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July 15, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Valdez hits grand slam; Song pitches against Portland


7/15 Cup of Coffee: 
Enmanuel ValdezBobby Dalbec, and Wilyer Abreu hit home runs in a Worcester blowout, while Pablo Reyes went deep on a rehab assignment with Portland. Eddinson Paulino was one of the few bright spots for Greenville, and Yordanny Monegro continued to be electric in his time with Salem. Home runs for Natanael Yuten and Starlyn Nunez highlighted three close games at the rookie levels. 

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The ball was flying down in Jacksonville as Worcester launched three home runs. The middle of the order (Enmanuel ValdezBobby Dalbec, and Wilyer Abreu) all went deep, with Valdez connecting on his second grand slam of the season. The bats were quiet otherwise, though Niko Kavadas did single in his Triple-A debut. Kyle Barraclough allowed two runs over five innings before the bullpen shut things down. Richard Bleier, John Schreiber, Ryan Fernandez, and Chase Shugart tossed a scoreless inning. 

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Reading won this one, with the biggest storyline being who pitched out of their bullpen. Former Sox system pitcher Noah Song, lost to Philadelphia in the Rule 5 Draft, came on in relief and threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Sea Dogs. He struck out Matthew Lugo and Nick Yorke. It was his first Double-A appearance as he rehabs his back injury. 

For Portland, Sterling Sharp allowed five runs over six innings. He surrendered three home runs, and Ryan Zeferjahn served up two more home runs in relief. Fresh off his Futures Game appearance, Luis Guerrero struck out three and allowed one run over 1 1/3 innings. Pablo Reyes had his rehab moved to Portland and got the start in center field. He went 2 for 3 with a home run and a walk. Yorke and Tyler McDonough added doubles on a quiet night for the offense. Blaze Jordan went 0 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout in his Portland debut. 

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It was a forgettable night for Greenville in the third straight 9-2 score in this article. Roman Anthony did not get a hit but did draw three walks in his five plate appearances. While it may appear that Hickory was pitching around him, their staff did issue nine walks. Eddinson Paulino went 2 for 2 with two walks and a steal, and Allan Castro went 0 for 4 with a walk in his first High-A game. Jordan DiValerio was knocked around for seven runs (four earned) over 3 1/3 innings. 

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It was an impressive showing for Salem on Friday as they blew out the Shorebirds. Yordanny Monegro continued to roll, generating 16 swinging strikes on just 74 pitches. He struck out seven and walked one over five shutout innings, and he has yet to allow a run in 15 innings with Salem. Reidis Sena kept his ERA under 1.00 with a shutout ninth. 

Lyonell James went 2 for 3 with a home run and a walk, while Ahbram Liendo hit a pseudo-home run in the eighth. He laced a two-run triple and was awarded home on interference by the third baseman. Mikey Romero went 2 for 5 with a double, Luis Ravelo went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk, and Jhostynxon Garcia went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. 

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The Red Sox scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth but left the tying run at second base. Wyatt Olds continued his stint in the FCL by allowing four runs in four innings. He struck out five without walking a batter. Natanael Yuten smacked a three-run home run in the ninth and drew two walks. Ryan Fitzgerald started a rehab assignment and went 1 for 3 with a double and an RBI. Johnfrank Salazar inched closer to .400 by going 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI. 

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A three-run home run from Starlyn Nunez was the difference. It was Nunez's second home run of the year, and the 17-year-old has more walks than strikeouts. Frederik Jimenez and Chad Delancey added a double, and Yoeilin Cespedes went 1 for 4. Starter Jesus Garcia allowed just a solo home run over the first three innings, and Darlyn De La Cruz allowed one run on one hit over five innings. Cesar Ruiz made things dicey with three walks in the ninth but ultimately earned the save. 

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A dominant start from Gilberto Batista and a three-run home run from Gerardo Rodriguez led the Red squad to victory. Batista was nearly perfect over four innings, with the only baserunner reaching on an error. He struck out seven. Geiser Figueroa got the win with two innings of one-run ball. In addition to his home run, Rodriguez stole a base and tacked on a single. Jancel Santana went 2 for 4 with a walk, and Andruw Musett went 1 for 4 with a walk. 

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Player of the Day: Enmanuel Valdez reached base four times and hit a grand slam in Worcester's win. Valdez drew three walks in addition to connecting on his 12th home run including his time in the big leagues. Valdez has been on fire since being optioned back to Worcester, batting .358/.460/.830 with seven home runs in 17 games. He's doing all he can to get Boston's attention as they play Justin Turner at second base. 

Photo Credit: Enmanuel Valdez by Kelly O'Connor