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May 25, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Portland's bats explode and Salem walks off

5/25 Cup of Coffee: On a night when the big league team lost in frustrating fashion, the affiliates earned a split. Portland and Greenville were on opposite sides of blowouts, while Salem won in extras. Pawtucket spoiled a fine start to take the loss.


The bullpen failed to hold the lead, as the PawSox were downed by the Syracuse Chiefs (WAS), 4-1. Rubby De La Rosa was spectacular through six for Pawtucket. The righty allowed only four hits and two walks while striking out five. Jeremy Kehrt did not fair so well in relief, surrendering all four of Syracuse's runs while only managing to record one out in the seventh.

Offensively, the PawSox had little luck as they picked up only six hits on the night, two off the bat of Ryan Roberts. Pawtucket's only run came thanks to a Corey Brown home run in the top half of the ninth inning. Garin Cecchini, Ryan Lavarnway and Carlos Rivero all notched one hit apiece in the constest.


Portland won in convincing fashion, pummelling the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR), 18-0. Henry Owens was masterful, throwing seven innings and allowing no runs on four hits and a walk, while punching out six batters. Owens threw 61 of his 89 pitches for strikes en route to the victory. Michael Olmstead pitched two perfect innings out of the pen, striking out one along the way.

Heiker Meneses was the only Sea Dogs starter to go hitless and even he walked once. The Sea Dogs kicked things off with a bang, scoring six times in the first inning alone. There were only three innings in which the Sea Dogs failed to score at least once. Travis Shaw, Stefan Welch, and Sean Coyle all went deep for Portland and every batter picked up at least one RBI. Mookie Betts went 2 for 3 with a double, three walks, and two runs scored.


Salem squeezed out a victory in extra innings, downing the Potomac Nationals (WAS), 7-6. William Cuevas was shaky to start the game, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks in six innings pitched. Kyle Kraus earned the win in relief, throwing the final four innings, allowing only one unearned run on two walks and three hits while striking out five.

Kevin Heller had a day at the plate, going 3 for 4 with two home runs and a walk. One of Heller's home runs was the walk off, which plated Reed Gragnani to finish the game. Catcher Jayson Hernandez went 2 for 4 with two doubles and a walk.


Greenville got blown out by the Augusta GreenJackets (SFG), 14-0. Trey Ball pitched effectively through four, but was roughed up in his last inning of work. Ball took the loss, going five innings, allowing three runs (all in that fifth) on five hits and two walks. Sergio Gomez was probably more deserving of the loss, as he allowed 11 runs in only 2 1/3 innings pitched, thanks to nine hits (three of which were home runs) and three walks.

Greenville managed only three hits and two were off the bat of Manuel Margot. Zach Kapstein had the other. All three hits went for singles.


Player of the Night: While there were any number of deserving players from Portland, Kevin Heller (pictured) is most deserving of the award. Heller went 3 for 4 with two home runs, including the walk-off shot to win it for Greenville. Heller, a 40th-round pick in 2012, has spent all of this season at Salem, hitting .293 in 43 games played. Heller owns a .256 batting average across parts of three seasons in the Red Sox system.

Photo credit: Kevin Heller by Kelly O'Connor