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April 22, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Johnson tosses complete game shutout

4/22 Cup of Coffee: Brian Johnson (pictured) and Ty Buttrey have been two of the best pitchers in the system so far this year, and that was no different last night, as each pitcher earned the victory with seven strong innings of work. Matt Spring delivered a walk-off single for the PawSox, while Manuel Margot kept rolling in Salem.


In a game that took less than 90 minutes, Brian Johnson breezed through the Buffalo lineup on his way to a complete game shutout. Over seven innings Johnson allowed only two hits, while walking one and striking out five as he lowered his ERA to 0.56. The PawSox did not collect their first hit until the bottom of the seventh, when Travis Shaw led off with a double. Quintin Berry came on as a pinch runner, and scored on a Matt Spring single as the PawSox walked off with the win. 

One run was not enough for the PawSox in the second game of the doubleheader, as they fell to 9-4 on the season. Keith Couch allowed three runs, two earned, in 4 2/3 innings as he picked up his second loss of the year. Noe Ramirez and Heath Hembree combined to record the final seven outs while allowing only two baserunners. Travis Shaw was the lone bright spot on offense, going 2 for 3 with a double, while Quintin Berry and Bryce Brentz each added singles. 


After escaping a bases loaded jam in the first inning, Justin Haley was not as lucky in the fourth inning, giving up four runs on three hits, a walk, and a hit by pitch in the inning before being pulled from the game. Kyle Martin pitched well in relief, firing 2 2/3 shutout innings while striking out three without walking a batter. The Portland offense was quiet all game, with singles from Blake Tekotte and Tim Roberson representing the only damage that was done.

Portland Sea Dogs 8, New Britain Rock Cats 1 (Game Two)
Portland's bats woke up in the second game, as they blew past the Rock Cats to split the doubleheader. Carlos Asuaje led the way, going 3 for 3 with a double and a walk to break out of his mini-slump. Tekotte added two hits in the nightcap, and Jantzen Witte drove in three runs while notching a hit, a walk, and a sacrifice fly. On the mound, Robby Scott cruised through his four innings of work while striking out four, while Simon Mercedes tossed three innings of one-run ball to seal the victory.


Myrtle Beach Pelicans (CHC) 7, Salem Red Sox 4
It was a rough night for Salem pitching, as Daniel McGrath was chased from the game after allowing two runs in four innings, and Jorge Marban imploded by walking four and surrendering five runs on five hits in only 2 1/3 innings. Manuel Margot did his piece for Salem, adding two hits and a double, and Sam Travis slugged his first triple of the year. 


Ty Buttrey continued his strong start with seven innings of three-run ball, as he earned his first win of the year. Buttrey did allow one walk, his first of the year, but also struck out three and induced 10 groundouts. Mario Alcantara went the final two innings, picking up his first save. Carlos Mesa raised his average to .407 as he went 2 for 3 with a home run and a walk. Joseph Monge added a double and a triple, while Mauricio Dubon went 2 for 4 and is now batting .364. Nick Longhi went 0 for 4, marking the first game this season that he did not record at least one hit. 


Player of the Night: Brian Johnson's domination of the International League has been fun to follow, and yesterday was his best performance so far. Over seven innings he allowed only two hits and a walk, while striking out five. In 16 innings this season he has struck out 18 while walking only four and surrendering one earned run on 10 hits. SoxProspects.com's Assistant Director of Scouting Chaz Fiorino was at the game, and tweeted that Johnson was sitting 88-91 with his fastball, while mixing in a slider, changeup, and curveball, with control and command of all four pitches. 

Photo Credit: Brian Johnson by Kelly O'Connor