June 9, 2015 at 7:00 AM
6/9 Cup of Coffee: While much of the prospect world had its attention fixed on the draft, there was still baseball to be played on Monday. As the Red Sox were selecting Andrew Benintendi out of Arkansas with their top pick, Brian Johnson (pictured), the last SEC player taken in the first round by Boston, was on the mound for Pawtucket. A trio of DSL Red Sox2 hurlers combined to fire a three-hit vicotry, while the Red Sox1 squad failed to hold a late lead.
Brian Johnson entered Monday night's contest having retired 20 consecutive batters over two starts. However, that run ended quickly when the lefty allowed a single to leadoff the game. Two batters later, Johnson surrendered a home run, but then quickly settled back into the dominant force he's been all spring. He retired 14 of the next 15 batters he faced, with the only baserunner in that stretch quickly getting erased on a 5-4-3 double play. With two outs in the sixth, Johnson allowed his first hit since that first inning home run, and he was lifted despite sitting at only 78 pitches. Overall, the 2012 first-round pick out of Florida allowed two runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three and walking one.
With Johnson out, Charlotte hit relievers Miguel Celestino and Dayan Diaz hard, touching them up for two home runs apiece. Travis Shaw led the way at the plate, going 3 for 5 with a double to deliver his fourth multi-hit game in his last eight.
The opener of Salem's system in Lynchburg was postponed and will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday. Ty Buttrey, who was originally scheduled to start, had been scratched due to a stomach bug.
It was a tough loss for the Sox, who led 3-1 heading into the eighth. Starter Junior Espinoza was excellent, allowing one unearned run on three hits in five innings, striking out six and walking one. Willis Figueroa continues to be a tough out, as the right fielder was 1 for 3 with two walks and has now reached base in 13 of his 22 plate appearances.
Three Red Sox pitchers combined to toss a three hitter, with Victor Garcia the most dominant of the trio. The 17-year-old right-hander fired four perfect innings, striking out nine of the 12 batters he faced. Angel Padron followed, earning the win by allowing one hit in two scoreless frames. Nicolo Clemente picked the saved with a run on two hits in his three innings of work. Marcos Martinez led the offensive attack, going 3 for 4 with two runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. Stanley Espinal added three hits of his own for the Sox.
Player of the Day: In two professional starts, Victor Garcia now has allowed three hits in eight innings, striking out 13. The 6-foot-4 righty was signed by the Red Sox in September 2014 out of the Dominican Republic.
Photo Credit: Brian Johnson by Kelly O'Connor