June 24, 2014 at 6:51 AM
6/24 Cup of Coffee: A full slate of games on Monday was highlighted by an offensive explosion by Greenville and some excellent pitching performances. The Drive pounded out 20 hits in support of Daniel McGrath, while Steven Wright and Luis Diaz led Pawtucket and Portland, respectively. Every starter had a hit in the DSL Red Sox extra-inning win. A GCL Red Sox rally fell short in the ninth, as Lowell and Salem also came out on the losing end.
Pawtucket used a five-run fifth to outlast the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (NYY), 5-4. The PawSox sent 10 men to the plate in that decisive inning, with Ryan Roberts delivering a two-out double to score Mookie Betts and Mike McCoy. Betts was 2 for 4 with a walk and stolen base, and has reached base in all 20 games since joining Pawtucket. Steven Wright got the win in another strong start, allowing two runs on five hits in seven innings. Wright struck out seven without issuing a walk, and lowered his WHIP to 0.967. Drake Britton allowed two runs (one earned) in the eighth to allow the RailRiders within one, but Tommy Layne slammed the door with a hitless ninth.
A second consecutive dominant outing by Luis Diaz carried Portland to a 3-2 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (NH). Diaz, promoted from Salem last week to take the rotation spot vacated by the suspension of Miguel Pena, needed only 83 pitchers to cruise through eight strong innings. He allowed a run on seven hits, striking out four and walking a pair. He has given up one run apiece in his first two Double-A outings, posting a 1.29 ERA. Miguel Celestino surrendered a solo home run as New Hampshire cut the score to one, but the right-hander held on for the save.
At the plate, the Sea Dogs were led by Sean Coyle who powered his eighth home run of the season. Coyle was 2 for 4, raising his season line to .346/.414/.580. Deven Marrero also added a homer, matching Betts with a 20-game on-base streak.
Salem fell 5-2 to a Potomac Nationals (WAS) squad which featured a rehabbing Bryce Harper. Starter Justin Haley struggled to his toughest outing so far in 2014, allowing five runs on eight hits in six innings. It was the first outing for Haley with more than three runs allowed. Madison Younginer was solid in relief, striking out two and giving up a hit in two shutout frames. Matty Johnson was 2 for 4 with a triple, and Matt Gedman and Aneury Tavarez both had a pair of hits for Salem.
Greenville had its second 20-hit outburst in four days, this time shellacking the Asheville Tourists (COL) 14-6. Playing a major role in the onslaught were South Atlantic League All-Stars Jake Romanski (pictured) and Carlos Asuaje. Romanski doubled twice and drove in five runs as part of a 3-for-4 night, his third consecutive multi-hit game. Asuaje also had three hits and scored three times. Aneudis Peralta had his first career four-hit game, scoring twice and driving in a run. The offense was spread around, as every starter recorded a base hit and seven different players drove in at least one run.
The offense was more than enough support for Daniel McGrath. The Australian southpaw fired a season high 6 1/3 innings, allowing only one run on four hits. He struck out six and walked one.
Little went right in Lowell as the Spinners fell 11-3 to the Connecticut Tigers (DET). Starter Jason Garcia was hit hard, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits in three innings, though he did strike out six while walking only one. Oscar Perez and Ellis Jimenez allowed three runs apiece out of the bullpen. At the plate, Jordan Betts continued to flash some power, going 2 for 4 with a double and his third home run in seven games. After beginning his pro career with a tough 2-for-17 stretch, second-round pick Sam Travis was 2 for 4 and notched his first double.
The GCL Red Sox took their first lost, dropping a 4-3 decision to the GCL Rays. Highly-touted right-hander Jose Almonte made his stateside debut after a strong 2013 campaign in the Dominican Summer League. Almonte threw four innings, allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out five and walked only one. Williams Jerez, a second-round pick in 2011 as an outfielder who has converted to pitcher, made his first appearance on the mound. The 6-foot-4 lefty took the loss, but showed promise: in three innings, he gave up two runs (only one earned) on two hits, striking out two without issuing a walk. The lineup managed only five hits, with the only extra-base hit a fifth-inning double by catcher Alex McKeon.
Every starter had a hit as the DSL Red Sox beat the DSL Mets 8-6 in 11 innings. The Basabe brothers were at the center of the decisive rally. Luis Alejandro Basabe led off the 11th with a walk, and advanced to second on a sacrifice and to third on a ground ball before racing home on a wild pitch. After an Isaias Lucena walk, Luis Alexander Basabe ripped a double to right. Yoan Aybar singled to score Lucena with the insurance run.
Daniel Gonzalez got the start for the Sox, allowing three runs in four innings. Darwinzon Hernandez allowed two runs in his two innings of relief despite not allowing a base hit. He struggled with his control, walking four and hitting a batter. Carlos Caceres picked up the win with 2 2/3 shutout innings.
Player of the Day: Catcher Jake Romanski has been putting together a solid season for Greenville. After going 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles, Romanski's season line is .307/.335/406 slash line. The 23-year-old was a 14th-round pick out of San Diego State in 2013.
Photo Credit: Jake Romanski by Kelly O'Connor