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May 20, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Crawford tosses 4 no-hit innings in first AAA start, Binelas and Lugo both homer


5/20 Cup of Coffee: Because of a rainout in Portland, Boston affiliates went 1-2 on Thursday night. Kutter Crawford (pictured) tossed four scoreless innings in his first start of the season, while Roberto Ramos played hero in Worcester, Matthew Lugo and Alex Binelas both went deep in Greenville, and Phillip Sikes drove in three runs for Salem. 

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Kutter Crawford made his first start of the season for Worcester after being optioned last Saturday. The right-hander did not allow a run, hit, or walk while striking out a pair over four efficient innings. Twenty-five of the 35 pitches he threw went for strikes. Out of the bullpen, Silvino Bracho, Michael Feliz, and Durbin Feltman combined for four scoreless frames before Zack Kelly ran into some trouble in the ninth. Attempting to protect a 1-0 lead, Kelly allowed the tying run to score on two hits and the go-ahead run to score on a wild pitch.

Offensively, the only run Worcester scored within the first eight innings Thursday came when Yolmer Sanchez led off the fifth inning with a triple and scored on an RBI double off the bat of Jarren Duran. Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth, Ronaldo Hernandez -- representing the tying run -- drew a leadoff walk off Greg Weissert. Following a mound visit, Roberto Ramos swung at the first pitch he saw from Weissert and clubbed a walk-off, two-run home run to left field. Nobody in Worcester's lineup recorded more than one hit, though Christin Stewart reached base three times on a single and two free passes. 

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Portland Sea Dogs vs. Harrisburg Senators (WSH), PPD
Portland was supposed to host Alces de Maine night at Hadlock Field, but that will have to wait until September with Thursday's game against Harrisburg being postponed due to rain. It will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader on Friday.

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Chih-Jung Liu was rocked for six earned runs in his seventh start of the season for Greenville. To go along with the six runs, the right-hander allowed seven hits and no walks with five strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings pitched. Ryan Zeferjahn took over for Liu in the fourth inning and hurled 3 1/3 scoreless frames of relief. Minor-league Rule 5 Draft pick Austin Lambright made his organizational debut and surrendered three runs on two walks, one wild pitch, and a two-run homer. Jacinto Arredondo closed things out by retiring five of the seven batters he faced.

Greenville was already down by six runs by the time it got its first tally of the game on a fourth-inning solo shot from Matthew Lugo. Alex Binelas crushed a solo home run of his own two innings later. In the seventh, Stephen Scott ripped a two-out triple and scored on a wild pitch. Antoni Flores capped off the scoring with a home run in the ninth. It was Lugo's fifth, Binelas' ninth, and Flores' first big fly of the season, respectively. 

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Salem got off to a quick start courtesy of a three-run second inning that included an RBI single from Yorberto Mejicano and a two-run double from Phillip Sikes. Sikes struck again in the fourth with a run-scoring single that brought in Karson Simas. Mejicano, Simas, and Sikes all had multi-hit games while accounting for six of Salem's 10 hits. Simas, Sikes, and Blaze Jordan all stole a base as well.

On the other side of things, Juan Daniel Encarnacion made his seventh start of the season for Salem. The 21-year-old yielded three runs on four hits, four walks, one hit batsman, and four strikeouts across four innings of work. Joey Stock, Graham Hoffman, and Jacob Webb each gave up a run out of the Salem bullpen. 

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Player of the Day: After struggling to find a role in Boston's bullpen to begin the season, Kutter Crawford returned to his traditional role as a starter and impressed for Worcester on Wednesday. The 26-year-old now re-joins a talented Worcester rotation that includes Connor Seabold, Josh Winckowski, and new addition Brayan Bello. He should get the chance to show why he is the 17th-ranked prospect in the organization while pitching on a starter's schedule.  

Photo Credit: Kutter Crawford by Kelly O'Connor