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July 29, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Brian Johnson leads PawSox to shutout victory

7/29 Cup of Coffee: Despite outscoring opponents 34-22, the affiliates went 3-5 on the day, with Portland, Greenville, Lowell, and the GCL Red Sox all losing games by one run. The PawSox coasted to victory thanks to a strong start from Brian Johnson (pictured), while more glowing reports came in on Anderson Espinoza following his start yesterday. Stanley Espinal slugged two home runs and a triple for the DSL Red Sox, and Javier Guerra broke out of a mini-slump.


Pawtucket Red Sox 6, Norfolk Tides (BAL) 0
Behind the left arm of Brian Johnson, the PawSox shut out the Tides. Johnson went the first 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and three walks while striking out six. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal was at the game, and noted that Johnson was having trouble commanding most of his pitches, but his curveball was on and that is what got him through the game. The start was only Johnson's second in the last three weeks, and his first since making his major league debut on July 21. The recently-optioned Noe Ramirez twirled 1 2/3 scoreless innings and Ronald Belisario pitched a scoreless ninth.

Jackie Bradley Jr. was on base three times as he went 1 for 2 with two walks and two runs scored. Travis Shaw and Allen Craig each drove in two runs, with Shaw connecting on his 12th double of the year.


Trenton Thunder (NYY) 2, Portland Sea Dogs 1
The Sea Dogs managed only three hits in a one-run loss to the Thunder. Despite not striking out a batter, Luis Diaz got through six innings allowing only two runs, but still picked up his ninth loss of the season. Simon Mercedes pitched the last two innings, giving up only one hit without allowing a run.

The offense was led by Sam Travis and Mike Miller, who each went 1 for 3 with a walk. Keury De La Cruz had the only other Portland hit, a one-out single in the ninth.


Lynchburg Hillcats (CLE) 3, Salem Red Sox 0 (Suspended)
With the Hillcats up by three in the top of the fourth, the game was suspended due to rain. Ty Buttrey struck out five and gave up only one hit in his three innings, but three walks and an error led to three runs scoring. Wendell Rijo had the lone hit for Salem. 


Two unearned runs ultimately doomed the Drive, as the RiverDogs earned a split of the four-game series. Reed Reilly was the tough-luck loser, allowing only the two unearned runs over six innings,  while walking one and striking out two. Jamie Callahan tossed two scoreless innings of relief, striking out three while allowing only two hits. 

After going 1 for 3 with a double and two stolen bases yesterday, Yoan Moncada has now hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, while racking his stolen base total up to 21. Javier Guerra and Danny Mars each had two hits, with Guerra breaking out of an 0 for 12 skid.


Williamsport Crosscuters (PHI) 6, Lowell Spinners 5
In a back-and-forth affair, the Spinners ended up on the losing end as they dropped below .500. In one of the stranger starts you will see in the New York-Penn League, Javier Rodriguez did not allow a hit over four innings, but allowed two runs due to his four walks and a wild pitch. Daniel Gonzalez gave up four runs in his four innings of relief, picking up the loss.

The Spinners had two extra-base hits on the day, with both of them going for triples. Luis Alexander Basabe went 2 for 4 with his third triple of the year, while Chad De La Guerra notched his first three-bagger. After tallying multiple hits in 3 of his first 8 games this year, Josh Ockimey had his first multi-hit game since June 29 last night, a span of 17 games. 


Anderson Espinoza returned to the mound after almost a full week of rainouts and put up his usual strong numbers, but this time it was in a losing effort. Espinoza went the first four innings, surrendering one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out three. Josh Norris of Baseball America was at the game, and tweeted that Espinoza's fastball was up to 98, and he paired that with a tremendous curveball and a low-80s changeup. Jalen Williams pitched the final two innings, holding the Orioles scoreless as he dropped his ERA to 1.04. 

Rafael Oliveras and Tyler Hill had the only two hits for the Red Sox, and each player also drew a walk. 

In a game that was only supposed to go seven innings, the Orioles came back from four runs down to win the game in the tenth. It was an uncharacteristically bad start for Kevin Steen, and his  ERA quadrupled from 0.45 to 1.82. He allowed four runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out three. It was the first time in six appearances that Steen has allowed more than one earned run. Algenis Martinez picked up the loss after the Orioles got to him for two runs in the tenth.

The Red Sox scored all of their runs in a six-run third inning, highlighted by RBI singles from Yomar Valentin and Roldani Baldwin, and a two-run double from Trent Kemp. Kemp also added a single and a walk, and Andy Perez went 1 for 3 with two walks.


DSL Red Sox1 9, DSL Dodgers (LAD) 2
The bottom of the Red Sox order did a lot of damage, leading to a blowout victory over the Dodgers. Alejandro Rodriguez did not need much help, as he fired five innings of one-run ball to pick up his third win. Hildemaro Requena followed with three innings, allowing only one run on one hit.

The last five batters in the order combined to go 9 for 20 with three doubles and six RBI. Eddy Reynoso led the way, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and three runs driven in. Luis Yovera and Luis Benoit each went 2 for 4, with Benoit adding a two-run double.

DSL Red Sox2 5, DSL Rangers2 (TEX) 3
The second Red Sox squad scored three unanswered runs to improve to 35-15 on the year. The Rangers chipped away at Yorvin Pantoja, who allowed a run in the second, third, and fourth innings. The bullpen kept the Rangers off the board after Pantoja's five innings, with Luis Rivero going three innings, and Victor Diaz picking up the save with a scoreless ninth.

Stanley Espinal stole the show on offense, launching two home runs, including a go-ahead two-run shot in the fifth inning. He also added a triple as part of his 3 for 4 day. Imeldo Diaz went 2 for 4 and Gerardo Carrizalez went 1 for 3 with a walk to round out the Red Sox offense.

Player of the Night: While his schedule and usage have been very confusing over the last few weeks, Brian Johnson did not show any ill effects last night, striking out six over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. Johnson has now thrown 96 1/3 innings this year after throwing 143 2/3 last season. If he stays in Pawtucket for the rest of the season, he will get about eight more starts, which will put him right in line with last year's innings total. If the Red Sox want to push him beyond that number, it makes a lot of sense for him to be starting games in Boston after the Pawtucket season ends on September 7, if not earlier.

Photo Credit: Brian Johnson by Kelly O'Connor