Henry Owens

Friday Red Sox Farm Report: Henry Owens stays solid; Portland walks it off again with 4-run 9th

Ken Laird
July 24, 2015 - 4:49 am

A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (41-58): L, 5-4, at Norfolk (Orioles) -- LHP Henry Owens (Boston'€™s No. 2 prospect at MLB.com) had his third straight quality start and seventh in his last eight outings, with a final Thursday afternoon pitching line of: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO (106 pitches, 74 strikes). Owens, 23, gave up two runs in third after a walk, a misplayed grounder by first baseman Matt Spring, a bloop single into shallow right field, and a two-RBI double to left. The 6-foot-6 Owens struck out the final two batters of the third to strand two in scoring position, getting whiffs on a high fastball and a slow breaking ball that fell out of the strike zone into the dirt. Owens had a total of nine straight retired before he hit more adversity in the the sixth inning, with another run scoring after three singles, including a bloop to left and a slow roller up the middle. Owens left the game after six complete with a 4-3 lead. Selected by Boston in the first round of the 2011 draft (36th overall), Owens is 3-7 this season with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP over 20 starts. His 100 strikeouts are five shy of the International League lead, with his ERA ranking 10th and his WHIP tied for third. Owens'€™ 116 1/3 innings of work is the fourth-highest total in the league this year, and his walk total of 55 remains a league high. -- RHP Jonathan Aro (Boston'€™s No. 30 prospect at MLB.com) was charged with a blown save as he entered with a one-run lead in the seventh and gave up three hits including a two-RBI double ripped to left that gave Norfolk a 5-4 lead. Aro, a 6-foot, 24-year-old from the Dominican Republic, has been scored upon in three of his six outings with Pawtucket since returning from his major league debut in late July with Boston where he allowed runs in all three of his appearances. -- Pawtucket took a 4-0 lead in the first inning on two-RBI doubles by Allen Craig and Humberto Quintero after leadoff walks to Quintin Berry and Jackie Bradley Jr. started the frame. The PawSox would have just three more hits after the first, with Quintero and third baseman Travis Shaw the only players finishing with multi-hit games. The double snapped an 0-for-10 skid for Craig, who is hitting just .227 (15-for-66) in July after a .235 June (19-for-81). The double on Thursday for Craig, 31, was only his second extra-base hit in his last 18 games. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (36-63): W, 4-3, vs. New Hampshire (Blue Jays) -- Down 3-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, Portland rallied for four runs and won in walkoff fashion at Hadlock Field for the third time in four games this week. After a one-out walk by Reed Gragnani, Aneury Tavarez singled and Manuel Margot (Boston'€™s No. 4 prospect at MLB.com) ripped the first pitch he saw to left-center field, bouncing past a falling defender and rolling all the way to the wall for a two-RBI triple to cut New Hampshire'€™s lead to 3-2. The next batter, second baseman Carlos Asuaje (Boston'€™s No. 22 prospect at MLB.com), fought off a 1-2 pitch that looped into left field and past a diving fielder for a double that tied the game at 3-3. After a pitching change and two walks, shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin ended things on a bases-loaded, two-strike, RBI single to the warning track in center, with Lin then mobbed by his teammates on the infield in celebration. "I just wanted to calm down and relax, and look for the fastball," Lin told the Portland Press Herald regarding his final at-bat. -- Lin, 21, had scored the winning run in both Portland walkoff victories earlier this week, scoring on an infield grounder on Monday and via a wild pitch Tuesday after he had hit a leadoff triple. Signed out of Taiwan for a $2 million bonus in the 2011 international signing period, Lin was promoted from High-A Salem on July 16 after hitting .281 in 73 games. -- Asuaje, 23, also tripled earlier in the game and finished the night 2-for-3 with the clutch RBI and the game-winning run scored. Through 21 games in July, Asuaje is hitting .305 (25-for-82) with eight runs and five RBIs. Selected by Boston in the 11th round of the 2013 draft out of Nova Southeastern University, Asuaje was a midseason Eastern League All-Star and last year hit .310 with 15 home runs combined between Salem and Greenville. -- RHP Luis Diaz (1-8, 5.44 ERA) had a no-decision quality start line of: 6 1/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO (88 pitches, 52 strikes). It was the fifth straight quality start for the 23-year-old Venezuelan, his sixth in his last seven, as he'€™s dropped his ERA over two points from 7.53 to 5.44 over the past 1 1/2 months. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (50-48): W, 3-1, vs. Wilmington (Royals) -- Shortstop Mauricio Dubon (Boston'€™s No. 27 prospect at MLB.com) and center fielder Forrestt Allday had RBI singles in the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie, scoring second baseman Yolian Cerse and first baseman Jordan Betts, who had both reached to start the frame. "I was just trying to put the ball into play after two strikes," Dubon told the Roanoke Times. "It was a sinker that came in. I just put the ball in play, put that bat down and started running. It'€™s good to be able to help the team win." Dubon, 21, is hitting .282 (11-for-39) with a home run and a double over his last 11 games after hitting just .149 over his first 13 games with Salem. Selected by Boston in the 26th round of the 2013 draft out of high school in California, Dubon hit .301 over 58 games this year in Greenville before his promotion on June 26. -- Right fielder Kevin Heller reached base four times, going 2-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch, while also scoring a run and stealing his ninth base of the season. Heller, 25, has reached base in all eight plate appearances in the series with Wilmington so far, with six hits to raise his Salem slash line to .315/.421/.436. Selected by Boston in the 40th round of the 2012 draft out of Amherst College, Heller has spent time with Double-A Portland in each of