June 28, 2015 at 7:00 AM
6/28 Cup of Coffee: Another day meant another win for three streaking affiliates. The DSL Red Sox2 won their 12th straight game, the GCL Red Sox moved to 6-0 to open the season, and Lowell won for the eighth time in nine contests. Pawtucket used a 10-hit attack to join the winner's circle on Saturday, and Greenville held on from Friday's suspended game. Portland couldn't hold a late lead, Salem's bats were quieted in its loss, and the DSL Red Sox1 continued to struggle.
Despite inconsistent playing time while with Boston, Rusney Castillo has shown little sign of rust since rejoining the PawSox. On Saturday, the right fielder delivered his third multi-hit game in the four since he was optioned, going 2 for 3 with a double, walk, stolen base, and two runs scored. Sean Coyle broke a 3-3 tie with a three run homer in the sixth inning. It was Coyle's first home run since May 2, and it broke a 3-for-32 skid. Veterans Matt Spring and Quintin Berry added two hits apiece in the win. Shane Victorino was 1 for 4 in a rehab outing.
Zeke Spruill made his second start of the season, and pitched his way out of several jams to keep the PawSox close. He allowed only three runs despite giving up 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings. Jess Todd earned the win in relief, giving up a pair of hits in 2 1/3 innings. Pat Light struck out one in a perfect ninth to close out the win.
Manuel Margot (pictured, above) made his Hadlock Field debut in style, clubbing a three-run home run in the sixth innings that gave the Sea Dogs a 5-4 lead. Sam Travis didn't introduce himself to Hadlock with quite the bang that Margot did, but the first baseman did walk, score a run, and drive in one on a sacrifice fly. Jantzen Witte had a pair of hits and ripped his 20th double of the season.
The Sea Dogs pitching staff had no answer for Reading right fielder Brian Pointer, who delivered the first three home run game against Portland since Derrick Gibson of the New Haven Ravens back in 1997 when the Sea Dogs were an affiliate of the Florida Marlins. Heri Quevedo turned in a solid start, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings, striking out five and walking two. Mike McCarthy allowed two runs in 1 1/3, and Miguel Celestino took the loss with four runs on three hits in an inning. Jorge Marban struck out three in 1 2/3 scoreless innings to keep the Sea Dogs within striking distance, but the Reading bullpen was able to slam the door.
After an initial struggle, left-hander Trey Ball turned in a strong start. Frederick got on the board with an unearned run off of Ball in the first, and added a pair in the second. The 2013 first-rounder settled in after that though, retiring seven straight at one point. Overall, Ball allowed the three runs (two earned) on six hits, matching a career high with 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out three, taking the loss. Taylor Grover fired 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief. Salem generated very little in the way of offense off a trio of Frederick pitchers, but Tzu-Wei Lin was a bright spot, reaching base three times with two hits and a walk.
After Friday's rain halted play after two innings, the contest resumed with Michael Kopech taking the mound for the Drive. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings, giving him 58 in 50 frames on the season. Kopech allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits, before giving way to Ryan Harris. Harris picked up his third save of the year, allowing two hits and striking out two in 2 1/3 scoreless innings. At the plate, Nick Longhi tripled as part of a 2-for-3 evening, adding a walk and a run scored.
The Spinners continued their early season excellence, winning of the eighth time in the first nine games. Jose Almonte turned in a very strong start, allowing just two runs on five hits in three innings. striking out a career-high seven batters. Taylor Nunez allowed a run in three innings to pick up the save.
A day after a three-double performance, Chad De La Guerra added two more on Saturday, scoring a pair of runs in the process. After starting his pro career 0 for 9, De La Guerra is 5 for 8 with four runs scored and 10 total bases in his last two games. Jordon Austin also played a key role for the Spinners, driving in two runs as part of a 3-for-4 evening. Josh Ockimey was 2 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to seven straight.
It was a nail-biter in the Gulf Coast League, but the Sox managed to come out with their perfect record intact. It took five pitchers to preserve the one-run win, led by starter Javier Rodriguez. The 20-year-old lefty now has shut his opponent down for four scoreless innings in both of his starts. Saturday, Rodriguez allowed two hits, striking out one and walking one. Pat Goetze followed and earned the win out of the bullpen, giving up a run on a solo homer in his two innings. Brad Stone, taken by Boston in the 24th-round, made his professional debut with a scoreless seventh. Nick Duron gave up a run in his inning of work before Yankory Pimentel got the save for his scoreless ninth.
Yoan Aybar tripled for the Sox only extra-base hit of the day, going 1 for 4 overall. Tyler Hill scored a run and stole a base as part of a 2-for-4 day, and Carlos Tovar was 1 for 2 with a walk.
The Red Sox1 continue to sputter, losing for the 11th time in 13 contests. Starting pitcher Alejandro Rodriguez fell to 0-3 on the year despite a solid performance. Rodriguez allowed two runs on two hits in 5 2/3 innings, walking out two and striking out six. Of the four hits the Red Sox had, two came off the bat of Marino Campana, who also drove in a run.
A three-run rally in the ninth extended the Red Sox2's winning streak to 12 games. Five players had multi-hit games, including catcher Freiberg Marin. Marin turned in two triples while walking twice, scoring twice, and driving in two runs. Stanley Espinal hit a grand slam in the second inning, giving the Sox what appeared at the time to be a commanding 5-0 lead. Yorvin Pantoja turned in a strong start, giving up an unearned run on two hits in five frames, striking out five and walking a pair.
Player of the Day: Lowell has gotten an abundance of quality performances in the early going in order run its record to 8-1, and Jose Almonte was the most recent to impress. Almonte was given a $610,000 bonus out of Venezuela back in 2012, but his first experience stateside in 2014 was up-and-down. While it is still very early in the 2015 campaign, Almonte has been excellent, giving up three runs and striking out 12 in 12 innings.
Photo Credit: Manuel Margot by Kelly O'Connor