May 22, 2014 at 7:56 AM
5/22 Cup of Coffee: The only two affiliates in action Wednesday were Portland and Salem and both played doubleheaders. Portland swept both halves of its double dip while Salem split.
In the first half of the doubleheader the Sea Dogs defeated the Birmingham Mets (NYM) 5-1 in a seven inning contest. The Sea Dogs jumped out to an early 3-1 lead after the first inning of play thanks to a three-run homer from third baseman Stefan Welch. Welch, who was 2 for 4 with 3 RBI, played third base and batted clean up. First baseman Travis Shaw also homered in the game, his ninth of the season.
Portland starter Keith Couch (Pictured) was extremely sharp allowing only the lone first inning run in his complete game performance. Couch, who moved to 6-0 on the season, scattered nine hits and one walk while striking out two in the victory. He lowered his season ERA to 2.39.
The second game was much more closely contested as the Sea Dogs eked out a 6-5 victory. After falling behind 5-0 in the first three innings, the Sea Dogs were able to scratch across a run in the bottom of the third thanks to a pair of doubles from Shannon Wilkerson and Derrick Gibson. The Sea Dogs would rally for five more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, eventually taking over the lead for good. Highlights from the inning include two-run singles from Welch and Peter Hissey.
Starter Wilfredo Boscan was done in by an error in the second as he yielded five runs, only one earned, in three innings before being pulled. All four of the unearned runs came in the second inning. Boscan yielded six hits and three walks in his three innings of work. He was relieved by Robby Scott, who picked up the win -- his sixth of the season -- in three innings of relief. Scott, who has a .70 ERA on the season, yielded two hits and struck out three on the day.
The two victories extended Portland's record to 30-15, which is best in the Eastern League.
The Salem Red Sox nipped the Winston-Salem Dash (CHW) 3-2 in the opening tilt of a doubleheader Wednesday. Salem jumped out to a 2-0 leading in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a Mario Martinez RBI-single and a Kevin Heller RBI-groundout. The inning was set up by a Winston-Salem fielding error. Salem starter Luis Diaz cruised along for the first four innings before finally surrendering a run in the fifth. Salem would get the run back on a Aneury Tavarez double in the bottom of the sixth, which would prove to be the game-winning RBI.
Diaz, who left the game after the sixth inning, gave up two runs on six hits and struck out seven in the game. Dayan Diaz shut the door by tossing a scoreless ninth inning. He picked up his third save of the season.
Salem lost the second half of the double dip 4-1. Salem fell behind early and couldn't muster enough offense to mount a comeback. The lone RBI in the game for the Red Sox came off the bat of Jonathan Roof in the bottom of the third inning. Roof, who was 2 for 2 with a double, accounted for most of the Salem offense in the second game as they could only scratch across five hits in the seven-inning contest.
Salem starter Justin Haley was solid in six innings, surrendering three earned runs and eight hits. He struck out two batters on the day. The outing bumped Haley's season ERA to 2.21 and handed him his first loss of 2014.
Player of the Day: There is no doubt that Sea Dogs third baseman Stefan Welch (Pictured) is most deserving of player of the day honors. Welch went a combined 3 for 6 with two runs and five RBI in Portland's doubleheader, including a three-run homer in the first game. Welch, 25, is hitting .257 with a .728 OPS through the first 32 games of the season.
Photo Credit: Keith Couch and Stefan Welch by Kelly O'Connor.
Luke Lavoie is a Staff Writer for SoxProspects.com.