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September 2, 2022 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Ravelo crushes grand slam in Low-A debut, Liu strikes out 10


9/2 Cup of Coffee:
Another day, another clean sweep for Boston's minor-league affiliates on Thursday. Triston Casas homered for the 11th time this season while Victor Santos tossed five scoreless innings to lead Worcester to a narrow win over Buffalo. Christian Koss and Niko Kavadas each went deep in Portland's blowout victory in New Hampshire. Chih-Jung Liu enjoyed a career night on the mound in Greenville's win over Rome. Finally, Luis Ravelo (pictured) made his impact felt in his Low-A debut for Salem.
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Victor Santos strung together his second consecutive quality start for Worcester. The 22-year-old right-hander scattered four hits and five walks to go along with four strikeouts over five scoreless innings of work. He escaped a bases-loaded jam to end his night and extend his scoreless innings streak to 11. In relief of Santos, Brian Keller picked up the winning decision despite allowing three runs across three innings of relief. Frank German, pitching on back-to-back nights, notched the save while stranding one base runner in the top of the ninth. 
Worcester's first run did not come until the fifth inning and it came on a leadoff homer off the bat of Triston Casas, who went 1 for 3 with his 11th big fly of the season. After Enmanuel Valdez drove in a run with a groundout in the sixth, Pedro Castellanos followed by cranking a two-run home run to left field. Valdez went 0 for 4 with an RBI and one run scored while Castellanos went 1 for 3 with two RBIs on his 13th homer of the year. Abraham Almonte also reached base three times by drawing three walks.

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As part of a six-run fourth inning, Portland hitters drew four consecutive bases-loaded walks to push across four runs. Beyond that, Christian Koss went 1 for 3 with a two-run home run, two runs scored, one walk, and one stolen base. Niko Kavadas also cranked a two-run homer in the sixth inning. David Hamilton stole his 61st base of the season and scored two runs. Hudson Potts went 2 for 4 with a double. Wilyer Abreu and Stephen Scott each drew two walks in the 10-run effort.

Shane Drohan made his third start since being promoted from Greenville. The 23-year-old southpaw surrendered two earned runs on five hits, five walks, and three strikeouts over five innings of work. Rio Gomez yielded just one run while fanning four across three innings of relief. Dylan Spacke struck out and stranded two in the ninth to wrap a commanding win up. 

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Big Joe Davis led the way for Greenville by driving in all four of its run. The burly first baseman went 3 for 5 with a pair of run-scoring doubles. Marcelo Mayer broke out of a 2 for 27 funk by going 2 for 3 with two walks, one run scored, and one stolen base. Phillip Sikes swiped three bags as part of a three-hit night. Matthew Lugo, like Mayer, drew two walks while going 1 for 2 with two runs scored out of the three-hole.

Chih-Jung Liu put together his best start of the year for Greenville. The Taiwanese-born right-hander scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with a season-high 10 strikeouts over five scoreless innings. Fifty of the 79 pitches Liu threw went for strikes as he picked up his third win of the year. Out of the Greenville bullpen, Nate Tellier gave up one run in the sixth before Jordan DiValerio took over and retired seven of the eight batters he faced. Jacob Webb closed it out by facing the minimum in the ninth and earning his ninth save of the season.

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Luis Ravelo made plenty of noise out of the No. 9 spot in Salem's lineup on Thursday. Making his Low-A debut, the switch-hitting 18-year-old went 2 for 4 with a single and grand slam in the eighth inning. Chase Meidroth also homered as part of a 3 for 3 night at the plate in which he drew two walks, scored three runs, and stole one base. Fellow 2022 draftee Mikey Romero went 2 for 5 with a double and two-run triple.

Luis Perales made his third start since his promotion from the Florida Complex League. While the 19-year-old righty only gave up one unearned run on one hit, he also issued five walks and hit one batter to go along with three strikeouts in just 2 2/3 innings. He needed 61 pitches (27 strikes) to record those eight outs. Luis Talavera took over for Perales and put up a four-spot in the fourth inning. From there, though, Bryan Lucas impressed by punching out six over 4 1/3 scoreless frames of relief before Christopher Troye closed it out with a perfect ninth inning.

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Player of the Day: Luis Ravelo made his full-season debut on Thursday and went yard after not hitting a single home run in 31 Florida Complex League games over the summer. The Dominican-born infielder originally signed with Boston for $545,000 last January and is currently regarded as the No. 51 prospect in the organization. 

Photo Credit: Luis Ravelo by Kelly O'Connor