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July 28, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Bonaci drives in eight, Northcut clubs first Double-A homer

7/28 Cup of Coffee:
 While the big-league club fell under .500 for the first time since early June, Boston's minor-league affiliates went a collective 3-2 on Wednesday night. Jay Groome made his third start of the season for Worcester in a loss to Buffalo, Tyler Dearden and Nick Northcut both homered in Portland's win over Hartford, Alex Erro enjoyed a three-hit night in Greenville, and Brainer Bonaci (pictured) collected six hits in Salem's doubleheader sweep of Fredericksburg. 


In his third start since being promoted to Worcester earlier this month, Jay Groome allowed three runs on seven hits, two walks, and one hit batsman to go along with five strikeouts over five innings of work. The 23-year-old left-hander threw 95 pitches while raising his ERA at the Triple-A level to 3.94. James Norwood took over for Groome and yielded just one hit across two scoreless frames. The same cannot be said for Chase Shugart, who got shelled for four runs on four hits while only recording the first two outs of the eighth; Durbin Feltman got the third to end the inning.

Offensively, Worcester's two runs came in a rather mundane fashion. Christin Stewart scored on a groundout in the top of the second inning before Abraham Almonte scored on an RBI single from Grant Williams in the top of the seventh. Almonte, making his WooSox debut, reached base twice on a single and walk. Nick Sogard went 2 for 4 with a double and is now riding a five-game hitting streak.


Four members of Portland's lineup enjoyed multi-hit games on Wednesday. Deuces were wild for Ceddanne Rafaela, as the versatile 21-year-old went 2 for 5 with two runs scored and two stolen bases. Christian Koss went 2 for 5 as well with one RBI and two runs scored while Stephen Scott went 2 for 2 with two doubles, two RBIs, and two walks. Out of the nine-hole, Tyler Dearden went 2 for 5 with a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Nick Northcut also homered for the first time at the Double-A level. A rehabbing Christian Arroyo singled, drew two walks, and stole a base while serving as Portland's designated hitter.

Brett Kennedy, making his 10th start of the season, yielded four runs on eight hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over five innings and 88 pitches (57 strikes). The 27-year-old journeyman now owns a 4.70 ERA across 53 2/3 total innings with Portland. In relief of Kennedy, Kyle Hart and Ryan Fernandez combined for four scoreless, perfect innings to wrap up a 9-4 win. 


It was a tough night for the Greenville lineup at Fluor Field. Alex Erro accounted for his side's only run on a fifth-inning RBI single that came as part of a perfect 3-for-3 night at the plate. Tyler McDonough, Gilberto Jimenez, who scored the run, and Phillip Sikes accounted for Greenville's other three hits. Ryan Zeferjahn, making his fourth start of the season, yielded two runs on three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts over four innings. Out of the Greenville bullpen, Jordan DiValerio and Joey Stock each tossed two innings of relief, with the latter allowing one run to score in the top of the eighth. Jacob Webb retired the only three batters he faced in a scoreless ninth inning. 


After Tuesday's game was interrupted by rain in the fifth inning, Salem saw a 9-3 win through the end in the first installment of an impromptu doubleheader on Wednesday. Picking things up in the bottom of the fifth inning, Osvaldo De La Rosa allowed two of the base runners he inherited to score before putting up a zero in the sixth. Felix Cepeda surrendered one unearned run over two innings of relief while Miguel Suero closed it out with a scoreless ninth.

Having already homered on Tuesday, Brainer Bonaci picked up where he left off with a two-run single in the top of the sixth. In the ninth, Bonaci came through again with another two-run shot for his second home run of the season. All told, the switch-hitting 20-year-old went 3 for 4 with two homers, a career-high seven RBIs, two runs scored, and one walk. Marcelo Mayer went 2 for 4 with a two-run double while Eddinson Paulino and Jose Garcia each had two hits as well.

In the second game of Wednesday's twin bill, Bonaci stole the show again by going 3 for 4 with two doubles, one triple, and one RBI. Hitting in front of him was Paulino, who went 3 for 4 with his eighth home run of the season, two RBIs, and two runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Tyler Miller also went deep for the 10th time this year while Jonathan Diaz doubled and tripled out of the eight-hole.

Gabriel Jackson made his 10th start of the season for Salem and allowed two runs on two hits, two walks, and five strikeouts over five solid innings. The 20-year-old right-hander earned his sixth win of the year while lowering his ERA to 4.99. In relief of Jackson, Luis Guerrero recorded the final six outs of the seven-inning contest to notch his sixth save of the season. 


Player of the Day: Between the completion of Tuesday's game and Wednesday's regularly scheduled game in Fredericksburg, Brainer Bonaci went 6 for 8 with five extra-base hits, eight RBIs, and two runs scored. Bonaci, the 26th-ranked prospect in the organization, is now batting .268/.398/.384 through 77 games (352 plate appearances) in his first full season with Salem. 

Photo Credit: Brainer Bonaci by Kelly O'Connor