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June 3, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Walter's Worcester debut a short one, Murphy impresses for Portland


6/3 Cup of Coffee: Rainy conditions in different parts of the country resulted in Greenville's game getting postponed and Salem's getting called in the fifth inning. Salem did win that game, though, and Marcelo Mayer and Wikelman Gonzalez are two big reasons why. Elsewhere, Brandon Walter struggled in his Triple-A debut with Worcester while Chris Murphy (pictured) gave up just one hit in his latest start for Portland. 

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Brandon Walter made his highly-anticipated Triple-A debut at Polar Park but things did not go as planned. Walter, the second-ranked pitching prospect in the organization, surrendered six earned runs on five hits, one walk, one hit batsman, and two strikeouts in just 1 2/3 innings of work. 24 of the 42 pitches the left-hander threw went for strikes. Brian Keller did an admirable job out of the bullpen, scattering two hits and one walk to go along with four strikeouts across 4 1/3 scoreless frames. Durbin Feltman and Silvino Bracho each gave up a run. 


All four of Worcester's runs came in its half of the sixth inning. Christin Stewart plated three on a bases-clearing, three-run double before scoring himself when Ronaldo Hernandez reached base on a missed catch error. Out of the leadoff spot, Jarren Duran went 2 for 4 with a pair of opposite field singles. Out of the nine-hole, Grant Williams recorded two hits and scored one run after being a late addition to the lineup in place of Roberto Ramos.

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Chris Murphy pitched well for Portland but did not factor into Thursday's decision. The fourth-ranked pitching prospect in the system, Murphy yielded just one run on one hit and two walks with nine strikeouts over 6 1/3 strong innings. The 23-year-old southpaw lowered his ERA on the season down to 2.18. Oddanier Mosqueda followed suit with 1 2/3 scoreless frames of relief. Rio Gomez and Chase Shugart, on the other hand, combined to give up seven runs in the ninth and 10th innings. 

Portland's first two runs of the night came on a pair of sacrifice flies from Pedro Castellanos and Tyler Dearden. In the fifth, Izzy Wilson drove in Nick Sogard, Devlin Granberg, and himself on a little-league home run that was ruled a double that was aided by a throwing error. Wilson struck again in the 10th, doubling in Castellanos before scoring from third on a throwing error. Wilson went 2 for 4 and was credited with two RBIs. David Hamilton also collected two hits while Tyreque Reed reached base three times on two walks and one single.

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Thursday's game between Greenville and Winston-Salem was suspended in the top of the third inning due to inclement weather. It will be made up as part of a seven-inning doubleheader on Friday night. Game 1 is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

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Another game affected by the weather, Salem earned its 25th win of the season on Thursday after just 4 1/2 innings had been completed. Wikelman Gonzalez led the way on the mound by allowing two earned runs on three hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with four punchouts in five innings. This technically qualifies as the 20-year-old's first complete game of the season. 

Similar to Worcester, all four of Salem's runs came in a single inning -- the third. Eddinson Paulino drove in Phillip Sikes on an RBI single before Eduardo Lopez drew a walk to load the bases for Marcelo Mayer, who came through with a two-run double. Lopez then scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Nathan Hickey. Paulino went 2 for 3 with an RBI and run scored out of the leadoff spot. Mayer's double was his 12th of the season.

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Player of the Day: With the recent promotions of Brayan Bello and Brandon Walter to Worcester, Chris Murphy is now the top pitching prospect who remains in Portland. Both Bello and Walter have opened eyes this season, but Murphy is putting together a pretty impressive campaign himself. To go along with his 2.18 ERA, the former sixth-round draft pick has held opponents to a .158/.256/.258 slash line against over 53 2/3 innings. He celebrates his 24th birthday on Sunday. 

Photo Credit: Chris Murphy by Kelly O'Connor