There were exciting games at each level of the Sox farm on Thursday evening with all four Red Sox affiliates playing one-run games, three of which ended in walk-offs, with two of those games going into extra innings. There were pitching debuts at new levels, walk-offs from top prospects, and tape-measure bombs from former major leaguers. Let’s get right into it.
Worcester Red Sox 10, Lehigh Valley IronPigs 9
A truly wild game in Worcester last night, which I tried to watch but could not concentrate due to the Bacon USA shirts that the IronPigs were wearing.
The slugfest can best be reviewed in the box score but the story coming in was Shane Drohan’s debut. Drohan cruised through three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth, allowing multiple two-run home runs, before a solo shot in the fifth. His 3.4% HR/FB rate at Portland regressed, and it regressed hard. All-in-all, Drohan gave up five runs in five innings, striking out six and uncharacteristically walking three. Better days are ahead for the 24-year-old Drohan, who had a 1.32 ERA in 34 innings in Portland.
In other notes, David Hamilton belted his ninth home run in the eighth to tie the game, shortly before Bobby Dalbec knocked in the winning run with a double. Jorge Alfaro delivered a mammoth home run high off the batters eye in center, one of three hits on the day (.340 BA), admiring it like a true pro. Old friend Brennan Bernardino got the win, despite allowing a run, and AJ Politi threw a clean ninth to get his third save.
Hartford Yard Goats 4, Portland Sea Dogs 3 (12 innings)
A strange game in Hartford, where five of the seven runs were scored over three extra innings, all of which were by the runner placed on second base. This culminated in a walk-off win for Hartford on a bunt by Julio Carreras back to pitcher Theo Denlinger, which was thrown away. Riveting.
Prior to extras, Niko Kavadas tied the game 1-1 with a solo homerun in the 9th. Nick Yorke and Tyler McDonough both had multi-hit efforts for the Sea Dogs. Yorke also stole his fifth base. On the hill, Grant Gambrell was promoted from High-A, taking the spot of Drohan who was throwing in Worcester. Although the 25-year-old Gambrell’s ERA had been 4.88 in Greenville, he dominated his six innings of work, striking out eight and allowing one run.
Greenville Drive 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 4 (10 innings)
The Drive took on the Bowling Green Hot Rods, and presumably handed out flyers to the game in this manner. Juan Daniel Encarnacion came into the game with an ERA of 6.84 and a 15.6% walk rate but he kept all of that in check, throwing five innings without walking a batter, allowing only one run and striking out four. Most impressively, the Drive staff kept soon-to-be top ten prospect Junior Caminero in check with an 0-for-5 performance and two strikeouts. Multi-hit performances for the Drive came from Brainer Bonaci (.352 BA), Marcelo Mayer (.319), and Blaze Jordan (.294), with the game-winning RBI coming on a Mayer single to right field, scoring Bonaci in the bottom of the 10th for an electric 5-4 win. Chris Clegg was in the stands, capturing the chaos.
Marcelo Mayer walks it off in Greenville tonight in extra innings! @SoxProspects pic.twitter.com/GZuLBhe4CY— Chris Clegg (@RotoClegg) May 19, 2023
Lynchburg Hillcats 5, Salem Red Sox 4
Another walk-off occurred down in Low-A, as the Hillcats pulled this one out in the bottom of the 9th on an RBI single by Jose Devers off of Felix Cepeda, who had walked three batters in his relief outing. Jose Ramirez got the start and continued to have a strong season. He took a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning before allowing two runs and leaving with a 3-2 lead. He allowed only four hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out four. Ramirez’s ERA is a sparking 1.21 through six starts with a 0.91 WHIP and 24 K’s over 29 2/3 innings. For Salem, they got an RBI double from Cutter Coffey and RBI singles from Albert Feliz, Ahbram Liendo and Karson Simas, whose single tied the game 4-4 in the top of the ninth.