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June 29, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Decker leads Greenville power surge; Paez tosses five scoreless for Salem


6/29 Cup of Coffee:
 With the Florida Complex and Dominican Summer League squads off and Worcester and Portland both postponed, Greenville and Salem were the only affiliates in action on Wednesday. Behind home runs from Nick Decker (pictured), Bryan Gonzalez, Brainer Bonaci, and Roman Anthony, the Drive opened the second half of their season with a win. The same can be said for the Red Sox, who received a strong start from Jedixson Paez and offensive contributions from Enderso Lira and Juan Chacon, among others.

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Worcester Red Sox, Buffalo Bisons (TOR) (PPD)
Ceddanne Rafaela's Triple-A debut will have to wait another day. Worcester's second-half opener against Buffalo was postponed due to unplayable field conditions at Sahlen Field. The contest will be made up as part of a single-admission seven-inning doubleheader beginning at 5:35 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday.

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Portland Sea Dogs, New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR) (PPD)
Portland's second-half opener against New Hampshire was also postponed due to inclement weather in Manchester. It will be made up as part of a single-admission seven-inning doubleheader at Delta Dental Stadium beginning at 5:05 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday.

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Four different players left the yard for Greenville on Wednesday. Roman Anthony led off the game with his fifth home run of the season. The 19-year-old center fielder also doubled and drew three walks as part of a 2 for 2 night at the plate. Batting behind him, Brainer Bonaci went 2 for 5 with a two-run homer (his sixth of the year) and an RBI single. Bryan Gonzalez also crushed his sixth big fly of 2023 and scored two runs out of the cleanup spot. Nick Decker, who was not in the original starting lineup, went 3 for 4 with a two-run home run and RBI single after pinch-running for Miguel Ugueto in the second inning. Out of the eight-hole, Eduardo Lopez went 2 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored. 

Dalton Rogers lasted just three innings in his sixth start of the season for the Drive. The 22-year-old righty allowed two earned runs on three hits and four walks to go along with seven strikeouts on 78 pitches (46 strikes). In relief of Rogers, Nate Tellier got tagged for four runs on six hits over 2 1/3 innings. Brock Bell -- who was credited with the winning decision -- and Alex Hoppe then closed it out by combining for 3 2/3 scoreless frames out of the bullpen. 

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Jedixson Paez turned in a solid outing in his ninth start of the season for Salem. The 19-year-old right-hander scattered four hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts over five scoreless innings of work. He finished with an economical pitch count of 64 (41 strikes) to earn his first win of 2023. Out of the Red Sox bullpen, Luis Talavera and Jhonny Felix combined to give up four runs (three earned) before Jonathan Brand came on and struck out a pair in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to pick up his fourth save of the year.

Enderso Lira paced the Salem lineup by going 3 for 3 with a two-run double, two runs scored, and a walk out of the eight-hole. Leadoff man Juan Chacon made his only hit of the night count by doubling in three runs in the second inning. He recorded his fourth RBI by driving Lira in on a groundout three innings later. Lyonell James also drove in a run with his only hit of the contest. Jhostynxon Garcia and Alexis Hernandez each drew two walks and scored two runs, though the former stole his second base of the season as well. 

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Player of the Day: Nick Decker showed flashes of his power on Wednesday by hitting his third home run of the 2023 campaign for Greenville. After replacing an injured Miguel Ugueto and tallying three hits off the bench, the left-handed hitting 23-year-old is now slashing .200/.331/.390 in 35 games with the Drive this season. 

Photo Credit: Nick Decker by Kelly O'Connor