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August 5, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: WooSox combine for no-hitter; DSL teams explode offensively


Cup of Coffee 8/5: On a night when there were a bevy of options for Player of the Day, five of Boston's seven affiliates won -- some with significant margins of victory, others with momentous efforts -- as the future of the franchise shone brightly. The WooSox drubbed Durham for 17 hits and 12 runs, a feat overlooked by a combined no-hitter, while Salem pitched a shutout and Boston's DSL teams combined for 24 runs and a pair of wins. And as Boston continues to search for long-term pitching answers, a refreshing return from Thaddeus Ward (pictured) provided a much-needed spark despite a Portland loss.

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Three pitchers combined for a no-hitter in a dominant effort against Durham. Michael Wacha contributed 4 2/3 innings on a rehab stint as Worcester jumped out to an early and insurmountable lead thanks in part to a six-run third inning. Worcester's 17-hit barrage to Durham's none was extra salt in the wound of this matchup, led in large part by Abraham Almonte's 4-for-5 outburst with three RBIs and three runs scored.

Pedro Castellanos added three hits, two runs, and two RBI out of the eight-spot in the lineup, while Franchy Cordero rejoined the WooSox with three hits and an RBI from the leadoff spot. Andrew Politi (2 1/3 innings) and Chase Shugart (2 innings) joined Wacha in the no-hit effort. Devlin Granberg deserves extra recognition for the diving outfield stab that secured the no-hitter.

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If you were in the mood for a pitcher's duel in Portland, these teams had you covered. The teams went scoreless for the first four innings until Erie scored runs in the fifth and the sixth and held on for the low-scoring win. The lone bright spot in Portland's three-hit effort came by virtue of a Stephen Scott solo home run in the ninth inning to break up the SeaWolves' shutout bid. Thaddeus Ward, in his first game since last June's Tommy John surgery, pitched well to start the game with just one hit compared with five walks in 3 2/3 innings. Michael Gettys also pitched a perfect inning, and though Ceddanne Rafaela was quiet with the bat, he did make an outstanding catch in the outfield that's certainly worth a look.

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Seven of Greenville's nine hitters recorded a hit Thursday, but only one managed an extra-base hit and nobody managed more than one base knock as Rome outpaced Greenville. Niko Kavadas' red-hot stretch reached no end as he managed a hit and a walk with a run scored, and the bottom of the lineup did their part as eight-hitter Phillip Sikes and nine-hitter Jaxx Groshans both added an RBI. Chih-Jung Liu struggled to the tune of five hits, two walks and four earned runs in five innings, allowing two home runs. Devon Roedahl went two innings with no hits and one walk, while Jacob Webb gave up an unearned run.

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Boston's top brass must be thrilled with the patience of last year's top selection, Marcelo Mayer. The young stalwart walked three times, marking the third game in a row he's gained more than one free pass, showing a discipline that will be long sought in this organization. Mayer also recorded a hit and scored a run. Blaze Jordan and Daniel McElveny had the team's only extra-base hits, but Salem scraped across six runs on six hits. On the mound, Angel Bastardo got the win with four hits and two walks in five scoreless innings. Christopher Troye threw a clean sixth and Nathanael Cruz slammed a three-inning door to complete the shutout.

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Lyonell James and Miguel Bleis both dropped two hits in this contest for an efficient offensive effort by FCL Boston in a seven-inning 7-3 victory. James added two RBI to Bleis' one as the pair kept runners moving on the basepaths. Jhostynxon Garcia and Luis Ravelo both added a pair of walks and two runs apiece. On the mound, Luis Perales went three innings and Francis Hernandez went four, each giving up one earned run on two hits. Hernandez took the victory.

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A 17-hit, 14-run offensive outburst paced DSL Red to a comfortable victory on Thursday. Incredibly, Red trailed as late as the 6th inning before pouring on the offense late, powered largely by an eight-run seventh inning. Freili Encarnacion went 3 for 4 with the game's only home run. Cristofher Paniagua also tallied three hits and added three RBI. Yosander Asencio chipped in three RBI of his own in a two-hit effort. Yonfi Rodriguez was the team's highlight on the mound as he pitched three perfect innings with two strikeouts. Carlos Reyes finished the game by allowing just one walk in 1 2/3 innings with three punchouts.

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DSL Blue took care of business both at the plate and on the mound to improve to a stellar 33-11 mark on the season. It was a combined shutdown effort from the pitching corps, as Luis Cohen, Yizreel Burnet, Ali Ascanio, Ruben De La Cruz, and Giancarlos Santana combined to allow one run on five hits and five walks (four by Ascanio, who took the win in the contest). Armando Sierra was the star offensively, putting forth a 4-for-5 effort with two RBI and two runs. Jhaydel Flores was perhaps a more unheralded but equally worthy offensive tactician, delivering four hits of his own to raise his average to .233 on the season. Karim Ayubi added three hits, while Kelvin Diaz also homered in the win.

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Player of the Day: With an honorable mention going to Marcelo Mayer following his third straight multi-walk performance and no shortage of options on a blockbuster evening, Thursday's honor went to Abraham Almonte, who was an unheralded star in an otherwise blockbuster pitching evening for Worcester. Michael Wacha's rehab start led fans to a no-hitter, but it was Almonte's four hits, three RBI, and three runs that set the tone for the offense in a dominant effort. Though ineligible for the SoxProspects rankings, the 33-year-old shone brightest on this night.

Photo Credit: Thaddeus Ward by Kelly O'Connor