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August 29, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket, Salem close to clinching

8/29 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket, Salem, and Lowell inched closer to playoff spots, while Portland suffered a tough loss that may put them in too big of a hole to climb out of. The DSL Red Sox moved on to the semi-finals, while the GCL Red Sox look ready for the postseason.


The PawSox magic number is now three with five games to play after defeating the Syracuse Chiefs (WAS), 5-4. The PawSox jumped out to a three-run lead after Heiker Meneses hit a two-run triple, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. drove him in with a single.

The Chiefs got to Pedro Beato for three runs in the seventh to tie it, but Drew Sutton launched a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to put the PawSox back ahead. Anthony Carter shut the door in the ninth, as the PawSox tightened their grip on first place.

Charlie Haeger pitched well, allowing one run in five innings, though he did surrender seven hits and walked three. Meneses went 2 for 3, and Brock Holt went 1 for 3 with a walk


Despite coming back from a five-run deficit to tie the game, the Sea Dogs lost to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR), 8-6. Starting in the place of the recently promoted Matt Barnes, Jeremy Kehrt allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings. Eric Niesen was hit hard, allowing six hits and four runs in his lone inning of work, and Matt Maloney also allowed a run while recording five outs.

Down 6-1 in the seventh, Garin Cecchini laced a three-run triple, Christian Vazquez drove him in on a ground out, and then J.C. Linares tied the game with a home run. Unfortunately the bullpen could not hold the Fisher Cats, as Portland's playoff chances took a big hit, falling five behind Trenton with six to play. 


In the first game of a doubleheader, Salem fell to the Frederick Keys (BAL), 3-1. William Cuevas struck out nine in six innings, but also allowed six hits and three runs. Blake Swihart is making a late push to get his average above .300, going 2 for 3 with a double and an RBI, as his average climbed to .294. Mookie Betts singled and walked twice in his three at-bats, while also adding his 18th stolen base.

Salem walked off in the second game, beating the Keys 1-0 in nine innings. Mike McCarthy (pictured) tossed the first seven innings, keeping the Keys off the board, while scattering seven baserunners. Madison Younginer picked up the win after he threw two scoreless innings in relief of McCarthy. The Salem offense could not do anything to help the pitching, until Carson Blair doubled, and David Chester drove him in for a walk-off single. Salem's magic number is now one, and they can clinch a playoff spot with a victory tomorrow or a Carolina loss.


It took 11 innings, but Greenville eventually came away with a 2-1 victory over the Charleston RiverDogs (NYY). Sergio Gomez turned in his best start with the Drive, tossing six scoreless innings and surrendering only two hits, while striking out three. Kyle Martin earned the win with three shutout innings out of the bullpen.

The Drive out-hit the RiverDogs 12-6, but Greenville went 2 for 17 with runners in scoring position and left 15 men on base. Mario Martinez had one of the hits with runners in scoring position, as his 11th-inning single scored Jesus Loya from second to win the game. Loya went 2 for 5 with a double and a walk, and Reed Gragnani went 2 for 6 from the leadoff spot.


The Spinners moved within three games of Tri-City with a 7-3 win over the Aberdeen IronBirds (BAL). Lowell has seven more games on the season, including two at home against Tri-City. Daniel McGrath turned in a quality start, allowing three runs in six innings, while striking out seven and walking just one. Taylor Grover and Joe Gunkel were great as usual for the Spinners, holding the IronBirds scoreless the rest of the way.

Kevin Mager led the offense, going 1 for 2 with a triple, two walks, and two runs scored. Carlos Asuaje and Aaron King also had two hits, and Manuel Margot added a double. 


The GCL Red Sox could only muster up two hits, as they were defeated by the GCL Rays (TB), 2-1. K.J. Trader struggled with his control, walking three and allowing a run in the first inning. Luis Ortega threw three shutout innings, and Enfember Martinez tossed two hitless innings to keep the game close. Mauricio Dubon and Aneudis Peralta had the only two hits for the Red Sox, and Raymel Flores drove in the lone run with a sacrifice fly. 


The DSL Red Sox advanced to the semi-finals with an 8-3 victory over the DSL Giants (SF). The game was suspended with one out in the ninth inning on Tuesday, and that worked to the Red Sox' advantage, as they were able to bring in closer Victor Ramirez to end it. Luis Ramos allowed two runs in five innings, and Samir El Halaby threw three shutout innings in relief. 

Luis Alexander Basabe, Isaias Lucena, and Javier Guerra each had two hits, with Guerra adding a double. The Red Sox now move on to play the top-seeded DSL Rangers (TEX) in a best-of-three series starting today. 


Player of the Day: Mike McCarthy's seven shutout innings put Salem in the position to clinch a playoff spot with a win later today. McCarthy has now earned a win in three consecutive appearances, with two coming in starts and one coming in relief. Salem will send Luis Diaz to the hill tonight, looking to clinch the division.  

Photo Credit: Mike McCarthy by Kelly O'Connor

Jim Crowell is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com