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August 6, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Valdez blast supports Murphy's strong start


8/6 Cup of Coffee:
Solid starting pitching and inclement weather were the themes on Friday. Chris Murphy (pictured) highlighted a strong slate of hurlers, going seven innings to lead Worcester's win. Brian Van Belle and Jedixson Paez also turned in solid efforts in wins for Portland and the FCL Sox. Meanwhile, rainy weather postponed Salem's contest, while the two DSL squads had their games suspended. Greenville suffered the system's only loss on the night despite the efforts of Matthew Lugo

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He didn't quite replicate the no-hitter of the previous night, but Chris Murphy turned in an excellent start, getting support from a couple recent reinforcements. Murphy went seven strong, allowing one run on six hits. He struck out five and walked four as he lowered his ERA to an even 3.00 across two levels. Franchy Cordero gave the WooSox a lead they would not relinquish when he blasted a home run to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Enmanuel Valdez gave Murphy a cushion when he delivered a three-run shot in the fourth. Triston Casas contributed a double and Nick Sogard stole a pair of bases. 

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An eighth-inning rally snapped Portland's five-game losing streak. Wilyer Abreu and Ceddanne Rafaela led off the inning with back-to-back walks, setting the table for a two-run double off the bat of Stephen Scott. It was one of two free passes that Abreu worked on the night, along with his first double since coming over in the Christian Vazquez deal. Christian Koss had a pair of hits in the win.

Brian Van Belle surrendered a two-run homer in the second but shut down the Erie lineup the rest of the way. He completed six innings, surrendering five hits, walking one, and striking out five. Brandon Nail, Jacob Wallace, and Michael Gettys combined for three scoreless frames out of the bullpen, with Wallace getting credit for the win.

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Greenville continued its slide, dropping its fourth straight and 12th in 15 games. Matthew Lugo was a bright spot, going 2 for 5 with a home run, stolen base, run scored, and two RBI. Cam Rosier walked three times and stole a base, while his fellow ex-Padre Max Ferguson was 1 for 4 with a walk, steal, run scored, and RBI. Starter Wyatt Olds struggled with his control, walking three batters and hitting three more in 2 2/3 innings. He surrendered four runs on four hits, striking out two. Maceo Campbell made his Drive debut after being added from Salem earlier in the day, firing a scoreless eighth inning. 

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Salem Red Sox vs. Fayetteville Woodpeckers (HOU), postponed
The rain had a bit more luck slowing down Marcelo Mayer than the Fayetteville pitching staff. The two teams will try for a doubleheader on Sunday.  

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The FCL Sox won their third straight, moving to 28-14 on the year and moving within 2 1/2 games of the first-place Rays. Jedixson Paez earned the win, allowing three runs on seven hits in five innings, He struck out two without issuing a walk, and took over the Florida Complex League in innings pitched. Allan Castro delivered the key hit, a fifth-inning grand slam that gave the Sox a 4-3 advantage. Miguel Bleis ripped a double, his fourth extra-base hit in three games. Johnfrank Salazar walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run, but his hitting streak came to an end at 15 games with an 0-for-2 day. Chase Meidroth became the first member of the 2022 draft class to debut, playing second base and batting second. The University of San Diego product was 0 for 2 with a walk. 

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With the game knotted at 4-4 at the seventh-inning stretch, the rain came along and caused a suspension. Andy Lugo was in the midst of a big game, going 2 for 3 with two RBI and a stolen base.

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Team Red also saw its tied contest interrupted by rain, this one coming with two outs in the bottom of the third inning. An RBI by Johanfran Garcia was the Sox' only hit, while Eybersson Polanco allowed one run on two hits in 2 2/3 innings.

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Player of the Day: Chris Murphy was coming off a pair of tough starts, having allowed eight runs in his last 4 1/3 innings. The system's 10th-ranked prospect bounced back in a big way, giving up just one run in seven innings. Those seven innings match a career high for the left-hander and brings him to 111 on the year, tops in the organization among minor leaguers. 

Photo Credit: Chris Murphy by Kelly O'Connor