August 5, 2014 at 8:02 AM
8/5 Cup of Coffee: A new battery arrived in Pawtucket Monday to lead the charge for the stretch run. A few days after announcing that number three prospect Henry Owens (pictured) would make his Triple-A debut on Monday, the team promoted his frequent teammate and number two prospect Blake Swihart to join him. The results were fantastic, as Owens tossed a gem in the PawSox win. Elsewhere on the farm, Lowell swept its doubleheader, and Greenville waited 15 innings before walking off with the win. The GCL Red Sox cruised to victory, while the DSL team fell in extra innings for the organization's only loss of the day.
The much-anticipated Triple-A debut of Henry Owens exceeded all expectations. The 6-foot-7 lefty retired the first eight batters he saw and brough a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Only one player reached as far as third base in Owens' 6 2/3 innings. Overall he scattered two hits, walking three and striking out nine. Owens seems to have a fondness for grand entrances: he struck out 11 in six shutout innings in his Double-A debut, and fired six no-hit innings on opening day for Portland.
Owens was joined in Pawtucket by frequent batterymate Blake Swihart. With the exception of August 2013, Swihart and Owens have been teammates at every step since the two were taken in the first round of the 2011 draft. The catcher went 0 for 3 in his Triple-A debut. Bryce Brentz led the offense in his second game after missing 10 weeks due to a hamstring injury. Brentz was 3 for 4 with a double and home run. Justin Henry was on base four times, going 3 for 3 with a walk.
It was a marathon win for Greenville, as it took 4:33 of baseball plus a 34 minute weather delay to come away with the win. Manuel Margot had three hits and proved to be the catalyst in the victory. The 19-year-old center fielder led off the 15th with a base hit, then stole his 35th base of the season. Margot then raced in to score the winning run on a base hit by Cole Sturgeon.
The Drive featured some excellent pitching. Starter Ty Buttrey sputtered early, allowing a run apiece in the second and third, butsettled in. Overall he gave up the two runs on five hits in five innings. He struck out a season-high seven batters and walked only two. The bullpen was then called upon for 10 innings of work, and it responded by not allowing an earned run. The only score allowed by Myles Smith in his five innings was unearned. The right-hander allowed four hits and struck out one while walking two. Mike Adams followed with three dominant frames. He gave up only one hit, and struck out four without issuing a walk. Raynel Velette threw the final two innings to get the win. He allowed one hit and struck out two for his sixth victory of the year.
After the Spinners and Jammers matched zeroes for the seven scheduled innings, Lowell scored a pair in the top of the eighth to win the first game of the doubleheader. Jake Drehoff scattered three hits across six scoreless innings. He struck out one, walked two, and lowered his ERA on the season by more than half of a run. from 5.21 to 4.53. Ellis Jimenez threw a scoreless seventh for the win, while Carlos Pinales tossed the eighth to earn his 12th save. Danny Mars and Cisco Tellez both had two hits for the Spinners.
The nightcap brought more of the same for Lowell, as the Spinners needed only seven hits in support of excellent pitching. Again, two of the hits came off the bat of Mars, who was 4 for 7 overall on the day. Jordan Betts continues to stack up the extra-base hits, ripping a triple in the first innings. Fourth-round pick Kevin McAvoy got the start, giving up two hits in three scoreless innings. The former Bryant Bulldog has been unscored upon in four of his six outings. Brandon Show fired a scoreless inning to earn his first professional victory. Edwar Garcia followed with a hitless fifth, and Kuehl McEachern allowed one run in hits two innings to pick up the save.
First-round pick Michael Chavis led the way, doubling twice as part of his 2-for-3 afternoon. Chavis also walked, scored two runs, stole a base, and drove in one. After getting off to a tough 2-for-36 start to his career, Chavis has hit .321/.441/.464 in his last nine games. Rafael Devers had his daily extra-base hit, this time in the form of a two-run triple. Derek Miller was 2 for 5 with a double and two stolen bases.
Keith Couch took the mound, making a rehab start. Couch gave up a pair of hits in four shutout innings, striking out three without walking a batter. Reliever Jeffry Fernandez took the win, giving up two runs (one earned) on only one hit in his four innings. Taylor Nunez tossed a hitless ninth, and has started his pro career with 10 consecutive scoreless innings.
It was a tough loss for the DSL squad, wasting a strong start from Daniel Gonzalez. The 6-foot-5 right-hander gave up only three hits in his five scoreless innings. He struck out three and walked only one. The Mets clawed back for two in the ninth off Alejandro Rodriguez, then two more in the 11th off of Algenis Martinez, who took the loss. At the plate, Yoan Aybar was 2 for 5, and is now riding a six-game hitting streak. He is 11 for 25 with two doubles and three triples during that stretch. Raiwinson Lamenda doubled as part of his 2-for-5 day, and Isaias Lucena also had two hits for the Sox.
Player of the Day: Henry Owens is running out of debuts to dominate. A year and a day after taking Double-A by storm, Owens was masterful in his first taste of Triple-A. He held the Clippers hitless for 5 1/3, settling for nine strikeouts across 6 2/3 innings. With 15 wins, Owens has the most in all of professional baseball in 2014.
Photo Credit: Henry Owens by Kelly O'Connor