July 25, 2013 at 8:00 AM
7/25 Cup of Coffee: The Red Sox farm system saw a bit of a role reversal Wednesday, with the Sea Dogs and Spinners playing matinees under the sun, while the GCL squad played under the lights in Fort Myers. It was also a day featuring a pretty drastic split — the top three teams to play (Pawtucket, Portland, Salem) came away with wins, while the Lowell, GCL and DSL teams all lost at home after the visiting teams mounted ninth-inning rallies.
A balanced offense — with every starter getting at least one hit — and a strong outing from right-hander Rubby De La Rosa lifted the Pawtucket Red Sox to a 5-3 win over the Norfolk Tides (BAL).
The PawSox plated single runs in each of the first three innings. First baseman Alex Hassan (single) and shortstop Xander Bogaerts (homer) did the damage in the first two frames, then third baseman Will Middlebrooks scored on a wild pitch in the third.
Middlebrooks, 2 for 4, scored again after doubling in the fifth, and catcher Dan Butler put one over the fence in left-center field in the ninth to account for the 5-3 final.
De La Rosa pitched the first five innings, limiting the Tides to one run on three hits and three walks, while striking out three. After 41-year-old righty Jose Contreras tossed two scoreless innings of relief, fellow right-hander Anthony Carter pitched a perfect ninth for the save, his 15th for the PawSox this season.
Designated hitter Mark Hamilton and right fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker both went 2 for 4, with Hamilton picking up a RBI.
In a hot getaway day matinee, the Portland Sea Dogs emerged victorious over the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN), 3-1, thanks to a pair of eighth-inning runs.
Second baseman Ryan Dent led off the penultimate frame with a double, then scored two batters later when shortstop Heiker Meneses singled to left. Designated hitter Garin Cecchini singled Meneses to third before third baseman Michael Almanzar lined a sacrifice fly to left for the insurance run.
Almanzar also collected an RBI groundout to second base in the sixth inning to knot the game at one.
Right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (pictured) was strong, if inefficient, in his 5 2/3 innings while picking up the no decision. He gave up one run on four hits and four walks, and though he only struck out one New Britain batter, Ranaudo benefited from a pair of groundball double plays.
Noe Ramirez pitched the final two innings to notch the save, a one-out walk in the ninth the only blemish. The right-hander has thrown 6 2/3 scoreless innings over his last three outings.
First baseman Travis Shaw was the only Sea Dog to register multiple hits. He tripled — and got thrown out by several steps at home — on a long fly ball off the center-field wall in the second, then doubled off the right-field wall in the ninth.
Catcher Blake Swihart and third baseman Stefan Welch each went 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles, as the Salem Red Sox beat the Frederick Keys (BAL) in a 13-9 slugfest.
Salem fell behind, 4-3, in the fourth, but a seven-run rally in the bottom half of the inning put them ahead for good. Shortstop Deven Marrero, 3 for 6, collected his only extra-base hit and RBI of the night when his double scored center fielder Henry Ramos, who had also doubled. Two batters later, Welch came through with a two-bagger to plate a pair, and Swihart repeated the feat to drive him in.
The Red Sox tacked on three more runs in the fifth, two of them on Swihart’s double to center to score Marrero and Welch.
Right-hander William Cuevas worked around a four-run fourth to pitch into the eighth inning, which is when he ran into more trouble. He ended up yielding six runs on five hits and a walk, while fanning 10. It was the first time in 18 games this season he reached double-digit strikeouts.
First baseman Matthew Gedman and right fielder Matty Johnson (two doubles) also picked up two hits apiece, while Ramos drew three walks to supplement his 1-for-2 night.
Despite six innings of sharp relief from right-hander Simon Mercedes, the Lowell Spinners dropped a 3-2 decision to the Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM).
After southpaw Corey Littrell allowed one run — the first in four appearances during his professional career — on three hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings, Mercedes pitched into the eighth. Half of the four hits and two walks Brooklyn collected off Mercedes came in that eighth inning, as did the lone run he gave up.
Right-hander Taylor Grover was tagged with the loss after allowing one of the runners he inherited from Mercedes to score, as well as one of his own in the ninth. In all, he went 1 1/3, while walking two and giving up two hits.
The Spinners twice tied the game before falling short in the ninth. In the seventh, Forrestt Allday tripled and then scored on designated hitter Kevin Mager’s sacrifice fly. Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin drove in second baseman Cleuluis Rondon (2 for 3, double) with a single in the eighth.
The GCL Red Sox carried a two-run lead into the ninth, but the wild pitching of righty Oscar Perez and defensive miscues opened the doors for a five-run rally and, in turn, a 9-6 win for the GCL Rays.
Right-hander Keivin Heras got his team off on the right foot with 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk. He also struck out a pair. Perez came on in the eighth and gave up five runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks in 1 2/3 frames by the time his day was done.
Third baseman Aneudis Peralta sent a three-run double to left in the bottom of the eighth, a go-ahead blast that was all for naught after the ugly ninth. Designated hitter Danny Bethea’s 0-for-4 effort included a pair of RBI groundouts, while second baseman Deiner Lopez (3 for 4, double) also drove in a run.
In the Dominican Republic, the DSL Red Sox similarly carried a lead into the ninth. They, too, were on the wrong end of a late rally and lost to the DSL Astros, 3-2.
Righty Jose Almonte struck out two, while scattering six hits and two walks in five innings, allowing one run. Almonte, averaging about 4 1/3 innings per outing, has not allowed more than two earned runs in any of his eight starts as a pro.
Right fielder Franklin Guzman (2 for 4) was the lone offensive highlight, collecting both the only multi-hit game and RBI for the Red Sox.
Player of the Night: Anthony Ranaudo, whose 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball not only paved the way for a 5-3 win for the Sea Dogs, but also served as a relative return to form after a rough couple of weeks. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound right-hander had a tough go during brief appearances in the Eastern League All-Star Game and Futures Game earlier this month, then gave up four runs in 6 1/3 frames last Friday.
On a hot day in New Britain, Conn., however, Ranaudo pitched out of trouble whenever he permitted runners on base, using two double plays to his advantage. He also limited the Rock Cats to a 1-for-7 mark with runners in scoring position.
Ranaudo owns a 2.80 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 2.54 K/BB rate for Portland in 2013.
Photo Credit: Anthony Ranaudo by Kelly O'Connor.
Tim Healey is a staff writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.