July 4, 2013 at 8:00 AM
7/4 Cup of Coffee: Most people will wait until Thursday to celebrate the Fourth of July, but much of the Red Sox farm system got the fireworks started a day early. The six teams able to play complete games — five of which came out victorious — scored a combined 47 runs, with three of those squads (Pawtucket, Salem, and Lowell) reaching double digits.
The Pawtucket Red Sox came out on top in a high-scoring affair, beating the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY), 11-5, behind a historic performance from Will Middlebrooks.
Handling designated hitter duties for the night, Middlebrooks finished 4 for 5 with two homers, one double and eight RBI, tying a PawSox record. Both of his long balls — a three-run shot in the fourth, followed by a grand slam in the fifth — came with two outs. He preceded the feat with a third-inning double to score Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley also put one over the fence, the third time he has done so in two days, as a part of his 2-for-4, three-run effort. First baseman Alex Hassan went 2 for 4 (double) with a pair of RBI and two runs scored.
The offense was enough for right-hander Alfredo Aceves, who was mediocre but came away with a win. He gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks, while fanning only two RailRiders in five innings of work. A trio of right-handers — all-star Anthony Carter (two innings), Chris Martin (one inning) and Jose De la Torre (one inning) — pitched well in relief.
Xander Bogaerts was just 1 for 4 with a walk, but played third base for the first time in Triple-A.
Third baseman Garin Cecchini continued the torrid start to his Double-A career, going 3 for 4 with a homer, a double and three RBI to help the Portland Sea Dogs to a 7-0 victory over the Trenton Thunder (NYY).
Cecchini’s third-inning home run highlighted a three-inning stretch in which Portland scored six runs. He added an RBI double in the fourth to cap the three-run inning.
Drake Britton wasn’t dominant, but he got the job done. The left-hander struck out four, while scattering seven hits and three walks in seven shutout innings to set the table for right-hander Miguel Celestino, who pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
Right fielder Peter Hissey (2 for 5) and center fielder Shannon Wilkerson (2 for 4) also posted multi-hit games, while catcher Christian Vazquez contributed an RBI double as his lone base knock.
A wild Carolina League affair that featured nine runs in the first inning and a half ended with Salem 's 14-6 victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX).
Right fielder Henry Ramos had the biggest blow during a four-run second, driving a single to right to plate catcher Tim Roberson and center fielder Cody Koback to narrow Salem’s deficit to 5-4.
The Red Sox tied it at five on Ramos’ sacrifice fly in the fourth, then blew it open with a combined nine runs in the final two frames. Left fielder Brandon Jacobs’ two-run double punctuated a five-run eighth inning, while designated hitter Keury De La Cruz put it away with a two-run home run in the ninth.
Seven different Red Sox contributed two hits apiece, and the other two starters, third baseman Stefan Welch and first baseman Matthew Gedman, each walked twice. Ramos led the way with four RBI, followed by De La Cruz with three and Jacobs with two.
Right-hander William Cuevas settled down after yielding five runs in the opening frame. He went six innings, striking out six and giving up just those five runs on nine hits and two walks.
Despite second baseman Mookie Betts’ two-hit game and left-hander Cody Kukuk’s zero earned runs in five innings, the Greenville Drive fell, 4-2, to the Lexington Legends (KC).
Right fielder Drew Turocy and left fielder Kevin Heller bookended seven mostly hapless innings with RBI singles in the first and ninth, respectively, to account for Greenville’s offense.
Kukuk, meanwhile, struck out seven, while allowing a lone unearned run on three hits and two walks. Right-hander Gerardo Olivares absorbed the loss after giving up three runs (all earned) in three innings.
The Lowell Spinners hosted the Connecticut Tigers (DET) and came away with a 10-3 win behind the strength of Kendrick Perkins’ 2-for-5, four-RBI night.
All four of the left fielder's RBI came in the third and fourth courtesy of a pair of line-drive singles. Center fielder Manuel Margot (2 for 4, three runs scored) added an RBI double in the seventh, then came around to score on right fielder Aaron King’s third hit of the day, a line drive to center.
Right-hander Jamie Callahan’s third start of the season was an iffy one. His three runs allowed on five hits and a walk limited him to 4 2/3 innings. Fellow righty Carlos Pinales picked up the win with 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
Rain suspended the GCL Red Sox’ 3-3 contest with the GCL Orioles in the bottom of the sixth with the Red Sox threatening.
Before the weather interfered, catcher Alixon Suarez and third baseman Jantzen Witte each collected an RBI. Left-hander Randy Perez walked seven and allowed three runs on one hit in three innings.
The DSL Red Sox beat the DSL Dodgers, 3-2, in a game called off before the host Dodgers could get their last licks. The contest ended in the top of the ninth due to rain.
Pinch-hitter Isaias Lucena’s RBI double in the ninth proved to be the difference. First baseman Darwin Pena also had an RBI base knock in the ninth.
Southpaw Javier Rodriguez was credited with the win after two scoreless innings of relief.
Player of the Night: Will Middlebrooks, whose 4-for-5 night powered the PawSox to an 11-5 win. His three extra-base hits — a double and two homers — were good for eight RBI, tying a team record in what was by far his best game since his demotion last week. Middlebrooks now has four homers since getting demoted to Triple-A, and all four long balls have come in his last three games. He is hitting .333 (10 for 30) and is getting on base at a .375 clip since his return to the PawSox.
Photo Credit: Will Middlebrooks by Kelly O'Connor.
Tim Healey is a staff writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.