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August 28, 2021 at 7:33 AM

Cup of Coffee: Crawford nearly perfect; Mayer shines in FCL


8/28 Cup of Coffee:
It was an evening to remember for Worcester starter Kutter Crawford (pictured) as he was perfect through five innings on his way to the win. Marcelo Mayer had a pair of hits, including his first career triple, as the FCL Sox split their doubleheader. Gilberto Jimenez and Ceddanne Rafaela set the table for Salem's win, while Christian Koss had a big night despite a Greenville loss. Miguel Bleis homered as the DSL teams split their contests.

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Kutter Crawford turned in a nearly flawless performance to lead Worcester to its fifth consecutive victory. Crawford retired the first 15 batters he faced before Cullen Large spoiled the no-hit bid with a leadoff single in the sixth inning. Large would come in to score on an error, the only blemish in Crawford's line. The right-hander needed just 75 pitches to complete six innings, throwing 53 of them for strikes, as he struck out eight of the 20 batters he faced without issuing a walk. The bullpen continued where Crawford left off, with Seth Blair firing two hitless frames and Alex Claudio tossing a scoreless ninth for the save. 

A three-run homer off the bat of a resurgent Josh Ockimey in the top of the sixth gave Worcester a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Connor Wong had a two-hit night, padding the lead with a seventh-inning solo blast. Joey Meneses also had a pair of hits for Worcester.

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While Worcester extended its winning streak, Portland continued its run in the other direction with a sixth straight loss. Danny Santana continued his rehab, getting the start in center and going 2 for 3 with a home run. Ronaldo Hernandez was 2 for 4 with a double and RBI out of the cleanup spot. Triston Casas was 0 for 2 with a pair of walks, continuing a trend for the top prospect--over his last six games, Casas is hitless in 16 at bats but has drawn seven free passes. Denyi Reyes took the loss, allowing six runs on eight hits in 4 2/3. 

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SoxProspects.com Directory of Scouting Ian Cundall continues his look at the Drive. Unfortunately, that look on Friday did not include scorching-hot Nick Yorke, as the 2020 first-round pick had the evening off. Left-hander Brandon Walter, one of the breakout performers this season in the organization, was not quite on his game. Walter allowed eight runs on seven hits in 4 1/3, striking out five against two walks. Much of the damage came in the first inning, as Hickory put together three singles, a double, and a walk, tallying four runs before the second out was recorded. At the plate, middle infielders Christian Koss and Eric Sogard went deep. Koss's first-inning blast extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and he would add a single and a walk later in the evening. Stephen Scott reached base four times, going 2 for 3 with a pair of walks, and Dean Miller had a pair of doubles.

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The top of the order led the way in Salem's victory, with Gilberto Jimenez and Ceddanne Rafaela combining for six hits. Rafaela had two doubles and three RBI as part of a 3-for-4 night. Jimenez added another three hits and scored a pair of runs as he raised his average to .307. Angel Maita was 2 for 4 with two runs out of the nine hole for Salem, while Nick Decker launched a solo home run. Jeremy Wu-Yelland was solid on the mound. allowing two runs on four hits in five innings, striking out five and walking two. Dylan Roedahl picked up his 10th save of the year with two perfect innings, striking out three.

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The Sox prevailed in the completion of their game suspended by rain in the second inning back on August 14. Marcelo Mayer had two hits including his first professional triple, driving in a pair of runs and scoring another, leading the victory. BJ Vela also had a pair of hits for the Sox. Juan Daniel Encarnacion had pitched a scoreless inning before the suspension, and Reidis Sena took over when play resumed. Sena allowed two runs on three hits in five innings, striking out five. Nate Tellier was a highlight out of the bullpen, surrendering just one hit across three scoreless innings, striking out four and walking a pair.

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Things did not go as well for the Sox in the regularly-scheduled contest, as the team picked up just five hits in the blowout loss. Tyler Uberstine took the loss, giving up three runs (one earned) on three hits in 1 2/3 innings. Brainer Bonaci drove in the lone run on a fifth-inning single. Philip Sikes had a double and has hit safely in all 11 games as a professional. The 18th-round pick has a .441/.525/.559 slash line.

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Dodger pitching held Team Blue to just three hits on Friday. Two of those three came off the bat of Armando Sierra, who also drove in the Sox only run. His single plated Alex Zapete, who had doubled. Starter Royman Blanco allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in 3 1/3 innings, striking out five against just one walk.

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The Red squad took advantage of some wildness from the Dodgers staff. Dodger pitching walked 14 batters, hit three more, and uncorked six wild pitches. Miguel Bleis got the scoring started with a solo home run in the first. The top signee from this year's international class also had a single and was hit by a pitch. Endrso Lira reached base four times, going 1 for 3 with a double and working three free passes. Starlin Santos got the win in relief, allowing two runs on four hits, striking out three, and walking two.

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Player of the Day: It was a near-perfect outing from Kutter Crawford to lead Worcester to its fifth straight. Crawford has been outstanding in his return from 2019 Tommy John surgery. Since his promotion from Double-A Portland in mid-July, Crawford has struck out 39 batters in 29 1/3 innings while walking only eight. It was the first start since June 5, 2018 that Crawford went at least six innings without allowing an earned run.

Photo Credit: Kutter Crawford by Kelly O'Connor

 
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