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September 4, 2023 at 7:00 AM

Cup of Coffee: Hamilton sets new Red Sox Triple-A stolen base record in Worcester


9/4 Cup of Coffee:
It was a clean sweep for the Red Sox and their minor-league affiliates on Sunday. In Worcester, David Hamilton (pictured) made some history by stealing two more bases while Brian Van Belle celebrated his birthday with a win. In Portland, Tyler Dearden had a big day at the plate and Nathan Hickey homered as the Sea Dogs won their second straight. In Greenville, Eddinson Paulino came through in the clutch as the Drive held on to defeat Brooklyn. Down the road in North Augusta, Jedixson Paez shined out of the bullpen for Salem.

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David Hamilton etched his name into the WooSox record books on Sunday afternoon at Polar Park. As part of a 2 for 3 showing at the plate in which he homered for the 17th time this season and drove in three runs, the speedster stole his 52nd and 53rd bases of the year. By swiping second base in the first inning, Hamilton surpassed Lee Graham for the most stolen bases in a single season in Red Sox Triple-A history. Elsewhere in the Worcester lineup, Ronaldo Hernandez went 1 for 2 with two walks and a two-run double. Out of the nine-hole, Christian Koss hit two doubles and scored two runs.

Brian Van Belle celebrated his 27th birthday by picking up his fourth win in a WooSox uniform. The Florida-born righty allowed two earned runs on five hits and three walks to go along with three strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings of work. Both of those runs came on a two-run homer off the bat of Heston Kjerstad in the top of the first. In relief of Van Belle, Cam Booser and Zack Weiss combined for five punchouts across 1 2/3 scoreless frames. Ryan Fernandez and Nick Robertson each surrendered a run after that, but Robertson ultimately held on and earned the save with some help from the automated ball-strike system in the ninth.

With the win, Worcester snapped a five-game losing streak. It remains 2 1/2 games back of Durham and Lehigh Valley (who both won on Sunday) for first place in the International League East second-half standings.

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Tyler Dearden enjoyed a productive day at the plate in Sunday's series finale at Hadlock Field. The left-handed hitting outfielder went 3 for 4 with two doubles, two RBIs, and two runs scored out of the eight-hole. Alex Binelas and Matthew Lugo each went 2 for 4, combining for two RBIs and three runs scored. Corey Rosier, Chase Meidroth, and Nick Yorke each doubled. Nathan Hickey, on the other hand, went 1 for 3 with a solo home run, his 15th for Portland and his 19th of the season overall. He was also hit by a pitch.

Hunter Dobbins, who turned 24 last week, picked up the winning decision in his 10th start of the season for the Sea Dogs. The Texas Tech product allowed three earned runs on seven hits (one home run), two walks, and four strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. Of the 96 pitches he threw, 61 went for strikes and 10 elicited a swing-and-miss. Out of the Portland bullpen, Brendan Cellucci, Ryan Miller, and Alex Hoppe combined for 2 2/3 scoreless frames of relief.

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In its final home game before the playoffs, Greenville won in dramatic fashion at Fluor Field on Sunday night. Eddinson Paulino led the way offensively, going 2 for 5 with a go-ahead, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Bryan Gonzalez and Tyler Miller (who scored the tying run in the eighth) enjoyed multi-hit games as well while recording one RBI apiece. Like Paulino, Gilberto Jimenez and Nick Decker each drove in two runs. The former laced a two-run single in the fourth while the latter clubbed a two-run home run (his seventh of the season) two innings later.

Noah Song went five innings in his fifth start of the season for the Drive. The 26-year-old righty allowed four earned runs on five hits, one walk, one hit batsman, and six strikeouts. All four of those runs crossed the plate in the top of the fifth and came on a pair of homers. All told, Song finished with 78 pitches (55 strikes) and induced 13 swings-and-misses. Out of the Greenville bullpen, Juan Daniel Encarnacion put up zeros in the sixth and seventh innings. Nate Tellier and Brock Bell each surrendered two runs, though Bell earned the winning decision by preventing the would-be tying run from scoring in the ninth.

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Jhostynxon Garcia and Johanfran Garcia accounted for nearly half of Salem's hits. Together, the two brothers combined to go 4 for 8 with two walks and one run scored. Albert Feliz and Luis Ravelo each recorded run-scoring hits while Enderso Lira came through with the biggest hit of the night in the form of a go-ahead, two-run single in the sixth inning. Marvin Alcantara and Albertson Asigen each stole one base and scored one run.

Connelly Early got the start for Salem in what was his professional debut. Across two innings, the 2023 fifth-round selection out of Virginia allowed one run on one hit (a home run) while striking out four of the eight batters he faced. The rehabbing Franklin German also yielded a run over two innings before making way for Jedixson Paez, who proceeded to scatter just two hits across four scoreless frames in which he fanned six. Railin Perez closed it out with a 1-2-3 ninth inning and notched his third save of the year as a result. 

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Player of the Day: Less than a full year after setting a new Portland franchise record for stolen bases in a single season, David Hamilton was at it again in Worcester on Sunday. Since coming over from the Brewers in December 2021, Hamilton has stolen 123 bases in 210 minor-league games as a member of the Red Sox organization. The 25-year-old infielder has also added two stolen bases at the major-league level since debuting with Boston in June. 

Photo Credit: David Hamilton by Kelly O'Connor