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July 7, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Sale rehabs in Worcester, Kavadas and Northcut homer for Greenville

7/7 Cup of Coffee:
While top pitching prospect Brayan Bello was busy making his major-league debut in Boston, it was another action-packed Wednesday for the club's minor-league affiliates. In Worcester, Chris Sale continued on with his rehab assignment while Christin Stewart (pictured) and Jeter Downs both went deep. A 13-hit effort that included home runs from David Hamilton and birthday boy Tyler Dearden propelled Portland to a commanding win over Binghamton. Niko Kavadas and Nick Northcut also put on a power display for Greenville while Jonathan Diaz drove in a team-high three runs and Marcelo Mayer hit another double for Salem. 


On Tate Matheny Bobblehead Night, Chris Sale made his return to Polar Park on Wednesday. In what could be the final start of his rehab assignment, the veteran left-hander surrendered one run on three hits and five walks to go along with five strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings of work. The Red Sox were hoping to get five innings out of Sale, but the number of walks ended his outing early. Also rehabbing with Worcester was Josh Taylor, who struck out the side in a scoreless sixth inning. Eduard Bazardo, Darwinzon Hernandez, and Frank German combined for 3 1/3 shutout frames of relief. Caleb Simpson, on the other hand, took the loss, yielding three runs on three hits in a rough seventh inning. 

Worcester's only two runs came by way of the long ball. Christin Stewart blasted his 15th home run of the season in the bottom of the second while Jeter Downs hit his 14th big fly of the year in the fifth. Stewart also doubled as part of a 2 for 4 night at the plate. Downs stole his 17th bag of the season in the bottom of the seventh.


Five members of Portland's lineup enjoyed multi-hit games on Wednesday. Alex Binelas went 2 for 5 with an RBI triple and one run scored, Christian Koss went 2 for 6 with two RBIs and one run scored, Tyreque Reed went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and one run scored, Stephen Scott went 2 for 5 with one RBI and one run scored, and Tyler Dearden celebrated his 24th birthday by going 2 for 4 with his third home run of the season. David Hamilton also went deep for the seventh time this year while Elih Marrero scored three runs out of the nine-hole.

Victor Santos earned his seventh win of the season by allowing four earned runs on nine hits, no walks, one hit batsman, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. Santos, who turns 22 next Tuesday, now owns a 4.28 ERA on the season. In relief of Santos, Dylan Spacke finished things in the seventh while Ryan Fernandez and Rio Gomez each worked a scoreless frame to close out a blowout win in Binghamton.


Wyatt Olds made his 15th start of the season for Greenville and allowed seven earned runs on eight hits, one walk, two hit batters to go along with four strikeouts over four innings of work. Out of the bullpen, Casey Cobb surrendered one run in the fifth inning before Austin Lambright and Cody Scroggins combined for three scoreless frames. 

Niko Kavadas got the scoring started for Salem in the first inning by crushing his fifth home run since being promoted from Salem. Gilberto Jimenez drove in a run on an RBI single in the third while Nick Northcut clubbed his 23rd homer of the season in the fifth. In the seventh, Alex Erro scored on a wild pitch. Northcut led the way offensively by going 2 for 3. Kavadas also scored twice while Jaxx Groshans drew two walks. 


A two-run double off the bat of Jonathan Diaz in the second inning is what got Salem on the board first Wednesday evening. Marcelo Mayer followed with a run-scoring double of his own in the third for his 22nd two-base hit of the season. Salem's next two runs came on an Eduardo Lopez groundout and Brainer Bonaci sacrifice fly. The last two came on another run-scoring hit from Diaz and a passed ball that allowed Eddinson Paulino to score in the eighth. Diaz led the way with his two hits and first three RBIs of the year while Blaze Jordan also went 2 for 4 with a double.

On the other side of the ball, it was a bullpen game of sorts for the Salem pitching staff. Reidis Sena got the start and recorded the first five outs. Bryan Lucas allowed one run to score in the third before Blake Loubier and Felix Cepeda each twirled two scoreless frames. Maceo Campbell then got rocked for four runs in the ninth before Luis Guerrero came on to notch the final out of the game.


Player of the Day: With his two-hit performance on Wednesday, Christin Stewart is batting .300/.318/.650 since the calendar flipped to July. The 28-year-old outfielder currently leads the WooSox with 15 home runs, which is also tied for the fifth-most in the International League this season.

Photo Credit: Christin Stewart by Kelly O'Connor