have gone for extra bases. He has now hit safely in four straight and eight of his last nine, a stretch in which he is batting .433.
Photo Credit: Tony Thomas by Kelly O'Connor.
Tim Healey is a staff writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.