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May 2, 2014 at 7:14 AM

Cup of Coffee: Asuaje stays hot, opens May with a bang

5/2 Cup of Coffee: The calendar turned to May, and while April's Player of the Month was rained out with the rest of his Portland teammates, his runner up had a big game to lead Greenville. Salem came from behind with an eighth-inning rally, while Pawtucket dropped a rain-shortened contest.


In a game called by rain after seven innings, Pawtucket to the Indianapolis Indians (PIT), 3-2. Matt Barnes was strong in his second start of the year, allowing a run on only two hits in five innings, striking out six and walking a pair. Reliever Dalier Hinojosa surrendered what proved to be the decisive blow, a two-run homer in the sixth inning. 

The Pawtucket offense managed only three hits. Daniel Nava was 1 for 3 and has hit safely in five of the six games since joining the PawSox, going 7 for 21. Ryan Lavarnway and Ryan Roberts both went 1 for 3 with a double, while Bryce Brentz was 0 for 3, ending his hitting streak at seven games.


Only Mother Nature can stop Mookie Betts. Portland's game against the Reading Figthin Phils (PHI) was postponed by rain, temporarily slowing the April Player of the Month and new SoxProspects.com top ranked player. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader on July 29.


Salem benefited from some eighth-inning wildness in a three-run rally that knocked off the Lynchburg Hillcats (ATL), 6-4. The Red Sox were able to score three times in the inning despite managing only two hits, capitalizing on four Lynchburg walks. Reed Gragnani delivered the game-tying single, and was 2 for 3 with a double and walk on the night. The former Virginia Cavalier had his ninth multi-hit game in 17 contests, raising his average on the season to a robust .379. Jonathan Roof was 2 for 5 with a double and triple, while Kevin Heller ripped his tenth two-bagger of the season.

Pat Light got the start for Salem, his second since a promotion from Low-A Greenville. The big right-hander allowed four runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings. Justin Haley was outstanding in a piggy-back role, earning the win. Haley allowed only one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings. He struck out two, walked one, and lowered his season ERA to 1.69.


Greenville managed to avoid a sweep in its three-game set with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (MIA), prevailing 6-3. Starter Mario Alcantara got his first win of the season, giving up a two runs on seven hits in five innings. Myles Smith followed, allowing a run on three hits in four innings, but struggled with his control, walking four and hitting a batter.

Carlos Asuaje (pictured) was 2 for 4 with a double and a second-inning solo homer, his first of the season. Jake Romanski also went deep for the first time in 2014 with a three-run shot in the fifth. Jesus Loya, only 2 for 28 in his previous 10 games, was 2 for 4 for the Drive.


Player of the Day: Carlos Asuaje had an April that would have gotten him Player of the Month consideration in normal times, as the 22-year old had a sterling .356/.484/.603 slash line. The Red Sox 11th-round pick in 2013 continued his hot streak into May, delivering his first home run of the year as well as a double in Greenville's 6-3 win. Asuaje now has 15 extra-base hits on the season, tying him with Betts for the most in the organization. 

Photo Credit: Carlos Asuaje by Kelly O'Connor