Woo Sox vs. Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays)
What a big game this was, with 19 runs total, almost all of which came in two extremely productive innings, one each for the Sox and the Bisons. The Woo Sox offense kept coming on strong and overcame some poor pitching by their middle relievers to win it 10-9.
The Sox struck in the second inning, not sitting down until they’d scored six runs. There was a walk, a single, and then a run-scoring Ryan Fitzgerald single to right. Then boom boom boom — Nick Sogard, Ceddanne Rafaela and David Hamilton all drove in runs to give the Woo Sox a nice 5-0 lead. A single from Wilyer Abreu brought in one more run, making it 6-0 by the bottom of the second inning.
Look at these monster stats by Rafaela: 10 doubles, two triples and 11 HR since he arrived in Worcester.
The Woo Sox offense can certainly celebrate, with plenty of hits, patience at the plate, and hustle on the basepaths. But the middle relief pitching is another story. Starter Rio Gomez did a more than solid job over five innings, with four strikeouts and one earned run (a solo homer). But then he left the game and hoo boy! That paved the way for the next big offensive inning of the game, when 11 Bisons came to the plate in the sixth. Between Andres Nunez and Justin Hagenman, Worcester allowed eight runs in the inning, tying a season high. Yikes.
By the end of that inning, the Bisons led 9-6.
The Sox offense still had more to give (thankfully) and answered with three in the bottom of the sixth. First, they drew three free passes to load the bases. Wilyer Abreu delivered with a single to left that brought in two runs. Stephen Scott, who’s been on fire in Worcester with 33 RBI in 32 games, then tied it up 9-9 with a sweet double down the left field line.
Ryan Fernandez came in and held things down in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the seventh, the Sox offense made one last push. David Hamilton and Enmanuel Valdez drew walks. Bobby Dalbec hit a grounder but then hustled to first to beat the throw. Meanwhile, Hamilton rounded third and dove into home and beat the tag. Some great heads-up all around in Triple A that I wish we’d see in the big leagues. That was all the Woo Sox needed to keep the lead and win the game.
Fernandez came back for the eighth, keeping the Bisons in check again. He struck out four and allowed no runs. A.J. Politi allowed no runs in the ninth, earning his eleventh save.
Garrett Whitlock will start on Wednesday as part of his rehab assignment in Worcester.
Portland Sea Dogs vs. Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies)
L, 8-1 (10)
This one was grim, as a game tied at one apiece turned into a 8-1 loss in extra innings.
Winkelman Gonzalez was strong, pitching four innings, allowing one run, two hits and striking out eight. Middle relievers Brendan Cellucci, Ryan Zeferjahn, and Luis Guerrero combined for four scoreless innings. Chase Meidroth, Blaze Jordan, and Matthew Lugo all recorded multi-hit games.
Greenville Drive vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates)
The city of Greenville celebrated its 192nd birthday on the same night Kyle Teel was born and baptized as a member of the Greenville Drive. The first-round draft pick made a great first impression, his first game out of the Florida Complex League as he went right to High A ball.
Small sample size, but it feels like we should get used to hearing Teel’s name. As a refresher, Teel played in the College World Series in June for the University of Virginia, then was drafted by the Red Sox (at #14) in July. Now in August, he’s making an impact already in High A, getting three hits and driving in two runs in his first game.
The first inning of the game was equally balanced, with both teams scoring two on a home run. For the Drive, that was Allan Castro sending one into the bullpen.
The seesaw continued in the next inning, with both teams getting one. This time for the Drive, it was Roman Anthony who homered.
During the fourth inning, Teel threw out his first runner at second while the Drive plated four in the bottom half, including scoring on a wild pitch, to make it 7-3. The Grasshoppers clapped back with three runs of their own, which sent Perales to the showers, as my dad would say. Perales’ line on the night: 6H, 3 BB, 5 SO, 6 ER.
The Drive again matched those three Grasshopper runs, mostly on Teel’s well-hit 2-RBI single through the right side of the infield, making it 10-6.
Teel and Brainer Bonaci both scored a run in the eighth.
Felix Cepeda not only got the save but didn’t allow a base runner in the ninth, holding down the 14-8 win.
Salem Red Sox vs. Augusta GreenJackets (Braves)
W, 9-8 (10)
Alexis Hernandez singled to score Cutter Coffey and win it in walk-off fashion. Everyone in the Sea Dogs lineup had one hit, except for Mikey Romero who was hitless but scored two, and Hernandez who had two hits.