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June 28, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Joe Davis homers twice and drives in six as Salem wins slugfest


6/28 Cup of Coffee:
The affiliates split their contests on Sunday, the final day before the Florida Complex League kicks off its schedule. Joe Davis (pictured) stole the spotlight in Salem's wild win, blasting a pair of three-run homers to lead the Sox. Portland picked up the organization's other victory in a far more subdued affair, as a quartet of hurlers gave up just five hits. Worcester dropped its fifth straight, while three homers were not enough to power Greenville to victory.

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An old friend doomed Worcester to its fifth consecutive defeat at Frontier Field. Former Boston top prospect Blake Swihart scored four runs out of the leadoff spot, including an eighth-inning solo homer off of Kaleb Ort to provide some insurance for the Red Wings. Worcester starter Daniel Gossett allowed seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits in six innings, taking the loss. Chris Herrmann had a big day at the plate, completing the more difficult half of the cycle with a homer in the seventh and a triple in the ninth. Chad De La Guerra homered and doubled on the afternoon, while Franchy Cordero turned in another two-hit effort. It was the 12th time in 34 games since joining the WooSox that Cordero has had two or more base hits. 

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A quartet of hurlers held the Somerset offense to just five hits, and Portland was buoyed by back-to-back homers by Pedro Castellanos and Hudson Potts in the sixth. Castellanos's two-run blast was his seventh of the year, just two shy of the career high he set in 2019 with Salem. Enmanuel De Jesus has taken on the role as the swingman of the Portland staff, and he turned in one of his stronger outings of the season on Sunday. The veteran lefty allowed three hits across 3 2/3 scoreless frames, striking out four, walking one, and needing only 44 pitches to record the 11 outs. Zack Kelly got credit for the win, throwing two scoreless innings and lowering his ERA to a microscopic 0.48. Dominic LoBrutto allowed one run in his two innings of work, and Jose Adames fired the final 1 1/3 innings of hitless relief.

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The Drive will be happy to leave Greensboro after dropping five of the six games at First National Bank Field. Grant Gambrell allowed six runs (five earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings, but did strike out nine while walking just two. Tyreque Reed blasted his ninth homer of the season and first since June 1 with a two-run shot in the fourth inning. Nick Sogard and Tyler Dearden also went deep for the Drive. Greenville will look to get back on track when they return home for a 12-game homestand that kicks off Tuesday.

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It was the Joe Davis show on a wild, back-and-forth Sunday that saw these two teams combine for 21 runs, 29 hits, and five home runs. Two of those homers were three-run shots off the bat of Davis, both of which gave Salem a one-run lead at the time. Davis also doubled, giving him an even 10 total bases on the day. Eduardo Lopez drove in the winning run with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. Gilberto Jimenez and Matthew Lugo both scored twice out of the top two spots in the lineup, as both players submitted matching 2-for-5 efforts. 

It was a less-than-enjoyable Sunday on the mound for pitchers of both squads. Ryan Zeferjahn gave up three runs on six hits in three innings in a starter role. Jordan DiValerio had a rare rough outing in relief, giving up five runs in two innings to raise his ERA from 3.38 to 4.71. Alexander Montero drew a tough assignment for his first appearance of the season, giving up a run on two hits in two innings. Cody Scroggins got credit for the win for turning in a scoreless top of the ninth. 

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The Florida Complex League, taking the spot of the old Gulf Coast League and featuring many of the players who would have previously been assigned to Short Season leagues, will begin play on Monday afternoon. The FCL Red Sox will make their inaugural appearance with a noon starting time.

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Player of the Day: Lynchburg has seen quite enough of Joe Davis. It was the second time this month that Davis submitted a multi-homer game to close a series against the Hillcats, a feat he accomplished three weeks prior. The performance raises Davis' slash line on the season to a robust .316/.367/.541.

Photo Credit: Joe Davis by Kelly O'Connor