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May 1, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Castillo and Howlett homer as the affiliates are swept

5/1 Cup of Coffee: There were only a handful of strong performances on the farm on Tuesday, led by Rusney Castillo and Brandon Howlett (pictured, right), who each homered in defeat. Mike Miller also had a strong night at the plate, and Dedgar Jimenez pitched well for the Sea Dogs. 

Teddy Stankiewicz served up a two-run home run to Lourdes Gurriel Jr., but otherwise held Buffalo in check over his five innings of work. He allowed only two hits and stuck out four, though only 48 of his 90 pitches went for strikes. Bobby Poyner took the loss after Gurriel hit a walkoff single. Eduardo Nunez went 0 for 4 with a strikeout as he continued his rehab assignment, and Bryce Brentz added an RBI and an outfield assist. 

Pawtucket jumped out to an early lead, but Buffalo came back to take the second game of the doubleheader. Rusney Castillo launched a three-run home run in the first inning, but that was all the offense the PawSox could muster. Castillo now has four home runs on the season, with eight walks to only six strikeouts. Mike Miller added two hits to raise his average to .338. 

Matthew Gorst held the Bisons scoreless through the first two innings, but he allowed four runs in the third inning, with Cavan Biggio's three-run home run doing most of the damage. Domingo Tapia followed with 2 2/3 scoreless innings to keep the game close, but Pawtucket could not push the tying run across.


The first five Portland batters combined to go 0 for 19 with 11 strikeouts, with Aneury Tavarez's triple being the only extra-base hit of the night. Bobby Dalbec saw his average dip below .200 as he went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, and recently-acquired Marcus Wilson went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. Dedgar Jimenez had his best performance of the season in the loss, tossing six innings of two-run ball while striking out six. 


The minor league extra-innings rules worked against Salem on Tuesday, as the Mudcats came away with a one-run victory. Jake Cosart was the tough-luck loser after a single knocked in the runner who started the inning on second base. That was the only hit Cosart allowed over three innings, and he struck out four. Daniel Gonzalez got the start and allowed two runs, one earned, over five innings.

The hottest hitter in the system has been Jarren Duran, and he actually lowered his batting average to .404 after he went 2 for 5. He also added two stolen bases to give him 11 for the year, and he also had an outfield assist. Pedro Castellanos went 2 for 4 with two doubles, and Marco Hernandez went 1 for 5 with a double. 


Hickory's Sam Huff hit his 12th home run in 23 games to propel the Crawdads past the Drive. Chris Machamer did not factor into the decision after he allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out five. Yorvin Pantoja did not allow a run over two innings of relief, and Brendan Nail took the loss after allowing three runs in 1 2/3 innings.

The offense was led by Brandon Howlett, who went 1 for 3 with a home run and a walk. Grant Williams added two hits and an RBI, but he was also caught stealing.


Player of the Night: After struggling to begin the season, Brandon Howlett has now hits safely in eight of his last nine games, and he hit his first home run of the year on Tuesday night. Howlett is now hitting .290 over his last 31 at-bats, with two doubles and a home run. While his overall numbers are still lower than expected, he is showing signs that he is breaking out of his early-season slump. 

Photo Credit: Brandon Howlett by Kelly O'Connor