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August 23, 2015 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Perez helps GCL Red Sox clinch division

8/23 Cup of Coffee: Outside of the GCL Red Sox and DSL Red Sox2 clinching their respective divisions – with the GCL Red Sox doing so thanks in large part to a strong offensive showing from designated hitter Andy Perez (pictured) – it was mostly a night to forget about for the Red Sox minor league affiliates. The PawSox were shut out by Lehigh Valley, while Harrisburg rode a nine-run first inning to a runaway win against Portland. Lowell's offense struggled mightily en route to the team dropping both legs of its doubleheader against Staten Island.


The PawSox offense managed just six hits in the shutout loss, with catcher Sandy Leon and second baseman Marco Hernandez leading an otherwise toothless attack. Leon posted two hits, going 2 for 4 while Hernandez finished 1 for 4 with a double. Pawtucket had plenty of chances to get on the board but failed to capitalize, finishing 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

Starter Rich Hill gave his team a fighting chance, turning in a seven-frame quality start and allowing two runs on five hits and five punchouts. Despite his quality performance, the 35-year-old left-hander fell to 3-3 after allowing both IronPig runs in the top of the seventh, prompting a PawSox pitching change. Right-handers Dayan Diaz and Ryan Cook split the final two frames, with Diaz striking out two of the four batters he faced and Cook keeping Lehigh Valley off the board to close things out.


Harrisburg rode a nine-run bottom of the first to victory against Portland, running Sea Dogs starter Mike McCarthy out of the game after just 1/3 of an inning. The right-hander, who drew the loss to fall to 6-7, allowed nine runs (all earned) on seven hits and two walks, prompting Portland to press right-hander Kyle Kaminska into long relief duty. Kaminska steadied things through 4 2/3 innings of work, allowing one run on four hits and a walk against three strikeouts. Right-hander Simon Mercedes gave up two more Harrisburg runs after entering in the bottom of the sixth, tossing two innings and punching out three before making way for right-hander Madison Younginer, who threw the final frame.

Left fielder Oscar Tejeda led the Sea Dogs with two hits, finishing 2 for 4 with a run scored. Center fielder Manuel Margot reached base twice hitting out of the leadoff spot, going 1 for 3 with a walk. Third baseman Dustin Lawley knocked in Portland's lone run of the night on an RBI single, finishing the game 1 for 3.


Right-hander Kevin McAvoy improved to 9-9, drawing the win after allowing three runs on six hits and three walks against five strikeouts. Right-hander German Taveras turned in two solid innings of relief, striking out four batters and keeping the Blue Rocks off the board. Right-hander Chandler Shepherd drew his fifth save of the season after tossing a clean ninth inning, allowing one hit and fanning two to help seal the victory.

Designated hitter Cole Sturgeon and first baseman Jordan Betts highlighted Salem's three-run top of the second, chipping in an RBI double apiece. Sturgeon finished the night 2 for 4 with a run scored, while Betts went 1 for 4 with a run scored. Shortstop Mauricio Dubon reached base twice batting out of the leadoff spot, going 1 for 3 with an RBI, a run scored and a walk. Right fielder Kevin Heller added an RBI double, knocking in his 41st run of the season, good for second on the team and 17th in the Carolina League.


Center fielder Andrew Benintendi extended his hitting streak to four games, finishing 1 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Benintendi helped the Drive jump out to an early lead, plating third baseman Michael Chavis on a single with two outs in the top of the first inning. Left fielder Danny Mars and first baseman Nick Longhi each turned in multi-hit games, with Mars going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a walk and Longhi wrapping up 2 for 3 with an RBI double and a walk. Offensively it was a night marked by missed chances for Greenville's offense, which finished 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position.

Left-hander Jalen Beeks dropped to 9-5 after allowing five runs on seven hits and a walk against five strikeouts, making way for reliever Mario Alcantara after five innings of work. The 22-year-old Dominican left the door wide open for a Drive comeback, holding Delmarva scoreless for three innings and fanning three. Alcantara has now made four consecutive appearances without giving up an earned run, a 10-inning stretch dating back to August 9 that also includes 12 strikeouts.

Greenville currently trails Asheville(COL) for the wild-card spot in the South Atlantic League with 15 games remaining in the season.


A solid six-inning start from Dioscar Romero wasn't enough to lift Lowell to victory in the first leg of its doubleheader, as the Spinners grabbed a run in extra innings but fell just short of completing the comeback. The Spinners had a real shot at pulling out a victory in the bottom of the eighth inning, when catcher Austin Rei reached second base on a Staten Island throwing error and was replaced by pinch runner Brandon Magee. Magee tried to leg out the game-winning run on a single from shortstop Jeremy Rivera, but was called out after a collision at home plate. Lowell's offense struggled to get off the ground, however, finishing the game 6 for 34 (.176) with 10 strikeouts. Left fielder Kyri Washington accounted for two of those hits, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Designated hitter Mitchell Gunsolus (1 for 4) added an RBI double.

