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August 30, 2013 at 7:43 AM

Cup of Coffee: Diaz and Gedman help Salem clinch playoff spot

8/30 Cup of Coffee: Another Red Sox affiliate has punched its playoff ticket: With its win, Salem clinched first place in the Carolina League Sothern Division. Pawtucket moved one game closer to a playoff berth, Portland kept its slim hopes alive, and Lowell inched closer to the postseason as well. The GCL Red Sox won but were unable to move up from the third seed, while the DSL Red Sox fell in the opener of their series. 


Matt Barnes lifted Pawtucket in a pitcher's duel in his Triple-A debut, a 2-0 victory over the Syracuse Chiefs (WAS). Barnes allowed three hits in 5 1/3 shutout innings. The Red Sox top pick in the 2011 draft notched seven strikeouts while walking only two. A quartet of relievers finished the final 3 2/3 innings. The PawSox scored both of their runs in the first, as a Ryan Lavarnway single drove in Jackie Bradley, Jr. and a rehabbing Brandon Snyder came in on a Bryce Brentz ground out. Lavarnway led the club with two hits.

With the win and a loss by Rochester, Pawtucket now has a commanding 3.5 game lead in the division with four games to go.


With a 9-3 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR), Portland kept its slight chances for the playoffs intact. Another big day at the plate by J.C. Linares led the way. The right fielder went 4 for 5 with two doubles and a triple, scoring three times and driving in a run. Linares is 17 for 35 in his last eight games, with seven extra base hits, 12 RBI and 11 runs scored. Shannon Wilkerson led off the game with a home run and finished the day 2 for 4 with a walk. Garin Cecchini scored a pair as part of a 1-for-4 effort.

Keith Couch was solid, earning his 11th win of the year. Couch allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits over six innings, striking out five and walking one. Rafael Perez struck out one in a perfect 1 1/3 innings to notch the save.

With the win and a loss by Trenton, the Sea Dogs are now four games behind Trenton for the final wild card slot. Conveniently, all those remaining games are all head-to-head - the Thunder arrive at Hadlock Field today to begin a five-game series. Portland needs a sweep to earn the wild card. 


Salem punched its ticket to the Carolina League playoffs in a resounding 10-1 win against the Frederick Keys (BAL). Making his second start since his promotion from Greenville, Luis Diaz was outstanding. The 6-foot-3 right-hander tossed seven shutout innings, allowing five hits. He struck out six and walked only two. 

Salem's 14-hit attack was led by first baseman Matt Gedman (pictured). Gedman had three doubles and drove in a career-high four runs as part of a 3-for-5 night. David Chester hit a two-run homer in the fourth and drove in another with a base hit. Mookie Betts and Blake Swihart continue to roll. Betts went 2 for 4 with a walk and scored all three times he was on base. The second baseman now has a .385/.471/.606 line in August. Swihart had a double and a walk as part of his two-hit night, while his .372/.389/.500 August line has been somewhat overlooked by the emergence of Betts. 


Lowell used six doubles and some excellent pitching to get past the Connecticut Tigers (DET), 3-1. Starter Teddy Stankiewicz threw three hitless innings for the Spinners, striking out three and walking one. The second-round pick lowered his ERA to 1.08 and his WHIP to 0.857 with the performance. He was piggybacked by Mario Alcantara, who earned the win by allowing just one unearned run in five innings. Alcantara struck out five. Mike Adams pitched two shutout frames to record his first professional save.

Danny Bethea led the offense, going 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and a run scored. It was the third straight multi-hit game for Bethea. Deiner Lopez added a pair of hits, and Jake Romanski drove in two with a third-inning double.

The win improved Lowell's playoff chances mightily, as its win was accompanied by first-place Tri-City getting swept in a doubleheader. Lowell now stands 1.5 back in the Stedler Division with six to play. 


The GCL Red Sox earned a 3-2 win over the GCL Rays, but were locked into the number three seed when the GCL Yankees won as well. Pat Goetze got the start, striking out two and allowing just one hit in two shutout innings. Christian Perdomo got the win in relief, giving up one hit in three scoreless frames. The only negative from the pitching staff was the continued struggles of Daniel Bard. The right-hander walked five of the six batters he faced and threw a pair of wild pitches. He now has 25 walks and 10 wild pitches in 15 1/3 innings across three levels.

The Red Sox biggest hit came off the bat of Nick Longhi, a two-run homer in the second, his first as a professional. 


In the opener of the Dominican Summer League semi-finals, the DSL Red Sox fell hard to the DSL Rangers, 14-2. The Red Sox pitching, so dominant all season, struggled mightily on Thursday. The normally excellent Jose Almonte was hit hard in his start, allowing four runs on five hits in only two innings. Ender Machuca and Carlos Caceres struggled in relief. Javier Rodriguez finally put out the fire, tossing five shutout innings, but by then the game was out of hand. 

Both Red Sox runs were scored by Luis Alexander Basabe. The center fielder was 1 for 2 with a walk and a pair of stolen bases.


Player of the Day: An offensive outburst helped propel Carolina into the Carolina League playoffs. While regular contributors like Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts chipped in, the Red Sox were led by a less likely hero, Matt Gedman. A 45th-round pick in the 2011 draft out of UMass-Amherst and the son of longtime Boston catcher Rich Gedman, the Salem first baseman had three doubles and drove in four, both career highs.

Photo Credit: Matt Gedman by Kelly O'Connor.

James Dunne is a Staff Writer for

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