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May 15, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Lin leads walk-off win while Thornburg serves up homer

5/15 Cup of Coffee: It was an offensive day for the farm as Tzu-Wei Lin hit his first homer of the season and led the PawSox to a wild walk-off win after Tyler Thornburg struggled in relief. The pitching wasn't much better for Portland in a loss while the Drive busted out 19 hits in a narrow victory over the Legends. 


In a wild back-and-forth affair, Tzu-Wei Lin hit a single in the bottom of the tenth to plate the game-winning run in a walk-off victory for the PawSox.

Dan Butler doubled home Cole Sturgeon, who started the inning on second base, before Mike Miller, who pinch ran for Butler, scored on Lin's single to center field. The Bisons held three separate leads in the contests, including a 5-4 advantage after scoring one run in the top of the 10th, but Buffalo couldn't hold on.

Lin also smacked his first home run of the season while Rusney Castillo went 2 for 4 from the cleanup spot with a run, while raising his batting average to .317. Tyler Thornburg, in what was planned to be one of his final rehab stints at Triple-A, allowed a leadoff home run in the top of the eighth and then another run, while recording just one out, and issued a walk and another hit. Thornburg threw just eight of 19 pitches for strikes. Williams Jerez picked up the win despite allowing a run in relief.   


The Fightin Phils scored two runs or more in four separate innings by roughing up Mike Shawaryn (5 IP, 7 H, 7 ER, 4 BB) Trey Ball (2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB) and Jordan Weems (1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB) in a loss for the Sea Dogs. 

The right-handed Shawaryn took a step back after an impressive performance on May 9 against New Hampshire, when he pitched seven innings, allowing just three hits and striking out eight, in a 7-1 win. As for Bell, the former first-round pick coughed up a run in his sixth straight appearance, even though his ERA dropped .36 points to 7.58 on the season.

Portland actually out-hit Reading 13 to 10 but didn't hold the lead other than a 1-0 advantage after the top of the first inning. Jeremy Rivera (2 for 5), Tony Renda (3 for 5) and Jantzen Witte (2 for 5) all had multi-hit games while every batter in the Sea Dogs' lineup recorded a hit.  


After just five hits and three runs in a loss to the Legends on Sunday, the Drive's offense shifted into over gear on Monday with a 19-hit, 13-run performance. Greenville trailed 3-2 going into the top of the sixth when it exploded for five runs in the inning and four more in the seventh.

The Drive added two more insurance runs in the ninth and would need them both as the Legends plated four runs in the final frame before Lukas Young recorded a one-out strikeout and then a groundout to second base to preserve his third save of the season. Both teams recorded four errors. 

Greenville didn't hit a single homer but received four-RBI performances from both Zach Sterry (4 for 6) and Charlie Madden (5 for 5). Alex Scherff got the start for the Drive, allowing four hits and three runs in five innings while recording three strikeouts. 


Player of the Day: After spending 14 games with the big club and hitting just .188 in 32 at-bats, Tzu-Wei Lin has found his hitting stroke back with Pawtucket. In his last four games, the left-handed hitting shortstop has recorded three two-hit performances. On Monday, Lin smacked his first home run of the season while also driving in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 10th in the PawSox' walk-off win over the Bisons. In 29 at-bats at Triple-A this season, Lin is hitting .310. But with Dustin Pedroia soon working his way back to Boston, Lin appears to be down on the pecking order of a logjam at the infield position with the big club.  

Photo Credit: Tzu-Wei Lin by Kelly O'Connor