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June 30, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Margot helps Portland earn split as part of crazy Monday schedule

6/30 Bottomless Cup of Coffee: Red Sox affiliates played in a remarkable twelve games on Monday. A rainy June on the east coast led to four doubleheaders, with the other four affiliates all in action as well. Lowell, Portland, and Greenville each split their twinbills, while Pawtucket was swept in a punchless performance. The GCL Red Sox continue to win, moving to 7-0 on the year, while the DSL Red Sox2 saw their long win streak snapped at 12. 


It was a miserable day for the Pawtucket offense, which was unable to score and compiled only seven hits in 14 innings across two games. In the first game, play resumed in the third inning, and Keith Couch took over on the mound for original starter Zeke Spruill. Couch allowed five runs on nine hits in his six innings of work

Brian Johnson threw five pitches and ended up the losing pitcher. The left-hander walked the game's leadoff batter, old friend Argenis Diaz. One pitch into the second at-bat, Johnson left the game due to an illness. Diaz came around to score, giving the Red Wings all the offense they would need. Dalier Hinojosa did yeoman's work to save the bullpen, working four innings, his most since coming stateside at the start of 2014. He allowed a run on four hits, striking out one without issuing a walk. The PawSox lineup was shut down by a trio of Rochester pitchers. Allen Craig was the only player with a multi-hit game, going 2 for 3 with a double.


The first game of Portland's twinbill needed extra innings to be decided. Manuel Margot (pictured, above) was at the center of the Sea Dogs offensive attack all day, so it was appropriate that he scored the winning run. With one out in the ninth, Margot singled, advanced to second on a ground ball by Keury De La Cruz, and came around to score on a base hit by Reed Gragnani. Margot had doubled twice previously, and finished the opener 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. De La Cruz and Gragnani had two hits apiece, while Ryan Hanigan was 0 for 3 with a walk in a rehab appearance.

Starter William Cuevas allowed three runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking three and striking out three. Williams Jerez followed with his second appearance since being promoted to Double-A, allowing a run on two hits in 1 1/3. Madison Younginer earned the victory with three shutout innings of relief, allowing two hits and striking out two without issuing a walk.

It was tough going for the Sea Dogs in the nightcap. Margot continued his strong evening, going 1 for 2 with a HBP and a stolen base. Hanigan took designated hitter duty after catching in the first game, and went 2 for 3 with a double. De La Cruz popped his fifth home run of the year, a solo blast in the seventh inning. Jake Romanski also singled for his first Double-A hit. 

Robby Scott got the start and took the loss, giving up two runs on three hits in 2 2/3. Simon Mercedes allowed one run on a solo homer in 3 1/3 innings. He gave up three hits overall, and struck out two without issuing a walk. 


Kevin McAvoy turned in his strongest start in over a month, but got little support from his offense. The Bryant University product allowed a run on six hits in six innings, striking out two and walking two. Chandler Shepherd took the loss in relief, giving up two runs on four hits in three frames. Salem took an early lead in the first when Tzu-Wei Lin doubled for the 11th time this season and scored on a Kevin Heller single, but the offense generated very little after. Jose Vinicio was one of the few bright spots, going 2 for 3 with a triple.


The Drive dropped the first game despite a solid effort by starter Dedgar Jimenez. The burly southpaw went all seven innings allowing four runs (only one earned) on seven hits. He walked one, struck out two, and dropped to 5-4 on the year. Yoan Moncada was 2 for 4 with Greenville's lone run, and also swiped his ninth stolen base. It was the third time in four games Moncada had multiple hits, though he would not repeat that achievement in the nightcap. Rafael Devers doubled, his 19th on the season and Joseph Monge walked in addition to his two bagger.

A two-run homer by Carlos Mesa broke a 2-2 tie in the third inning and helped the Drive salvage a split. Michael Chavis and Nick Longhi both doubled in the win. It was the 13th double of the year for both. Moncada's modest four-game hitting streak came to a close, but he did score in the first inning after reaching on an error. 

