September 6, 2014 at 8:00 AM
9/6 Cup of Coffee: Pawtucket completed their sweep of the Chiefs to advance to the International League finals. Portland moved within one game of winning their series, while Salem's season ended in a shutout
Henry Owens was less than sparkling as he allowed five runs on eight hits in only four innings pitched. Owens walked three and struck out six but walked away without factoring into the decision. Dalier Hinojosa took home the win thanks to 2 innings of one-run ball, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out two as well. Jose Valdez tossed a scoreless 1 2/3 to bridge the gap to Heath Hembree, who shut the Chiefs down with 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the save.
The PawSox were down by four after only two innings, and were trailing by two after six, but they managed to storm back in the seventh, scoring three runs in the frame to take the lead. With one out in the inning, Travis Shaw singled to start the rally and was promptly pushed to third by Bryce Brentz's double. Ryan Lavarnway stepped in and hit a single, his only base-knock of the series, that drove in both Shaw and Brentz to tie the score at six. Garin Cecchini's grounder to second was then misplayed for an error which left runners on second and third with only one out. Following a Corey Brown strike out, Blake Swihart drove in the go-ahead run with a grounder to short which he beat out for the infield single.
Brentz's double was part of 3-for-5 performance from the right fielder, who walks away with a .429 average in this series. Shaw and Brown also had two hits apiece, though one of Brown's came in the form of a home run in the sixth inning.
The Sea Dogs moved one game up on the Mets, and now need only one more win to advance to the finals. Eduardo Rodriguez kept the Mets out of it, as he allowed only three runs (two earned) on three hits and two walks while punching out six. Aaron Kurcz came on in relief and allowed only 1 hit in his 2 1/3 innings of work.
While the pitching limited the Mets offensively, the Portland offense launched a 10-hit attack against Binghamton pitching. Rusney Castillo went 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored, an RBI and a walk out of the lead off spot, while Mike Miller went 2 for 4 out of the second spot in the line up. Heiker Meneses had Portland's only other extra-base hit of the night, and every Portland starter, except for Shannon Wilkerson had one hit in the contest.
The Red Sox took the loss in this one, despite out-hitting the opposition 5-4. The Pelicans took advantage of six free passes and an error as they shut out Salem. Cody Kukuk took the loss as he lasted only two innings in which he surrendered three runs on two hits and four walks, while striking out three. William Cuevas came on in relief and gave up two more runs on only one hit and two walks but striking out four in 3 1/3 innings. Nate Reed and Taylor Grover combined to allow only on hit in their 2 2/3 innings pitched.
Each of the Red Sox' five hits came from a different batter, though none of them went for extra bases. Matty Johnson and Jose Vinicio were each 1 for 4 out of the 1-2 spots in the lineup. Reed Gragnani went 1 for 3 as the number five batter, while the eight and nine hitters, Jake Romanski and Cole Sturgeon also went 1 for 3.
Player of the night: On a night when there weren't many stand out performances, Bryce Brentz takes home the honors. Brentz went 3 for 5 with a double, a run scored and an RBI and has hit .429 thus far in the playoffs. Brentz hit .227/.326/.430 in 72 games this season, splitting time between Pawtucket and brief rehab stints in Lowell and the GCL.
Photo Credit: Bryce Brentz by Kelly O'Connor