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July 24, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Butler's two home runs not enough for PawSox

7/24 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket was swept in a doubleheader, Portland slugged its way to a victory, and Salem was shut out in Potomac. The Drive got a walk-off single from Aneury Tavarez, and Wendell Rijo stayed hot in the Gulf Coast League. 


In the first game of a doubleheader, the PawSox fell to the Norfolk Tides (BAL), 9-7. Dan Butler (pictured) hit two home runs, which were surprisingly the only two extra-base hits for the PawSox in the game. Will Middlebrooks, Alex Hassan, and Jeremy Hazelbaker also added two hits, with Middlebrooks driving in two runs. Steven Wright was not sharp, allowing eight runs and 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings. The PawSox did most of their damage off Baltimore farmhand Zach Britton who has struggled in Triple-A this season. 

In the second game, the Tides easily dispatched the PawSox, winning 5-1. After reaching base twice in the first game, Jackie Bradley, Jr. reached base twice in the second game as well, going 1 for 3 with a walk. Drew Sutton and Alberto Rosario each contributed two hits to account for most of the offense. Chris Hernandez allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings, and Clayton Mortensen allowed one run in 2 1/3 innings. The PawSox faced an interesting trio of pitchers, as they were shut down by Freddy Garcia, Mark Hendrickson, and Manny Delcarmen.


The Sea Dogs prevailed in a back-and-forth contest, beating the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN), 8-7. Terry Doyle struggled in the first two innings, allowing five runs, but was able to settle down and pitch 7 1/3 innings for the Sea Dogs. He did not allow a run after the second inning and ended up striking out 10.  Bobby Lanigan allowed a run in the eighth and ninth to keep the game interesting, but he struck out Miguel Sano with runners on first and third to end the game. Sano had homered off of him in the eighth.

Ronald Bermudez got the big hit for the Sea Dogs, belting a three-run home run in the fourth to tie the game at five. Garin Cecchini, Michael Almanzar, and Tony Thomas all went 2 for 5, with Thomas adding two doubles and two RBI. 


Salem's bats were silenced, as it was shut out by the Potomac Nationals (WAS), 3-0. Miguel Pena pitched well for the Red Sox, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks in seven innings. Pena struggled initially after coming back from his suspension, but he has now given up only four runs in his last 20 innings. There was not much going on offensively for Salem, as the Red Sox had only three hits on the day. Deven Marrero went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk, and Mookie Betts went 1 for 4 with a triple. 


Aneury Tavarez's walk-off single lifted the Drive past the Lexington Legends (KC), 5-4. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Drive hit four straight singles to win the game. Mario Martinez's single tied the game, and then Tavarez drove in Jose Vinicio to give the Drive the exciting win. Martinez and Dreily Guerrero each went 3 for 5 with a double.

After Justin Haley allowed four runs, three earned, in five innings, the combination of Jack McGeary and Jeffrey Wendelken held the Legends scoreless over the last four innings. McGeary has yet to allow a run in his first three appearances in Greenville. 


A two-run sixth inning was enough to lift Lowell past the Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM), 2-1. Mario Alcantara delivered another strong start, striking out seven and allowing only one run in five innings. Dylan Chavez followed with two scoreless innings, and Kyle Martin pitched a scoreless ninth to notch his first save. 

The Spinners scored two runs in the sixth when Kevin Mager doubled home Tzu-Wei Lin and Aaron King to put Lowell in the lead. The Spinners only managed to put six runners on base in the game, but that was enough to back up the team's strong pitching. 


Wendell Rijo continued his recent hot streak, leading the Red Sox past the GCL Orioles (BAL), 3-1. Rijo went 2 for 3 with two doubles and a walk, and he is now batting .444 in his last 13 games. Nathan Minnich went 2 for 4 with a triple, and Jon Denney went 1 for 3 with a walk. Luis Ortega picked up the win, throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings, and Stephen Williams threw two shutout innings to earn the save. 


The DSL Red Sox were beat up by the DSL Rays (TB), falling 8-2. Carlos Garcia and Carlos Caceres each allowed four runs, with Garcia throwing the first five innings, and Caceres throwing the next 3 2/3. Victor Acosta went 1 for 3 with a home run, and Juan Hernandez went 2 for 3 with a walk. 


Player of the Day: Dan Butler hit two home runs for the PawSox, raising his season line to .264/.367/.472. With Ryan Lavarnway playing sparingly for the Red Sox, Butler has put himself in position to replace Lavarnway on the major league roster if he does not start to perform. Butler is a stronger defensive catcher than Lavarnway, and he has put up better numbers in Triple-A this season. Butler is already on the 40-man roster and could prove to be an adequate backup with David Ross still on the disabled list. 

Photo Credit: Dan Butler by Kelly O'Connor

Jim Crowell is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com