Daniel Nava

Friday Red Sox Farm Report: Cole Sturgeon the Portland hero with emergency win, walkoff run; Trey Ball, Michael Kopech rolling in Single-A

Ken Laird
July 03, 2015 - 5:46 am

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (38-44): L, 14-2, vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) -- Boston outfielder Daniel Nava began his rehab assignment (sprained thumb), hitting in the two-hole as the DH and going 1-for-3 with two strikeouts. Nava, 32, was placed on the DL on May 28 after struggling through a .159 start to his season in Boston through 27 games. -- The PawSox took a short-lived 2-1 lead in the third on an RBI groundout by center fielder Rusney Castillo and an RBI single from right fielder Carlos Peguero. Then Scranton/W-B opened up the floodgates with a five-run fourth inning and a seven-run sixth, battering Pawtucket RHP Zeke Spruill for 10 earned runs on 11 hits over his 5 1/3 innings. -- LHP Edwin Escobar (Boston'€™s No. 17 prospect at MLB.com) was no answer out of the bullpen, as the 23-year-old allowed four earned runs in just two-thirds of a inning. Escobar entered with the bases loaded in the sixth and gave up a grand slam, followed by a walk, two singles and two doubles. Escobar missed the first two months of the season with elbow inflammation, and since returning to Pawtucket has allowed 12 earned runs in 8 2/3 innings (12.46 ERA). Escobar was acquired with RHP Heath Hembree from San Francisco in exchange for Jake Peavy near the 2014 MLB trade deadline. -- First baseman Allen Craig had the only multi-hit night for the PawSox, going 2-for-4. In 42 games with Pawtucket, Craig'€™s slash line is .282/.403/.383. He has hits in four of his last five games after hitting just .235 over 24 games in June. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (29-51): W, 6-5 (16 innings), vs. New Hampshire (Blue Jays) -- At 12:14 a.m. outfielder Cole Sturgeon, who also earned the win as he chipped in on on the mound with three scoreless innings of relief, scored the winning run on a wild pitch, giving Portland a walkoff victory after five hours and nine minutes of action. It was the 23-year-old Sturgeon'€™s first pitching action as a professional. Drafted in the 10th round out of Louisville in 2014, Sturgeon had pitched out of the bullpen while in college in addition to his outfield duties. All told, Sturgeon (1-0) went 2-for-6 at the plate with a double and a single to lead off the 16th, to go with the three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. Sturgeon is the 15th position player in Portland franchise history to also pitch in a game, and the third to earn a win while doing so. -- First baseman Sam Travis (Boston'€™s No. 14 prospect at MLB.com) had a four-hit night, his first game at the Double-A level with more than two hits, finishing 4-for-7 with a run scored. Travis, Boston'€™s second-round pick of the 2014 draft, has played in eight games with Portland since his promotion from Salem, with a 7-for-30 (.233) start. -- Seven Sea Dogs had multi-hit nights, with Jantzen Witte (three hits), Marco Hernandez, Carlos Asuaje, Manuel Margot and Jake Romanski joining Travis and Sturgeon. Margot (Boston'€™s No. 5 prospect at MLB.com) also walked twice and drove in two runs, and is off to a 13-for-44 (.295) start in 11 games since his promotion from Salem. -- Portland'€™s bullpen blew a 5-4 ninth-inning lead, with RHP Madison Younginer allowing his first earned run after eight straight scoreless appearances. A leadoff walk, a sacrifice and an infield single brought the tying run home and sent the game to extras. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (40-37): Suspended game, 1-0 in the fifth inning, at Myrtle Beach (Cubs) -- Lightning and rain caused the suspension of play with one out in the fifth inning on Thursday. The game will be resumed as part of a Friday doubleheader starting at 5:05 p.m. -- LHP Trey Ball (Boston'€™s No. 11 prospect at MLB.com) had pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings, facing just two over the minimum, before the halting of action. Ball struck out two and walked one, while also picking off a runner at first. The seventh overall pick of the 2013 draft, the 6-foot-6 Ball was 3-1 in June with a 1.59 ERA over five starts, with opposing hitters batting just .189 against. -- Salem'€™s 1-0 lead is courtesy of a first-inning homer by second baseman Wendell Rijo (Boston'€™s No. 16 prospect at MLB.com), who also singled in the third. The 19-year-old Rijo now has four homers on the season and has multi-hit games in four straight and five of his last six contests, with four doubles in that span to go with the Thursday long ball. Rijo was signed by Boston for $575,000 out of the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2012. