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July 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Hernandez extends batting lead, Sox pitchers struggle

7/10 Cup of Coffee: It was a tough night for several Sox minor league teams as Teddy Stankiewicz, Dedgar Jimenez, and Jose Almonte each struggled in their respective starts. Portland's middle infield set the table in the Sea Dogs win with Marco Hernandez (pictured, right) and Carlos Asuaje each collecting three hits.


Pawtucket Red Sox vs. Lehigh Valley IronPigs (PHI), PPD.
Heavy rain postponed Thursday's match-up between the PawSox and the IronPigs. The two teams will make up the game some time during the next series Pawtucket returns to Lehigh Valley from Aug. 14-16. The two teams will face off Friday back in Pawtucket. 

The Sea Dogs pounded out 12 hits and scored nine runs, all without the benefit of an extra-base hit. Marco Hernandez and Carlos Asuaje were the catalysts atop the lineup. Hernandez went 3 for 4 with three runs scored and one RBI, while Asuaje went 3 for 5 with two runs scored, one RBI and a stolen base. Sam Travis and Manuel Margot each went 1 for 3 with two RBI and two walks. William Cuevas gave up just one hit and did not allow an earned run in five innings pitched to pick up his eighth win of the season. He walked three and struck out five. Madison Younginer lowered his ERA to 2.91 in 44 1/3 innings out of the bullpen this season, striking out three in two innings.


The wheels fell off for Teddy Stankiewicz after cruising through the first three innings. The 2013 second-round draft pick gave up six runs on six hits over the fourth and fifth innings. The big blow was a three-run homer he surrendered in the fourth. He fell to 3-9 on the season with a 4.06 ERA. The Sox struggled at the plate until they scored three runs on three hits in the ninth. Jordan Betts and Derek Miller hit back-to-back doubles to produce that offense. Wendell Rijo exited the game early with a leg injury suffered when a Carolina player slid into him attempting to break up a double play.


Asheville Tourists (COL) 6, Greenville Drive 3

It was a similar story for Dedgar Jimenez, as the Drive starter also saw his night implode after a solid beginning. Two singles, a two-run double and a two-run homer in the sixth inning ended Jimenez's night after 5 2/3 innings pitched. He allowed six runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking a pair. The Drive had a chance to climb back into the game in the seventh when they loaded the bases with one out, but consecutive groundouts by Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers snuffed out that rally. Nick Longhi provided one of the few bright spots at the plate, going 2 for 3 with one RBI and a run scored. Yoan Moncada went hitless (0 for 2), but showed patience, walking twice and scoring once.


West Virginia Black Bears (PIT) 12, Lowell Spinners 3

The night soured much earlier for Spinners starter Jose Almonte, who was yanked after just 1 1/3 innings of wild pitching. Almonte allowed five runs (four earned) without giving up a hit. He was pulled after he walked four consecutive batters in the second inning. Enfember Martinez did not fare any better, allowing eight hits and a grand slam in the second inning. Lowell pitchers gave up 15 hits in all. Andrew Benintendi went 0 for 2 with a RBI sac fly. Mitchell Gunsolus drove in the other two Lowell runs with a two-run double in the seventh.


GCL Rays 4, GCL Red Sox 3

A ninth inning rally came up just short as the GCL Sox left the tying run 90 feet away and the go-ahead run on first in just the team's fourth loss so far. Luis Alejandro Basabe went 0 for 2 but did manage to walk three times and picked up an RBI groundout in the ninth. Yoan Aybar drove in the Sox's other run on a RBI double. Emmanuel De Jesus was the hard-luck loser, allowing two runs on four hits and walking two in four innings. He did not record a strikeout. Brad Stone somehow managed to only allow one run, despite walking five batters in 1 1/3 innings.


DSL Red Sox1 3, DSL Giants 1

The pitching was stellar for the first DSL team, as three pitchers combined to give up just one run and one walk. Alejandro Rodriguez picked up the win with five solid innings, giving up one run on four hits while striking out three and walking one. Hildemaro Requena provided three excellent innings of relief, giving up a lone single and striking out one. Warlyn Guzman picked up his second save with a scoreless ninth, striking out two.


DSL Red Sox2 8, DSL Tigers 3

The first-place second DSL team pounded out 14 hits and benefited from five Tiger errors to improve to 25-9. Every Sox player in the lineup had at least one hit. Third-baseman Stanley Espinal went 2 for 4 with a two-run triple and two runs scored. Juan Barriento went 3 for 5, also ripping a triple with one RBI and a run scored. Yorvin Pantoja was dominant over six innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out 10 and walking none. Ryan Oduber picked up the three-inning save, giving up one run on three hits and striking out four.


Player of the Night: Portland shortstop Marco Hernandez continues to surprise at the Double-A level. Acquired from the Cubs as the player to be named later in the Felix Dubront trade, Hernandez raised his slash line to .330/.354/.489. That is way above his time with the Cubs where he hit .280/.322/.387 over five seasons. He leads the Eastern League in batting average by six points as of Thursday and is ranked seventh in OPS with .842.

Photo Credit: Marco Hernandez by Kelly O'Connor