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July 6, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Dalbec, Rafaela, Valdez all homer in Worcester win

7/6 Cup of Coffee:
Outside of Worcester, it was a relatively quiet Wednesday night at the plate for Boston's minor-league affiliates. Bobby Dalbec (pictured) was one of seven WooSox hitters to hit a home run at Polar Park. In Portland, Dylan Spacke turned in 3 2/3 scoreless innings out of the bullpen. In Greenville, Blaze Jordan tallied four hits as the Drive were swept in a doubleheader. Finally, Brooks Brannon homered for the second time in three games with Salem.


Seven different WooSox hitters left the yard at Polar Park on Wednesday night. After missing the last six days with a left wrist/hand injury, Bobby Dalbec made his impact felt in his return to the lineup by going 2 for 5 with his 20th home run of the season. Ronaldo Hernandez also clubbed a solo shot as part of a two-hit effort in which he drew two walks and scored two runs. Ceddanne Rafaela and Enmanuel Valdez both went deep with the bases empty while the rehabbing Pablo Reyes homered for the second time in as many days. Daniel Palka, who took over for Reyes in the sixth inning, went 1 for 2 with his 12th big fly of the year. Nick Sogard went 1 for 4 with a two-run blast.

Jake Faria turned in a solid effort in his ninth start of the season for Worcester. The veteran right-hander allowed three earned runs on eight hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work. In relief of Faria, Oddanier Mosqueda recorded the final two outs of the sixth inning. The rehabbing Richard Bleier then made quick work of Syracuse in the seventh before Andres Nunez gave up a solo homer to old friend Jonathan Arauz in the eighth and Theo Denlinger put up a zero in the ninth. 


Sterling Sharp had a rough go of it in his return from Portland's injured list. The 28-year-old right-hander surrendered seven earned runs on 11 hits, two walks, and hit two batters while striking out four over 4 1/3 innings. Of the 78 pitches he threw, 57 went for strikes. Out of the Sea Dogs bullpen, Dylan Spacke provided some stability by fanning three across 3 2/3 scoreless frames of relief. Brendan Cellucci then retired the side in order in the top of the ninth. 

The Portland lineup was held to just one run on four hits. Niko Kavadas accounted for his side's lone RBI by doubling in Nathan Hickey in the bottom of the fourth. Corey Rosier and Tyler McDonough each doubled as well while Matthew Lugo was the only Portland hitter to draw a walk. 


After getting the first 3 1/2 innings in on Tuesday, the final 5 1/2 innings of this contest were made up as part of an impromptu doubleheader at Fluor Field on Wednesday. Eddinson Paulino led the way out of the leadoff spot, going 3 for 5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored. Brainer Bonaci also doubled and drove in a run as part of a two-hit effort. Blaze Jordan went 2 for 5 with an RBI and a walk while scoring one run. Designated hitter Nick Decker doubled and crossed home plate twice out of the nine-hole.

Because of what happened on Tuesday, Bradley Blalock was limited to just four innings in his third start of the season for Greenville. The 22-year-old righty allowed only one earned run on two hits and three walks to go along with four strikeouts. He finished with 79 pitches (50 strikes). In relief of Blalock, Aaron Perry and Casey Cobb were each tagged for three runs out of the Drive bullpen. Joey Stuck yielded one unearned run and struck out three of the nine batters he faced.

In the nightcap of Wednesday's twin bill, Wikelman Gonzalez made his 15th start of the season for Greenville. The Venezuelan-born righty went five full innings, allowing a season-high seven earned runs on eight hits, two walks, and eight strikeouts on 89 pitches (53 strikes). Graham Hoffman then struck out one across two scoreless innings of relief. 

Jonathan Diaz -- making just his seventh start of the season -- paced the Drive lineup out of the nine-hole by going 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs. Eduardo Lopez also drove in a run as part of a two-hit night while Blaze Jordan went 2 for 4 with a pair of singles and a run scored. Brainer Bonaci and Nick Decker each drew a walk.


All three of Salem's runs came on one swing of the bat from Brooks Brannon, who crushed a three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning for his second big fly at Low-A. That was Brannon's only hit of the night. Lyonell James singled and scored a run while Albertson Asigen drew two walks and scored a run as well. Ahbram Liendo went 1 for 4 with a single and stole his 30th base of the season.

Noah Dean went 2 2/3 inning in his 13th start of the season for the Red Sox. The 22-year-old southpaw allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits, four walks, and one strikeout. Only 35 of the 72 pitches he threw went for strikes and he was charged with his fifth losing decision of the year. In relief of Dean, Luis De La Rosa, Jhonny Felix, and Marques Johnson combined for 5 1/3 scoreless frames out of the Salem bullpen.


Player of the Day: A minor left wrist/hand injury sidelined him for a little less than a week, but Bobby Dalbec enjoyed a productive night at the plate on Wednesday. The 28-year-old slugger is now batting .298/.415/.654 with nine doubles, two triples, 20 home runs, 44 RBIs, 51 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 32 walks, and 84 strikeouts in 57 games (248 plate appearances) with the WooSox this season. 

Photo Credit: Bobby Dalbec by Kelly O'Connor