April 23, 2016 at 8:00 AM
Cup of Coffee 4/23: The PawSox picked up the organization's only minor league win Friday, thanks to big contributions from Marco Hernandez and Ryan LaMarre (pictured). The Salem and Greenville offenses continued to produce despite losing efforts while Portland lost a game in which it allowed only two hits.
Marco Hernandez’s RBI double in the seventh inning broke a 5-5 tie and proved to be the game-winner in the PawSox' eighth victory in nine games. Pawtucket did most of its damage in the bottom of the first, which saw nine batters come to the plate and five come across to score. After Deven Marrero and Blake Swihart set the table with singles, the PawSox built a lead with RBI doubles from Sam Travis and Ryan LaMarre and RBI singles from Chris Marrero and Mike Miller. The Red Wings managed to tie the game with runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth, but after Hernandez’s decisive RBI, reliever Roman Mendez slammed the door with two scoreless frames.
Aaron Wilkerson found mixed results in his first career Triple-A start. The 26-year-old righty looked sharp in his first three innings, but when the lineup turned over, the Rochester batters started to figure him out. He allowed seven hits and three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.
It’s not every day that a team quadruples its opponent in hits in a losing effort, but the Sea Dogs managed to do just that. Portland racked up eight hits without scoring a run while Hartford needed just two fifth-inning singles to push across a pair of runs and win the game. Portland starter Ty Buttrey took the loss, allowing only the two hits but walking four in 4 2/3 innings.
While the team couldn’t string together any run-scoring rallies, seven of the nine batters in the Sea Dogs' lineup picked up hits. Outfielder Cole Sturgeon led the way with two hits and a walk, and Wendell Rijo reached base twice with a single and a walk. Outfielder Bryce Brentz picked up a hit in four trips in his 2016 debut after missing the first two weeks of the season with an oblique injury.
The Salem Red Sox found themselves trailing 9-0 after an inning and a half of play in what turned out to be a slugfest. Starting pitcher Dedgar Jimenez had a night to forget, allowing 10 hits and eight earned runs in 1 1/3 innings. His replacements, Mario Alcantara and Austin Maddox, each surrendered five hits and two runs in 3 2/3 innings. Jake Drehoff threw one pitch to record the final out.
The Salem offense held off the blowout with some fireworks of their own, scoring runs in five different innings with a 13-hit, eight-run effort. Yoan Moncada went 2 for 6 with a double, a single, and a run scored while his fellow top prospect Andrew Benintendi knocked a pair of doubles and scored a pair of runs. Outfielders Danny Mars and Mike Meyers each contributed two hits and two RBI in the game.
Josh Ockimey continued his torrid start to the season with another home run, but the bullpen faltered late in a 5-3 loss for the Drive. Greenville jumped to a 2-0 lead early, as starting pitcher Marc Brakeman cruised, facing one batter over the minimum through five innings. But two walks and a hit ended Brakeman’s night in the sixth, and Columbia turned it into two runs to tie the game. After the teams traded runs in the seventh, the Fireflies scored two in the ninth off Jeffry Fernandez to secure the win.
Ockimey’s solo shot in the fourth was his fifth round-tripper in 15 games this year, already eclipsing his total of four in his first two professional seasons combined. The Drive offense continued to produce, outhitting Columbia and collecting six extra-base hits. Second baseman Chad De La Guerra ripped a triple and double in the game, and Kyri Washington chipped in an RBI and a run scored as part of his 2-for-4 night.
Player of the Night: A night without an obvious offensive standout provides the rare chance to celebrate a player’s defense. Outfielder Ryan LaMarre collected an RBI double and a run for the PawSox but made as big an impact on the other side of the ball. LaMarre made a nice running catch with two runners on base to end the threat in the fourth, and, in the sixth, threw a seed from right field to third base to cut down a runner for the second out. Both plays squashed Rochester threats and paved the way for the PawSox' one-run victory.
Photo Credit: Ryan LaMarre by Kelly O'Connor