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July 18, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Binelas homers twice; Ward shines again


7/18 Cup of Coffee:
All three games were decided by one run, with Portland and Salem picking up walk-off wins. Chris Murphy and Thad Ward turned in great starts, while Alex Binelas (pictured) hit two home runs for Portland. Christian Koss also homered for the Sea Dogs, while David Hamilton notched his 40th steal of the season.

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The WooSox were stifled by DL Hall, a top-50 prospect in baseball. Chris Murphy was excellent in his third Triple-A start, firing five shutout innings with three strikeouts. AJ Politi added two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Johan Mieses and Grant Williams each had two hits, and Ronaldo Hernández added a double. 

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Portland jumped out to an early 9-2 lead but needed some heroics from Kole Cottam in the bottom of the ninth to win it. After Ryan Fernandez gave up a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to give Somerset a one-run lead, Cottam hit a two-run double in the bottom of the inning to walk it off. Cottam finished 1 for 5, while old-friend Jeisson Rosario hit for the cycle for Somerset.

In his Double-A debut, Yusniel Padron-Artiles gave up five runs over 4 1/3 innings. Alex Binelas had two home runs in the first two innings and ended the game 2 for 4. Christian Koss went 3 for 5 with a home run, double, stolen base, four runs scored, and four RBI. Stephen Scott went 2 for 2 with two walks and a double, and David Hamilton stole three bases to give him 40 steals on the season. 

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Greenville Drive @ Hudson Valley Renegades (NYY), Canceled
Sunday's series finale was canceled due to unplayable field conditions.

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Kier Meredith scored on a wild pitch as Salem walked off with a win to end the week. Marcelo Mayer went 2 for 3 with two walks to lead the offense, and Jose Garcia hit an RBI double to count for Salem's other run. 

Thad Ward looks ready to move up to Double-A, as he struck out six and allowed just two hits over three scoreless innings. He has not allowed a run over 11 innings on his rehab assignment and he has struck out 19. Graham Hoffman followed with two strikeouts in a scoreless frame and Gabriel Jackson went the next 4 2/3 innings but did give up the tying run in the ninth. The win went to Luis Guerrero who kept Kannapolis off the board over the final 2 1/3. 

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Player of the Day: His teammate Christian Koss could make a strong case, but two home runs from Alex Binelas give him the edge. It has been a slow start in Portland for Binelas after getting promoted on June 24. He is hitting just .147 over 75 at-bats but does have five home runs. After striking out in about 27 percent of his plate appearances in Greenville, that number has shot up to 35 percent in Portland. Still only a year out from being drafted, Binelas will look to finish strong and stay in the system's top 20. 

Photo Credit: Alex Binelas by Kelly O'Connor