July 27, 2015 at 7:00 AM
7/27 Cup of Coffee: The PawSox' losing streak continues despite a 10-run, 16-hit day. The bats were hot for Portland and Greenville, but Salem was the odd team out, gathering just three hits and seven baserunners on the day. Lowell won a thriller at home, thanks in large part to big days at the plate from Luis Alexander Basabe (pictured) and Austin Rei.
The PawSox' losing streak reached eight games despite the offense's best efforts. Jeff Bianchi went 4 for 6 with two doubles and three RBIs atop the PawSox lineup, and shortstop Marco Hernandez had his first multi-hit day since July 17 with two doubles, a single, a walk and three RBIs. Garin Cecchini went 2 for 5 with a big two-run double, and Travis Shaw added a single, double and walk to the hit parade.
Starter Keith Couch was mediocre, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits and two walks in five innings. For the second outing in a row, Couch failed to strike out anyone. But it was the bullpen that looked dreadful on Sunday. Heading into the seventh with a 10-4 lead, Matt Barnes put two runners on via walks and gave up a three-run home run. Barnes' ERA jumped almost a full point after the rocky 1 1/3 innings, from 3.33 to 4.21. Edwin Escobar allowed two runs (one earned), and Ronald Belisario was charged with the blown save and loss, allowing two runs (though neither were earned) on two hits and three walks in 1 1/3 innings.
The Sea Dogs completed a four-game sweep of the Fisher Cats and were firing on all cylinders on Sunday. Manuel Margot led the way offensively, going 3 for 5 with a triple, run scored and RBI. Aneury Tavarez hit his third home run of the year, a solo shot, from the nine-spot in the order, and Carlos Asuaje, Tim Roberson and Mike Miller each had two hits and a RBI apiece.
Justin Haley looked solid through five innings, allowing two runs on six hits and a walk, fanning three. Heri Quevedo, who has had a tough season with Portland, tossed two scoreless innings for his third outing in a row in relief. Jorge Marban continued his exceptional run with Portland, allowing two hits and a walk over two scoreless frames. Marban's ERA through 20 games in Double A sits at 0.31.
The Red Sox were stymied by Nationals pitching, managing just three hits on the afternoon. Mauricio Dubon had two of those, both singles, and also drew a walk. Dubon was truly the only bright spot in a Salem lineup that produced just one walk and one hit outside of Dubon. Wendell Rijo has been enduring an especially rough stretch at the plate, hitting just .143 over his last 12 games.
Kevin McAvoy took the loss and dropped to 5-9 on the season, going 6 2/3 and permitting three runs on eight hits and two walks, although none of the runs were earned. McAvoy did, however, commit two errors, one on a missed catch and another on an errant pickoff throw. Taylor Grover was strong in relief, finishing out the game and allowing just two hits and a walk.
Rafael Devers highlighted the Drive's 16-hit performance, smacking his second grand slam of the year. It was Devers' only hit in six at-bats, but it gave the Drive a 9-2 lead in the eighth. Nick Longhi went 3 for 5 with a double and a home run, driving in two. Mike Meyers had three hits, Joseph Monge went 2 for 4 with a walk and double, and Deiner Lopez had three singles. Danny Mars had a big day with two singles an a triple. Michael Chavis walked and scored twice. Yoan Moncada went 1 for 2 with a walk and two RBIs, but was lifted in the eighth for a pinch-runner.
Jalen Beeks went just 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks. Kuehl McEachern earned the win in a very good relief performance, allowing three hits and striking out four in 2 1/3 innings. Carlos Pinales went the last two, giving up three hits.
It wasn't pretty, but the Spinners grabbed the dramatic victory as they scored once in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead. Luis Alexander Basabe doubled to right with two outs in the inning, and Andrew Benintendi kept the inning alive with a ground ball to second, which was then booted by the second baseman. Basabe motored home to score the go-ahead run. Basabe had an all-around nice day, going 3 for 4 with two runs scored and swiping two bases. Catcher Austin Rei went 3 for 4 with a double and home run, driving in two runs. Benintendi did not have a hit, but walked and stole two bases.
Dioscar Romero went five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and a walk. Logan Boyd gave up a run on five hits in his 2 1/3 innings, and Trevor Kelley gave the Spinners a chance to win with a scoreless inning and two-thirds, fanning four.
Player of the day: Luis Alexander Basabe came up big for the Spinners on Sunday, scoring two crucial runs and using his speed to plate the winning run. The 18-year-old easily leads the team with 10 steals (Benintendi is second with just three) and has displayed a nice mix of speed and power with Lowell, hitting .262/.333/.469 with five double, two triples and six home runs. He also ranks first in total bases (61) and second in walks (13), though he's struck out three times as much as he's walked. It's also worth keeping in mind that Basabe is still a month away from turning 19 and is still succeeding in a league filled with college-aged athletes. Basabe is more than three years younger than the average New York-Penn League player.
Photo Credit: Luis Alexander Basabe by Kelly O'Connor