September 8, 2013 at 7:00 AM
9/8 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox could not seal the deal, falling to the Rochester Red Wings (MIN) in the fourth game of the Governors' Cup semi-finals, and the two teams will now square off in a decisive Game Five this afternoon. Salem fared better in the first game of the Mills Cup championship series, led by Heri Quevedo's (pictured) dominant performance.
Rochester got out to an early lead and did not look back, defeating the PawSox, 9-1. Matt Barnes struggled in his second Triple-A start, allowing five runs, four earned, in four innings. When he left the game, the score was 2-0 and the bases were loaded in the fifth, but Alex Wilson allowed all three inherited runners to score, and then allowed three runs of his own, as the Red Wings plated six in the inning to take an 8-0 lead.
The PawSox avoided a shutout when Jonathan Diaz drove in Alex Hassan with a single in the ninth, but that was all the offense they would get. Mark Hamilton went 2 for 3 with a walk, and Christian Vazquez went 2 for 4. The PawSox were shut down by Scott Diamond, who struck out eight over seven scoreless innings. Pawtucket will send Charlie Haeger to the mound this afternoon in a do-or-die scenario.
Despite some ninth-inning drama, Salem was able to hold on to a 5-3 victory over the Potomac Nationals (WAS). Heri Quevedo was terrific, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out four and inducing 11 ground outs. After pitching a scoreless eighth, Nate Striz loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth. Salem went to closer Matty Ott, who allowed back-to-back singles to allow two runs to score, and then Mookie Betts committed an error to allow a third run to score. Ott was able to bear down and strike out Michael Taylor to end it.
Matt Johnson got Salem on the board with a single in the fifth, and he moved to third on a Sean Coyle RBI double. With one out, Henry Ramos was able to drive Johnson in with a sacrifice fly. Salem kept the pedal to the metal, loading the bases with nobody out in the sixth, but a force out at home and a double play kept them off the board. Keury De La Cruz was able to pick the team up, launching a two-run home run to right field in the seventh to give Salem the commanding lead.
Ramos and De La Cruz each went 2 for 4, with Ramos adding the sacrifice fly. Mike Augliera gets the ball in the second game of the Mills Cup championship series, as Salem looks to take a two-game lead before the series shifts back to Salem on Tuesday.
Player of the Day: Heri Quevedo saved arguably his best game of the season for the playoffs, tossing seven scoreless innings to lead Salem. The 23-year-old has good stuff, but has struggled with his control this season. He was locked in on Saturday, as he walked only one batter while striking out four.
Photo Credit: Heri Quevedo by SoxProspects, LLC
Jim Crowell is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com