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June 30, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Hamilton collects four hits; Dobbins dazzles in no-hit outing


6/30 Cup of Coffee:
 While the big-league club won in dramatic fashion in Toronto, Boston's minor-league affiliates went 3-1 on Wednesday. Jeter Downs lifted Worcester to an extra-innings win with his 12th home run of the season, David Hamilton (pictured) went a perfect 4 for 4 in Portland, Brandon Howlett homered in Greenville, and Hunter Dobbins tossed four no-hit innings in his latest start for Salem.

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Worcester operated by way of the bullpen game on Wednesday. Taylor Cole served as the opener and surrendered two earned runs on no hits, four walks, one hit batsman, and one strikeout over two-plus innings of work. Phillips Valdez took over in the third and tossed two scoreless frames, as did Geoff Hartlieb. Frank German allowed one run to score in the eighth while Zack Kelly did the same in the ninth. That sent this contest into extra innings, where Kelly gave up an unearned run but still held on to earn the win. 

On the other side of things, the Worcester lineup was matched up against a formidable foe in the Nationals' top pitching prospect, Cade Cavalli. Jeter Downs got to Cavalli first by scoring on a wild pitch in the second. In the fourth, Worcester plated three more runs on two bases-loaded walks and a hit batter. Downs provided the finishing blow in the 10th with a game-winning two-run home run. It was Downs' 12th homer of the season. Ronaldo Hernandez also went 2 for 5 with a run scored.

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Making back-to-back rehab outings at Hadlock Field, Josh Taylor got the start for Portland. The left-hander needed just 12 pitches to retire the three batters he faced in the first inning while striking out one. Brian Van Belle took over from there and allowed three runs on six hits, one walk, and a season-high 10 strikeouts over five innings of work. Caleb Simpson and Jacob Wallace each got tagged for an unearned run in the eighth before Chase Shugart picked up his fifth save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. 

David Hamilton led the way at the plate by going a perfect 4 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and three runs scored. The speedster also stole his 26th base of the season. Right behind Hamilton was Tyler Dearden, who went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and one run scored. Ceddanne Rafaela, on the other hand, stole a base of his own while going 2 for 4 with a walk and RBI.

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It was a rough night for the Greenville pitching staff at Fluor Field. Shane Drohan wrapped up an otherwise solid month of June by allowing four runs on nine hits, three walks, and six strikeouts across 4 1/3 innings. Fifty-nine of the 93 pitches the left-hander threw went for strikes and his ERA on the season now sits at 4.18. In relief of Drohan, Devon Roedahl got shelled for six runs over just 1 2/3 innings. Brendan Cellucci gave up one run of his own while Michael Gettys retired four of the five batters he faced.

Brandon Howlett provided some early scoring for Greenville with a two-run home run in the second inning. Greenville's next four runs came in the sixth inning and they came in an interesting fashion. With one out in the frame and the bases full, Jaxx Groshans, Howlett, Nick Decker, and Nick Yorke drew four straight walks to push across those aforementioned four runs. Matthew Lugo was the only member of Greenville's lineup to register a multi-hit game. Niko Kavadas went 1 for 3 with a walk and single and now has at least one hit in his first five games at High-A. 

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It was a stellar night on the mound for Hunter Dobbins. The 22-year-old right-hander made his fifth start of the season for Salem and hurled four no-hit innings in which he walked only one and struck out six. So he retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced on 52 pitches (34 strikes). Gabriel Jackson piggybacked off Dobbins and yielded three runs on seven hits, one walk, and five punchouts over 4 2/3 innings. All three of those runs scored in the ninth before Joey Stock came on to record the final out of the contest and pick up the save by doing so. 

Offensively, Yoberto Mejicano led the charge for Salem. The 21-year-old backstop went a perfect 4 for 4 with three doubles, three RBIs, and a stolen base to boot. Second-ranked prospect Marcelo Mayer doubled once as part of a 2-for-4 night at the plate in which he scored two runs and stole a base of his own. Blaze Jordan and Phillip Sikes also enjoyed multi-hit games and combined to cross the plate three times.

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Player of the Day: After getting his first season with the Red Sox organization off to an explosive start, David Hamilton recorded his first four-hit game since Opening Day on Wednesday night. In addition to his organizational-leading 26 stolen bases, the 24-year-old infielder is now batting .226/.293/.374 with five home runs and 23 RBIs in 59 games for Portland. 

Photo Credit: David Hamilton by Kelly O'Connor