the past three seasons, hitting just .132 there in 13 games to start 2015 before being demoted back to Salem. -- RHP Ty Buttrey started and pitched a no-decision final line of: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 SO (89 pitches, 45 strikes). Buttrey (7-3, 3.41 ERA) allowed baserunners in every inning but one, including walking the leadoff batter in the fifth and sixth innings, but pitched out of trouble as he stranded seven runners on base. Selected by Boston in the fourth round of the 2012 draft, the 6-foot-6 Buttrey had 10 outs via ground balls on Thursday to just two via fly outs. -- RHP Kyle Kraus relieved Buttrey with two aboard in the sixth and stranded two runners in scoring position with help from two strikeouts. Kraus, 25, stayed on and finished four scoreless frames, earning the win (1-0, 0.00 ERA) with six strikeouts to just one walk. Selected by Boston in the seventh round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Portland, Kraus has been back and forth between Salem and Double-A Portland this year, where Kraus'€™ ERA was 4.59 over 15 outings with the Sea Dogs. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (50-47): L, 4-3, at Augusta (Giants) -- Shortstop Javier Guerra (Boston'€™s No. 13 prospect at MLB.com) hit his 13th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth that gave Greenville a 3-2 lead. Guerra, 19, has five long balls this month, and his homer total ranks third in the South Atlantic League. Already known for his defensive prowess, Guerra has surged at the plate in July as he'€™s slashed .425/.463/.671 this month with 17 RBIs and 16 runs scored in 17 games. -- Center fielder Bryan Hudson went 3-for-4 with three singles, scoring on a fifth-inning triple by second baseman Deiner Lopez. Hudson, 20, has hit safely in 14 of 17 games played in July and over his first 21 games played in Greenville is slashing .321/.375/.370 with four doubles and five stolen bases. Selected by Boston in the 15th round of the 2013 draft out of high school in Georgia, Hudson hit .304 in 2013 in the Gulf Coast League but struggled at the plate in 2014 with Lowell as he hit .237 over 52 games played. -- RHP Reed Reilly took the loss (4-4, 4.26 ERA), with a final line of: 6 1/3, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO. Six of Reilly'€™s last nine starts have been quality outings, although he was coming off back-to-back rocky ones giving up six and seven earned, respectively, in his last two starts. Reilly, 23, was selected by Boston in the seventh round of the 2014 draft out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he spent three years as the closer. Reilly, who stands 6-foot-4, has transitioned to a starting role in the Boston organization, last year going 0-1 with a 3.89 ERA over 10 starts with Lowell. SHORT-SEASON SINGLE-A LOWELL SPINNERS (17-16): L, 4-2, vs. Tri-City (Astros) -- Second baseman Chad De La Guerra had a bases-loaded double down the left-field line to score both Lowell runs in the first inning, with Luis Alexander Basabe and Tate Matheny crossing the plate to give Lowell a 2-0 lead. It was the ninth double this season for De La Guerra, two shy of the New York-Penn League lead. Selected in the 17th round of this year'€™s draft out of Grand Canyon University in Arizona, De La Guerra has slashed .293/.355/.476 in his first 22 games as a professional with hits in 17 of his last 20 games. De La Guerra was charged with a costly error, his fifth, in the seventh inning that would lead to an unearned run for Tri-City. -- Third baseman Victor Acosta had the only multi-hit game for Lowell, finishing 2-for-4 from the cleanup spot of the batting order to put his season-long average at .274 through 25 games played. Acosta, a 19-year-old 5-foot-11 righty bat from Venezuela, started 2015 with a nine-game hitting streak as he came out of the gate .429 (15-for-35) before cooling off in early July. Over the last eight games, Acosta has rebounded again to a .300 average (9-for-30), albeit with all nine hits of the single variety. -- LHP Luis Ramos gave up two earned runs over 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits while striking out two and walking two. Ramos, 20, retired 10 of 11 batters after allowing two runs, including an RBI triple, in the second. Ramos left with the bases loaded in the sixth after allowing two singles and a walk, with reliever Randy Perez coming on to escape the jam unscathed and keep the game temporarily tied at 2-2. Perez would later get saddled with the loss (0-2, 1.62 ERA) after allowing a single and two walks in the seventh around De La Guera'€™s error, with charged runs scoring on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly. ROOKIE GULF COAST LEAGUE RED SOX (19-8): L, 6-2, vs. GCL Rays -- RHP Gerson Bautista started and pitched six scoreless innings, giving up just three singles and two walks while striking out three. Bautista, a 6-foot-2 Dominican, retired 11 of the 15 batters he faced via groundouts. It was a bounce-back start for Bautista, who signed for $250,000 in 2013 as an international free agent, as he had allowed seven earned runs over just 2 1/3 innings on July 17. Bautista is 1-2 with a 3.76 ERA over six starts after an excellent 2014 in the Dominican Summer League where he went 2-1 with a 1.03 ERA in 13 games. -- Second baseman Andy Perez reached bases twice, batting from the leadoff spot, as he finished 1-for-2 with a walk to improve his numbers to 6-for-12 in his first three games as a professional. The 22-year-old Perez, an undrafted free agent, stole 35 bases as a senior for Duke University this season, batting .290 with three homers and 14 doubles in his fourth college season. -- DH Jerry Downs had the only extra base hit for the GCL Red Sox, going 1-for-4 with a double from the third spot in the batting order. Selected by Boston in the 15th round of this year'€™s draft, the 21-year-old Downs has slashed .300/.438/.520 in his first 15 games as a professional. A 6-foot-2 lefty bat selected by Boston in the 15th round of this year'€™s draft out of NAIA St. Thomas University, Downs is hitting .379 (11-for-29) over his last eight games with two homers, five doubles and 11 RBIs to go with nine runs scored. For more, check out the weekly WEEI.com Red Sox Farm Report Podcast hosted by Ken Laird and Ryan Hannable.