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August 26, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Politi remains unhittable; Dalbec blasts another

8/26 Cup of Coffee: There was only one victory down on the farm on Sunday, but it was an important one as Andrew Politi (pictured) tossed five no-hitting innings to help Salem hold onto its first-place position, inching closer to a Carolina League playoff berth. Greenville and Portland rallies fell short, despite the efforts of Jordan Wren and Marcus Wilson. Bobby Dalbec took a top prospect deep and Gilberto Jimenez continued his hitting streak, both in losing efforts.


The PawSox were outhit 13 to six, but the Bisons needed extra frames to secure the win. Mike Shawaryn continued to transition back into the more traditional starter's role he occupied early in the season. The right-hander went five innings, allowing two runs on six hits, and throwing 74 pitches. Both runs came on solo homers, including the first Triple-A blast of old friend Santiago Espinal. Shawaryn struck out three and did not issue a walk. Shawaryn ramping back up to a starter's workload may be notable, as he's positioned to start the next time Brian Johnson's turn comes up in the rotation, should the club feel compelled to make a move. 

Bobby Dalbec had a big day at the plate. The third baseman homered for the second straight day, this time off top pitching prospect Nate Pearson, and added a single and a walk. Bryce Brentz also went deep, his 18th of the season.


A late Portland rally fell short, as the Sea Dogs missed their opportunity to salvage a split of the four-game set at Hadlock. Denyi Reyes took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. Marcus Wilson homered as part of a 2-for-4 effort, his eighth with Portland and 18th of the year. Wilson also walked, stole a base, and scored twice. Tommy Joseph also picked up a pair of hits on the afternoon.


A thrilling walk-off comeback on Copa Diversion day enabled Salem to hold onto its 2 1/2 game lead in the Northern Division race. Andrew Politi got the start and was dominant, firing five hitless innings in the longest outing of his pro career. He struck out five, walked one, and needed only 57 pitches. It was his second consecutive hitless outing, as the Seton Hall product had gone four innings in his previous start. Down 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Fitzgerald and Devlin Granberg ripped back-to-back doubles to even the score. Following an intentional walk to Keith Curcio, Kole Cottam walked Salem off with another double. It was the third double in six games for Cottam since getting promoted from Greenville.

Salem remains one game ahead of Wilmington for the Northern Division second-half lead. However, as Wilmington was the first-half winner, Salem's competition for the playoff spot is the aforementioned Potomac Nationals.


The Drive couldn't hold an early lead, and their late rally fell short on Sunday afternoon. The knuckleball of Kevin Biondic had the Tourists stymied through six scoreless innings, but he surrendered four runs in the seventh and was saddled with the loss. Jordan Wren broke out of a long slump with a monster day at the plate, going 4 for 4 with a double, walk, and 27th steal of the year. Wren entered the contest just 1 for 22 in his previous seven games and 7 for his last 56. Brandon Howlett was on base four times, walking twice and getting hit twice by pitches. Triston Casas chipped in with a double, his 24th of the season.


Lowell dropped its series opener at LeLacheur Park and was unable to cut its magic number down from five. Bryan Lucas struggled and was also let down by his defense, as he gave up seven runs on seven hits in 3 2/3, but four of those runs were of the unearned variety. Ryan Fernandez was excellent in relief, giving up just one hit in 3 1/3 scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 1.55. Jonathan Diaz was a highlight at the plate, notching a double and triple as he drove in one of the Lowell runs and scored the other. Gilberto Jimenez keeps hitting, extending his streak to eight games and stealing his 14th base of the year. 

The loss combined with Connecticut's win cuts Lowell's lead int he Stedler Division to four games. The Spinners have eight games remaining, including a three-game set against Connecticut in Norwich to close the regular season.


Player of the Day: Andrew Politi was turning in a solid season out of the Salem bullpen, but he's gone to the next level in his two starts since joining the rotation. His five no-hit innings on Sunday brought his hitless streak to 10 2/3 innings across three outings, a total of 33 straight batters without giving up a base hit. During that stretch he has struck out 12 batters while issuing just two walks. Opponents are hitting just .197 against Politi on the season, and he has recorded 89 strikeouts in 74 1/3 innings.

Photo Credit: Andrew Politi by Gary Streiffer/Salem Red Sox