August 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM
8/8 Cup of Coffee: A PawSox off-day and a pair of rainouts — postponing the Greenville Drive and GCL Red Sox’ contests — made for a slow Wednesday, but the teams in action had a handful of impressive performances, Portland’s Garin Cecchini and Lowell’s Sergio Gomez (pictured) among them. Two of the four teams in action, Salem and Lowell, came away with wins.
Despite a strong start from left-hander Chris Hernandez and a pair of RBI from third baseman Cecchini, the Portland Sea Dogs were done in by a faulty bullpen in their 5-3 loss to the Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF).
Cecchini’s run-scoring base knocks came in the first, when he singled home shortstop Derrik Gibson, and the eighth, when his double plated center fielder Shannon Wilkerson. Designated hitter Michael Almanzar also singled home Wilkerson in the third, but it was all for naught come the top of the ninth.
Left-hander Rafael Perez used a walk and back-to-back home runs to turn a 3-2 lead into a 5-3 deficit before recording an out in the inning.
Chris Hernandez, a lefty making his first start of the season for Portland, allowed one run on four hits and a walk, while striking out four in his 6 1/3 innings. Rehabbing southpaw Franklin Morales allowed a run and two hits in his inning of work. He was scratched from a rehab appearance with the Pawtucket Red Sox for “personal reasons” on Tuesday.
The Salem Red Sox came out on the right end of a late-inning lead change in their 6-3 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC) after a three-run seventh inning.
Designated hitter David Chester had the go-ahead single in that seventh frame when his ground ball to left brought left fielder Keury De La Cruz home, and second baseman Mookie Betts added some insurance with an RBI single of his own to score third baseman Stefan Welch.
The rally was set up by three scoreless innings from right-hander Kyle Stroup, who allowed one hit before righty Mike McCarthy coughed up the lead by yielding three earned runs in his three innings. Another righty, Kyle Kraus, picked up the win by retiring all nine Blue Rocks he faced in the final three innings.
Shortstop Deven Marrero didn’t factor into the scoring but reached base three times, twice via single and once via walk.
A balanced day at the plate, featuring a single RBI from five different players, helped the Lowell Spinners to a 7-0 win over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE).
On a night that saw exactly one Lowell extra-base hit and only shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin (2 for 5) collecting a multi-hit game, a trio of pitchers stole the show.
Righty Teddy Stankiewicz allowed a hit, while fanning two in his two innings before right-hander Gomez followed up with six shutout innings of his own. He gave up five hits and one walk, while striking out five. Greg Larson finished it off with a strikeout in his perfect ninth.
Second baseman Deiner Lopez had the big hit in the Spinners’ four-run fourth, an RBI double to score catcher Danny Bethea. Both Lopez and designated hitter Nathan Minnich, who moved to third on Lopez’ hit, later scored.
The DSL Rays rallied for six runs in the bottom of the ninth to walk off with a 7-5 win over the DSL Red Sox. Right-hander Edinxon Pacheco was burned for five of those runs, and fellow righty Ender Machuca couldn’t stop the bleeding when he gave up a walk-off grand slam to Manuel Sanchez.
It wasn’t all bad on the mound for the Red Sox, though, with left-hander Luis Ramos tossing five scoreless to get things underway.
At the plate, shortstop Javier Guerra went 2 for 4 with an RBI. Center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe was 0 for 2 but walked twice.
Player of the Day: Sergio Gomez, who has been piggybacking Teddy Stankiewicz since the second-round draft pick joined the Lowell rotation but has been just as effective in “relief” as he was a starter. In those four outings, he has allowed two runs on 15 hits in 19 1/3 innings, lowering his ERA on the season to 1.98. That trend continued Wednesday with what was arguably his best outing in that stretch: five hits and one walk, while fanning five in six shutout innings.
Photo Credit: Sergio Gomez by Kelly O'Connor.
Tim Healey is a staff writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.