April 11, 2014 at 7:48 AM
4/11 Cup of Coffee: While the major league club lost in frustrating fashion, it was a big night for the Boston farm system. Red Sox affiliates went 4-0 on the night led by some outstanding individual performances. Greenville came back to win in extra innings after its starter set a team record, while Salem also had a comeback to get back to its winning ways. Portland cruised in its home opener, and a big seventh-inning rally led Pawtucket.
A five-run seventh inning highlighted a 12-hit Pawtucket attack in a 7-4 win over the Buffalo Bisons (TOR). Brock Holt led the way, going 3 for 5 with a run scored. It was the second three-hit game of the young season for the shortstop, who is 9 for 22 to start the year. Brandon Snyder and Bryce Brentz popped solo home runs in the fourth and ninth innings, respectively. It was the first round-tripper of the season for Brentz, who led the organization in 2013 with 19. He reached base three more times with a single and two walks.
Rubby De La Rosa had his second consecutive strong start. The hard-throwing righty allowed a run on only two hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking two. Chris Resop picked up his second win of the season in relief, despite getting tagged for three runs in the eighth. Left-hander Drake Britton recorded a milestone, earning his first professional save. Moved to the bullpen in 2013, the Texan allowed just one hit in a scoreless ninth.
The 2014 season at Hadlock Field kicked off with a 6-4 Portland win over the New Britain Rock Cats (MIN). Starting pitcher Keith Couch was again solid in the win, allowing just one unearned run in 5 2/3 innings, recording five strikeouts and walking only one. Couch has flown largely under the prospect radar, but the 24-year-old lefty has yet to allow an earned run in 2014, and now has a 2.85 ERA in 18 Double-A starts. He was followed by Michael Olmsted, who tossed 1 1/3 shutout innings and is unscored upon in all 22 career Double-A appearances. Noe Ramirez struggled out of the bullpen, giving up three runs on six hits in 1 2/3.
At the plate, Mookie Betts continues to roll. The second baseman went 2 for 4 with a triple and is now 13 for 28 with five extra base hits as he follows up on his breakout 2013 campaign. Carlos Rivero also had a big night for the Sea Dogs, going 3 for 4 with a double and a pair of runs scored.
A night after seeing it's chance for a record-setting 17th-consecutive win slip by, Salem got back in the victor circle, knocking off the Winston-Salem Dash (CWS) in a 9-8 comeback win. Trailing 8-6 in the seventh, the Red Sox took advantage of a pair of errors by Winston-Salem third baseman Nick Basto to spark a decisive three-run rally. After Ryan Dent scored on a throwing error, Matty Johnson delivered the big blow, a two-run single that plated Aaron King and Jayson Hernandez. Johnson had a huge night for Salem, along with driving in the tying and eventual winning run, the center fielder went 4 for 5 with a stolen base.
Salem pitching was forced to overcome some shaky defense, as they committed four errors on the night. Two came in the third inning, as starter Luis Diaz allowed a pair of unearned runs. Kyle Kraus struggled in relief, giving up six runs (four earned) on five hits in 2 2/3 innings. Madison Younginer stopped the bleeding, firing three shutout innings to earn the win, striking out three without walking a batter.
Greenville got a record-setting performance in its 7-6 win over the Kannapolis Intimidators (CWS). Right-hander Jamie Callahan (pictured) struck out 11 batters, tying a Greenville record set by Pete Ruiz in 2010. Those strikeouts came in just five innings for Callahan, who also allowed a pair of runs on five hits. After struggling with his control and walking six in his South Atlantic League debut, Callahan's control was sharp in his second outing, as the 19-year old walked only one.
Callahan was not in line for the win, however, as the Indimidators scratched out four runs (two earned) on seven hits off of Sergio Gomez. For the second straight day, the Red Sox affiliates were haunted by a player given up in the Jake Peavy deal. After JB Wendleken halted Salem's winning streak on Wednesday, Cleuluis Rondon was at the center of the Kannapolis offensive attack, burning his former organization with four hits.
Trailing 6-3, the Drive mounted an eighth-inning rally without registering a hit. After a leadoff walk by Manuel Margot, Jordan Weems was hit by a pitch and Wendell Rijo walked, loading the bases. Kevin Mager hit a grounder to second, but it could not be fielded cleanly and the error scored Margot to bring the Drive within two. With the bases still loaded, Bo Greenwell and Tzu-Wei Lin delivered consecutive sacrifice flies, knotting the game at six. The tie stood until a two-out rally in the bottom of the 10th. Mager doubled to follow a Rijo double, putting the winning run on third base, and Greenwell ripped a single to center to walk off with the win.
Player of the Day: The record-setting performance by Jamie Callahan earns him recognition on a day of very impressive performances across the organization. A second-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Dillon (SC) High School, Callahan impressed the SoxProspects.com staff down in Fort Myers. Still only 19, the right-hander now has 15 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings in his first exposure to a full-season league.
Photo Credit: Jamie Callahan by Kelly O'Connor