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April 29, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Mata bounces back; Yorke homers


4/29 Cup of Coffee:
It was a busy night on the farm even with a rainout for Salem. In Worcester, Bryan Mata tossed five shutout innings and Chris Martin started his rehab assignment. Nick Yorke and Tyler McDonough led an offensive outburst for Portland, while Blaze Jordan, Eduardo Lopez (pictured), and Nathan Hickey hit home runs for Greenville. 

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It was the best start of the year for Bryan Mata as he blanked the RailRiders over five innings. He issued three walks but allowed only three hits and struck out five. He has struck out 20 and walked 18 over 19 1/3 innings in 2023. Chris Martin made his first rehab appearance and allowed two unearned runs, while Oddanier Mosqueda, AJ Politi, and Chase Shugart each threw a scoreless inning to close the game out. 

Back-to-back solo home runs from Bobby Dalbec and Niko Goodrum in the fifth inning were the highlight for the offense, and Jorge Alfaro went 2 for 2 with two doubles and was hit by two pitches. Wilyer Abreu went 2 for 4 with a double, his third straight game with multiple hits. 

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Nick Yorke finished a single shy of the cycle in a blowout win. Yorke went 3 for 5 and drove in two runs while bashing his third home run of the year. The 21-year-old has been a bright spot for the system in April, leading the Sea Dogs in OPS. Tyler McDonough also went 3 for 5 with a home run, and Tyler Dearden went 3 for 5 with a double and a triple. Ceddanne Rafaela went 2 for 5 with a double and stole his 7th base of the year. 

The offense provided plenty of support for Wyatt Olds as he allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings. Dylan Spacke twirled 3 1/3 shutout innings of relief, and Theo Denlinger tossed a scoreless ninth. 

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A big game from Blaze Jordan was not enough to lift the Drive in the first game of a doubleheader. Jordan extended his hitting streak to 10 games, going 2 for 3 with a home run. It's his third home run as he raised his OPS to .859. Marcelo Mayer went 1 for 3 with a walk, and Alex Erro went 2 for 3 and scored a run. After striking out 11 in his last start, Angel Bastardo was not sharp on Friday. He allowed five runs on six hits in 5 1/3. The rocky start to the year for Jaret Godman continued as he allowed two runs on six hits in 1 2/3 innings. 

The Drive got revenge in the second game, led by an Eduardo Lopez grand slam. Lopez drove in five runs in total as he went 2 for 2 with a walk. Nathan Hickey went 2 for 3 with a double and hit his first home run, and Eddinson Paulino went 3 for 3 with a double and a steal. Hickey got off to a slow start, but he has been white-hot over his last six games. Juan Daniel Encarnacion was dominant on the mound, striking out eight and allowing one run over five innings. Maceo Campbell added two spotless innings with four strikeouts. 

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Salem Red Sox @ Delmarva Shorebirds (BAL), postponed
Inclement weather wiped out a start from Luis Perales, and the game will be made up on April 29 as part of a doubleheader. 

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Player of the Day: Several players were worthy of the award, but a grand slam for Eduardo Lopez gives him the nod. Over two games on Friday, Lopez went 3 for 4 with a home run and a walk. It raised his OPS by over 200 points from .504 to .728. The 20-year-old received a $1,150,000 signing bonus in 2018, but injuries have kept him off the field for significant periods. While his prospect stock has faded, Lopez will hope that Friday's success will get him back on track. 

Photo Credit: Eduardo Lopez by Kelly O'Connor