Romero was strong on the bump, allowing only one run on two hits and two walks against four strikeouts. Left-hander Michael Gunn drew the loss after giving up Staten Island's decisive runs in the top of the ninth inning, finishing his three innings of work having allowed three hits and three walks while fanning two.

Lowell's offense struggled again in the second leg as the team posted an almost mirror-image performance, finishing with the same scoreline and many similar box score statistics. The team's offense was punchless once again, posting five hits and striking out a combined 13 times. Right fielder Luis Alexander Basabe had one of Lowell's few decent performances, batting leadoff and going 2 for 5 with a run scored. Shortstop Chad De La Guerra (1 for 4) and second baseman Victor Acosta (1 for 3) each chipped in a double, while first baseman Tucker Tubbs knocked in a run on a sacrifice fly.

Left-hander and 2015 19th-round pick Logan Boyd turned in a quality start, tossing six innings and giving up two runs on five hits against six punchouts. Left-hander Bobby Poyner and right-hander Enfember Martinez split the final four frames, with Poyner holding the Yankees scoreless and striking out two and Martinez drawing the loss after allowing the eventual game winner on a solo home run in the top of the 10th.

The back-to-back losses give the Spinners a 30-30 record for the season, and place the team three-and-a-half games behind the first-place Tri-City ValleyCats in the New York Penn League's Stelder division. They also remain two-and-half games behind State College(STL) for the wild-card.


The Red Sox clinched the Gulf Coast League South division thanks to an excellent day at the plate, turning in 13 hits and finishing 7 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Designated hitter Andy Perez was the team's most consistent offensive threat, reaching base in all five of his at bats and finishing 2 for 2 with two RBI, a run scored and three walks. The Duke University product is in the midst of a superb run of form, with 13 hits and nine RBI in his last 10 games. Third baseman Roldani Baldwin also showed well at the dish, going 2 for 5 with an RBI double and two runs scored. Right fielder Tyler Hill led the squad with three hits.

The Red Sox utilized six pitchers in the victory, led by starter Gerson Bautista, who tossed four scoreless innings and allowed one hit and three walks against four punchouts. Right-hander Carlos Caceres entered in the bottom of the fifth, and tossed a scoreless, hitless frame before making way for right-hander Yankory Pimentel in the bottom of the sixth. Pimentel blew his save opportunity after allowing the Twins to take a 2-1 lead heading into the seventh frame, and was replaced by right-hander Pat Goetze. Goetze got the win to improve to 5-0 after throwing a three-up-three-down bottom of the seventh. Right-handers Adam Lau and Algenis Martinez split the final two frames, with Martinez wrapping things up by allowing one more run on three hits.

Boasting the best winning percentage in the Gulf Coast League, the playoff-bound Red Sox will draw the division winner with the worst record in league's semi-final.


The Red Sox struggled to capitalize on their scoring chances in a tight 3-2 defeat against the Giants, going 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position and leaving five men on base. Catcher Eddy Reynoso and first baseman Luis Yovera each went 1 for 4 and knocked in a run, while left fielder Marino Campana finished 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Second baseman Eduard Conde went 2 for 4 and stole his fifth base of the season.

Right-hander Jose Zacarias struck out two against four hits and a run in his four-inning start, and was pulled in favor of right-hander Juan Florentino between the fourth and fifth frames. Florentino threw one inning, dropping to 1-1 after giving up one run one hit and a walk. Left-hander Francisco Tena turned in two solid innings, holding the Giants scoreless and fanning three. Right-hander Carlos Cortes allowed the decisive run in the bottom of the eighth, putting the Red Sox into a 3-1 hole heading into the ninth inning.

The Red Sox clinched the Dominican Summer League's San Pedro De Macoris division with its 6-1 victory over the Tigers. The team received offensive help from players like designated hitter Stanley Espinal, who paced the Red Sox at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI. Gerardo Carrizalez led the squad with three hits, finishing 3 for 4 with two runs scored. Right fielder Ramfis Berroa and shortstop Imeldo Diaz each chipped in a double, an RBI and a run scored.

Denyi Reyes had a fantastic day on the mound, giving up one run on five hits and striking out six across five innings of work, improving to 7-1 on the season. Right-hander Luis Rivero picked up where Reyes left off, entering in the top of the sixth and striking out five batters between the sixth, seventh and eighth frames. Right-hander Victor Diaz closed things out by tossing a scoreless ninth inning.


Player of the Night: Designated hitter Andy Perez earns Player of the Night honors for helping the GCL Red Sox clinch their division in convincing fashion, beating the GCL Twins by five runs to lock up a playoff berth. Perez was an on-base machine, reaching in all five of his at bats while also adding a pair of hits and two RBI. It was about as solid as it gets for a designated hitter, and in an important game to boot. Perez – who was added to the GCL squad on July 17 after signing as an undrafted free agent – has a .354/.427/.415 slash line in 23 games thus far, and appears to be heating up at the right time.

Photo Credit: Andy Perez by Dave Letizi

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