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May 19, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bello strikes out 10 in Triple-A debut, Castellanos homers twice


5/19 Cup of Coffee: Highlighted by the Triple-A debut of the organization's top pitching prospect, the affiliates went 2-2 on Wednesday night. Powered by six strong innings from Brayan Bello (pictured, left) and home runs from Jarren Duran and Ryan Fitzgerald, Worcester prevailed over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for a second straight win. Jay Groome also twirled four scoreless innings while Pedro Castellanos homered twice and accounted for all four of Portland's runs in a walk-off victory. Ceddanne Rafaela once again went yard in Greenville and Blaze Jordan stayed hot in Salem. 

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After turning 23 on Tuesday, Brayan Bello celebrated by impressing in his Triple-A debut. Over six innings of work, the right-hander allowed just two runs on six hits and one walk to go along with 10 strikeouts on 94 pitches (64 strikes). Out of the Worcester bullpen, Eduard Bazardo, Phillips Valdez, Zack Kelly, and Kaleb Ort combined for three scoreless frames. Ort earned his fifth save of the season.

On Jarren Duran bobblehead night at Polar Park, Duran delivered an early game-tying home run in the third inning. An RBI single from Connor Wong and a two-run double from Yolmer Sanchez in the sixth gave Worcester a 4-2 lead. Ryan Fitzgerald provided some insurance, crushing his ninth home run of the season an inning later.

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Well north of Worcester, Jay Groome put together a fine outing of his own at Hadlock Field. Making his sixth start and seventh overall appearance of the season for Portland, the left-hander scattered seven hits, two walks, one hit batsman, and one strikeout over six innings. 49 of the 79 pitches Groome threw went for strikes. Oddanier Mosqueda and Joan Martinez each accounted for one scoreless inning in relief of Groome. Chase Shugart got the call in the ninth and was charged with the blown save as he allowed the tying run to score for Harrisburg. 

Having already gotten Portland on the board with a solo home run in the fourth inning, Pedro Castellanos (pictured, below) came through yet again in the bottom of the ninth. With two runners on and nobody out, Castellanos clubbed a walk-off, three-run homer to lift his side to a 4-1 win.  Nick Sogard also recorded two hits while Devlin Granberg extended his on-base streak to 14 consecutive games. 

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One day removed from hitting for the cycle, Ceddanne Rafaela got halfway there on Wednesday. Rafaela went 2 for 4 with one RBI and two runs scored while hitting his second triple and ninth home run of the season. Matthew Lugo also tripled as part of a 2 for 4 showing at the plate. Alex Binelas accounted for one RBI on a sacrifice fly. Gilberto Jimenez went deep in the seventh inning for his fifth big fly of the year. 

Brendan Cellucci served as an opener for Greenville and allowed one unearned run over 1 2/3 innings before making way for Robert Kwiatkowski, who recorded the final out of the second. Brian Van Belle then took over and yielded two runs on seven hits, one walk, and six strikeouts, across seven innings. Casey Cobb was charged with the loss as he surrendered three runs (two earned) in the 10th.

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Salem fell behind early to Lynchburg and could never recover. Gabriel Jackson managed to limit the damage to three runs over five innings, but Osvaldo De La Rosa and Jhonny Felix got rocked for seven runs (six earned) across the next two-plus frames. Adenys Bautista closed things out by retiring the only six batters he faced. 

Offensively, Salem's only two runs came on RBI doubles from Eduardo Lopez and Nathan Hickey. Brainer Bonaci, Blaze Jordan, and Phillip Sikes all doubled at least once as well. Jordan and Sikes accounted for four of their side's nine hits.

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Player of the Day: After a dismal month of April in which he batted just .116, it would appear as though Pedro Castellanos has turned a corner in May. Following Tuesday's clutch two-homer performance, the 24-year-old is slashing .292/.314/.521 with three home runs and 14 RBIs over his last 12 games. He is also in the midst of a nine-game hitting streak. 

Photo Credit: Brayan Bello, Pedro Castellanos by Kelly O'Connor