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June 15, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Salem shutout streak continues, Drive lose in extras

6/15 Cup of Coffee: The Salem Red Sox pitching staff, led by Trey Ball (pictured), was excellent once again, as they extended their shutout streak to 23 innings with a 7-0 win on Sunday. But they were the only victorious team in the Red Sox organization on Sunday. The Sea Dogs' slide continues as they've lost eight of their last 10 games, and the PawSox struggled to produce a big hit despite a solid start from Henry Owens, and the Drive dropped a tough one in extras.


Down two in the ninth, the PawSox got within one thanks to a home run from Bryce Brentz (his team-leading, eighth of the season), but the rally fell short as Pawtucket's win streak comes to an end at four games. The PawSox stranded 11 men on base and went 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position. The top three hitters in the lineup, Quintin Berry, Deven Marrero, and Brentz each went 2 for 5. Third baseman Sean Coyle reached base three times, drawing two walks and hitting a triple.

Starter Henry Owens went six innings, allowing four hits, a run, a walk and striking out seven, which ties a season-high. Owens threw 99 pitches with 65 going for strikes and got 17 swings and misses, including eight swings and misses on his changeup, according to SoxProspects.com's Chaz Fiorino. The lefty hasn't earned a win since May 5, and allowed 10 runs over 16 innings in his last three starts prior to Sunday.


The Sea Dogs managed just five hits in Sunday's contest, but three of them were home runs. Dave Sappelt smacked his second homer of the season in the second inning, Oscar Tejada followed suit in the fourth with his second of the year, and David Chester added his fourth longball of 2015 in the fifth. Coming into the game, the Sea Dogs had only hit 24 home runs, the fewest of any team in the Eastern League.

Starter Justin Haley was in line for the win when he left with a runner on and no outs in the sixth inning. Haley, who hasn't notched a win since May 17 and currently owns a 1-8 record, was solid, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks, striking out three. Reliever Simon Mercedes allowed the inherited runner and one of his own to score in the sixth. John Comely pitched the eighth inning allowing two runs on two hits.


Trey Ball cruised through four innings of work, he allowed just two hits and three walks and struck out three. He pitched to one batter in the fifth, but was knocked out of the game thanks to a 70-minute rain delay. Luckily, Williams Jerez picked up right where Ball left off, going three innings and allowing just three hits and a walk. Jerez, who posted a 2.06 ERA in 14 appearances for Greenville, hasn't allowed a run since joining the Red Sox on June 6 (9 1/3 innings). Austin Maddox earned his league-leading ninth save, tossing two perfect frames, striking out four.

Left fielder Kevin Heller went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk, catcher Jordan Weems went 2 for 4 with a double, and third baseman Jose Vinicio drove in three runs with a single and double. Right fielder Forrestt Allday had been hitless in his last three games before going 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs on Sunday. The multi-hit game brings his average back to .300; Allday came into the game batting .281, the lowest his average had dropped since the second game of the season.


First baseman Nick Longhi had three of the team's seven hits, going 3 for 5 with one RBI. Mauricio Dubon, who has hit safely in six straight, went 2 for 5 with a double atop the Greenville lineup, and left fielder Mike Meyers singled and walked twice.

Jake Drehoff made his second start of the season for Greenville, going four innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits, striking out a season-high seven. He's now fanned 27 batters in 22 2/3 innings. Kyle Kaminska was excellent in relief, allowing just two hits over 3 1/3 innings, punching out four. Kuehl McEachern allowed three runs on four hits in the top of the 11th to give the Braves the 5-2 lead, and the Drive couldn't push across any runs in the bottom of the frame despite two walks.


Player of the Day: Despite the rain-shortened outing, Trey Ball's start was another in a recent string of excellent performances. Ball hasn't allowed a run in his last 15 2/3 innings, and has allowed just two hits in each of his last three starts. Ball's outing on Sunday wasn't quite as dominant as his nine-strikeout performance his last time out, but he continues to make progress after an ugly start to the season. Ball's ERA has shrunk to 3.73 (it was was over 6.00 a little over a month ago), and hitters are now batting .241 against the southpaw. The one issue that remains a concern for Ball may be his walks; he's issued nine free passes over those 15 2/3 scoreless innings.

Photo credit: Trey Ball by Kelly O'Connor