August 22, 2013 at 8:00 AM
8/22 Cup of Coffee: The major league team still has well over a month to play in its regular season, but elsewhere the MiLB campaign is starting to wind down. The DSL Red Sox used a dominant pitching effort to solidify their Boca Chica Northwest Division title, while a number of other teams are right in the thick of things in terms of their respective division and wild card races.
With a 6-3 win over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY), the Pawtucket Red Sox inched closer to a playoff spot with a 2.5-game lead over the Norfolk Tides (BAL) in the wild card race.
Right-hander Allen Webster had an outing very typical of his last few months: three earned runs on three hits and seven strikeouts, while also walking three and lasting just 5 2/3 innings.
But after a trio of righty relievers — Chris Carpenter (one inning), Rubby De La Rosa (1 1/3 innings) and Anthony Carter (one inning) — kept the RailRiders scoreless the rest of the way, Webster got the win. De La Rosa’s outing, his first since returning to Pawtucket this week, included two strikeouts.
At the plate, right fielder Jeremy Hazelbaker’s two-run double in the second put the PawSox up for good. Left fielder Mark Hamilton (1 for 3) had a sac fly in the third and a run-scoring groundout in the fifth to account for his two RBI.
Brock Holt, manning shortstop, went 2 for 5 with a double, while catcher Ryan Lavarnway and Hazelbaker each went 2 for 4.
It has been another season of roster turnover for the Portland Sea Dogs, but in a 4-2 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR), it was a pair of mainstays who did the damage at the plate.
With the teams knotted at one in the bottom of the eighth, first baseman Michael Almanzar came up with a go-ahead, two-RBI triple, followed quickly by a single to right from catcher Christian Vazquez to score Almanzar with an important insurance run.
Right-hander Jeremy Kehrt, who allowed two runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings, ran into trouble in the ninth, but fellow righty Noe Ramirez retired the only batter he faced to nail down the win.
Previously, shortstop Derrik Gibson’s RBI groundout brought in Vazquez for 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. Left-handed starter Miguel Pena, making his first start since being promoted from High A Salem, tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out three with two walks on 96 pitches (62 strikes).
Right fielder Peter Hissey (2 for 4) and Vazquez (3 for 4) recorded multi-hit games.
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX) dominated the Salem Red Sox en route to a 5-0 win, allowing only three Salem hits in the process. Still, the Sox have a three-game lead over the Carolina Mudcats (CLE) for the Carolina League Southern Division’s final playoff spot.
Right fielder Matty Johnson went 2 for 4 with a double, while left fielder Keury De La Cruz picked up the other base knock, a single.
Righty William Cuevas absorbed the loss after his worst outing this month, in which he only completed four innings, while giving up five runs on six hits (two homers) and two walks. He also struck out six.
The Greenville Drive were also the victims of a subpar start from a right-hander, this time Justin Haley, who gave up six runs in five innings, as Greenville fell to the Rome Braves (ATL), 6-2. Haley allowed seven hits and one walk, but did punch out seven Rome batters.
First baseman Mario Martinez had a sacrifice fly in the first, and right fielder Kendrick Perkins homered in the sixth, but those offensive efforts weren’t nearly enough. The Drive, who left seven men on base, were hitless in their only two at-bats with runners in scoring position.
Center fielder Jesus Loya reached base three times, twice via singles and once via a walk.
Despite a three-run, inside-the-park homer from center fielder Manuel Margot — the team’s first in nearly a decade — the Lowell Spinners fell to the Connecticut Tigers (DET), 5-4, in 10 innings. They now sit 1.5 games back of the division lead and 2.5 back of a wild-card spot.
The Spinners had previously tied the game at four in the eighth when Margot manufactured a run. He singled up the middle, stole second, moved to third on a passed ball, then scored on designated hitter Kevin Mager’s single to right.
Alas, it was all for naught when right-hander Carlos Pinales, into his third inning of work, allowed Pat Leyland — son of Detroit manager Jim Leyland — to knock in the game-winning single.
The loss also wasted what had been a solid start from righty Ty Buttrey, who lowered his ERA to 2.28 with five innings and three unearned runs.
Right fielder Forrestt Allday, catcher Miguel Rodriguez, Mager and Margot had two hits apiece.
A two-run fourth inning proved to be the difference for the GCL Red Sox, who moved a game ahead of the GCL Orioles for first place in the South with a 2-1 win over the GCL Rays.
That fourth inning featured an RBI double from rehabbing designated hitter Bryce Bentz and an RBI single from third baseman Aneudis Peralta.
Center fielder Bryan Hudson (2 for 4) was the only member of the Sox to post a multi-hit game.
Righty Pat Light, also on a rehab assignment, tossed two scoreless innings and allowed one hit and one walk, while striking out one. Dioscar Romero, another right-hander, limited the Rays to one run on four hits in his 3 2/3 innings of work.
The DSL Red Sox became the first Sox farm team to clinch a playoff spot with a 1-0 win over the DSL Dodgers on the strength of an RBI double from center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe, who finished his day 2 for 4.
Jose Almonte, a right-hander, got the start and went five innings, yielding only two hits and striking out three. A pair of righties — Daniel Gonzalez (three innings, five strikeouts) and Victor Ramirez (one inning, three strikeouts) — allowed one hit each the rest of the way.
Player of the Day: Manuel Margot, who despite a Lowell loss went 2 for 5 with a homer and three RBI. The long ball wasn’t all that long, with the speedy outfielder circling the passes for an inside-the-park job, his first home run as a professional in the United States. He also singled and stole a base during a game-tying rally in the eighth.
Margot’s day improved his numbers on the season to a .265 average with a .346 OBP and .333 slugging mark, which aren’t too bad considering he’s listed at 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds and won’t turn 19 until the end of next month. SoxProspect.com scout Ian Cundall's Scouting Scratch recently focused on Margot, who is heralded for his advanced speed and defense.
Photo Credit: Manuel Margot by Kelly O'Connor.
Tim Healey is a staff writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.