May 24, 2015 at 7:00 AM
5/24 Cup of Coffee: Greenville was the lone exception in a generally frustrating day at the plate for nearly all of the Red Sox' minor league affiliates. Neither Pawtucket nor Salem managed an extra base hit, while Greenville couldn't put a run on the board until the eighth inning. Portland won the second leg of its doubleheader thanks to some unusual heroics from Jantzen Witte (pictured, right).
Shortstop Jeff Bianchi and center fielder Quentin Barry had the only multi-hit games for the PawSox, which posted just five hits in what was a tough night offensively. Pawtucket didn't get on the board until the top of the sixth inning, when left fielder Bryce Brentz plated Bianchi on a sacrifice fly. Louisville then held the PawSox scoreless for the final three frames.
Starter Eduardo Rodriguez drew the loss and dropped to 4-3 on the year. The left hander went seven innings and allowed five runs, two of them earned, on nine hits while striking out six. Cuban reliever Dalier Hinojosa threw one inning in relief, striking out one and giving up two hits and one run.
The Fightin Phils held Portland to just two hits in the first of two seven inning games, with third baseman Oscar Tejeda and shortstop Marco Hernandez providing all of the Sea Dogs' offense. Tejeda finished 1 for 2 with a walk and one run scored, while Hernandez went 1 for 3 and scored the other run.
Right hander Justin Haley earned his fifth loss of 2015, giving up three runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out five in his eighth start of the season. 2012 second-round pick Pat Light threw 1 1/3 innings in relief, keeping Reading off the board while walking two and striking out two. Light now has 29 strikeouts in 23 innings this year, his first as a full-time reliever.
Third baseman Jantzen Witte was the late-game hero for Portland, getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score the game winning run in the bottom of the seventh. Witte showed well at the plate, going 1 for 3 with a double and two RBI. The 25-year-old infielder now sits tied for second in the Eastern League in RBI with 29. Second baseman Carlos Asuaje was the Sea Dogs' strongest offensive contributor, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and a run scored.
Former 14th-round pick Mike McCarthy threw five strong innings for Portland, allowing four hits and just one run while striking out four. Madison Younginer earned the win after throwing two innings in relief, improving his record to 1-2.
Ty Buttrey put together a solid performance for Salem, striking out six batters in seven innings and allowing three runs on seven hits. The 22-year-old second-round pick is 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in seven starts this season. Right hander Austin Maddox earned the win, throwing two scoreless relief innings and striking out two.
Shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin went 3 for 4 with three singles, while center fielder Cole Sturgeon went 1 for 4 with an RBI hitting out of the leadoff spot. First baseman Mario Martinez and second baseman Jose Vincio each went 2 for 4 with a run scored.
Even a four-run bottom of the eighth inning proved too little too late for Greenville, which fell just short of an impressive comeback rally after being held scoreless for the first seven frames. The inning featured a triple from second baseman Yoan Moncada, who finished 1 for 3, and a three-run home run from shortstop Mauricio Dubon. Moncada was forced to depart after a hard slide into third base and was replaced by pinch runner Javier Guerra, who scored on a single from left fielder Carlos Mesa. Third baseman Rafael Devers was another notable, finishing 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
Right hander Reed Reilly struggled through 5 2/3 innings of work and fell to 2-2 with the loss, giving up eight hits and five runs while walking one and striking out three. Carlos Pinales held the line in relief, tossing 3 1/3 scoreless innings and giving up three hits and striking out two.
Player of the Day: It's not often a team walks off on a batter getting hit by a pitch, but that's exactly what happened to Jantzen Witte and the Portland Sea Dogs last night. Whether he meant it or not, Witte won the game for Portland, which needed a victory after losing the first game of the doubleheader. Witte also had a solid offensive showing, hitting a double and knocking in two runs. The 2013 24th-round pick has been a breakout star in the Eastern League this season, posting a .331/.400/.504 slash line through 37 games.
Photo Credit: Jantzen Witte by Kelly O'Connor