May 30, 2016 at 7:00 AM
5/30 Cup of Coffee: The minor league affiliates saw some terrific bullpen work on Sunday, including perfection in Salem from Yankory Pimentel and Taylor Grover. Andrew Benintendi recorded multiple hits for the second day in a row, and Greenville had a big offensive day behind Mitchell Gunsolus, Luis Alejandro Basabe, and Jayce Ray.
It was a rough outing for PawSox starter Keith Couch, as he gave up seven earned runs over 3 2/3 innings. Things spiraled out of control for Couch in the fourth inning when he surrendered two singles, a double, a triple, and two home runs. Robby Scott came on in relief and pitched very well, allowing just a run over 3 2/3 innings. He struck out four and did not walk anybody. Anthony Varvaro pitched the final 1 2/3 innings and struck out four of the five batters he faced.
Not much happened for Pawtucket offensively, recording just six hits. One of their runs came on a double play and the other on an RBI groundout from Mike Miller. Chris Dominguez went 2 for 4 with a double and Jantzen Witte doubled and walked in four trips to the plate.
There was a scary moment for Pawtucket in the third inning when first baseman Sam Travis went down with an injury. He was removed from the game for precautionary reasons.
Mike McCarthy took the loss Sunday for Portland, going five innings and allowing four earned runs on eight hits. He struck out three and did not issue any walks. Simon Mercedes came in for three innings of relief and was hurt by some sloppy defense, which led to a pair of unearned runs. Rob Wort threw the ninth innings and did not allow a run despite giving up a walk and a hit.
Andrew Benintendi kept his five-game hit streak going with his first Double-A triple in the fourth inning. He finished 2 for 4 to raise his average with the Sea Dogs to .243. Cole Sturgeon had a nice day at the dish, going 2 for 3 with a double and two RBI.
Five perfect innings from the Salem bullpen propelled them to a victory over the Hillcats. Starter Daniel McGrath went the first four and allowed just one run on three hits, but he struggled with control, walking four. Yankory Pimentel tossed three innings of relief and struck out four to pick up the win. Taylor Grover grabbed a two-inning save while striking out three.
Salem did all of their scoring in the second inning. Rafael Devers and Danny Mars hit back-to-back singles, which set up RBI groundouts for Ben Moore and Franklin Guzman. Mars finished 2 for 4, and Deiner Lopez went 2 for 3 with a triple. Yoan Moncada also doubled, walked, and stole his 31st bag of the season.
Greenville exploded offensively, scoring multiple runs in three different innings, including a five-spot in the top of the ninth. Luis Alejandro Basabe did his job out of the leadoff spot, reaching base four out of five times with three walks and a single. He also scored twice and stole two bases. Mitchell Gunsolus also went 1 for 2 with three walks, but his lone hit was a two-run homer in the fifth inning. Jayce Ray went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBI and Trent Kemp had a pair of doubles. Roldani Baldwin and Chad De La Guerra each drove in two. The Drive had 11 hits and worked 10 walks on the day.
Logan Boyd picked up the win after six strong innings. He gave up two runs, struck out six and walked two. Victor Diaz threw two scoreless innings of relief and Jeffry Fernandez closed it out with a clean ninth inning.
Player of the Night: Mitchell Gunsolus reached base four times in five trips to the plate on Sunday. He showed off great patience and power with three walks and his sixth home run of the season. The 2015 10th rounder pushed his on-base percentage with Greenville to .406 with a 16% walk rate. He also has 10 extra-base hits this season for Greenville.
Photo Credit: Mitchell Gunsolus by Kelly O'Connor