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May 16, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Downs homers in three-hit game; errors sink Portland against Yard Goats

5/16 Cup of Coffee:
It was a successful day down on the farm, as Red Sox affiliates went 3-1 on Saturday. Greenville and Worcester each had strong offensive performances driven by crooked numbers in single innings, while Salem did the same thing in its game with a four-run first. Jeter Downs (pictured, left) was the only hitter in the system to have more than two hits, as he was 3 for 4, adding a trio of RBI. He also crossed the plate twice. Danny Santana also continued to hit well in his rehab assignment, drilling a home run for Worcester. AJ Politi was the victim of poor defense, as he did not allow an earned run and only surrendered two hits, but three Yard Goats crossed the plate in his five innings of work.

Worcester broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh with a five-run frame on its way to a victory. The rally featured RBI doubles from Jarren Duran and Jeter Downs, the latter of which was 3 for 4 with three RBI, as well as a sacrifice fly from Yairo Munoz and a single courtesy of Marcus Wilson. Downs, as well as Danny Santana, homered early on in the ballgame, after Syracuse put the Red Sox in a 4-0 hole after the top of the first. Enrique Hernandez began his rehab assignment with an 0-for-2 performance from the leadoff spot as the designated hitter. On the mound, Ryan Weber earned the start, allowing five runs, four of which were earned, over six innings of work. Five of the seven hits on Weber's tab occurred in the first inning, as the right-hander eventually settled into his outing. Kevin McCarthy, Brandon Brennan and Bobby Poyner each allowed one hit in an inning of work each to finish out the contest.

Portland outhit the home team 8-5 but a pair of errors did the team in, as only one of Hartford's runs were earned. AJ Politi allowed three of those unearned runs in five innings of work. He surrendered only two hits and struck out five without walking a batter. Triston Casas continued his hot start in Double-A with a 2-for-4 game, scoring Portland's only run. He was driven in by Roldani Baldwin in the sixth. Grant Williams also added a pair of base knocks. Durbin Feltman struck out a trio of batters in two innings of work, while Adam Lau contributed an inning in relief as well.

Greenville made it 2-0 against Mets affiliates on Saturday, breaking out for four runs in each of the fourth and eighth innings to hold off the Cyclones. Tyreque Reed and Alan Marrero each had two-run homers in the fourth, while the output in the eighth was more of a slow burn. Alan Marrero crossed the plate after a bases-loaded walk, while Elih Marrero arrived at the plate with the bases loaded and he cleared the bases with a two-RBI single. The third run came across with the help of a throwing error by Brooklyn center fielder Jake Mangum. Elih Marrero and Cameron Cannon each had a pair of hits as well. Chase Shugart limited Brooklyn to one run on two hits through his four-inning start, with a walk mixed in with five strikeouts. Yorvin Pantoja blew a save when he allowed two runs in the eighth but held the Cyclones scoreless in the ninth after Greenville retook the lead for the win. Dylan Spacke also contributed three innings of one-run ball through the middle innings.

Eight of Salem's nine starters recorded a hit as the team rode a balanced attack to victory on Saturday. Gilberto Jimenez and Alex Erro had two hits apiece, while Wil Dalton had a pair of RBI. Salem got it started early with a four-run first inning. Three of the four tallies came on a trio of hits, with a Joe Davis single sandwiched between doubles from Dalton and Erro two-baggers. Nick Decker capped it off with a steal of home plate. Aldo Ramirez faced plenty of traffic in his four innings of work, as he gave up six hits and issued a trio of walks, but he limited the runs to three, two of which were earned. Robert Kwiatkowski followed with three shutout innings, scattering two hits, while Casey Cobb earned the save after a two-inning stint. He gave up just one hit and struck out four Hillcats.

Player of the Day: It was a day with few standout performances, but Jeter Downs had three hits and drove in three runs, earning the nod for Player of the Day. The 2017 Competitive Balance pick is currently the No. 2 prospect in the system and is by far the most intriguing middle infield prospect in the upper minors. Downs has struggled early on, hitting only 9 for 35, but he had only played 12 games above Single-A prior to the start of the season, so the talent jump has been significant for the 22-year-old, who has a chance to contribute to the major league squad later this year.