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August 19, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Couch's dominance pushes Portland

8/19 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket and Portland both squeaked out victories, while Salem and Greenville split doubleheaders. Lowell continued to play well, walking off with a victory that inched them closer to first place. 


Strong pitching was enough to lift the PawSox past the Buffalo Bisons (TOR), 3-1. Charlie Haeger picked up the victory, tossing six innings, and allowing one run on three hits and two walks, while punching out five. Anthony Carter picked up the last two outs of the contest to collect his 19th save of the season. 

The game was scoreless until the fourth, when Drew Sutton laced a two-out RBI single. In the fifth, Jackie Bradley Jr. hit an RBI single that gave Pawtucket a 2-0 lead. After the Bisons collected a run in the sixth, Bradley hit a solo home run in the seventh to give the PawSox the 3-1 advantage. Bradley and Sutton were both 2 for 3 to lead the Pawtucket offense. 


A complete game from Keith Couch (pictured) helped Portland to a 2-1 victory over the Harrisburg Senators (WAS). Couch allowed just one run on six hits, while striking out four to pick up his 10th victory of the season. The game was scoreless until the fifth when the Sea Dogs scored two runs on a bases-loaded walk and a J.C. Linares sacrifice fly. Harrisburg plated a run in the bottom half of the inning, but was unable to score any further off of Couch, who threw just 96 pitches. 


In game one of a doubleheader, Salem was overwhelmed by the Carolina Mudcats (CLE), 7-1. Kyle Stroup dropped to 4-9 on the season, pitching two innings and allowing two runs on two hits and four walks. Gerardo Olivares pitched just 2/3 of an inning and gave up five runs on three hits and three walks.

Salem's lone run of the contest came in the sixth when Keury De La Cruz hit a solo home run.

The Red Sox managed to split the doubleheader, winning game two, 3-1. Mike McCarthy picked up the victory, hurling 5 2/3 innings and surrendering an unearned run on three hits and a walk, while striking out four. Salem jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first on a Sean Coyle solo home run. In the second, the Red Sox took a 3-0 lead on a Matt Gedman RBI single and a Coyle sacrifice fly. 


In game one of their doubleheader, the Drive were blanked by the Lexington Legends (KC), 5-0. Sergio Gomez picked up the loss, pitching five innings and allowing four runs on five hits and three walks along with three strikeouts. Aneury Tavarez had two hits for the Drive in a losing effort.

Greenville exacted revenge in game two, shutting out Lexington, 1-0. Jacob Dahlstrand received the start, hurling five innings and allowing just three hits and four walks, while striking out four. Kyle Martin picked up the victory, twirling two scoreless innings of relief.

The lone run of the game came in sixth, as Boss Moanaroa hit a lead-off solo home run. The home run was just one of two hits for the Drive. 


The Spinners picked up their third win in a row, defeating the Hudson Valley Renegades in walk-off fashion (TB), 4-3. Daniel McGrath tossed the first four innings for Lowell, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out three. Carlos Pinales picked up the victory, hurling three perfect innings of relief.

Down 1-0 in the second, the Spinners plated three runs on a Williams Jerez RBI double and a Miguel Rodriguez RBI single. The Renegades picked up a run in both the third and fourth innings to tie the game, 3-3. The game remained knotted until the bottom of the ninth, when Rodriguez smacked a game-winning RBI double. Rodriguez, who has played sparingly this season, was 2 for 4 with a double and three RBI to lead Lowell's offense. 


Player of the Day: Keith Couch, who tossed a complete game in Portland's 2-1 victory over Harrisburg. The 23-year-old right-hander, allowed just one run on six hits, striking out four. Couch is now 10-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 28 games this season with Portland and Pawtucket. Half of Couch's appearances have been as a starter, where he holds a 7-1 record and has compiled a 2.96 ERA with two complete games. 

Photo Credit: Keith Couch by Kelly O'Connor

John Gray is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.