SoxProspects News

June 18, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Houck returns, Downs crushes game-winning home run


6/18 Cup of Coffee: Great pitching and long balls were the story last night, as Tanner Houck returned and dominated, Jeter Downs' bomb gave Worcester a win, and the Sea Dogs crushed three homers and received great pitching. Chris Murphy (pictured) was also fantastic in his start for Greenville, and Nick Yorke stayed hot for Salem. 

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The Sox won this one thanks to a clutch go-ahead solo home run by Jeter Downs in the bottom of the eighth to break a 2-2 tie. The second-ranked prospect took at 1-1 breaking ball and sent it deep into the Polar Park night. He added a single as well and now has multiple hits in three of his last four games. Jarren Duran also had a good night, going 2 for 4 with his seventh double of the year. On the mound, Tanner Houck returned to action for the first time since May 4 and looked fantastic. The right-hander fired three shutout innings with six strikeouts and just one walk while not allowing a hit. The Sox staff ended up with 15 strikeouts, as Matt Hall and Kaleb Ort each tossed two shutout innings of their own with three strikeouts each. 

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Enmanuel De Jesus was very good in his start, not allowing a run in five innings of work. He struck out two, did not walk anybody, and allowed five hits. Denyi Reyes was also productive out of the bullpen, allowing just one run in three innings with five punchouts. Jose Adames picked up with 10th save with a scoreless ninth and two strikeouts. All of Portland's runs came via the home run, as Tate Matheny, Joey Meneses, and Hudson Potts each went deep. It was Potts' first home run with the Sea Dogs. Grant Williams added a pair of hits as well. 

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The terrific pitching continued with the Drive, as Chris Murphy was dealing during his six innings. The 23-year old southpaw struck out eight and did not issue a free pass, while allowing just two hits and one run on a solo shot. Brenden Nail and Alex Scherff combined to pitch the final three innings without allowing a run and striking out three. Tyler Esplin led the way at the dish with a 2-for-4 performance with an RBI single and his 10th two-bagger of the year. Cameron Cannon also singled and knocked in a run. 

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There wasn't much offense to speak of for Salem, but Nick Yorke managed to have yet another good game, going 1 for 3 with a walk and a pair of stolen bases to give him nine thefts on the year. The lone run came on a solo shot by Jake MacKenzie, his first of the year. Nick Northcut added his 11th double.  Bradley Blalock struggled a bit on the mound, walking three and allowing two runs (one earned) in just two innings. The 20-year did have three strikeouts. Cole Milam was solid in relief with a pair of shutout innings with two strikeouts and one walk. Jacinto Arredondo added a scoreless frame. 

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Player of the Day: Chris Murphy made it back-to-back tremendous outings, lasting six innings for the first time in 2021. The 2019 sixth-round draft pick has allowed just one run over his past 11 innings with 11 strikeouts and just six baserunners allowed. Overall, the lefty has a 3.46 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in eight starts this year. 

Photo Credit: Chris Murphy by Kelly O'Connor

 
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