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June 14, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Brentz powers PawSox, Espinal walks off for Drive

6/14 Cup of Coffee: Bryce Brentz (pictured) paced the PawSox in both games of a doubleheader. Travis Lakins showed improvement in his latest start for Portland but suffered another loss. Michael Chavis showed signs of being human in a hitless night. Santiago Espinal played hero for Greenville.


Pawtucket Red Sox 7, Syracuse Chiefs (WAS) 1 (Game 1)
It was yet another strange outing for Henry Owens as the lefty somehow only allowed one run despite giving up four hits, walking eight and throwing a pair of wild pitches. For the second straight start, he could not escape the fifth inning after reaching 107 pitches in just 4 1/3 innings of work. He escaped jams twice thanks to a pair of well-timed double plays. Bryce Brentz started a great day in game one, going 2 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Blake Swihart had a nice game, going 2 for 4 with a double, and RBI and a run scored. He also caught a key runner stealing to help Owens out of a jam.

Brentz made it eight of nine games he has hit safely in, going 2 for 3 in the nightcap. The 28-year-old clubbed his 11th homer of the year, drove in two runs and scored two runs. Jantzen Witte and Dan Butler kicked off the scoring with back-to-back RBI doubles in the second. Edgar Olmos got the start for Pawtucket, allowing one run on just one hit and two walks. He struck out four. Brandon Workman earned the win in two innings of relief.


Altoona Curve (PIT) 6, Portland Sea Dogs 0
Travis Lakins posted his best start yet for Portland, but it was not enough for his first Double-A win as the Sea Dogs were held to just three hits in the game. Lakins lasted six innings - his longest so far with Portland - allowing just two runs on six hits. He walked just one and struck out a pair. Jake Cosart was tagged for four runs on a hit and three walks in just 1/3 of an inning of relief. Rafael Devers went 0 for 4 with two of Portland's 12 strikeouts in the game.


Carolina Mudcats (MIL) 6, Salem Red Sox 3
A four-run sixth inning sank the Sox on Tuesday, as Daniel McGrath struggled with command and allowed those runs on a hit and four walks in two innings of relief. Shaun Anderson was pulled after four innings but only allowed two runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out four. Michael Chavis cooled off, going 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

As things currently stand, the Red Sox have a 1.5 game lead in the Carolina League North over the Lynchburg Hillcats. With five games left to play in the season's first half, the first-half winner will automatically earn a playoff berth.


Greenville Drive 5, Columbia Fireflies (NYM) 4
Santiago Espinal played hero for Greenville on Tuesday, ripping a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Nick Lovullo. It was a big night for Espinal who went 3 for 5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Chris Madera also had a three-hit night, going 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Hunter Smith kept the game deadlocked until the ninth with four shutout innings of relief.

In a nearly identical scenario to Salem, the Drive are also sitting 1.5 games up on the second-place Columbia Fireflies with five games remaining in the first-half. Greenville will square off against Columbia in two of their final five games and will visit the third-place Rome Braves, who sit 3.5 games back, for the final series of the half. Again, the winner of the division's first half will clinch a playoff berth.


DSL Red Sox 8, DSL Braves (ATL) 4
The DSL squad got production from up and down the lineup with leadoff man Reinaldo Ugueto going 2 for 3 with a double, two runs, two walks and an RBI. Jose Mejias went 3 for 5 with a pair of runs driven in and Freiberg Marin also collected two RBI in a 2-for-4 performance. Eduard Bazardo dazzled in 5 1/3 innings of shutout relief, allowing just three hits and no walks while striking out seven.


Player of the Night: A 4-for-6 performance with a home run and three RBI over the two games of a doubleheader gives Bryce Brentz the honors for Tuesday. Brentz has bounced back this season with his power after seeing his home runs dip the last couple seasons. His 11 homers are already the most he's hit since 2014. Brentz has turned it on especially in June, raising his batting average from .208 to .241 this month.

Photo Credit: Bryce Brentz by Kelly O'Connor