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May 4, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Portland picks up lone win behind Johnson's debut

5/4 Cup of Coffee: The Portland Sea Dogs were the only affiliate to pick up a win, though they also had a loss. Neither Pawtucket, Greenville or Salem were able to pick up their starting pitchers as all three took a loss.


Despite a late comeback attempt, Pawtucket fell to the Indianapolis Indians (PIT), 4-3. Rubby de la Rosa pitched well through the first five innings but failed to record an out in the sixth after allowing a lead off double and a walk. De la Rosa ended his day after five innings and allowed two runs on four hits and five walks while striking out four. Drake Britton came on in relief and allowed both of his inherited runners to score and allowed another two runs to cross the plate in the seventh.

The PawSox were held scoreless until the seventh when Brandon Snyder hit his team-high fifth home run to put Pawtucket on the board. Dan Butler hit a two-run single in the ninth to bring the PawSox within one but the offense was unable to do any more damage.


The Sea Dogs split a twin-bill with the Binghamton Mets (NYM), losing the first game, 3-2. Henry Owens took the loss, pitching the six-inning complete game. The lefty allowed three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out six.

The Sea Dogs' offense was unable to put up much of a fight until the sixth when they pushed across two runs thanks to a Travis Shaw single which plated both Mookie Betts and Shannon Wilkerson. The Sea Dogs had another chance in the seventh, loading the bases with only one out, but  neither Betts not Deven Marrero was able to bring a run across.

Things went much more smoothly in game two as the Sea Dogs swept aside the Mets, 9-3. Making his Double-A debut, Brian Johnson (pictured) impressed with 5 1/3 innings of three hit ball to pick up the win. The left-hander gave up two runs (zero earned) and struck out three.

Every Portland starter had at least one hit in the contest. The Sea Dogs were paced by Travis Shaw, who went 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored. Only two Sea Dogs failed to record an RBI and Deven Marrero hit his first Double-A home run, a solo-shot in the fifth.


The Salem Red Sox fell to the Lynchburg HillCats, 5-3. Cody Kukuk got the start for Salem and pitched four innings, surrendering two runs on two hits and four walks but walked away with a no decision. Simon Mercedes took the loss as he allowed three runs in his own 3 2/3 innings of work. Madison Younginer recorded the final out for Salem.

Only one of Salem's starters failed to reach base and seven out of nine recorded at least one base hit in the matchup. Kevin Heller hit a solo home run and Reed Gragnani and Aneury Tavarez picked up the other two RBI in the contest.


Despite collecting 10 hits, the Greenville drive were unable to overcome an early deficit, falling to the Augusta GreenJackets (SF), 4-2. Making his second start, Trey Ball was shaky early on, allowing two runs in the first and another in the second before settling in and keeping Augusta off of the board for the rest of his outing. Ball threw five innings, allowing the three runs on six hits while striking out six and walking none.

Both Manuel Margot and Wendell Rijo collected two hits apiece as every Drive starter outside Tzu-Wei Lin notched a hit. Lin did draw a walk though, meaning every one of the starting nine reached at some point. Jantzen Witte brought in Greenville's first run, plating Jesus Loya with a double in the third. Greenville wouldn't score again until the top half of the ninth thanks to a Jordan Weems groundout.


Player of the Day: Brian Johnson, who made his Double-A debut and earned the win also takes home these honors. The 23-year-old  delivered the system's only win on the day. Johnson spent most of last season with Greenville, though he did see action in two games apiece for both the GCL Red Sox and Salem. In 2013, the lefty went 2-6 with a 2.54 ERA across 19 games started. A first-round pick in 2012, Johnson only saw action in four games that year as his development was cut short when he was struck in the face by a line drive during the annual Futures at Fenway game.

Photo credit: Brian Johnson by Kelly O'Connor