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July 1, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Sale fans seven while Koss goes deep twice in Portland


7/1 Cup of Coffee:
Happy first day of July. While the big-league club enjoyed an off day in Chicago, it was an action-packed Thursday for Boston's minor-league affiliates. Chris Murphy made his Triple-A debut for Worcester while fellow left-hander Chris Sale made a rehab start in Portland. Sale may have been the main draw at Hadlock Field but that does not take away from Christian Koss' (pictured) two-homer game. In Greenville, Niko Kavadas and Big Joe Davis went back-to-back with a pair of long home runs. Phillips Sikes also homered and left his mark in Salem's win over Lynchburg. 
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Chris Murphy, the No. 5 pitching prospect in the organization, made his Triple-A debut in Rochester on Thursday. The 24-year-old left-hander's final line is not indicative of how well he pitched, as he allowed four runs (3 earned) on five hits, two walks, and four strikeouts over six-plus innings of work. Murphy took a shutout bid into the seventh but failed to record an out and instead got tagged for four runs. A.J. Politi gave up two runs of his own in the seventh but Michael Feliz and Kaleb Ort stabilized things by combining for two scoreless frames to close this contest out. 


All eight of Worcester's runs came by way of the long ball. Deivy Grullon, playing in his first game since May 31, got the scoring started with a three-run home run in the second inning. Newcomers Pedro Castellanos and Devlin Granberg each clubbed a two-run shot in the third and fourth, respectively, while Johan Mieses went deep for his seventh home run of the season in the eighth. Ronaldo Hernandez, meanwhile, went 2 for 5 with a double to extend his hitting streak to eight games.

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A rehabbing Chris Sale stole the show in front of a sold-out crowd at Hadlock Field. As he continues to work his way back from a stress fracture in his right rib cage, the veteran left-hander allowed just one run on four hits, no walks, and seven strikeouts over four solid innings. He needed just 52 pitches (36 strikes) to get through the four frames. Victor Santos took over for Sale and pitched four innings himself, though he gave up three runs on four hits, one walk, and three punchouts. Zach Bryant closed out a blowout win with a scoreless ninth inning. 

Christian Koss led the way at the plate by going 3 for 5 with two home runs and five RBIs. Stephen Scott also registered three hits and scored twice. Ceddanne Rafaela, David Hamilton, and Tyreque Reed had two hits as Reed crushed his fifth home run of the season by going back-to-back with Koss in the sixth inning. Alex Binelas saved his best for last by recording his first Double-A hit and home run on one swing of the bat in the eighth. Binelas went 1 for 4 with three RBIs, two runs scored, and two walks. 

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Another day, another home run for Niko Kavadas. The power-hitting first baseman went 1 for 2 with two walks while crushing a two-run homer in the seventh inning. It's his fourth big fly since being promoted to Greenville last Friday. Big Joe Davis went back-to-back with Kavadas for his 14th home run of the season. Tyler McDonough led the Drive in hits by going 2 for 4 with an RBI double. 

Wyatt Olds made his 14th start of the season for Greenville and surrendered three runs on just one hit, five walks, two hit batsman, and five strikeouts across 3 1/3 innings. Only 45 of the 86 pitches the 22-year-old threw went for strikes. In relief of Olds, Jordan DiValerio, Jacinto Arredondo, Jacob Webb, and Ryan Fernandez combined for 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.
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A productive day at the plate saw Phillip Sikes finish a triple shy of the cycle. The speedy outfielder went 3 for 5 with a double, his fifth home run of the season, three RBIs, and one run scored. Brainer Bonaci went 1 for 3 with a two-run double and two stolen bases. Blaze Jordan and Eduardo Lopez each went 1 for 3 with two walks apiece.

Reidis Sena made his fifth start for Salem and allowed one run on three hits, one walk, and two strikeouts over three innings of work. Blake Loubier also gave up a run in his two innings while Maceo Campbell retired the only two batters he faced and Tyler Ubserstine earned the save by fanning six over three scoreless, one-hit frames of relief. 

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Jedixson Paez wrapped up his month of June on a solid note down in Bradenton on Thursday. Making his fifth appearance (fourth start) of the season for the FCL squad, the 18-year-old hurler allowed a total of three base runners while striking out four over five scoreless innings of work. His ERA on the season now sits at 2.52. On the other side of things, Johnfrank Salazar provided the only scoring with an eighth-inning RBI single. Enderso Lira scored that run after reaching on a one-out double.

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The Blue squad improved to an impressive 17-3 on Thursday. As part of a 1 for 2 day at the plate, Rivaldo Avila dealt the finishing blow with a bases-clearing, three-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning that gave his side a 5-3 lead. Stiwar Adames earned the win by hurling 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief.

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This game was suspended in the ninth inning due to inclement weather and will be completed on July 9. Before that announcement came, it proved to be a tough day on the mound for Cesar Ruiz. The 19-year-old Venezuelan surrendered five runs (four earned) on three hits, five walks, one hit batsman, and two strikeouts over just 1 2/3 innings. Royman Blanco took over for Ruiz and pitched well, yielding just one hit across 3 1/3 shutout frames of relief. Offensively, Jose Liriano, Jhon Garcia, and Yohander Linarez combined for six of their team's nine hits. Liriano had gone 2 for 5 with a double and triple while Linarez had gone 2 for 4 with a two-run triple.

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Player of the Day: Originally acquired from the Rockies in exchange for Yoan Aybar in December 2020, Christian Koss is now in the midst of his second full season in the Red Sox organization and his first at Double-A. Following Thursday's multi-homer performance, the 24-year-old infielder is batting .265/.309/.424 with eight home runs and 42 RBIs over 63 games with the Sea Dogs.

Photo Credit: Christian Koss by Kelly O'Connor