Starter Jake Drehoff continues to gradually ramp up the innings. He went a season-high 4 1/3, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits. He struck out five without allowing a walk. Jamie Callahan earned the win in relief, his first victory since August 6, 2014. Callahan tossed 2 2/3 shutout frames, his fourth consecutive outing without giving up a run. He struck out two and walked one. After posting an ugly 9.14 ERA in six starts, Callahan now has a 3.60 mark in nine outings from the bullpen. 


The second start of the season went much better for Dioscar Romero. After failing to get out of the first inning in his 2015 debut, Romero allowed just two runs on four hits in five innings. He struck out six while walking only one. Enfember Martinez struggled some with his control, walking one and hitting two batters while allowing one run in 1 2/3 innings. Edwar Garcia came on with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh and recorded a strikeout to slam the door on Lowell's ninth win in ten games. 

Josh Ockimey was the story at the plate in the first game. The 2014 fifth-round pick slammed his first professional home run. Overall, Ockimey was 2 for 2 with a walk and two runs scored. Victor Acosta was 1 for 3 with a triple and an RBI to extend his hitting streak to six games. 

The offense couldn't get anything going in the nightcap, wasting a strong outing by Luis Ramos. Ramos's lone blemish was a solo home run in the fifth inning which proved to be the difference. He went six innings to earn credit for the complete game, allowing only five hits while striking out three. Ramos did not issue a walk. The Spinners managed only three hits, and it is no surprise that one came off the bat of Acosta. He has now hit in all seven games he has appeared, going 12 for 27 with a robust .444/.483/.630 slash line.


The Red Sox squad continues to lay waste to the Gulf Coast League competition in the early going, moving to 7-0 on the year. Gerson Bautista (pictured, right) was excellent, allowing a run on three hits in five innings, striking out two and walking one. Not to be outdone, Jalen Williams threw four shutout innings of relief, giving up only two hits and picking up the save.

Rafael Oliveras had a monster game to lead the offense. He was 3 for 3 with a double, a walk, and his first professional home run - a solo shot in the seventh. A pair of 2015 draftees made their professional debuts. Fifth-round selection Jagger Rusconi was the designated hitter, going 1 for 3 with a run scored, while Jerry Downs, taken in the 15th round, got the start at first base and was 0 for 4. Henry Ramos made his first appearance in the field during his rehab stint, drawing the left field assignment. Ramos went 1 for 3 with an RBI. 


DSL Mets1 4, DSL Red Sox1 1
The Red Sox1 team continues to struggle, falling for the ninth time in 11 games. Starter Jose Zacarias allowed three runs on six hits in five innings, falling to 0-3 on the season. Zacarias struck out three without walking a batter. Three of the Sox' six hits and their only run came out of left fielder Marino Campana, who was 3 for 4 with a double. 

DSL Yankees2 5, DSL Red Sox 4
For the first time in two weeks the magic ran out on the Red Sox2, as their winning streak came to an end at 12. The team was in good position to extend its streak because of another fine performance out of Denyi Reyes. The 6-foot-4 righty allowed one run on six hits in six innings. He struck out four, and once again did not issue a walk. Reyes has yet to walk a batter in 31 innings across six outings, against 32 strikeouts. Reyes left with a 4-1 lead, but the Yankees got to Nicolo Clemente for two runs apiece in the eighth and ninth innings. At the plate, Stanley Espinal was 2 for 4, his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. He also drove in a pair of runs, his team leading 23rd and 24th. 


Player of the Day: On a day with 12 games, this was a surprisingly easy choice. Manuel Margot was promoted to Double-A only a week ago, but he is already an impact player at the level, going 4 for 6 across two games and scoring the deciding run in the first contest. Margot's combination of power and speed has been on display since the promotion. He had two doubles and a stolen base today, giving him four extra-base hits and three steals in eight games with Portland.

Photo Credit: Manuel Margot by Kelly O'Connor