June 15, 2013 at 7:00 AM
6/15 Cup of Coffee: The Pawtucket Red Sox produced back-to-back walk-off wins in a doubleheader led by a cast that included newly promoted shortstop Xander Bogaerts (pictured), while Salem split its doubleheader Friday. Greenville and Portland fell by a combined four runs, and the DSL Red Sox continued their hot start.
Friday's doubleheader against the Buffalo Bisons (TOR) at McCoy Stadium had no shortage of story lines, as two late-inning singles led to back-to-back walk-off wins for the PawSox, who won 1-0 in the first contest and 8-7 in the second.
With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Bogaerts stepped up to the plate for only the third time in his International League career. The Aruban rolled a groundball single down the left field line for his first Triple-A hit, then stole second base to set the stage for left fielder Alex Hassan, who won the game with a single to left field.
While Hassan's seventh-inning walk-off single proved to be the difference, it overshadowed a dominant performance from PawSox starter Allen Webster. The 23-year-old right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before surrendering a two-out bloop single. He finished the day with six strikeouts, one walk and two hit batsmen in six innings pitched.
In the day's second game, a nine-inning contest, the PawSox entered the ninth inning with the game notched at seven. After a pair of quick ground outs, designated hitter Mitch Maier drew a walk and advanced to second base on a single from Bogaerts. Next stepped up left fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker, who poked a groundball single to right field, his third hit of the contest, to score Maier for the game's winning run.
Also in the second game, right fielder Bryce Brentz belted a three-run home run, his 13th of the season. Brentz is now tied for fifth in home runs in the International League with three others, including Tampa Bay Rays top prospect Wil Myers.
The Portland Sea Dogs fell to the Akron Aeros (CLE) 6-3 Friday after giving up three runs in the final three innings of the contest. Heading into the top of the seventh inning, the game was knotted at three thanks to a solid performance from starter Keith Couch and a three-run fourth inning punctuated by a two-run single from Christian Vazquez.
Couch, who surrendered 10 hits in the game, struck out six and gave up two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of work. The Sea Dogs bullpen could not keep the game tied, however, as Rafael Perez and Pete Ruiz combined to give up three more runs in 3 2/3 innings of relief.
Salem was able to split its doubleheader against the Lynchburg Hillcats (ATL), taking the first game by a score of 4-1 and falling in the second, 7-0. Outfielder Keury De La Cruz, first baseman David Renfroe, and outfielder Brandon Jacobs led the offense for Salem by combining to drive in three of the four runs on three extra-base hits. De La Cruz, who batted fourth, went 2 for 3 with a home run, his fourth of the season.
Starter Kyle Stroup went the distance in the shortened game, picking up his fourth win on the year behind seven strong innings. He gave up only three hits and struck out five.
In the second game, Salem was unable to recover from a two-run top of the first inning by the Hillcats, eventually losing 7-0. Salem starter Mickey Pena gave up nine hits, two home runs and six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings pitched.
Unlike the PawSox, the Greenville Drive were unable to muster enough late-inning magic, falling in 12 innings to the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM), 2-1. After trailing 1-0 for most of the game, the Drive tied it up on an eighth-inning RBI ground-out that scored second baseman Mookie Betts. Betts continued his hot hitting, going 3 for 6 with a double and a stolen base, his 14th on the season.
Drive starter Jacob Dahlstrand went six strong innings before handing it over to the Greenville bullpen, who performed admirably despite being saddled with the loss.
The DSL Red Sox continued their strong start to the 2013 campaign Friday by picking up a 5-3 win over the DSL Royals. The five runs were a true team effort, as all nine starting position players, and the lone substitute, reached based in the game. The DSL Red Sox amassed only five hits, but collected 12 walks to move to 10-2 on the season. On the mound, five pitchers combined to give up only one earned run in nine innings. The staff gave up six hits, seven walks and struck out four, including starter Javier Rodriguez, who pitched three shutout innings.
Player of the Day: In his first Triple-A action, Xander Bogaerts showed that, although he is the youngest player in the International League at the age of 20, he belongs. In addition to figuring in both walk-off wins, Bogaerts collected his first home run with the PawSox by clobbering a 1-0 offering over the left field fence in the fourth inning of the second game. Playing in both games, SoxProspects.com's top-ranked player went 3 for 7 with two walks and one stolen base.
Photo Credit: Xander Bogaerts by Kelly O'Connor.
Luke Lavoie is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukeHoCoTimes.