Brian Johnson

Sunday Red Sox Farm Report: Another Pat Light saver in Pawtucket; Ty Buttrey doesn’t miss a beat

Ken Laird
June 14, 2015 - 3:43 am
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A look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Saturday: TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (32-31): W, 7-5, vs. Toledo (Tigers) -- It was a strange night for Pawtucket starter Brian Johnson (Boston's No. 7 prospect at MLB.com) as the lefty came out a winner despite having rare struggles with control, hitting four batters and walking two. Johnson entered the night having no hit batsmen all season (11 starts, 61 innings) and having walked only two in his previous five starts combined. However, Johnson pitched out of a few jams and when all was complete he had earned the victory (7-4) and a final line of: 7 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO (93 pitches, 56 strikes). The four unearned runs against Johnson came in the fifth inning, as shortstop Deven Marrero sailed a throw high that pulled first baseman Allen Craig up off of the bag. Later in the frame, two of Johnson's hit batters would come in to score on a three-run double deep in the left center gap. -- Craig led the offensive charge to get Johnson off the hook, as Pawtucket scored three runs in both the fifth and seventh to take the lead. In the fifth Craig took the first pitch he saw, a high fastball, and lined it over the right-center wall for an opposite-field three-run homer. It was Craig's second long ball for the PawSox in 26 games since reporting from Boston. Craig added an RBI single in the seventh, putting his average at .293 and his on-base percentage at a great .386. -- Pat Light earned his second save for Pawtucket and now has retired all six batters he has faced, three via strikeout, since his call-up last week from Double-A Portland. Light peaked at 97 mph on the McCoy Stadium radar gun, getting one whiff on a full-count split-finger fastball, and another K on swing-and-miss at the letters at 96 mph. Nineteen of Light's 22 appearances in the minors this season have been clean of earned runs. DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (25-37): W, 4-3 (11 innings), at Bowie (Orioles) -- Portland couldn't hold a 3-1 ninth-inning lead but won in extra innings as recent signee Dave Sappelt hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the 11th inning. Sappelt, 28, was signed last week by Boston out of the Mexican League and told the Portland Press Herald he is hoping for one more shot at the majors, where he has 95 games of experience from 2011-13 in the National League with Chicago and Cincinnati. "It is an amazing feeling," Sappelt told the Press Herald on Friday. "It is good to be back [in affiliated ball]. I always felt I could play the game. I feel I can bring a lot to the Red Sox organization." It wasn't a perfect night for Sappelt. His misplay in center field led to Bowie's first run, and Sappelt also was thrown out at the plate trying to score on a single after retreating to third base for a possible tag-up. In the Mexican League this year for Piratas de Campeche, Sappelt had a .335/.398/.546 slash line as he hit 10 homers and racked up 35 RBIs in 54 games. Previously with the Cubs and Reds, Sappelt hit a combined .251 with two homers and 17 doubles in the majors. -- Shortstop Marco Hernandez had given Portland a 2-1 lead in the eighth on a two-run double, his third two-bagger of the night. Hernandez finished 4-for-5 with a walk, raising his average to .327 and also giving him enough at-bats to qualify for the Eastern League statistical leaders. Hernandez enters the leaderboard third in league batting average and carries an eight-game hitting streak in addition to having reached base in eight of his last 10 plate appearances. -- Sea Dogs starter William Cuevas pitched six scoreless innings to duel with recently traded Portland starter Joe Gunkel (seven scoreless), as Cuevas struck out eight and allowed just four hits before giving way to the Portland bullpen. Five of Cuevas' 11 starts this year have been quality starts, with his season numbers now 6-3 with a 3.10 ERA to go with 58 strikeouts in 58 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just. 220 against Cuevas. An international signee by Boston in 2008, the 26-year-old Cuevas is in his first season with Portland after spending the past two with High-A Salem. HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (32-29): W, 1-0, vs. Wilmington (Royals) -- It was Salem's second walkoff win of the year, this one in front of 6,000 fans, as DH Mario Martinez singled home second baseman Jose Vinicio in the bottom of the ninth to snap a scoreless tie. Vinicio had singled and been sacrificed to second by shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin before Wilmington intentionally walked Sam Travis (four hits on Friday) to pitch to Martinez. Lin and Vinicio both had two hit nights. -- Three Salem pitchers combined on the shutout, as 6-foot-6 righty Ty Buttrey went five scoreless to start things off, surrendering five hits while striking out five and walking one. Buttrey had missed one start due to illness and had another suspended by weather, making it his first real outing since May 28. In six starts with Salem since his call-up from Greenville on May 3 the former fourth-round draft pick has gone 4-0 with a 2.06 ERA, striking out 29 in 35 innings. -- Aaron Wilkerson and German Tavarez each followed with two scoreless innings to set up the late-game win. Tavares (3-0) has made five consecutive scoreless appearances for Salem, going multiple innings in each of the past three outings. The 22-year-old Dominican righty has been strictly a bullpen arm over his time with the Red Sox, dating back to 2011 in the Dominican Summer League. SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (34-28): L, 4-2, vs. Rome (Braves) -- Starter Michael Kopech (Boston's No. 13 prospect at MLB.com) took the loss (2-5) as he gave up one earned run in three innings of work. Kopech, a first-round draft pick by Boston in 2014, had some frustrating moments in the field including a throwing error (on a pickoff attempt to first base), and allowing a steal of third base, in addition to a hit batsman. The 6-foot-3 righty did strike out three, bring his total this year to 47 in 40 2/3 innings. -- The Greenville offense managed just three hits on the night, two of them from second baseman Mauricio Dubon, who also walked and registered an RBI on a fielder'€™s choice. Dubon, 20, is hitting .297 on the year and has at least one hit in 11 of his past 12. -- Reliever Mario Alcantara had an impressive four innings of relief, striking out eight batters to bring his season total of whiffs to 35 in 33 1/3 innings. The 22-year-old Dominican has held opponents to a .223 average over 17 appearances out of the bullpen this year.