June 23, 2014 at 8:00 AM
The PawSox let an early lead slip away, falling to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY), 5-4. Allen Webster, who has been excellent over the last month, struggled on Sunday, allowing four runs in 5 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out five. He threw 101 pitches, but only 53 for strikes, and he was also let down by his defense, as two of the runs that scored were unearned. The RailRiders got to Chris Resop for a run in the eighth, which proved to be the game-winner.
While he went 0 for 4 with a strikeout, Garin Cecchini was the story of the day, as he made his professional debut in left field. He had two put outs as he shared the outfield with Mookie Betts, who got the start in center field. Betts went 1 for 5 with a strikeout, as his average dipped to .312. Dan Butler (pictured) paced the offense, going 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored.
Deven Marrero continued his scorching June, but it was not enough to lead the Sea Dogs past the Altoona Curve (PIT), as they lost 5-4. Mike Augliera dropped to 3-6 on the season, as he allowed five runs in 6 2/3 innings. Aaron Kurcz kept the Sea Dogs close, as he shut out the Curve over 2 1/3 innings of relief, but the Portland offense could not capitalize.
Marrero inched closer to .300 on the season, as he went 3 for 4 with an RBI, and is now batting .292 with the Sea Dogs. His numbers in June are absurd, as he is batting .391/.459/.531 with nine walks and seven strikeouts in 64 at-bats. Jonathan Roof had the big hit for Portland, connecting on a two-run home run in the second inning, his second of the season.
It was a rough day for Salem, as they were defeated by the Potomac Nationals (WAS), 11-4. Cody Kukuk surrendered eight runs in only three innings, as he allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out two. William Cuevas finished the game, allowing three more runs in his five innings, walking four and striking out four while also hitting two batters.
Carson Blair and Jantzen Witte each had two hits, with Blair adding a walk. Reed Gragnani was 0 for 2, but was on base twice via two walks, raising his on-base percentage to .424.
A late surge led Greenville to a 7-3 victory over the Savannah Sand Gnats (NYM). Myles Smith got the start and went the first four innings, allowing two runs on five hits, walking two and striking out four. He gave way to Mike Adams, who picked up the win with three innings of one-run ball, striking out three. Pete Ruiz went the final two innings, and was able to keep the Sand Gnats off the board.
Carlos Coste was one of three Drive players to have multiple hits, going 3 for 4 with an RBI. Carlos Asuaje and Kevin Mager each had two hits, with Mager slugging a double. Kendrick Perkins hit an RBI double in the sixth inning, then stole third and came around to score the tying run when the catcher threw the ball into left field.
The Spinners could only muster up five hits, as they fell to the Tri-City ValleyCats (HOU), 2-1. Willie Ethington surrendered only one hit over four innings, but also walked three, hit two batters, and allowed a run. Rob Smorol pitched well despite picking up the loss, allowing one run on one hit and a walk over three innings of relief. German Taveras tossed two scoreless innings of relief to finish off a solid performance by the Lowell pitching staff.
Nick Moore has had a strong start to the season, and he has rebounded from a tough 2013 that saw him hit .176 between two levels. He went 2 for 3 with a double yesterday, and now has an OPS of .851. Sam Travis and Nick Longhi each added singles in the losing effort.
Player of the Day: Dan Butler went 3 for 4 with a double to pace the Pawtucket offense. Butler's strong night raised his line this year to .220/.310/.312, which is discouraging after he hit his way to an .829 OPS last season in Pawtucket. After a rough stretch in the middle of the season that saw him hit .148 over 19 games, he has rebounded to hit .254/.357/.352 over his last 21 games, with 10 walks and 14 strikeouts, which is more in line with what he has done in prior years.
Photo Credit: Dan Butler by Kelly O'Connor