Here’s a look at the action in the Red Sox farm system on Thursday.
TRIPLE-A PAWTUCKET RED SOX (20-21): L, 7-5, at Buffalo (Blue Jays)
— First baseman Allen Craig hit a three-run homer (video here) in his second game back after a stint on the disabled list and finished 2-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored. The home run, Craig’s first of the season, came in the first inning on an 0-2 breaking ball pulled over the left field wall and gave the PawSox a 4-0 lead. The 31-year-old Craig would later walk and score in the fourth and single in the sixth before being removed for a defensive replacement in the eighth.
Acquired by Boston in the summer of 2014 along with RHP Joe Kelly in exchange for John Lackey, Craig missed 30 games this season (over a month in duration) before being reinstated from the DL on May 16. In 2015 Craig slashed .274/.368/.350 with four homers and 14 doubles over 93 games played with Pawtucket,
— Third baseman Chris Dominguez doubled home Craig in the fourth and finished 2-for-4 in his second game back off the DL as well. The 29-year-old Dominguez is 12-for-41 (.293) on the season over 11 games, missing 26 games with a right oblique strain. Signed by Boston as a minor league free agent last December, Dominguez made Cincinnati’s opening day roster last year and played in 14 games in the Majors, going 6-for-23 with a homer, triple and double.
— Right fielder Bryce Brentz (Boston’s No. 30 prospect at MLB.com) had the other PawSox RBI, with a run-scoring single in the first to plate second baseman Mike Miller. Brentz, 27, has a six-game hit streak and over 10 games in Triple-A this year is 10-for-33 (.303) with three doubles.
— RHP Mike McCarthy took the loss with a final line of: 3 1/3 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO (66 pitches, 37 strikes). Reliever Mitch Atkins, just called up from Double-A Portland, was sensational in relief of McCarthy as he walked the first batter he faced and then retired 14 straight in order with six via strikeout. Atkins, 30, appeared in 10 games in the Major Leagues from 2009-2012 with the Cubs and Orioles before pitching in the Chinese Professional League last season. In 9 games (2 starts) this year with Portland Atkins has struck out 30 over 23 innings of work.
DOUBLE-A PORTLAND SEA DOGS (15-26): Scheduled off day. Next action Friday at Altoona (Pirates)
HIGH-A SALEM RED SOX (28-12): W, 7-6 in 10 innings, at Lynchburg (Indians)
— Second baseman Yoan Moncada (Boston’s No. 1 prospect at MLB.com) had the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 10th inning and another busy day on the bases as he finished 1-for-3 with two walks, two steals, two RBIs and a run scored. The 20-year-old Moncada stole his 27th and 28th bases on the year — tied for the minor league lead with Yefri Perez, a Marlins prospect in the Double-A Southern League — after a single in the fourth and a walk in the sixth, respectively; Moncada would also score after the later sequence via a passed ball. In the 10th, Moncada’s fly to left was deep enough to plate DH Bryan Hudson who had walked, stolen a base, and advanced to third on an error.
With a hitting streak now at eight games, Moncada’s slash line sits at .328/.460/.504 through 38 games played. Moncada leads the Carolina League in runs (41), walks (33), steals and on-base percentage; he also has three homers, two triples, 11 doubles and 23 RBIs.
— Shortstop Mauricio Dubon (Boston’s No. 12 prospect at MLB.com) reached base four times, going 2-for-4 with a walk and a double; he also reached via error and stole his 11th base on the season. Dubon, 21, has hit safely in 31 of 36 games played this season and is slashing .333/.402/.410 with two triples and seven doubles. His 48 hits are three shy of the Carolina League lead.
— Catcher Jordan Procyshen has hits in all three games since being activated from the disabled list, going 3-for-5 Thursday with two runs scored. Selected by Boston in the 14th round of the 2014 draft out of Northern Kentucky University, the 23-year-old Canadian is 10-for-23 this season in just six games played.
— RHP Travis Lakins (Boston’s No. 11 prospect at MLB.com) was touched up for the third consecutive start, finishing with a no-decision final line of: 3 1/3 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO (76 pitches, 46 strikes). After two perfect innings, the 21-year-old Lakins allowed a double and a single ahead of a three-run homer in the third. Then, in the fourth, Lakins walked two sandwiched around a single and was replaced with the bases loaded; reliever Ben Taylor allowed a two-run single with both markers charged to Lakins.
Selected by Boston in the sixth round of last year’s draft out of Ohio State University, Lakins is 4-2 with a 5.12 ERA this season over eight starts. After allowing just six earned runs over his first five starts, Lakins has surrendered 16 in his past three outings and has failed to reach the fifth inning in his past two.
Taylor, 23, rebounded from allowing the two inherited runners to score to pitch 4 1/3 innings of relief with just one more run crossing on two hits and with six strikeouts. Selected by Boston in the seventh round of last year’s draft out of the University of South Alabama, Taylor has struck out 15 batters over 11 1/3 innings in his last four outings with just one earned run allowed.
SINGLE-A GREENVILLE DRIVE (19-20): L, 6-0, vs. Lexington (Royals)
— RHP Anderson Espinoza (Boston’s No. 4 prospect at MLB.com) suffered the loss (2-4, 4.54 ERA) with a final line of: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO (79 pitches, 53 strikes). The 18-year-old Espinoza allowed single runs in the second, third, and fourth, with the later two runs coming via RBI doubles from left-handed batters. Espinoza is in the midst of his first tough stretch as a professional with losses in three of his past four starts, including one with six earned runs allowed on April 30th and his last outing with just 1 2/3 innings pitched (pulled due to a rising pitch count) on May 10.
“He just needs to learn how to pitch,” said Greenville hitting coach Walter Miranda told GreenvilleOnline. “It’s been only a few times to have a guy like him with that type of talent. We’ve got all kinds of talent, but his talent is unique. He’s what we call in baseball a phenom. He’s a guy that’s a phenom because at 18 years old, he can hit 100 miles per hour. He can throw strikes. (He’s) able to throw his changeup, curveball.”
Miranda continued: “To be a young pitcher like him, that’s something he’s been challenged by every outing – keeping his mechanics under control. That way he can execute his pitches. The only (other) thing is the mental game. He’s 18 years old. He’s got a lot to learn. The game is going to challenge him a lot, and he has to learn how to respond and just gain experience. That way he can get better in every aspect.”
— The Drive offense was held to just five hits — all singles — with third baseman Mitchell Gunsolus the lone multi-hit batter of the day. Gunsolus, 23, finished 2-for-3 with a walk to raise his slash line to .319/.398/.527 in 24 games with Greenville this season, where he’s also hit five homers and four doubles. Selected by Boston in the 10th round of last year’s draft out of Gonzaga University, Gunsolus had a seven-game stint with High-A Salem earlier this season but hit just 1-for-23 and was sent back to Greenville on May 2.
— Center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe (Boston’s No. 8 prospect at MLB.com) continues to struggle at the plate this season after his breakout 2015 campaign; Basabe went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Thursday and has now gone down via strikeout 11 times in his past five games and has whiffed 41 times on the season, 12th most in the South Atlantic League. Through 31 games, Basabe is batting just .213 (26-for-122), although he is slugging .418 with four homers, four triples, and five doubles.