May 23, 2014 at 8:00 AM
5/23 Cup of Coffee: Mookie Betts was the star again on Thursday, reaching base five times and smacking a walk-off two-run triple. While Betts continued to pummel the Eastern League, the pitching performances last night were subpar, with Matt Barnes, Miguel Pena, and Pat Light all allowing four runs or more.
Matt Barnes was roughed up for the first time all season, as the PawSox fell to the Syracuse Chiefs (WAS), 6-1. Barnes gave up six runs on eight hits in only three innings, walking three and striking out four. His ERA ballooned from 2.89 to 4.35, and he allowed two home runs. The trio of Dalier Hinojosa, Chris Resop, and Tommy Layne combined to keep the Chiefs off the board over the final five innings, but the Pawtucket offense was not able to hit its way back into the game.
Ryan Lavarnway went 3 for 4, all singles, and he has only one extra-base hit in his last 15 games. Ryan Roberts, Garin Cecchini, and Corey Brown all had two hits, with Brown adding a double. The PawSox hit into four double plays and left eight men on base.
Mookie Betts was on base five times and hit a walk-off triple to lead the Sea Dogs past the Binghamton Mets, (NYM) 6-5. Betts had walked all four times he was at bat heading into the ninth, and they were forced to pitch to him with two on and nobody out. He hit a rocket out to right, and Peter Hissey and Shannon Wilkerson came around to score to send the Portland fans home happy. Henry Ramos continued to swing a hot bat, going 3 for 4, and Travis Shaw slugged his tenth home run.
Miguel Pena was cruising through five shutout innings, but surrendered two runs in the sixth and two runs in the seventh to allow the Mets to come back. Miguel Celestino allowed one run in 1 2/3 innings, and Aaron Kurcz pitched a scoreless ninth to get the win.
Old friend Francellis Montas (CHI) terrorized Salem, striking out 11 in eight innings as Winston-Salem (CWS) beat Salem, 6-3. Pat Light went the first 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on four hits, while walking two without striking out a batter. Kyle Martin pitched the rest of the way, allowing two runs in the ninth as Winston-Salem added some insurance runs.
Salem picked up only three hits on the day, with Jonathan Roof and Reed Gragnani hitting doubles. Salem managed only one run off of Montas, but did score twice in the ninth off of the bullpen, thanks to two walks and a Mario Martinez single.
Greenville used a balanced offensive attack to beat the Augusta GreenJackets (SFG), 7-2. Myles Smith showed improvement, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out four. Jonathan Aro was dominant out of the bullpen, firing four scoreless innings with five strikeouts.
Forrestt Allday and Jimmy Rider each went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk, Jantzen Witte added two hits and a walk, and Manuel Margot hit his eighth double of the year. Greenville scored in five of the final six innings, putting constant pressure on the GreenJackets.
Player of the Night: In a dramatic turn of events, Mookie Betts had the best performance of the night. Betts actually raised his on-base percentage 14 points in this game, from .440 to .454, and his second triple of the season won the game for Portland. At this point, it would be a surprise if Betts is still in Portland two weeks from now.
Photo Credit: Mookie Betts by Kelly O'Connor