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July 4, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Mata strikes out five; Downs reaches five times


7/4 Cup of Coffee:
Happy Fourth of July to all our readers. Sunday was a mixed bag on the farm, with a great game for Jeter Downs and a successful rehab start from Bryan Mata being offset by some rough performances elsewhere. Chih-Jung Liu was hit hard for Greenville, while Salem's offense was quiet in a loss.

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Kutter Crawford was originally scheduled to start on Sunday, but he was scratched as he will likely be needed in the Boston rotation next week. This turned into a bullpen game, with Michael Feliz as the opener. He allowed two runs and gave way to the recently-promoted Chase Shugart. Shugart allowed one run over three innings in his first appearance with Worcester after pitching to a 3.77 ERA with Portland. The loss went to Frank German who allowed two runs over two innings, including a go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth. 

The Red Sox had eight players register at least one hit, led by Jeter Downs who went 2 for 2 with three walks, four runs scored, and two steals. Pedro Castellanos also had two hits, and Devlin Granberg went 1 for 5 with a triple and three RBI. 

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Another impressive rehab start for Bryan Mata led the way for Portland. Mata allowed only an unearned run over four innings, striking out five and walking one. He threw 60 pitches after tossing 46 in his last start. The win went to Oddanier Mosqueda with two scoreless innings, and Jake Thompson notched his third save. Portland took advantage of seven walks for their four runs. Kole Cottam drew three of the walks and scored a run. David Hamilton went 1 for 2 with a walk, hit-by-pitch, stole two bases, and scored two runs. Ceddanne Rafaela went 1 for 3 with an RBI.

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The Braves scored 13 runs in the first three innings as they put this game away early. Chih-Jung Liu had a day to forget, serving up three home runs and allowing seven runs while recording just four outs. Devon Roedahl did not fare much better, giving up six runs in one inning. Jordan DiValerio and Brendan Cellucci helped keep Rome at bay, with DiValerio allowing one run over 3 2/3 innings, and Cellucci holding them scoreless over two innings while striking out three. 

It was a rare hitless day for Niko Kavadas who went 0 for 3 with a walk and three strikeouts. Nick Yorke went 1 for 5 and was caught stealing, Tyler McDonough went 1 for 4 with a double, and Gilberto Jimenez went 2 for 4 with a double. 

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Salem struggled to make contact on Sunday, striking out 12 times in a loss to Lynchburg. A solo home run from Eddinson Paulino, and doubles from Blaze Jordan and Tyler Miller were the only offensive highlights. Juan Daniel Encarnacion struck out seven, walked two over 5 2/3, and allowed five runs on eight hits. Miguel Suero allowed one run over 1 1/3 innings, and Blake Loubier kept the Hillcats off the board in his only inning. 

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Player of the Night: Playing third base for the second time this season, and the first time in the minors, Jeter Downs reached base in all five plate appearances. He scored four runs, and also stole two bases. Downs has been hot since his brief call-up with Boston, batting .323 with an OPS over 1.000 over 10 games. It's been a tough season for Downs, but so far in July, he has six hits in the first three games. 

Photo Credit: Jeter Downs by Kelly O'Connor