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May 26, 2021 at 6:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Grand slam for Cannon; Mieses homers again

5/26 Cup of Coffee:
The affiliates dropped all four games on Tuesday but there were highlights at every level. Kaleb Ort keeps putting up zeroes in Worcester, Johan Mieses hit another home run for Portland, Cameron Cannon (pictured) hit a grand slam in Greenville, and Bradley Blalock had another strong start for Salem. 


Worcester came back to tie the game with two runs in the ninth but was not able to get ahead in extras. Recording his most strikeouts in a game since August of 2018, Stephen Gonsalves got the start and allowed three runs in five innings, striking out eight and walking four. Colten Brewer allowed a run in his fourth straight appearance while Kaleb Ort continued to impress with his eighth straight scoreless appearance to start the year. He struck out two and allowed two hits in two innings. The loss went to Marcus Walden, though that is a bit unfair as the winning run scored on a passed ball by Jett Bandy.

Back-to-back RBI doubles from Michael Gettys and César Puello tied the score in the ninth, and Jonathan Araúz temporarily put them ahead in the 10th with a sacrifice fly. It was expected that Jeter Downs would be away from the team to travel to the Americas Olympic Qualifier, but he did play and went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. 


In his last tune-up before leaving to join Team Venezuela in the Americas Olympic Qualifier, Enmanuel De Jesus was unable to get out of the first inning. After giving up five runs on five hits and a walk he was pulled in favor of Rio Gomez. Gomez steadied the ship for Portland by allowing one run over 3 2/3 innings with three strikeouts. Jake Thompson followed with 2 2/3 scoreless innings, but Hartford was able to extend the lead against Durbin Feltman. Feltman surrendered two solo home runs in his lone inning of work as his ERA rose to 5.06. 

The Sea Dogs out-hit the Yard Goats 12-11 but went just 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position. Ryan Fitzgerald went 3 for 4 with two doubles in his first three-hit game of the season, and Johan Mieses clubbed his league-leading eighth home run. Jeisson Rosario had been hitless in his last four games as his average dipped to .237, but he bounced back with a 2-for-4 performance that also included a walk. He did add two more strikeouts and his strikeout rate now sits at 32 percent. 


A grand slam from Cameron Cannon was not enough as the Braves won on a walk-off single. Cannon's home run was his fourth as he has already eclipsed his 2019 total, and Brandon Howlett went 2 for 4. The Drive bullpen had been solid in the middle innings, but the Braves got to Jacob Wallace for a hit by a pitch and a walk before the single won it in the ninth. Chris Murphy had a second straight subpar start as he gave up five runs (three earned) over five innings, walking one and striking out three. Alex Scherff was stifling out of the bullpen with three strikeouts in two hitless innings. 


After beating up on the Fredericksburg Nationals last week, Salem faltered against the tougher competition. Bradley Blalock had another solid appearance as he allowed just an unearned run over three innings, walking one and striking out three. The 20-year-old has struck out 15 batters in 12 innings with an ERA of just 1.50. Most of the damage came against Jorge Rodriguez who allowed three runs on seven hits over four innings. In his 11th inning this season Cody Scroggins finally gave up his first earned run as his ERA moved to 0.82 after allowing one run in two innings. 

Both Matthew Lugo and Wil Dalton had two hits for Salem, with Lugo adding a double and a stolen base and Dalton notching two RBI. It was a rare night where Gilberto Jimenez did not get on base, while Nick Yorke went 1 for 4 but also committed his eighth error in just 16 games. 


Player of the Day: Cameron Cannon is pushing for a higher ranking as the former second-round pick has been one of the system's best hitters to start the year. Going 2 for 5 with a grand slam, Cannon raised his line to .319/.367/.583 with 11 extra-base hits in just 18 games. Playing mostly second base with some shortstop sprinkled in, Cannon looks like a completely different hitter than the guy who had a .608 OPS after being drafted in 2019. 

Photo Credit: Cameron Cannon by Kelly O'Connor