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May 12, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Derek Miller, Javier Guerra help Greenville end skid

5/12 Cup of Coffee: It was a full slate of games on the schedule for Monday, with the Red Sox affiliates taking the win in three contests. Pawtucket and Portland both got strong pitching to open up their respective homestands with wins. Greenville held off a pair of late rallies and snapped its five-game losing streak. Salem mustered only five hits while taking the only loss of the night. 


With Steven Wright and Matt Barnes recently getting the call to Boston, this game looked like it could be all hands on deck in the PawSox bullpen. Spot starter Jess Todd, however, made sure that was unnecessary. The veteran righty scattered three hits over five shutout innings, striking out six while walking only one. The appearance was the longest for Todd since he went six innings while a member of the Memphis Redbirds in August 2008. Miguel Celestino tossed two scoreless frames in relief. Robbie Ross made his PawSox debut, allowing a run on two hits in two innings, closing out the victory.

Deven Marrero was a pest, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances. Marrero was 2 for 2 with two walks, a double, RBI, run scored, and a stolen base. Bryce Brentz added a pair of hits, doubling and scoring two runs. Sean Coyle ended an 0-for-15 drought with his first double of the season. 


It was a scary scene in the first inning at Hadlock Field when Thunder pitcher Brady Lail was struck in the head by a Jantzen Witte line drive. Lail exited the game, but was fortunately able to leave the field under his own power. 

William Cuevas had another strong start for the Sea Dogs, giving up just one run on three hits in his six innings of work, striking out six and walking three. Kyle Martin was superb in relief, getting the win with three perfect innings. Martin struck out five. 

One-run rallies in the seventh and eighth innings gave Portland the victory. Down 1-0 in the seventh, a throwing error on a Reed Gragnani sacrifice attempt allowed Keury De La Cruz to score the tying run from second base. De La Cruz then drove in what turned out to be the winning run, as his bases loaded sacrifice fly plated Carlos Asuaje in the eighth. 


Salem generated very little in the way of offense, delivering only five hits against a quartet of Mudcat hurlers. On the mound, after a pair of starts where he struggled with walks, the control returned for Kevin McAvoy. He allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out six without issuing a walk, McAvoy also induced 10 ground ball outs. Joe Gunkel allowed an unearned run on two hits in three innings of relief.


Leadoff man Derek Miller was the catalyst as the Drive halted their five-game losing streak. Miller reached base five times, going 3 for 3 with a pair of walks. He scored two runs, drove in another, doubled, and stole a base. Javier Guerra (pictured) popped a solo home run, his third of the season, in the fourth inning, giving the Drive the lead. A single with the bases loaded by Rafael Devers drove in a pair of runs to break a 3-3 tie.

Jeffry Fernandez took the start for Greenville, allowing two runs on three hits in five innings, striking out a batter and walking two. Mario Alcantara picked up his second win of the season, giving up an unearned run in his two innings of work. Kuehl McEachern notched his third save, allowing a run in two innings to close out the win. The Drive can salvage a split of the four-game set with the Suns with a victory on Tuesday. 


Player of the Day: Surrounded by several well-regarded prospects in the Greenville lineup, Derek Miller has flown under the radar this season. However, the frequent leadoff hitter and 2014 23rd-round pick has been a solid performer. After reaching base five times on Monday, his on-base percentage stands at .397, and he is tied with Rafael Devers for the team lead in hits.

Photo Credit: Javier Guerra by Kelly O'Connor