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July 31, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Cannon blast powers Drive; Yorke keeps streaking


7/31 Cup of Coffee
: Friday was a good one down on the farm, with affiliated winning eight out of nine contests on some strong individual performances. Jeter Downs seemed to break out of an extended slump in Worcester's win, while Cameron Cannon (pictured) turned in a monster evening to lead Greenville. Nick Yorke was again a catalyst for Salem, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. Portland was saddled with the only loss on the day despite a solid effort by Josh Winckowski. The FCL Sox won on a wild comeback walkoff, while the DSL teams both swept doubleheaders with two one-run wins apiece. 

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A big day for Jeter Downs powered Worcester on deadline day. Downs, who entered the day on a brutal 3-for-47 skid, blasted a two-run homer in the first inning and followed that up with a two-run double in the fourth inning. Yairo Munoz doubled as part of his two-hit evening, extending his hitting streak to 22 games. Raynel Espinal earned the win, allowing two runs on three hits in five innings, striking out six, and walking three. A quartet of WooSox relievers combined for four scoreless innings. Zack Kelly struck out four and allowed just one hit in two innings in his Triple-A debut, and Jose Adames was unscored upon for his seventh straight outing since his promotion from Portland.

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It was a tough evening at Hadlock Field as Portland went just 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position and did not manage an extra-base hit. Pedro Castellanos and Nick Sogard had two hits apiece, with Castellanos driving in a pair of runs. Starter Josh Winckowski allowed four runs on six hits in six innings, walking two, and striking out five. 

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The Drive scored six unanswered runs after falling into an 8-3 deficit. Cameron Cannon led the way, blasting a game-tying three-run homer in the eighth inning that knotted the score at 3-3 as part of his 3-for-4 night. Cannon also walked, drove in four, and scored twice as he recorded multiple hits for the sixth time in eight games. Christian Koss was a catalyst at the top of the order, scoring three times while hitting a solo homer, double, and walk, raising his July line to .386/.433/.614. Stephen Scott was 2 for 5 for the second straight game since his promotion from Salem. Jay Groome took the mound for the first time since July 7 after missing some time for the birth of his first child. He showed some understandable signs of rust, allowing three runs on five hits in two innings, striking out three and walking one. Brandon Nail picked up the win with 2 2/3 innings of shutout relief. 

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It was an all-around impressive performance by Salem, who outhit Kannapolis 14 to seven while pitchers struck out 12 Cannon Ballers and walking just one. Nick Yorke continues to roll along, scoring three more runs as part of a 3-for-4 night at the top of the order. Yorke is riding a 12-game hitting streak. Matthew Lugo doubled twice and drove in three runs, going 3 for 5 overall. Nick Northcut completed the harder half of the cycle, while Nick Decker blasted his third homer of the year. Chih-Jung Liu bounced back from a tough outing in his previous start, giving up one run on three hits in four innings striking out four, and walking one. Alexander Montero was superb in relief, giving up just one hit in three scoreless innings while striking out six and not issuing a walk to pick up the win. Miguel Suero allowed an unearned run in two innings to finish off the Salem victory.

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The Sox completed a wild comeback on a bases-cleaning double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth by Juan Montero. Freddy Valdez led the offense, going 3 for 5 with a double and two RBI. Tyler McDonough doubled in his second straight game while going 2 for 4. Karson Simas also doubled as part of a two-hit afternoon. Nathanael Cruz got off to a rocky start with two solo homers in the first inning, but he did not allow another run to cross the plate in his 2 2/3 innings, Cruz struck out five and walked one. 

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Team Blue only notched four hits in the opener, but three were part of the decisive three-run seventh inning. Johnfrank Salazar had an RBI double to key that rally, his fourth two-base hit of the season. Jhostynxon Garcia also doubled for the Sox. Yordanny Monegro got the start, allowing one run on three hits in one inning. Stiwar Adames and Robinson Parra combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, with Parra getting credit for the win. 

Game 2 followed a similar script, with a 3-2 win coming on a seventh-inning rally. The same heroes were involved as well, with Salazar strolling home on a Garcia walk with the bases loaded to secure the walk-off win. Alex Zapete had two hits and a walk for the Blue squad, raising his average to .378. Starter Yizreel Burnet was outstanding, giving up just one hit across four scoreless innings, striking out five without issuing a walk. Irving Medina picked up the win in a relief role.

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The Red team also got involved in the 3-2 comeback victory fun. Enderso Lira was involved in all of the scoring, driving in the first two runs of the game on a sacrifice fly and an RBI single, and scoring the third on a throwing error by the catcher that followed a strikeout. Ahbram Liendo doubled for the Sox only extra-base hit. Cesar Ruiz allowed two runs on three hits in his start, striking out four and walking two. A trio of relievers combined for four scoreless innings, with Simon Pacheco getting credit for the win, striking out three in a perfect sixth inning. 

This one didn't finish 3-2, but it was another one-run win down in the Dominican. Albertson Asigen drove in the game's lone run on the Sox only extra-base hit, a seventh-inning triple. Jose Ramirez scattered three hits over four innings in his start, striking out three and walking one. Efren Diaz followed with three scoreless innings of his own, striking out five against one walk to get credit for the win. 

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Player of the Day: Top 2019 draftee Cameron Cannon has been one of the most consistent performers on the farm this season. He blasted his eighth homer of the year as part of a 3-for-4 effort that raised his season line to .302/.346/.467. He leads the organization with 86 hits, ranks second with 23 doubles, and has struck out in only 10.8% of his plate appearances. 

Photo Credit: Cameron Cannon by Kelly O'Connor

 
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