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July 10, 2013 at 7:36 AM

Cup of Coffee: Buttrey sharp for Lowell; Britton makes PawSox debut

7/10 Cup of Coffee: Pitching was the story of the day on Tuesday, as Boston's affiliates got several strong outings from some intriguing arms, particularly in the lower end of the system. Greenville and Lowell had stellar performances from their starting pitching lead them to victory, while Salem received top-notch work from its bullpen. The DSL squad found itself on the short end of a pitchers duel. Pawtucket continues to sputter, while the GCL squad continues to be interrupted by rain.


Pawtucket dropped its seventh straight (including Monday's suspended game completion), falling 6-1 to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI). Left-hander Drake Britton was on the mound making his much-anticipated PawSox debut. The lefty was solid though four scoreless innings but began to run out of gas, allowing five runs on five hits and a walk from the fifth on. In all, he made it through 5 1/3, giving up the five runs and a total of 10 hits, striking out five and walking just the one batter. A positive sign was Britton's ability to pound the strike zone, throwing 59 of his 85 pitches for strikes. 

Brock Huntzinger threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief, walking one and striking out three. The right-hander hasn't allowed a run in eight of his 10 Triple-A appearances. Britton wasn't the only pitcher to make his PawSox debut. Eric Niesen, signed earlier in the day from the independent Long Island Ducks, gave up a run on two hits in one inning. 

At the plate, Xander Bogaerts went 1 for 4 and is now 7 for 14 in his last four games. Mark Hamilton had a two-hit night, and his ninth-inning double was his first extra-base hit since being activated from the disabled list on July 1.


Salem held on for an 8-6 win over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX), pounding out 14 hits along the way. After a stellar three months at Greenville, Mookie Betts made his Salem debut. Starting at second base and batting sixth, Betts went 1 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Henry Ramos extended his hitting streak to 14 games, going 1 for 4 with a walk, an RBI and a pair of runs scored. Stefan Welch had his second straight three-hit night and has hit safely in six in a row, while Deven Marrero also pounded out three hits.

Starter Mike Augliera struggled, failing to get out of the second inning. While that might have put a major strain on the bullpen, Heri Quevedo fired 3 1/3 shutout innings, walking three, striking out two,  and picking up the win. Nate Striz pitched a perfect 1 1/3 to earn the save, striking out three of the four batters he faced.


Outstanding pitching and some late offense gave Greenville a 2-1 win over the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY). Cody Kukuk gave up a run on five hits in six innings, while striking out six and walking just one batter. The six innings were the most in Kukuk's professional career, and it was only the second outing of the season that he walked just one. Despite the outstanding effort, he left trailing 1-0. Austin Maddox came on and pitched a pair of scoreless innings in relief, striking out two. Maddox picked up the win when Keaton Briscoe hit a two-run homer in the eighth. Jeffrey Wendelken pitched a one-two-three ninth for his eighth save. 


Lowell never trailed in its 5-2 victory against the Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM). It was another excellent outing for right-hander Ty Buttrey (pictured), who allowed just one hit in five shutout innings, striking out three and walking one. Buttrey earned his third consecutive win and lowered his ERA to 2.79 in the process. Matt Maloney, making his way back from June 2012 Tommy John surgery, threw a scoreless inning of relief in his first rehab outing for the Spinners. The Lowell bats pounded out seven hits, including a pair by Kevin Mager. Aaron King went 1 for 4 and has now hit safely in all nine games since joining the Spinners. 


The GCL Red Sox had their game suspended in the third inning with a 1-0 lead over the GCL Orioles. It was the fourth time in July that the team has been forced to suspend a game due to rain. Randy Perez pitched three shutout innings before the weather hit. Wendell Rijo was 1 for 1 with a walk and a stolen base and scored the game's lone run. The game is scheduled to be completed on July 17.


It was a tough loss for the DSL Red Sox, who fell 2-0 to the DSL Athletics. Jose Almonte took his first professional loss, falling to 2-1 on the season. Almonte gave up two runs on three hits in four innings, with four strikeouts and a pair of walks. The bullpen combination of Javier Rodriguez and Wildyn Florian tossed four shutout frames, but the offense could not generate a rally. Two of the team's four hits came off the bat of Victor Acosta, and a sixth-inning single extended Franklin Guzman's hitting streak to five games.


Player of the Day: It has been an impressive run for Ty Buttrey, the fourth-round pick in the 2012 draft who got a $1.3 million bonus to lure him out of a commitment to the University of Arkansas. Buttrey allowed just one hit in five shutout innings, the third straight outing that he has pitched at least five innings and allowed two or fewer runs. Perhaps most importantly, he began to show an ability to miss bats, as his three strikeouts matched the total from his first three starts combined.

Photo Credit: Ty Buttrey by William Parmeter

James Dunne is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.