July 28, 2015 at 7:00 AM
7/28 Cup of Coffee: It took 15 wild innings and a catcher pitching for Greenville to come away with the organizations only win of the night. Salem was swept in its series, while Portland had its modest winning streak snapped. Both DSL teams fell, and the GCL Sox once again were rained out.
Portland saw its season-high four-game winning streak snapped in the opener of a three game set in Trenton. Starter Danny Rosenbaum, making his way back from Tommy John surgery, gave up two runs despite allowing 10 hits - all singles - in his four innings of work. The 27-year-old walked one and struck out three. It seems like Mike Augliera keeps finding new ways to get saddled as the losing pitcher, and Monday saw one of the more tough-luck decisions one can take. Following the hit parade against Rosenbaum, Augliera managed to hold the Thunder hitless for three innings. However, the one baserunner he allowed was a leadoff walk in the sixth inning. A stolen base and a pair of ground outs scored what proved to be the winning run, dropping Augliera to 2-14 on the season.
The two squads combined for 19 hits, but the only one that went for extra bases was a double of the bat of Manuel Margot. The Sea Dogs leadoff man extended his hitting streak to six games. He also stole his 10th base since his promotion to Portland and his 30th in total across two levels.
Another former Red Sox player had an impact on the game, as Andrew Bailey (NYY) earned the save for Trenton. The former Boston closer is trying to work his way back to the majors on a minor league contract after missing the 2014 season with a shoulder injury.
The Nationals completed their three game sweep in a contest where little went right for Salem. It was a tough outing for Daniel McGrath. The Australian left-hander allowed six runs on seven hits in five innings of work. On a positive note, the five frames were the most McGrath had thrown since a six-inning appearance in mid-May. Mike Adams allowed one run in his two innings of relief, and Brandon Show followed with two scoreless frames.
Dustin Lawley led the way at the plate, gong 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles. Cole Sturgeon added a triple, and Danny Bethea was 1 for 4 with a double in his Salem debut.
It took four hours and 40 minutes, but Greenville finally emerged in the 15th inning to knock of Charleston. With the game knotted at three and two outs already in the inning Deiner Lopez drew a walk. He then stole second and came in to score the go-ahead run. on the fourth hit of the night off the bat of Danny Mars (pictured, right). After advancing to second on the throw to the plate, Mars stole a base of his own and then raced home on a wild pitch to tack on an insurance run.
Overall, Mars was 4 for 8 on the night with a double and two RBI. Nick Longhi had a big game, going 5 for 7 with three doubles, giving him 20 on the year. Michael Chavis, Boston's top pick in the 2014 draft, blasted his ninth home run of the year, a third-inning solo shot.
Jeffry Fernandez turned in his strongest outing of the 2015 campaign, scattering five hits across seven shutout innings. He struck out six and walked one, but ended up with only a no-decision for his effort. Mario Alcantara was roughed up in relief, allowing two walks and a three-run homer and only retiring one batter. Jake Drehoff was able to retire the last two batters to escape the eighth inning, starting off what would eventually become 7 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings by the bullpen. Michael Gunn allowed only two hits in his four innings, striking out three and walking one. Ryan Harris got his first professional win for his two shutout frames.
Finally, the save statistic is often maligned and occasionally misused, but J.T. Watkins (pictured, above left) definitely earned that designation on Monday. On a warm South Carolina evening Watkins caught the first 14 innings. When the offense took the lead in the top of the 15th, Watkins saved a depleted bullpen by taking the mound. After catching 203 pitches, he needed only 11 to turn in a perfect inning, striking out Austin Aune (NYY) swinging to end the game.
GCL Red Sox vs. GCL Orioles doubleheader, PPD rain
Rain continued to fall in Florida, as the scheduled twinbill was washed out, with the games now being set as part of doubleheaders on Tuesday and Wednesday. The GCL Sox have not gotten in a game since the 23rd and have seven scheduled over the next four days.
One of the few offensive bright spots this season for the Red Sox1 squad has been Luis Yovera, and the 19-year-old right fielder had a strong day on Monday with two of the team's six hits. Marino Campana tripled and drove in two runs. Starter Eduard Bazardo took the loss, giving up four runs on seven hits in three innings, striking out an walking three apiece. Carlos Cortes also gave up four runs in his three innings out of the bullpen, allowing seven hits and hitting a pair of batters. Luis Colmenares and Nicolo Clemente combined for three hitless innings of relief.
The Red Sox2 squad continues to sit atop the San Pedro de Macoris division by five games, but they took their worst loss of the season on Monday. Starter Gary Calvo allowed three first-inning runs, and Jose Gonzalez took the loss in relief. with three runs on five hits in three innings. Lorenzo Cedrola continues to impress out of the leadoff spot. The 17-year-old Venezuelan was 2 for 4 with a run scored and an RBI, raising his season line to .339/.426/.456.
Player of the Day: On most days, Nick Longhi's five-hit performance, Jeffry Fernandez throwing seven shutout innings, or Danny Mars driving in a run and scoring another in the 15th inning would merit strong consideration. However, the nod goes to J.T. Watkins for a feat both incredible and incredibly rare. After catching 14 innings and going 1 for 7 at the plate, Watkins dropped the tools of ignorance in favor of the pitcher's mound. Pitching in a game that he caught is rare enough, but Watkins fired a perfect inning capped by a swinging strikeout to earn the save.
Photo Credit: J.T. Watkins and Danny Mars by Kelly O'Connor