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September 5, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Luis Diaz paves way for Salem playoff win

9/5 Cup of Coffee: And then, there were two.

The Lowell Spinners wrapped up their 2013 campaign with a loss, while the only two affiliates still playing — the PawSox and Salem Sox — opened their playoff runs but came out with opposite results. Salem is a win away from their league finals; Pawtucket not so much.


Right fielder Bryce Brentz’ leadoff homer to left-center in the second inning wasn’t nearly enough for the Pawtucket Red Sox, who lost to the Rochester Red Wings (MIN), 7-1, in Game 1 of the Governors’ Cup semifinals.

Rochester scored early and often, hitting right-hander Anthony Ranaudo around for four runs on seven hits before he exited without recording an out in the third inning.

Fellow righties Brock Huntzinger (two runs in 1 2/3) and Jose De La Torre (one run in 2 1/3) allowed the rest of the damage.

Right-hander Allen Webster made his first relief appearance as a member of the Red Sox organization with a scoreless eighth inning.

Brentz added a double to go with his long ball in a 2-for-4 night, while center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. (2 for 4) had a pair of singles.

Game 2 will be at 7:05 p.m. Thursday in Rochester. Rehabbing righty Clay Buchholz will start for the PawSox.


It took 10 innings, but after a superb outing from right-hander Luis Diaz (pictured) the Salem Red Sox beat the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (TEX), 1-0, to take the first game of the best-of-three Southern Division Championship Series in the Carolina League playoffs.

The winning and only run came in on an error in the ninth. Left fielder Matty Johnson stood on second with one out when right fielder Cody Koback singled to third. Pelican third baseman Drew Robinson’s throwing error allowed Johnson to score and end the game.

The game-ending error was made possible by Diaz’ eight dominant innings. He held Myrtle Beach to five hits while walking none and striking out four, giving him 15 shutout innings in his last two games. Righty Madison Younginer followed up with two innings of scoreless ball, posting three strikeouts, while allowing one hit.

Center fielder Henry Ramos went 2 for 5, including a single in the 10th, and second baseman Mookie Betts was 2 for 3 with a walk.

The teams play again, this time in Myrtle Beach, at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday.


The Spinners ended their season on a down note, dropping a 5-4 decision to Mike Yastrzemski and the Aberdeen IronBirds (BAL) despite a ninth-inning rally.

Third baseman Carlos Asuaje (2 for 5) beat out an infield single to narrow the deficit to one, but second baseman Wendell Rijo and center fielder Manuel Margot went down in order to end the game and Lowell’s season.

Right-hander Myles Smith got the start and allowed two runs in 2 2/3 innings, then lefty Corey Littrell tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings. Aberdeen took the lead for good with three runs in Taylor Grover’s one inning of work.

Outside of Asuaje, first baseman Nathan Minnich (2 for 3) was the only other Spinner to collect multiple hits.


Player of the Day: Luis Diaz, who shut down Myrtle Beach for eight innings en route to Salem’s 1-0, 10-inning win. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-hander scattered five hits, while punching out four in what was just his third game since being promoted from Low A Greenville in the middle of last month. His 1.96 ERA and 1.08 WHIP on the season have been punctuated by a 17 1/3-innings scoreless streak that dates back to Aug. 22, his High A debut.

Photo credit: Luis Diaz by SoxProspects, LLC.

Tim Healey is a staff writer for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @timbhealey.