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (42-36): W, 2-1 (13 innings), at Hickory (Rangers) -- RHP Michael Kopech (Boston'€™s No. 12 prospect at MLB.com) pitched a career-high six innings, allowing just one run on six hits while striking out five and walking one. Kopech, 19, had pitched a previous best five innings on four occasions this season. All told through 14 starts, Kopech is 3-5 with a 2.89 ERA and has given up three earned runs or less in every outing. Kopech, signed for $1.5 million last year as the 33rd overall pick in the draft, has struck out 63 in 56 innings while walking just 18. -- Right fielder Bryan Hudson and center fielder Joseph Monge had back-to-back two-strike, two-out hits in the ninth inning to tie the game at 1, scoring left fielder Mike Meyers, who had drawn a two-out walk. Then in the 13th, Meyers doubled on a hard grounder past the third baseman to score shortstop Javier Guerra to give Greenville a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the 13th, RHP Mario Alcantara (3-1) allowed two walks but induced a game-ending double play to second baseman Yoan Moncada, who stepped on the second base bag and fired to first for the clinching out. -- Meyers, 21, now has a seven-game hit streak and has reached base in 11 straight games, going 16-for-45 (.356) over that span to raise his average 29 points. For the season, Meyers has an nice slash line of .290/.353/.444 over 57 games played, significantly improved from his 2014 season with Lowell, where he produced just .215/.248/.330 over 56 games. -- Guerra, Hudson, Monge and first baseman Nick Longhi all had two-hit nights for Greenville as hitters four through seven in the lineup, while the top of the Greenville order (Moncada, Michael Chavis and Rafael Devers) struggled, going a combined 0-for-14 . Longhi, 19, now has a seven-game hit streak. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (10-4): L, 11-2, at Connecticut (Tigers) -- Third baseman Mitchell Gunsolus had one of the just three Lowell hits, his a 400-foot two-run home run and his first as a professional to get the Spinners on the board in the ninth inning. Gunsolus was drafted in the 10th round this year out of Gonzaga and is hitting 8-for-29 (.276) so far in 10 games played. -- The other Lowell hits, both singles, came from center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe and Chad De La Guerra. Left fielder Victor Acosta had his season-opening nine game hit streak come to an end with an 0-for-3 night. -- RHP Jake Cosart (Boston'€™s No. 23 prospect at MLB.com) didn't make it out of the second inning, taking the loss (0-1) with an ugly final line of 1 1/3 IP, 4 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO (53 pitches, 28 strikes). Cosart, the 21-year-old younger brother of Miami Marlins RHP Jarred Cosart, gave up a solo homer in the first and then a grand slam in the second after a single and two walks to start the frame. He was pulled after allowing another hit, a triple. Cosart was Boston'€™s third-round draft pick in 2014 and signed for $450,000 out of Seminole State. ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX (10-0): W, 5-3, at GCL Orioles -- The GCL Sox lineup struck out a combined 14 times and had only six hits, all singles, but with help from five walks and five GCL Orioles€™ errors the Sox managed to score five runs and stay unbeaten on the season. Infielder Luis Alejandro Basabe and center fielder Trent Kemp led the way with two hits and an RBI apiece, while right fielder Tyler Hill walked twice and scored twice. Hill, 19, is off to a 10-for-31 (.323) start to the season with four RBIs and four multi-hit games and has reached safely in seven of eight overall played this year. He was drafted in 2014 in round 19 out of Delaware Military Academy and subsequently played in just four Gulf Coast League games last year. Kemp, 19, is 9-for-29 (.310) with five RBIs on the season and has a hit in all seven games he'€™s started this year. Kemp was given $150,000 to sign in 2014 as a 15th-round draft choice by Boston out of high school in California. He had initially committed to play at Fresno State. Basabe, 18 years old and the twin brother of Lowell'€™s Luis Alexander Basabe, is 9-for-34 (.265) with eight walks (leading to a .409 on-base percentage) and eight runs scored, to go with four stolen bases. He has reached safely in eight of nine games played so far in 2015. -- RHP Josh Pennington started and pitched three scoreless innings, with five of his nine outs recorded via strikeout. A 19-year-old who was drafted in Round 29 in 2014 out of high school in New Jersey, Pennington has not been scored upon in two starts, five total innings pitched, with nine strikeouts to just one walk. Check out the weekly WEEI.com Farm Report podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable.