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May 24, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Duran, Fitzgerald keep hitting; Casas blasts seventh homer

5/24 Cup of Coffee: Two affiliates joined the major league club in matinee action, as both Pawtucket and Portland fell in their morning starts. The Sea Dogs squandered another solid effort by Kyle Hart to drop their 10th game in 11 contests. The PawSox staff will not be sad to depart Scranton, as the two teams combined to score 51 runs in the three-game set. Salem fell despite another gaggle of hits by usual catalysts Jarren Duran and Ryan Fitzgerald (pictured). A strong Brayan Bello start and a Triston Casas homer helped Greenville record the system's only win on Thursday.


The PawSox dropped the rubber match of an explosive three-game set that saw them outscored by Scranton 26 to 25. Josh Smith was the unlucky victim today, returning after a two-week stint with the major league club. Smith allowed seven runs on four hits in four innings. The ball continued to fly out of PNC Field with Smith surrendering three homers, including one to old friend Ryan Lavarnway. Jantzen Witte went deep for Pawtucket for a two-run ninth-inning blast. Bryce Brentz scored two runs and walked as part of a 2-for-4 day, while Marco Hernandez chipped in with a double for one of his two hits. Josh Ockimey was held 0 for 2 but walked three times to build his organization-leading total to 35. 


Offense was hard to come by for Portland, as two of its top bats in Bobby Dalbec and CJ Chatham were given the day off for Thursday's 10:30 a.m. start. The Sea Dogs lineup scraped eight hits, including the first homer as a member of the Red Sox organization for Cody Asche. Kyle Hart took the loss despite another quality start. The left-hander allowed three runs on four hits in seven innings, striking out six and walking two. Hart lowered his ERA to 2.91 and has surrendered three or fewer earned runs in eight of his nine starts.


It was a familiar scene at Haley Toyota Field, with Jarren Duran leading off the first inning with the double and then getting driven home by Ryan Fitzgerald as both embarked on multi-hit efforts. Duran extended his hitting streak to 15 games as he finished 3 for 4 with three runs scored and a walk. It was his 20th multi-hit game already and 11th with at least three knocks. Fitzgerald had a double and triple as part of his four-hit night, his 14th contest with at least two hits. He also drove in Duran all three times.

Kutter Crawford took the loss as he suffered an uncharacteristic bout of wildness. He walked five in 4 1/3 innings, striking out four and giving up four runs. Eduard Bazardo gave up a run for the first time in the month of May, striking out three and walking two in 2 2/3. Rio Gomez made his Salem debut after a very impressive start to the season with the Greenville Drive got him a promotion. Gomez worked two innings, allowing two runs on four hits.


It was a bounce-back outing for Brayan Bello on Thursday to lead the Drive. In his previous three outings, Bello had surrendered 23 runs on 28 hits in 10 innings. His evening got off to another inauspicious start as he allowed a leadoff double that eventually came around to score. However, that would prove to be his only blemish, as he cruised to 5 1/3 innings with only the one run allowed, scattering four hits and striking out eight against just one walk. Oddanier Mosqueda and Logan Browning combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings to secure the win.

Triston Casas gave offensive support in the form of a third-inning solo homer. It was the seventh of the season for the 2018 first-round pick. Tyler Dearden made his 2019 debut after missing the first 45 games with an injury, going 1 for 4 with an RBI. Brandon Howlett and Tyler Esplin both reached base three times, with the former notching a single and two walks while the latter walked and twice singled.


Player of the Day: His excellent start has been shadowed somewhat by the excitement of Jarren-mania, but Ryan Fitzgerald gets the spotlight this time. Undrafted out of Creighton, Fitzgerald has shown good defense at shortstop and posted a .318/.408/.442 slash line. His four triples give him a share of the organizational lead and his on-base percentage places him third behind Duran and Ockimey.

Photo Credit: Ryan Fitzgerald by Kelly O'Connor