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May 19, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Howlett and Duran go yard as affiliates swept

5/19 Cup of Coffee: Runs proved difficult to come by Saturday night, as Red Sox affiliates only mustered five across four games. Jarren Duran and Brandon Howlett (pictured) were two of the few standouts at the plate, launching their second and third home runs of the year, respectively. On the mound, Kyle Hart turned in another solid outing, but it was not enough to prevent a system sweep.


Despite the beautiful weather, Pawtucket fans did not have much to cheer for Saturday night. Only three Paw Sox batters collected hits, with Josh Ockimey's fifth-inning home run providing all of the offense for Pawtucket in the loss. This was Ockimey's 11th home run of 2019, good for fifth in the International League. Sam Travis and the rehabbing Brock Holt each added singles, while Rusney Castillo walked twice. Dustin Pedroia continued his rehab assignment and Marco Hernandez started his first game for Pawtucket after his extended stay in Salem, but each went 0 for 4 on the night.

Teddy Stankiewicz got the nod for Pawtucket, but struggled. The righty gave up nine hits in his five innings, good for four earned runs and his third loss of the season. Matthew Gorst came on in relief and struck out three in his 1 2/3 out of the bullpen. Bobby Poyner was perfect in his 1 1/3 innings of work and struck out a pair of batters. Jenrry Mejia gave up a run in his one inning appearance, striking out a pair to close out the game.


Portland's struggles continued on Saturday night, with the Sea Dogs dropping their fifth game in a row. Kyle Hart picked up the loss despite a solid outing. Hart struck out five across seven innings, but was tagged for three earned runs that proved to be the difference for Reading. Much of the Portland lineup struggled Saturday night, but Bobby Dalbec and Josh Tobias each notched two hits, with Dalbec doubling. Luke Tendler homered for the second night in a row, but his solo home run provided the only offense Portland would muster Saturday night. 


Coming off a night in which its offense exploded for nine runs, Salem was unable to muster much of a threat offensively Saturday night. Jarren Duran extended his hitting streak to double digits with a rare home run, and has now recorded a hit in 10 straight games. Also getting in on the action, Jagger Rusconi notched a pair of singles while Tanner Nishioka singled and walked. Kutter Crawford collected his second loss of 2019, allowing three runs (two earned) in three innings before being pulled. Coming on in relief, Eduard Bazardo was excellent, fanning six batters across four scoreless inning. Joan Martinez closed out the game for Salem and surrendered only an unearned run in his one inning of work.


The Greenville bats fell silent as the Drive dropped their third game in a row. Brandon Howlett led the way at the plate, collecting two hits and launching his third home run of the year. Also chipping in for the Drive were Kole Cottam, who doubled and walked, and Kervin Suarez, who added a double of his own. Angel Padron got the start and struggled in his four innings of work, surrendering three earned runs. Making his 2019 debut, Kevin Biondic delivered five strong innings of one-run baseball and struck out a pair of West Virginia prospects.


Player of the Day: While admittedly there was not much competition, Brandon Howlett's performance Saturday night was still worthy of commendation. The 2018 draftee has been in something of a rough patch, going only 2 for 26 over his last seven games, but will look to get his season back on track with more performances like Saturday night's.

Photo Credit: Brandon Howlett by Kelly O'Connor