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May 4, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Paulino leads Salem's morning romp; Yorke blasts first homer


5/4 Cup of Coffee:
It was a winning day all the way up the organizational ladder, featuring excellent pitching from Salem all the way to Fenway. Victor Santos turned in a quality start before Portland came back twice in the opener of its homestand. Nick Yorke went deep in support of a strong Shane Drohan effort for Greenville. In Salem, Eddinson Paulino (pictured) and crew got off to a fast start, allowing Tyler Uberstine to cruise through five excellent innings. Only a rainout in Toledo that postponed its matchup with Worcester dampened an otherwise dazzling Tuesday. 

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Worcester Red Sox @ Toledo Mud Hens (DET), PPD (Weather)
The WooSox continued their new tradition of starting out each series with a rainout. A doubleheader is scheduled for Thursday.

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It was a thriller at Hadlock Field, as the Sea Dogs staged game-tying comebacks in both the ninth and 10th innings before walking off in the 11th. Devlin Granberg led the way at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a double, walk, stolen base and run scored. Christian Koss drove in the first and last runs of the night. He got the scoring started with a first-inning sacrifice fly and his 11th-inning single plated automatic runner Elih Marrero. David Hamilton doubled and scored twice as part of his two-hit evening.

Victor Santos drew the start, allowing three runs on four hits in six innings, striking out five without issuing a walk. All of the scoring at his expense came from a pair of homers. He needed just 78 pitches to get through the six frames, throwing 57 of them for strikes. It was another strong performance by the Portland bullpen. Jacob Wallace got back on track with a hitless seventh inning. He struck out two batters and hit one. Chase Shugart struck out four across two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit without walking a batter. The automatic runner scored off AJ Politi in the 10th inning, the first time the 25-year-old right-hander has surrendered a run this season. Brandon Nail got credit for the win with a scoreless 11th. 

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After closing out April with 10 consecutive defeats, Greenville won its second straight to open May. Shane Drohan was excellent, striking out nine batters in six innings. He surrendered a solo homer in the first, but held Rome scoreless for the rest of his outing, allowing just three hits and one walk on the night. Ryan Zeferjahn allowed one unearned run in his two innings, striking out five without walking a batter. Cody Scroggins pitched the ninth for the save. Nick Yorke went deep for the first time this season, a two-run shot in the second inning that gave the Drive a lead they would not relinquish. With a home run in his 16th game of the year, Yorke is ahead of his 2021 pace, when he didn't go deep until his 36th contest. Alex Binelas was on base four times, going 2 for 2 with two walks, scoring a run. Gilberto Jimenez stole three bases as part of his 2-for-4 effort. Ceddanne Rafaela also swiped two bases despite not recording a hit.

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Salem used a series-opening morning game to its advantage, racing out with eight runs in the first four innings. Eddinson Paulino was the catalyst out of the leadoff spot, starting the first inning with a double and run scored on his way to a 4-for-5 effort. Brainer Bonaci drove in four runs during his two-hit performance, including a two-run triple in the fourth inning. Eduardo Lopez had his second straight three-hit game, breaking out of a 2-for-24 slump. Niko Kavadas walked three times, giving him 22 in 18 games and raising his on-base percentage to .475.

On the mound, Tyler Uberstine earned his first professional win. The 19th-round pick from last July was excellent, giving up just one run on three hits in five innings, striking out three without walking a batter. He lowered his ERA to 1.59 and WHIP to 1.18. Adenys Bautista and Alexander Montero added a scoreless inning of relief apiece.

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Player of the Day: Eddinson Paulino got an early start on this one, with four hits in the first five innings of an 11 a.m. game. The 19-year-old had an uneven April, hitting just .194/.268/.375, but he is 7 for 10 with two doubles and a triple to kick off May. Paulino is looking to build upon a strong 2021 stateside debut, when he hit .336/.436/.549 with a league-leading 16 doubles in 36 games in the Florida Complex League. He is currently the 26th-ranked prospect in the system.

Photo Credit: Eddinson Paulino by Kelly O'Connor