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July 1, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Gonzalez strikes out 10, Chang and Jimenez return


7/1 Cup of Coffee: It was a busy day on the farm with two doubleheaders and every affiliate in action. Worcester lost a heartbreaker, while Wikelman Gonzalez (pictured) helped lead Greenville to an easy win. Yu Chang and Gilberto Jimenez returned, and Fraymi De Leon debuted in the FCL. 

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Down to their last strike, the Bisons hit a walk-off grand slam to stun the WooSox. After Ryan Fernandez allowed two runs in the ninth to blow the save, Oddanier Mosqueda served up the grand slam. Brandon Walter made his first true relief appearance in Triple-A, tossing two hitless innings. 

The offense did its part, led by Wilyer Abreu, who went 2 for 4 with a home run and a double. Daniel Palka hit a three-run home run in the top of the 10th, and Narciso Crook went 1 for 4 with a walk and a stolen base. 

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A solid start from Grant Gambrell led the Sea Dogs to a win. Gambrell struck out five over five innings of two-run ball. Joely Rodr√≠guez retired all three batters he faced, and Ryan Zeferjahn worked around two walks to close things out. Yu Chang resumed his rehab assignment after it got paused on June 12. He went 0 for 4 as he works back from a left hamate fracture. Nick Yorke and Marcelo Mayer went 1 for 4, and Matthew Lugo went 2 for 3 with a walk. 

Portland turned to a bullpen game, with Robert Kwiatkowski needing just 46 pitches to get through the first three innings. He allowed one run despite not allowing a hit. Christopher Troye struck out four in 1 2/3 innings, and Joe Jones got the final four outs. Mayer and Corey Rosier had a double, Nathan Hickey went 1 for 2 with two walks, and Chase Meidroth went 1 for 2 with a walk. 

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The Drive hit three home runs, and Wikelman Gonzalez was excellent in a blowout victory. Gonzalez allowed just one hit and struck out 10 over 5 2/3 innings while walking three. It was the second straight start with 10 strikeouts for Gonzalez. Casey Cobb and Aaron Perry finished the shutout, striking out two apiece. Eduardo LopezBrainer Bonaci, and Tyler Miller all went deep as their home runs drove in six runs. Lopez added a double, and Bonaci had two singles, a stolen base, and a walk. Eddinson Paulino went 2 for 4 with a walk and swiped home on a double steal.

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Salem's offense struggled in a loss to Fredericksburg. Yorberto Mejicano and Albert Feliz went 2 for 3 and had four of the team's five hits. Mejicano had one RBI, and the other run came in on a sacrifice fly by Luis RaveloElmer Rodriguez-Cruz allowed more than two runs for the second time this season. He allowed three runs over five innings, walking three and striking out four. Gabriel Jackson threw the final three innings, allowing one run with three strikeouts. 

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The Twins took the first game, as they allowed only three hits. Marvin AlcantaraMikey Romero, and Diego Viloria each had a single for the only offense of note. Starter Cristian Nunez allowed five runs in the first two innings before the bullpen settled things down. Three shutout innings from Denis Reguillo and a scoreless frame from Matt Litwicki kept things closer. 

The Red Sox outhit the Twins 15-2 in a convincing win in game two. Gilberto Jimenez played his first game since April 29, going 3 for 4 with a double and three RBI on a rehab assignment. Johnfrank SalazarAlbertson AsigenKelvin Diaz, and Fraymi De Leon all had two hits, with Diaz adding a double. This game was the first stateside for De Leon after moving up from the DSL. 

Stijn Van Der Schaaf got the start and continued to struggle with his control, walking three while recording two outs. Garrett Ramsey won with 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and Michael Valera closed things out with two hitless innings. 

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Starter Daniel Nunez fired three shutout innings, and Andruw Musett launched two home runs in a win for the Red squad. Musett went 3 for 4 and added a double while driving in four runs. Franklin Arias tallied four hits, which included two doubles, and Nathanael German went 2 for 5 with a solo home run. Breilin Arredondo took advantage of the run support to pick up a win while allowing five runs over four innings. Cristofer Soriano closed things out with two scoreless innings, striking out two. 

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Yoeilin Cespedes went 3 for 6 as the Blue squad fell a run short. Cespedes is now batting .355 and added his sixth double in 17 games. Starlyn Nunez went 3 for 4 with two walks, and Frederik Jimenez went 1 for 5 with a walk and a double, though he also struck out four times. Jesus Garcia struck out six over four innings, with the only blemish being a solo home run. Alisson Del Orbe allowed his first earned run over the year as his ERA now sits at 0.73 over 12 innings. 

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Player of the Day: Teammates Brainer Bonaci and Wikelman Gonzalez were equally deserving, but Gonzalez won this by a nose. Gonzalez allowed just one hit and struck out 10, leading Greenville's staff to a shutout victory. After a very slow April, Gonzalez has been one of the system's top pitchers since the beginning of May. In that time, Gonzalez has thrown 49 1/3 innings with an ERA of 2.55. He has an absurdly high 83 strikeouts in that span while walking 24. While the walk rate will need to come down as he moves through the system, the rest of his numbers have been dominant. 

Photo Credit: Wikelman Gonzalez by Kelly O'Connor