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May 18, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Rafaela hits for cycle; Winckowski cruises


5/18 Cup of Coffee:
The bats were out in full force across the system, with Ceddanne Rafaela (pictured) the mightiest of the group. The versatile outfielder hit for the cycle to lead a 14-hit, 11-run rout for the Drive. Worcester also churned out 14 hits in support of Josh Winckowski to earn its first win in nearly two weeks. Chris Murphy continued to impress in the Sea Dogs win, while Salem took the organization's only loss despite yet another Marcelo Mayer double.

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A 14-hit barrage supported a masterful Josh Winckowski as Worcester snapped its 10-game losing streak. Winckowski gave up just two hits over six shutout innings, striking out nine and walking one. He made efficient work of the Yankees' farmhands, needing only 78 pitches to get through the six frames. AJ Politi got credit for the victory in his Triple-A debut as he struck out two batters in a perfect eighth inning. Kaleb Ort threw a scoreless ninth for the save.

Rob Refsnyder and Jeter Downs led the way at the plate for Worcester. Both had three-hit nights that included a double, with Downs swiping a pair of bases. Jarren Duran added a double, two runs scored, and a walk as part of his 2-for-4 effort. Triston Casas had a single and walk, but left the game in the seventh due to a twisted ankle. Per Katie Morrison of MassLive.com, Casas had injured it two innings prior and left the game as a precaution as it started to stiffen up on him.

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Chris Murphy turned in another strong start to lead the Sea Dogs. The left-hander, moved up in the rotation to take the slot of recently-promoted Brayan Bello, allowed one run on three hits in five innings. He struck out six, walked one, and lowered his ERA to 1.95 on his way to his first winning decision of the year. Murphy was followed by a trio of ranked relievers. Jacob Wallace went two hitless frames, striking out two along with two walks. Chase Shugart struck out one in a hitless inning, the fifth consecutive scoreless outing for the right-hander. Frank German allowed an unearned run in an outing marked by unusually shaky control. He walked one, hit a batter, and threw just 10 of 21 pitches for strikes.

A three-run third-inning homer off the bat of Hudson Potts provided Murphy the cushion he needed. It was the fifth round-tripper of the season for Potts, who got the start at first base. With a triple, Devlin Granberg extended his hitting streak to six games. He has reached safely in all 13 May contests.

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The Greenville lineup battered Hickory pitching for eight extra-base hits, with Ceddanne Rafaela turning in the most memorable performance. The 21-year-old continued his impressive 2022 season by hitting for the cycle. The double was the 10th of the season for Rafaela, while he went deep for the eighth time this year. Tyler McDonough went back-to-back with Rafaela with eighth-inning homers. He also walked, singled, and scored three runs in the win. After a slow start to his first full-season campaign, McDonough is hitting .311/.492/.644 in May. Alex Binelas and Joe Davis also went deep for Greenville. Nick Yorke and Matthew Lugo had two hits apiece, with Lugo adding a double and stolen base. The offensive explosion made a winner out of starter Yusniel Padron-Artiles, who allowed three runs on three hits in five innings.

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As part of the system's only loss on the night, the organization's longest hitting streak also came to an end. Blaze Jordan had been 18 for 47 during a 12-game surge, but was 0 for 4 with a strikeout and an RBI on Tuesday. Marcelo Mayer continues to be a doubles machine. The fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft ripped another two-bagger Tuesday, following up on his three-double effort on Sunday. Mayer now has 10 in 16 games this season. He also walked and drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. Eddinson Paulino was on base three times out of the leadoff spot, going 1 for 3 with two walks, two runs scored, and a stolen base. Yorberto Mejicano homered in the seventh inning, his fourth of the year.

Felix Cepeda made his first start of the year following five appearances out of the bullpen. He allowed one run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings, striking out four and walking three. Christopher Troye, a 12th-round pick last summer, made his 2022 debut in relief. He did not allow a hit in his inning of work, but walked a pair and surrendered a run, getting tagged with the loss. Graham Hoffman followed with his professional debut. An undrafted free agent, Hoffman gave up a run on three hits in one inning.

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Player of the Day: It started with a single followed by a run scored in the first for Ceddanne Rafaela. He then took share of the organization lead in doubles in the third, raced to his first triple of the year in the seventh, and capped the cycle with a solo homer in the eighth. The South Atlantic League leader with 44 hits, Rafaela is tied with Nick Northcut atop the system with 19 for extra bases. Coupling a .312/.353/.567 slash line with a sterling defensive profile, the Curacao native has risen from a modest $10,000 signing bonus to the No. 15 spot in the SoxProspects.com rankings.

Photo Credit: Ceddanne Rafaela by Kelly O'Connor