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September 19, 2021 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Granberg drills grand slam, Worcester shuts out Syracuse


9/19 Cup of Coffee:
While the FCL squad lost in the completion of a suspended game and DSL Red Sox Blue fell short in the weekly intra-organizational contest in the DSL, it was a clean sweep for the full-season affiliates on the penultimate day of the minor league regular season. Devlin Granberg (pictured) was the offensive star, hitting 4 for 5 with three extra-base hits, including a grand slam as Portland scored 12 runs on 15 hits. Interestingly, this was nearly matched by Salem, which had 15 knocks but only 11 runs. Pedro Castellanos also had four hits for Portland, while Connor Seabold pitched the first five innings of a combined shutout for Worcester. The best start of the evening was arguably Chase Shugart, who scattered four hits and struck out eight across five innings. 

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Five Worcester pitchers combined for the shutout in Syracuse Saturday. The starter was Connor Seabold and he was strong through the first five innings, surrendering just five hits and a walk, with five punchouts as well. Yacksel Rios, Colten Brewer, John Schrieber and Kaleb Ort each were given an inning to finish off the shutout, the latter two of which did so without a hit. Tate Matheny, who pinch-hit for Jarren Duran in the sixth, notched a hit in each of his two at-bats, each of which went for extra bases while Joey Meneses joined him in the multi-hit club. Jeter Downs also drilled his 14th home run of the season in the second inning.

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The Sea Dogs, who have been eliminated from playoff contention, used a five-run sixth inning to put the game out of reach on the road. Portland pounded out 15 hits, 11 of which were from just three guys, each of whom had two doubles. Pedro Castellanos was 4 for 4, Devlin Granberg had a 4-for-5 day with a grand slam, as well as five RBI, and Ryan Fitzgerald was 3 for 4. Triston Casas also had a deep fly of his own. It was a mixed bag on the mound for Jay Groome, who gave up four runs on eight hits while walking three but also earned seven strikeouts. The bullpen was strong, however, handling the final 4 1/3 with two hits, one run and five strikeouts combined. Rio Gomez was credited with the run and each hit across an inning in relief of Groome. He was followed by Jake Thompson (1 1/3 innings), Frank German (1 inning) and Joan Martinez (1 inning). 

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Greenville's pitching was exceptional Saturday, scattering five hits in a close victory, though the scoring was done early on in the game. Chase Shugart allowed both runs, but scattered just four hits and a walk over five innings, striking out eight hitters in the process. Yorvin Pantoja surrendered just a hit and a free pass with four strikeouts over two innings, while Jacob Wallace and Zach Bryant each punched out a pair over a no-hit inning to complete the win. Christian Koss had a pair of hits, including a two-RBI double in the third. He would come in to score on a Tyler Dearden single that proved to be the difference for the Drive, who have been eliminated from playoff contention. 

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Salem's battle with Down East for the final Low-A East playoff spot will go down to the last day of the season, as the Red Sox rode a six-run second inning to victory, while Down East lost to Charleston, leaving the teams tied at 71-48. Salem had 15 hits, led by three-knock performances from Matthew Lugo, who also hit a home run, and Alex Erro. Tyler McDonough, who was 2 for 5, also went yard for the Red Sox. Shane Drohan was on the mound, throwing four innings. He allowed two run on five hits, with a walk against five strikeouts. Drohan was followed by Jacob Webb and Alexander Montero, who contributed a pair of scoreless innings each. Webb struck out three Shorebirds during his shift on the mound.

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This one took a long while to complete, as it was started on Friday, but was originally postponed back on September 3. Despite only five hits, the FCL squad did have a pair of extra-base knocks, with a double off the bat of Bryan Gonzalez and a triple from Cuba Bess. All three Red Sox runs came in the fourth, catalyzed by those two hits. Ryan Zeferjahn got the start as his rehab assignment continues, and deuces were wild for the 23-year-old. He surrendered a pair of runs on two hits with another two walks across the first two innings of the ballgame. He did strike out a trio of Twins, however. Gabriel Jackson, Tyler Uberstine and Michael Gettys each had a scoreless frame, while Gettys struck out the side. 

FCL Red Sox, FCL Twins (Canceled)
The originally scheduled matchup was canceled due to rain and will not be made up.

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Red worked an impressive 11 walks in addition to pounding out 10 hits for a strong victory. Helison Mota led the way for Red with three hits and was just a home run short of the cycle, while Kevin Garcia earned a two-hit game. He was joined by Juan Chacon, Lyonell James and Johnfrank Salazar for Blue. Jean Carlos Reyes had the standout pitching performance for Blue, despite a little traffic on the bases, as he walked three hitters and surrendered an additional hit. He was one of two Blue arms to not allow a run, doing so across three innings of work. The other was the final pitcher to appear, Carlos Velez, who handled the final 1 1/3 frames. While he was the second pitcher to appear, Starlin Santos had the bulk of the pitching duties for Red, delivering four one-run innings.

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Player of the Day: While he was one of two Portland players with four hits, the grand slam was enough to give Devlin Granberg the nod for player of the day. The Dallas Baptist product had five RBI, including his deep fly that put his team ahead 10-4 in the sixth inning. The homer was his 17th home run this season across both Greenville and Portland with a total slash line of .297/.356/.518 over 390 plate appearances. 

Photo Credit: Devlin Granberg by Kelly O'Connor