June 15, 2016 at 7:00 AM
6/15 Cup of Coffee: After some off-days on Monday, six teams were in action on Tuesday. Greenville had an impressive comeback win after falling into a 5-0 hole, while Portland prevailed in extra innings. Pawtucket and Salem both lost, and the DSL teams continued their strong starts with a sweep.
A three-run sixth inning doomed the PawSox and starter William Cuevas. After allowing solo homers in the second, fourth, and fifth, Cuevas surrendered a trio of doubles and walk in the sixth that gave the Indians a commanding 6-1 lead. Overall, the righty allowed the six runs on nine hits in six innings while walking two and striking out two. Roman Mendez struck out one in two hitless innings of relief. The Pawtucket offense mustered only five hits off a trio of Indianapolis hurlers. Two of those hits came from Henry Ramos, including a ninth-inning double off old friend Justin Masterson (PIT).
A back-and-forth contest gave the Sea Dogs their first back-to-back wins since mid-May. Andrew Benintendi broke a scoreless tie in the sixth with a two-run homer. The 2015 first-round pick is showing signs that he is adjusting to Double-A, turning in his third multi-hit game in four days; he has raised his OPS over 100 points during that stretch.
Portland was the beneficiary of a Baysox miscue in the decisive 10th inning. Aneury Tavarez scored the go-ahead run to break a 3-3 tie on a throwing error. Wendell Rijo then plated Rainel Rosario for what proved to be important insurance. In the bottom of the inning, Nik Turley surrendered a base hit and a pair of walks while getting only one out before giving way to Chandler Shepherd with the bases loaded. Shepherd walked in a run to cut into the Sea Dogs' lead, but he then notched a strikeout and induced a ground out to secure the win. It was the 11th consecutive performance in which Shepherd didn't allow a run.
Teddy Stankiewicz got the start, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits in six innings while striking out three and walking two. After an excellent start to the season, Stankiewicz has been more hittable of late, allowing 36 base hits in 21 innings across four starts. Williams Jerez tossed a scoreless seventh, and Austin Maddox struck out three in his two hitless frames.
A day after clinching the Carolina League Southern Division first-half title, the Red Sox appeared to have a bit of a championship hangover. Despite Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers getting days off, Salem managed to get a couple standout offensive performances. Mike Meyers was 4 for 5 with a triple and a run scored, while Joseph Monge extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-5 night. It was a tough outing for Travis Lakins, who allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits in 4 1/3 innings, while striking out four and walking four. The bullpen was even worse, as the trio of Yankory Pimentel, Mario Alcantara, and German Taveras allowed eight runs on seven hits. Pimentel took the loss, dropping him to 5-2 on the season.
The Drive came out on top in a wild contest that saw nine first-inning runs. The Drive's nine-hit, 12-walk attack was led by Luis Alejandro Basabe (pictured, above right). The leadoff hitter was the sparkplug, reaching base five times with three hits, a walk, and a hit batsman. He scored twice, drove in a run, and stole his 13th base of the year. Twin brother Luis Alexander Basabe chipped in with three walks, a run scored, and an RBI. Kyri Washington entered the contest having walked only five times in 43 games, but accepted three free passes from Hickory pitching. Mitchell Gunsolus hit a two-run homer in the first, and Trent Kemp ripped a pair of doubles.
Starter Dedgar Jimenez lasted only one inning, surrendering five runs on six hits while throwing 39 pitches as the Drive fell into an early hole. The Crawdads touched reliever Austin Glorius for two more runs in his two innings of work. Glorius struck out three and walked three. Jeffry Fernandez had a strong outing, turning in four innings while allowing a run on three hits. Victor Diaz fired two scoreless frames for the save.
Despite the wild win, Greenville was eliminated from contention for the first-half Southern Division crown as Charleston (NYY) was also victorious.
Ritzi Mendoza and a pair of relievers combined on a four-hitter as the Sox cruised. Mendoza went five innings, allowing a run on two hits while striking out three and walking one. Geraldo Perez chipped in with three shutout innings of relief, allowing one hit and walking one against three strikeouts. Carlos Cortes struck out one in a scoreless ninth to pick up the save. Eddy Reynoso blasted the squad's second homer of the season, and Simon Muzzioti led the lineup with two hits.
Boston's other DSL team used a different approach to move to 6-2. It registered an 11-hit attack to prevail in a slugfest. Ronaldo Pulgar has been an offensive leader thus far for the Sox, and that was again the case on Tuesday. The left fielder was 3 for 5 with two runs scored and two RBI. Fabian Andrade and Everlouis Lozada contributed with a pair of hits each.
The win came despite some wildness on the mound, as Red Sox pitchers issued 12 walks, hit three batters, and uncorked five wild pitches. Starter Brian Mata allowed four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings, walking two and hitting two. Winning pitcher Warlyn Guzman pitched three hitless innings of relief but allowed a run on four walks and three wild pitches. Joan Martinez got his second save, giving up a run in two innings.
Player of the Day: One of the most pleasant surprises of the 2016 campaign has been the emergence of Luis Alejandro Basabe. The Greenville second baseman reached base five times in Tuesday's win, reflecting the advanced approach he has exhibited all season. His season line now sits at .306/.411/.441
Photo Credit: Luis Alejandro Basabe by Kelly O'Connor