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August 14, 2016 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Kopech strikes out eleven in Salem win

Cup of Coffee 8/14: Fifth-ranked prospect Michael Kopech (pictured) was the standout on Saturday night, recording a career-high eleven strikeouts in five innings of work. Aside from Kopech's brilliant performance, it was a relatively light day for the affiliates as both Pawtucket and Portland were rained out. A three-run homer by Michael Chavis and a dominant start by Daniel Gonzalez powered the Drive to victory.


Pawtucket Red Sox, Buffalo Bisons (TOR) (Postponed)
Saturday night's tilt against Buffalo was postponed due to rain. The PawSox and Bisons will play a doubleheader on Sunday, with the first game starting at 12:05 EST.


Portland Sea Dogs, Akron RubberDucks (CLE) (Postponed)
The Sea Dogs were also rained out on Saturday night and will play a doubleheader on Sunday, with game one beginning at 1:05 EST.


Starting pitcher Michael Kopech turned in an electric outing for Salem on Saturday night. Kopech struck out the first six hitters he faced and punched out eleven total while coasting through five innings. The right-hander eventually ran into some trouble in the sixth, loading the bases before being pulled from the game, with two runs coming in to score off of reliever Bobby Poyner. In total, Kopech was tagged for two runs on two hits and two walks in five innings. Poyner tossed three shutout frames before turning the ball over to Jamie Callahan, who pitched a scoreless ninth.

Salem picked up their first runs in the bottom of the third on a two-run single by Danny Mars, scoring Deiner Lopez and Bryan Hudson. Lopez was right in the middle of the action again with an RBI single in the sixth and an RBI forceout in the seventh. Joseph Monge set the table with a 3-for-4 night, including a double, from the top of the lineup. Rafael Devers was 1 for 5 with a double and a run scored.

The Drive scored all five of their runs in a huge third inning outburst. After Nick Lovullo and Luis Alexander Basabe reached base to start the inning, Tate Matheny kicked off the scoring with an RBI double. Michael Chavis proceeded to come through with the biggest hit of the night, a three-run shot to put the Drive on top 4-0 at the time. Chavis, who is now hitting .262/.343/.419 this season, was 2 for 3 on the night.

Daniel Gonzalez made an excellent start on the hill, lasting 6 2/3 strong innings. He picked up his third win of the season, allowing one run on four hits and a walk, striking out six. Gerson Bautista pitched well in relief, tossing 2 1/3 frames of shutout ball and allowing two hits and a walk with two strikeouts.


Josh Pennington was the tough-luck loser for Lowell on Saturday night, allowing just two runs on four hits and a walk in six innings. Algenis Martinez followed him with two scoreless innings, allowing only a walk and striking out one. Lowell's only run came on a sixth-inning RBI double by Carlos Tovar, scoring Victor Acosta. Designated hitter Matt McLean (2 for 4, one walk) and center fielder Chris Madera (2 for 3, two walks, one double) were the offensive standouts from the top of the Spinners lineup.


Starting pitcher Kyle Hart lasted only 1 2/3 innings on Saturday afternoon, allowing two unearned runs on one hit and two walks, punching out four. Junior Espinoza followed him with 2 1/3 innings, giving up three runs (two earned). Max Watt threw one shutout inning in relief and Angel Padron threw two, striking out four before Jared Oliver allowed one run in two innings. The Red Sox' only run came via a fourth-inning RBI single by Imeldo Diaz, scoring Raiwinson Lameda. Diaz was 3 for 4.


The DSL Sox managed just two hits on Saturday, pushing across their only run on an RBI single by Eddy Reynoso, scoring Ricardo Cubillan. Catcher Carlos Pulido collected the only other hit in the game. While it was a poor performance by the offense, starting pitcher Alejandro Rodriguez was excellent, tossing five shutout innings with four strikeouts and three hits. Oddanier Mosqueda struggled with his control, walking three and allowing three runs despite no hits in 1 1/3 innings. Ramses Rosario closed it out with 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and a walk.

While the DSL Red Sox1 lineup struggled mightily on Saturday, the DSL Red Sox2 experienced no such struggles in a 14-hit, 11-run barrage. Five hitters recorded multiple hits as Everlouis Lozada, Juan Hernandez, and Alexander Martinez hit safely three times while Reinaldo Ugueto and Pedro Castellanos had two hits each. Castellanos and Ugueto each collected three RBI as well in productive days at the plate. Jose Gonzalez was dominant on the mound, dealing five no-hit innings and allowing three walks while punching out six. Jose Zacarias threw two shutout innings of relief and Joan Martinez threw one before Shair Lacrus allowed two runs in an inning.


Player of the Night: Michael Kopech's strikeout numbers this season have been nothing short of remarkable but he set a career high with eleven on Saturday night. Kopech threw 50 of his 90 pitches for strikes in a five-inning performance, actually raising his ERA to a minuscule 1.41 this season. The 20-year-old Kopech now has an incredible 60 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings in Salem this season, a 14.1 K/9 rate.

Photo Credit: Michael Kopech by Kelly O'Connor