May 25, 2015 at 7:00 AM
5/25 Cup of Coffee: Though three of the four Red Sox affiliates lost on Sunday, each loss was decided by only one run. The PawSox' ninth inning rally was not enough to pick up starter Brian Johnson, who allowed four runs but threw a ton of strikes. The Sea Dogs couldn't generate much offense despite strong performances from their pitching staff. The Drive dropped a heartbreaker as three walks and an error in the ninth allowed the go-ahead run to score. The Red Sox' Trey Ball (pictured) threw 5 1/3 shutout innings as Salem grabbed the sole win.
The PawSox scored two in the top of the ninth but their rally came up short as they were dealt their fourth loss in the last five games. Brian Johnson went seven innings and struck out seven, but allowed four runs on eight hits. It was the second time Johnson's gone seven full innings this season. One of the positive takeaways from Johnson's performance was the fact that for the second time in his last three starts, he did not walk a batter.
The PawSox got two runs back in the ninth as Travis Shaw singled to lead off the inning and Luke Montz homered to left. Pawtucket would get two runners on with one out as Humberto Quintero and Mike Miller singled, but would strand those runners. Allen Craig went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles as he raised his Triple-A average to .326. Shaw also went 2 for 4 with a double, his fifth of the year.
Portland starter Luis Diaz took home the loss, despite allowing only three runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks, all while punching out five. With the loss, Diaz falls to 0-4 on the season. Sea Dogs' relievers were lights-out, with Jorge Marban tossing two, one-hit shutout innings and Robby Scott allowing just one hit and fanning three in his inning of work.
Offensively, Jantzen Witte was the star again, going 2 for 3 with two doubles, a walk, a RBI and run scored. Witte's average is up to .331 on the season. Shortstop Marco Hernandez went 3 for 4 with a double and drove in the Sea Dogs' other run.
Trey Ball wasn't necessarily dominant but he shut out the Dash through 5 1/3 innings, scattering five hits (all singles), walking three and striking out two. Ball struggled with command slightly, walking two and uncorking a wild pitch in the third. He worked his way out of a couple of jams, and left in the sixth after giving up back-to-back singles and getting a force out at third. Reliever Chandler Shepherd was very solid, going the rest of the way and allowing just one hit.
The Red Sox got on the board quick as Cole Sturgeon led of the bottom of the first with a single and scored on Tzu-Wei Lin's triple. Salem struck again in the third as Jose Vinicio doubled, moved to third on Sturgeon's sacrifice bunt and scored on Lin's sac fly. Jordan Betts had a good day at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double.
Dedgar Jimenez turned in a strong performance, going six innings and allowing one run on five hits and a walk, striking out six. The Drive held onto a one-run lead heading into the ninth, but an ugly performance from Jamie Callahan led to a loss. Callahan's problems began in the seventh, as he walked and hit a batter but escaped the jam and went on to throw a perfect eighth inning. He couldn't find the plate in the ninth though, walking two to start the inning and committing a throwing error en route to allowing the tying run. Ryan Harris came in and gave up a sac fly, putting the RiverDogs on top.
The two Greenville runs came in the fourth. Derek Miller singled and advanced on a wild pitch. Rafael Devers drove him in with a single to center, and then managed to score on a three-base error by the center fielder. Offense was scarce for the Drive as Michael Chavis went 1 for 3 with a double, and first baseman Cisco Tellez accounted for the remainder of Greenville's five hits.
Player of the day: Though he wasn't lights-out, Trey Ball pitched well for the second straight start as he continues to chip away at an inflated ERA, shaving it down to 4.75 with the 5 1/3 scoreless frames. The 20-year-old is making forward progress after a rough start to the season, and has held opponents to a .247 batting average in his last four starts. With the win, he pulls closer to the .500 mark with a 3-4 record.
Photo credit: Trey Ball by Kelly O'Connor