July 16, 2013 at 7:40 AM
7/16 Cup of Coffee: While Boston and Pawtucket are off on their respective All-Star breaks, there was a lot of close action further down on the farm. Lowell took home a win on a walk-off error, while the GCL Red Sox were on the wrong side of a one-run contest. Greenville also got a win in its last at-bat in the completion of Saturday's suspended contest, before falling in its regularly scheduled meeting. The DSL Sox continue to roll, while Portland and Salem both struggled on the day.
Portland failed to get any runner as far as third base in a 5-0 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR). The lack of support dropped starter Mike McCarthy to 0-3 on the season, as the right-hander allowed five runs on five hits in his five innings of work. Noe Ramirez threw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, striking out three. It was the first time Ramirez did not allow a run in four relief appearances since his late June promotion to the Sea Dogs.
Portland had only four hits, and three came off the bat of a resurgent Derrik Gibson. In 10 July contests, Gibson sports a .444/.531/.630 line. Garin Cecchini did little to follow up on his impressive performance in the Futures Game, going 0 for 3 with a walk.
Salem was pounded by the Potomac Nationals (WAS) in a 9-4 loss. The Red Sox pitching could do little to stop a Nationals attack that saw 20 men reach base. Mike Augliera struggled, allowing seven runs (five earned) on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings. Normally a control specialist, Augliera walked three without striking out a batter. Gerardo Oliveras also struggled in his Salem debut, going 1 2/3 innings and giving up two runs on three hits. The Potomac offensive outburst overshadowed some strong Salem performances at the plate. Mookie Betts went 3 for 4 with a double and has barely skipped a beat since his promotion from Greenville. In seven games, Betts is hitting .333. Henry Ramos went 2 for 4 with a walk, and Matty Johnson added another two hits, while driving in a pair.
Impressive pitching and timely hitting led Greenville to a 2-1 victory over the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM) in the completion of Saturday's supsended game. With the score tied at 1-1 headed into the top of the ninth, David Chester led off with a walk. Keaton Briscoe pinch ran for the hulking designated hitter and promptly stole second base before advancing to third on a wild pitch. He then trotted home with what proved to be the winning run, as Aneury Tavarez ripped a triple into center.
A pair of Greenville arms combined to shut down Savannah across the two days. On Saturday, Luis Diaz tossed five innings of three-hit baseball, allowing one unearned run and striking out five without walking a batter. Francellis Montas took over as play resumed and was just as sharp, earning the win with four shutout innings. Montas gave up just three hits and did not walk a batter, while striking out four.
In the regularly scheduled contest, Greenville fell 7-4 to the Sand Gnats. 2013 has seen Cody Kukuk struggle with his control while remaining tough for South Atlantic League batters to hit. Monday night followed that pattern, as the big left-hander gave up just two hits in 5 1/3 innings while striking out six, but also walked three and gave up two wild pitches. In all, Kukuk allowed four runs (two earned) and fell to 4-8 on the season. Jeffrey Wendelken allowed a run in his inning of work, only the second appearance since the start of June that he has been scored upon. All eight of Greenville's base hits were singles. Three of those were by catcher Jordan Weems, who had been in a 4 for 31 skid since his last multi-hit game back on June 24.
Lowell continued to work its magic in one-run games, walking off with a 4-3 win over the Jamestown Jammers (PIT). The Spinners are now 9-4 in contests decided by one run and 11-5 at LeLacheur Park. Down 3-2 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, the red-hot Aaron King (pictured) lined a single to left field, the third time he had reached base in the contest. King raced to third on a single by Jantzen White, who deftly advanced to second base as the winning run on the throw to third. An infield single by Forrest Allday loaded the bases for Carlos Asuaje, who plated King for the tying run on a sacrifice fly to left. With two outs and the winning run on second base, Miguel Rodriguez hit a ground ball to third that could have sent the game into extra innings. However, the third baseman made an errant throw, allowing White to score the winning run all the way from second base.
King continues to lead the Lowell charge. The converted pitcher went 2 for 3 with a walk and has reached safely in 13 of his 14 games since being promoted to Lowell. Allday added another two hits for the Spinners. While Manual Margot's five-game hitting streak was halted, the center fielder walked, stole second, and scored the game's first run.
Sergio Gomez got the start, allowing two runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. striking out five and walking one. Gomez is off to a strong start in 2013, as he carries a 2.01 ERA through his first six outings. Matt Maloney pitched a scoreless 1 1/'3 innings of relief, as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. Carlos Pinales followed out of the bullpen, giving up a run on three hits in two innings, while striking out three without issuing a walk. Eighteenth-round pick Joe Gunkel pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to earn his second win in three professional appearances.
The GCL Red Sox were on the opposite end of a one-run contest, falling 4-3 to the GCL Rays. Brian Johnson made his second rehab start, retiring all nine batters he faced, while striking out four. Randy Perez took his first loss of the season, giving up four runs on six hits in four innings. A cast of high school draftees in the outfield provided most of the offense for the Sox. Joseph Monge went 2 for 4 with a pair of runs scored, Bryan Hudson drove in a run with a sixth-inning single and another on a sacrifice fly, while Jordan Austin walked three times, raising his on-base percentage to .452.
The first-place DSL Red Sox moved to 22-11 on the year with a 5-1 win over the DSL Indians. Dedgar Jimenez continued his run of excellent pitching and was able to earn his first professional victory. The left-hander gave up just one run on three hits in a career-high six innings, lowering his ERA to 2.03. He also reached a career best with seven strikeouts and walked just one. Daniel Gonzalez was near-perfect in relief, allowing just one hit in three scoreless innings. The Basabe twins led the way on offense, combining for four of the five Red Sox runs. Luis Alexander Basabe scored a pair, going 1 for 3 with a pair of walks. His fifth-inning double scored Luis Alejandro Basabe, who also went 1 for 3 with two runs scored and a double of his own.
Player of the Day: Aaron King has been quite a find for the Red Sox. Signed out of Lancaster of the independent Atlantic League after converting from the pitcher's mound to the outfield, King has reached base in all but one of his 14 games for the Spinners. Splitting his time between left and right field, he is carrying an impressive .346 /.414/.423 line.
Photo Credit: Aaron King from milb.com
James Dunne is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.
James Dunne is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.