July 6, 2015 at 7:00 AM
7/6 Cup of Coffee: The Drive saw some big performances out of members of their lineup, like Yoan Moncada (pictured right), Joseph Monge and Nick Longhi but couldn't seem to connect for the big hit, stranding nine on base and going 4 for 16 with runners in scoring position. The Spinners lost in extras on a tough day for Aneudis Peralta, and the PawSox' Henry Owens let one bad inning ruin an otherwise strong outing. Meanwhile, the Sea Dogs and Red Sox got timely hitting and took advantage of miscues to push across runs.
The PawSox managed just four hits on the afternoon, with just one, Mike Miller's one-out triple, coming as an extra-base hit. Daniel Nava, Travis Shaw and Luis Martinez had the only other hits for Pawtucket. Garin Cecchini's slump continued with an 0 for 4 day. Cecchini has hit just .140 with a .160 slugging percentage in his last 15 games.
It was an interesting day on the mound for Henry Owens. The lefty looked dominant on the bump in 5 2/3 of his 6 2/3 innings pitched, but allowed all four runs in the third inning. A walk and a double plated one run before a single and ground out forced in a run and a two-run homer wrapped up the scoring. Otherwise, Owens only allowed one hit and one walk and fanned seven. Owens drops to 2-7 with the loss. Dayan Diaz allowed just one hit in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
The Sea Dogs saw production from up and down their lineup - that is, everyone except for Oscar Tejada, who went 0 for 4, had exactly one hit. Jantzen Witte doubled in a run and Manuel Margot drove in Witte and scored on Jake Romanski's single after drawing a walk in a two-run ninth. As a whole the team went 3 for 7 with runners in scoring position and stranded just three men on base.
It was a group effort on the mound as well. For his third time out of his last four starts, Justin Haley went six innings and didn't allow a run. With the exception of a three-inning, five-run clunker in between, three of Haley's last four starts have been pretty similar. On Sunday, Haley allowed just five hits and one walk, fanning six. Williams Jerez bounced from a couple of one-run outings with two innings of scoreless and hitless ball, though he did allow two walks. Madison Younginer allowed one unearned run after a passed ball moved a runner to third with one out and the runner scored on a ground out. Younginer walked one but did not allow a hit.
The Hillcats outhit the Red Sox, 8-5, but they capitalized on some mistakes. Salem loaded the bases in the third as Zach Kapstein and Derek Miller reached on errors and Kevin Heller walked. Mario Martinez came up big with a bases-clearing double and scored as Mauricio Dubon doubled to left. They also grabbed a run in the second with Dubon manufacturing a run. The shortstop walked, swiped second base, and scored from second on Jordan Betts' single. Dubon reached base three times, walking twice, and Heller had a hit, two walks and was hit by a pitch.
Aaron Wilkerson wasn't outstanding but he did enough to keep his team in the game and got some swings and misses. The 26-year-old tied his season high for strikeouts with nine on Sunday and allowed two runs on three walks and four hits over six innings. It was a return to form for Wilkerson, who posted a 1.55 ERA over his first nine starts in Salem, after he allowed nine runs in 9 2/3 innings in his last two outings. Kyle Kaminska recorded his first save with the Red Sox, going three innings to close out the game and allowing one run on four hits, striking out three.
It was a back-and-forth affair for the Drive on Sunday. They scored three in the first as Yoan Moncada smacked a leadoff single and Greenville strung together three more hits, highlighted by Cisco Tellez's RBI double. Savannah came storming back in the top of the second as starter Jeffry Fernandez hit a batter and allowed three straight hits, punctuated with a three-run home run, to give the Sand Gnats a one-run advantage. Fernandez allowed six runs on seven hits and three walks in five innings of work. Greenville knotted things up in the bottom of the frame on Moncada's RBI double, but Savannah pulled ahead with runs in the third and fourth. Greenville tied it up once again in the eighth, but reliever Ryan Harris gave up two runs on three hits in the ninth.
It was a stellar day at the plate for Joseph Monge who went 4 for 4 with a double, RBI and two runs scored. Moncada came up big for the Drive in a couple occasions and went 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Bryan Hudson had two hits and scored a run, Nick Longhi went 2 for 5 with a double and RBI, and Javier Guerra went 2 for 5 with a run scored. Catcher David Sopilka went 2 for 4 out of the nine spot, and Rafael Devers went 0 for 5 but drove in a run.
It was a heart-breaker for the Spinners as a walk, balk, error and single led to a ValleyCats walk-off victory in the 14th inning on Sunday. Infielder Aneudis Peralta came off the bench as a pitcher in the 13th inning to save the Spinners' bullpen, and made it through the 13th allowing two walks and a hit, but made a critical error in the 14th that cost Lowell.
The Spinners chipped away at a three-run deficit, scoring a run in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to tie things up. Both teams scored a run in the 11th as Hector Lorenzana put the Spinners on top with a solo homer to lead off the inning.
First-round pick Andrew Benintendi went 1 for 5 in his third professional game, and has hit safely in all three. He also drew two walks on Sunday, his first free passes with the Spinners. Victor Acosta went 2 for 7 with a solo home run, Chad De La Guerra's sole hit was a home run, and catcher Alex McKeon went deep with a solo shot. The Spinners had nine hits and worked nine walks (three for De La Guerra, and two each for Benintendi and Luis Alexander Basabe), but stranded 13 men on base and went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position as a team.
Player of the Day: While Yoan Moncada came up big in some clutch situations for the Drive on Sunday, Joseph Monge's four hits stand out. It was the 20-year-old's first four hit game, yet it doesn't represent a single-game high for him, since he had five hits in a game in 2014. The center fielder has had a rough year offensively, hitting .233/.277/.343, but has eight hits and three RBIs in his last 15 at-bats. Monge's current .233 batting average is the highest its been since April 25th.
Photo credit: Yoan Moncada by Kelly O'Connor