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June 8, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Mayer hits first Double-A homer; Fitzgerald stays hot

6/8 Cup of Coffee:
While Chris Murphy made his major-league debut in Cleveland, Boston's minor-league affiliates went 1-3 on Wednesday. Ryan Fitzgerald (pictured) had a productive day and Ronaldo Hernandez homered in Worcester. In Portland, Marcelo Mayer hit his first home run at Double-A while going back-to-back with Chase Meidroth. Nick Decker ripped two more doubles in Greenville's walk-off loss to Brooklyn and Cutter Coffey powered Salem to a win with the first big fly of his professional career.


It was a high-scoring affair on School Field Trip Day at Polar Park. Ryan Fitzgerald paced the Worcester lineup by going 3 for 5 with a two-run double, a triple, and two runs scored out of the five-hole. Batting right behind him was Niko Goodrum, who went 2 for 3 with an RBI, a run scored, and a walk. Ronaldo Hernandez crushed a 419-foot two-run shot in the fourth inning for his seventh home run of the season. Starting shortstop Yu Chang went 2 for 3 with an RBI, a run scored, and a stolen base out of the leadoff spot while fellow rehabber Adam Duvall went 1 for 4 with a walk and a sixth-inning single that left his bat at 108.6 mph. 

Jake Faria did not have the best of times in his fourth start of the year for the WooSox. The veteran righty allowed nine runs -- six of which were earned -- on six hits and four walks to go along with two strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work. Of the 83 pitches he threw, 47 went for strikes. Out of the Worcester bullpen, Norwith Gudino and Andrew Politi combined for 2 2/3 scoreless frames of relief, but Joe Jacques took the loss after serving up a tie-breaking three-run homer to Luis Torrens in the top of the seventh.


The Sea Dogs may have lost on a rain-filled night at Hadlock Field, but Marcelo Mayer reached another important milestone by hitting his first Double-A home run and his first of the year off a lefty. As part of a 2 for 4 night at the plate, Mayer led off the fourth inning with a solo shot. Chase Meidroth, who went 1 for 4, followed with a solo homer of his own for his third big fly with Portland. Ceddanne Rafaela, Nick Yorke, and Alex Binelas each doubled while Phillip Sikes went 2 for 4 with two runs scored and two stolen bases to bring his season total up to 22. 

Sterling Sharp went just four innings in his eighth start of the year for the Sea Dogs. The right-hander surrendered five runs on five hits (two home runs), two walks, and three strikeouts. He threw 80 pitches, 51 of which went for strikes. In relief of Sharp, Ryan Zeferjahn fanned four over two scoreless frames out of the bullpen while Dylan Spacke, Christopher Troye, and Skylar Arias were tagged for four runs combined. 


Isaac Coffey, making his 10th start of the season for Greenville, saw his consecutive scoreless innings streak snapped at 18 on Wednesday. The 22-year-old righty yielded two earned runs (one in the first and one in the third) on four hits and two walks with six strikeouts over five innings and 74 pitches (47 strikes). In relief of Coffey, Maceo Campbell gave up a three-run home run in the sixth. Casey Cobb then surrendered a solo homer in the seventh to Kevin Parada, who lifted Brooklyn to a come-from-behind win with a walk-off single off Alex Hoppe in the bottom of the ninth.

Offensively, Nick Decker stayed hot at the plate for the Drive by going 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles, one RBI, and one run scored out of the seven-hole. Eddinson Paulino, who drove in two runs, and Bryan Gonzalez, who scored one run, each had doubles as well. Alex Erro went hitless but still pushed across one run and scored another. Tyler Miller, meanwhile, went 1 for 3 with a walk, two runs scored, and his fifth stolen base of the year.


Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz picked up the win in his ninth start of the season for Salem. The Puerto Rican-born right-hander went six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits, zero walks, one hit batsman and four strikeouts. He finished with 78 pitches (52 strikes) before making way for Marques Johnson, who gave up a run on two hits in the seventh. Fellow 2022 draftee Jonathan Brand then closed it out by striking out three and walking only one over two scoreless innings to notch his second save of the season.

Three members of Salem's starting lineup registered multi-hit games. Jhostynxon Garcia and Juan Chacon each went 2 for 5 while combining for three runs scored. Claudio Simon went 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a stolen base in his stateside debut. The only other extra-base hit of the day belonged to Cutter Coffey, who opened the scoring for the Red Sox by clubbing the first home run of his professional career to lead off the fourth inning.


Player of the Day: Though the top prospect in the organization hit his first home run at a new level, Wednesday's Player of the Day award belongs to Ryan Fitzgerald (No. 56). While he finished a homer shy of a cycle in a losing effort, Fitzgerald still extended his hitting streak to eight games. Since that streak began on May 27, the left-handed hitting 28-year-old has gone 15 for 34 (.441) at the plate with six doubles, one triple, one home run, 11 RBIs, 10 runs scored, two stolen bases, three walks, and eight strikeouts. 

Photo Credit: Ryan Fitzgerald by Kelly O'Connor