Red Sox: Josh Beckett struck out a career-high 13 batters, but Rays starter James Shields was even better as he twirled a two-hit shutout to lead the Rays to a 3-0 win and a sweep of the three-game series in front of 32,363 St. Petersburg, FL. The loss was the fifth in a row for the reeling Sox, whose longest losing streak last year was four games. The Sox didn't get a runner beyond second base against Shields, who walked one, struck out nine, retired the final 11 batters he faced and faced just 29 batters—two over the minimum—in his first career shutout. Dustin Pedroia singled in the first and Julio Lugo singled in the sixth for the Sox, who also got a rare stolen base from Manny Ramirez—his first since Apr. 10, 2005. Beckett, who struck out the first five batters he faced and recorded his first six outs via the whiff, was dominant, but the Rays scored the only run they needed during a fluky third inning sequence in which Jason Bartlett scored on a pair of errors. Beckett's pickoff throw to first sailed into right field, allowing Bartlett to advance to third, and J.D. Drew's throw to the infield skipped away and allowed Bartlett to race home. Evan Longoria homered off Beckett in the seventh. Beckett allowed the two runs (one earned) and four hits while walking just one in lowering his ERA to 4.10. The flu- and injury-ridden Sox get a much-needed day off today before beginning a six-game homestand Tuesday, when Jon Lester is scheduled to start against the Blue Jays.
Triple-A Pawtucket: Sandy Madera continued his torrid hitting by going 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles in his first game for the PawSox, but it wasn't enough as Buffalo eked out a 4-3 win in front of 6,455 in Buffalo, NY. Madera, who was signed by the Sox out of an independent league earlier this month, had a hit in each of his nine games with Portland before he was promoted to Pawtucket. Keith Ginter had two hits, his fourth multi-hit effort in his last eight games, while Mike Lowell was 1-for-4 with an RBI in his third and likely final rehab game for the PawSox. Joe Thurston and Bryan Pritz also had an RBI apiece. Eric Hull took the loss after he gave up a run on three hits while striking out two over 1 2/3 innings. Hull hadn't been scored upon in any of his first five outings. Kyle Snyder, making his second start since he was outrighted to Triple-A, gave up three runs on three hits and two walks while striking out two in 5 1/3 innings. The PawSox continue their road trip tonight, when David Pauley is scheduled to take the mound in Rochester, NY.
Double-A Portland: Kris Johnson had his second impressive start of the week and combined with Mike James and Chad Rhoades on a six-hit shutout as the Sea Dogs continued their mastery of Binghamton with a 3-0 win in front of 5,388 at Hadlock Field in Portland, ME. The Sea Dogs are 7-1 this season against Binghamton and have outscored the Mets 54-18. Johnson allowed just five hits and walked none while striking out three in six innings. He allowed just one run and struck out 11 in 11 2/3 innings over two starts last week. James walked one and struck out one over two hitless innings before Rhoades recorded his first Double-A save by working around a hit and a walk in the ninth. Jeff Corsaletti had two hits, an RBI and a stolen base for the Sea Dogs while Mark Wagner had two hits and an RBI. Mickey Hall's first Double-A hit was a solo homer in the seventh inning. Sean Danielson also had two hits for the Sea Dogs, who are off today before beginning a six-game road trip Tuesday at Bowie, MD.
Single-A Lancaster: Adam Mills became the first JetHawks pitcher to throw seven innings and Josh Reddick and Argenis Diaz each had two hits and an RBI as the JetHawks snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Lake Elsinore in front of 2,217 in Lancaster, CA. Mills allowed the two runs on five hits and walked none while striking out two. Lake Elsinore scored twice in the fourth before Mills retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced. Brian Steinocher threw a perfect eighth inning before T.J. Large worked around a walk by striking out the side in the ninth to earn his second save. The JetHawks conclude a four-game series against Lake Elsinore tonight, when Chris Jones is scheduled to start.
Single-A Greenville The bottom three batters in the Drive order—David Mailman, Ty Weeden and Kris Negron—combined to go 8-for-13 with six RBI, six runs scored and three doubles as the Drive beat Hickory, 10-4, in front of 4,074 in Greenville, SC. Mailman, Weeden and Negron entered the game hitting a combined .162 (24-for-148) with 11 RBI. All three players had two RBI and one double Sunday. Mailman was 3-for-4 with four runs scored while Weeden was 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Negron was 2-for-5. David Marks was 2-for-4 while Mike Jones was 1-for-3 with two RBI as he extended his hitting streak to 18 games. Eamonn Portice earned the win despite allowing four runs (one earned) on four hits and four walks while striking out four. Daniel Bard continued his sterling work out of the bullpen by striking out four and allowing just one hit in two shutout innings. He's yet to allow a run this season in 18 innings, during which he's given up just six hits and three walks while striking out 27. Felix Ventura finished by striking out two over two perfect innings. The Drive concludes a homestand tonight, when Terumasa Matsuo is scheduled to start against Hickory.
Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at email@example.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.
Organizational One-Stop: 4/28/08
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