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Red Sox Minor Lines: Darwinzon Hernandez strikes out 11

A huge day for the top pitching prospect.

Pawtucket W 5-3

Brock Holt, DH: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 K

Mike Miller, SS: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI

Bryce Brentz, LF: 2-4, 1 2B, 2 R

Josh Ockimey, 1B: 1-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K

Cole Sturgeon, RF: 2-3, 1 BB, 1 R, 1 RBI, 3 SB

Sam Travis, PH: 1-1, 2 RBI

Mike Shawaryn: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 6 BB, 5 K (97 pitches)

Bobby Poyner: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K (19 pitches)

Travis Lakins: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K (24 pitches)

This was a thrilling win for the PawSox, who took a 1-0 lead in the fifth but then coughed it up by allowing a three-run inning in the sixth. They were still down 3-1 in the eighth when they sparked a huge four-run rally in the bottom of that inning. That obviously gave them the lead, with Travis coming off the bench for the big hit to score two including the go-ahead run. Brock Holt was a standout here, playing for the second straight day, though not in the field. Shawaryn also worked his way around trouble in this game to only allow two runs, but six walks in five innings isn’t the best of signs. Lakins made his own issues by loading the bases with one out in the ninth, but he got himself out of the jam to hold on for the win.

Portland L 2-7

Brett Netzer, 2B: 2-4, 2 K, 1 E

C.J. Chatham, SS: 0-4, 2 K

Bobby Dalbec, 3B: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E

Jhon Nunez, C: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 RBI

Darwinzon Hernandez: 7 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 11 K (102 pitches)

Portland never really had much of a chance in this game once Reading scored four in the third. They did get within two by the fourth and that was the margin for most of the evening, but the offense never got a ton going. Even with that, it was an electric night with Hernandez showing off his strikeout stuff. The southpaw set a new career-high on this Thursday night with his eleven strikeouts, and combining it with only a pair of walks makes it all the more impressive. Hernandez needs to string a few of these outings together, but if he can and the Red Sox bullpen continues to fall off, there may be some thoughts about injecting some life with this lefty.

Salem L 0-6

Jarren Duran, CF: 3-5, 1 K

Marco Hernandez, 2B: 0-4, 1 BB, 1 K

Pedro Castellanos, 1B: 0-4, 2 K

Ryan Fitzgerald, SS: 0-1, 3 BB

Jake Thompson: 3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K (66 pitches)

Salem is scuffling right now, and part of that is a lack of production from the top half of the lineup. This is a group that, when at its best, can carry this lineup on their own but they need everyone going. Duran and Fitzgerald both got on base three times in this game, but Hernandez and Castellanos couldn’t help out themselves. Still, Salem did get on base eleven times in this game, and it’s tough to get shut out doing that. On the mound, Thompson started a game for the first time this year after being shifted to the bullpen. Enmanuel De Jesus was listed as the starter in the morning, so I’m assuming the latter was scratched and Thompson was just an emergency option. He didn’t work out as a starter before, and I’d be surprised if they were trying that again.

Greenville L 5-7

Cole Brannen, CF: 2-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 SB

Brandon Howlett, 3B: 1-4, 1 R, 1 K

Triston Casas, 1B: 2-5, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 K

Tyler Esplin, DH: 2-5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K

Grant Williams, SS: 2-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 R

Yoan Aybar: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (7 pitches)

The offense wasn’t really the issue in this game, as they had a couple two-run innings in this game and were generally doing their job throughout. The pitching just didn’t do the job, with Aybar being the only good performer on the mound for Greenville. The converted outfielder has been very up and down this year, but he was effective and wildly efficient in this game. At the plate, Brannen had a second straight multi-hit game while Casas also continued to swing a hot bat.

Player of the Day: There is only one option here, and it’s the guy who struck out eleven batters while striking out two. Darwinzon Hernandez did so in a losing effort, but that wasn’t quite his fault and this is what we’re looking for from the big lefty. We’ve talked about it a bunch but he’s not expected to stick as a starter, even if he looks enticing in that role with starts like this. We’re just looking for success in whatever role he’s filling in the minors to build up confidence and stronger command for a major-league call-up later in the year.