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June 6, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Behind long balls and pitching, affiliates sweep

6/6 Cup of Coffee: On the eve of the 2013 Draft, it was a former 23rd-rounder (Drake Britton) and former supplemental first-round pick (Henry Owens) who dazzled on the mound for Portland and Salem, respectively, as all four teams who played full games added to the win column.


A rehabbing Will Middlebrooks and the Pawtucket Red Sox fell behind early, but then chipped away and used a four-run seventh inning to propel themselves to a 7-4 win over the Charlotte Knights (CHI).

Middlebrooks (2 for 3, five RBI) had the big hit in the seventh, a go-ahead three-run home run to center to score Jonathan Diaz (single) and Drew Sutton (hit by pitch). Right fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker followed suit with a long ball of his own three batters later to make it 7-4.

The PawSox had previously scored single runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, two of which came courtesy of Middlebrooks. He singled to plate Sutton in the third, then Diaz come home on the third baseman's RBI groundout in the fifth.

Left-hander Chris Hernandez had an iffy outing, giving up four runs on 10 hits and two walks in 5 2/3 innings. Right-hander Pedro Beato picked up the win with his 1 1/3 scoreless frames, while fellow righty Alex Wilson went one inning for his first scoreless outing in three tries since returning to the minors.

Along with Middlebrooks, Diaz, Sutton and Hazelbaker all picked up two hits apiece.


Britton (pictured) was downright dominant for the Portland Sea Dogs, who scored in each of the first three innings to handily beat the Erie SeaWolves (DET), 6-0.

The 6-foot-2 southpaw had his best outing of the season to earn his fourth win. Britton threw eight scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk, while fanning eight and lowering his ERA on the season to 3.60.

Third baseman Michael Almanzar got the scoring started in the first inning with his only hit of the night, a homer to left to put Portland up 1-0. Catcher Matt Spring (double) and left fielder Kolbrin Vitek (single) each drove in a run in the second, then shortstop Xander Bogaerts collected a home run of his own in the third, a solo shot to left-center field.

Spring (2 for 4, two doubles, three RBI) extended the Portland lead to 6-0 when he doubled home J.C. Linares and Travis Shaw in the sixth.

Bogaerts, who went 2 for 4 Wednesday, is riding a nine-game hitting streak and four-game multi-hit streak. Since May 26, the start of the streak, SoxProspects.com's No. 1 prospect is slashing .485/.617/.970. He has 12 walks and eight extra-base hits versus just three strikeouts during that timespan.


The left-handed Owens turned in an impressive performance of his own, shutting out the Winston-Salem Dash (CHI) for five innings en route to an 8-0 Salem Red Sox win. Although he walked five, Owens yielded just one hit and struck out six for his first scoreless outing since April 23.

Salem didn't waste any time getting on the board, scoring four runs in the first inning to pull ahead and stay ahead despite the lack of a big blow. Garin Cecchini (groundout), Keury De La Cruz (single), Brandon Jacobs (double) and Henry Ramos (single) each earned an RBI in four consecutive at-bats in support of Owens, who had just escaped trouble in the top of the first.

First baseman Matthew Gedman's three-run homer in the third inning, his second of the year, made it 7-0. Ramos added a solo home run in the eighth inning to account for the 8-0 final.

Right fielder Felix Sanchez, Ramos and Gedman all had multi-hit games.


The Greenville Drive only got two full innings in before rain suspended their matchup with the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY). The game will be continued at 6:05 p.m. Thursday as part of a pseudo-doubleheader, according to the team.

Before the rain, center fielder Cody Koback doubled home second baseman Mookie Betts, who had also doubled, to put Greenville up 1-0 in the first. Right-hander Justin Haley struck out a pair in two scoreless innings.


First baseman Darwin Pena, designated hitter Franklin Guzman (2 for 5, double, RBI) and left fielder Juan Hernandez all picked up multiple hits.

Right-handed starter Yankory Pimental allowed two runs in his five innings of work. Ritzi Mendoza snagged the win with three scoreless innings of relief.


Player of the Night: Drake Britton, who, on the same day his rotation-mate Brandon Workman got called up to Pawtucket, made his own pitch for a promotion with eight shutout innings in a 6-0 win over Erie. He struck out eight while allowing just two baserunners (one walk and one hit) in his strongest and longest start of the year. The 24-year-old Waco, Texas, native has given up one earned run in his last three starts combined, fanning 20 batters in 18 innings since May 25 — about on par with his season average (8.86 K/9).

Photo Credit: Drake Britton by Kelly O'Connor.

Tim Healey is a staff writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.