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August 22, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Miller homer lifts Portland following Rodriguez gem

8/22 Cup of Coffee: It was a day of tight action on Thursday. With a full slate of action, six of seven affiliates came away with victories. Four of those wins came by just one run, and two came on walk-off hits. Eduardo Rodriguez (pictured) fired a gem but got a no-decision in Portland's 1-0 win. Pawtucket got a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth, while a bases-loaded single in the 10th carried Lowell. Salem strengthened its playoff push with a one-run win of its own. The GCL and DSL squads won by more comfortable margins, and Greenville fell to the only loss on the night.


In his first game back with the PawSox after a brief stint with the major league club, Corey Brown blasted a tie-breaking one-out home run in the bottom of the ninth. It was the 17th of the year for Brown, leading the team. Jackie Bradley, Jr. also homered as part of a 2-for-4 effort. Bradley had not gone deep since May 31 while with Boston. After hitting 13 home runs between Pawtucket and Boston in 2013, he has only two this season. 

Henry Owens was masterful in his start, allowing two runs on five hits, needing only 96 pitches to complete eight innings. He struck out six and walked only one. Miguel Celestino got credit for the win with a perfect ninth, striking out two.


Like the Pawtucket game, Portland had a starter turn in a phenomenal performance only to come away with a no-decision. Eduardo Rodriguez has been dominant ever since the deadline deal that brought him to the organization in exchange for Andrew Miller. On Thursday he scattered five hits across seven shutout innings. He struck out five, walked two, and lowered his ERA since coming to Portland to 0.74. However, Harrisburg starter Paolo Espino (WAS) matched him pitch for pitch. 

Mike McCarthy came on in relief of Rodriguez and threw two perfect innings, striking out three.  Mike Miller was able to make a winner out of him when he sent Portland's second hit of the day over the right-field fence in the ninth inning. Earlier in the night, Miller had doubled for his first extra-base hit since his promotion to Double-A. Kevin Heller had the only other hit for the Sea Dogs.


Yet another one-run win featuring some sterling starting pitching. In this one, Simon Mercedes actually got credit in the win column for allowing just one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked three. Kyle Martin earned the save with 2 2/3 scoreless frames, allowing two hits and striking out three. 

Matty Johnson keyed the offense for Salem, scoring one run and driving in the other. The veteran outfielder was 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.  Manuel Margot's four-game hitting streak came to an end, but he did reach via a hit-by-pitch and stole second, his first swipe since his promotion from Greenville. 


Little went right as Greenville lost a blowout to its Palmetto State rival. Ty Buttrey struggled mightily, allowing eight runs on seven hits in four innings. He struggled with his control, walking six batters. German Taveras gave up three runs in two innings, but Oscar Perez cooled the RiverDogs bats some, allowing a run on three hits in three frames. The Drive managed seven hits, but none for extra bases. Danny Mars, in his second game since moving up from Lowell, collected his first two South Atlantic League hits. Wendell Rijo extended his hitting streak to nine games.


In a back-and-forth contest, the Spinners walked off victorious in 10 innings. Knotted at five, Cisco Tellez ripped a double to lead off the inning. Raymel Flores reached when he dragged a bunt down the first base line, moving Tellez to third. A David Sopilka ground ball advanced Flores, but Tellez stayed at third base. After Bryan Hudson worked a walk, Mauricio Dubon ripped a base hit to right to plate Tellez and send the LeLacheur Park crowd home happy. 

The game winning single was the third hit of the night for Dubon, who raised his average to .319. Every Spinners starter had a hit, including the fourth double of the season for catcher Alixon Suarez. Aneudis Peralta was 2 for 4 with a walk, and Jordan Betts was also on base three times, notching a single and pair of walks.

Jeffry Fernandez was solid in his start, allowing two runs on seven hits in five innings. He struck out two and did not issue a walk. The Tigers were able to get to Chandler Shepherd for three runs in the eighth inning to take a temporary lead, but the Spinners evened the score in the bottom of the frame. Kuehl McEachern nabbed the win with two scoreless innings. It was the first professional victory for the 34th-round pick out of Flagler College.


The Red Sox completed the four-game sweep of the Rays to take a commanding five-game lead in the GCL South Division with only seven games remaining. Jake Cosart had a strong start, allowing a run on only one hit in three innings of work. The third-round pick set a new career best with four strikeouts, and he walked only one. Luis Ramos spun five scoreless innings for the win, scattering a pair of base hits. 

Luis Alexander Basabe led the way on offense, going 3 for 4 with a run scored and two RBI. Victor Acosta doubled and walked twice as part of a 1-for-3 afternoon. After a difficult June and July, Acosta has bounced back with an excellent .400/.467/.600 line in August. Michael Chavis continues to shine, as the first-round pick was 2 for 4 with a double and triple.


The Red Sox were in command of this game from start to finish. Starter Daniel Gonzalez pitched only three innings, allowing two hits and striking out two without issuing a walk. There is no word on why Gonzalez, who normally pitches into the sixth inning, was removed after three, but it is very likely that the team is trying to limit his innings before the upcoming DSL playoffs. The right-hander is up to 72 on the season after tossing 46 1/3 in his pro debut in 2013. Darwinzon Hernandez earned the win with his three innings of work, allowing a run on two hits. Francisco Tena tossed three scoreless innings for the save, striking out a pair.

Isaias Lucena led the way at the plate. The catcher was 3 for 4 with a walk, two doubles, and a pair of RBI. Carlos Tovar tripled and drove in a run as part of his 2-for-4 day, and Luis Yovera and Jesus Perez chipped in two hits apiece. 


Player of the Day: While he didn't get credit for the win, Eduardo Rodriguez continues to be masterful for Portland. After his seven shutout innings, the left-hander from Venezuela lowered his ERA in four Sea Dogs starts to 0.74 and his WHIP to 0.99. In 24 1/3 innings he has struck out 28 while walking only six.

Photo Credit: Eduardo Rodriguez from milb.com