Gilberto Jimenez entered Game 2 of the New York-Penn League Finals batting .188 through six postseason games. Yet the 19-year-old was the circuit's top hitter for a reason, and he showed why Monday night.
Boston's No. 7 prospect stroked a two-run single that proved to be the difference in Class A Short Season Lowell's 3-1 win over Brooklyn at MCU Park. The victory evened the best-of-3 Championship Series, 1-1, with the decisive contest slated for Tuesday night.
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After dropping a 2-1 decision in Game 1 at home on Sunday, the Spinners had their backs against the wall. They responded with a three-run second inning on the strength of Stephen Scott's single and Jimenez's bases-loaded knock two batters later. It was the only hit in five at-bats for the native of the Dominican Republic, but it proved crucial -- the Cyclones answered back with a run in the bottom of the frame against 15th-ranked Red Sox prospect Noah Song.
Signed for $10,000 in 2017, Jimenez debuted last year in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League with encouraging results. The switch-hitter batted .319/.384/.420 in 67 games and followed that up with an All-Star campaign domestically. Jimenez led the New York-Penn League in hitting while putting together a .359/.393/.470 slash line and stealing 14 bases in 59 games.
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He's gone 4-for-20 through Lowell's first five postseason games, but Monday's hit was the biggest of the season for a club looking for its first championship in the 24-year history of the franchise. Lowell went 42-34 to win the Stedler Division and reach the postseason for the fourth time since 1996.
Scott added a pair of singles for Lowell, which tallied seven hits but went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
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Song allowed a run on four hits and a walk, fanning four in three innings. Chris Murphy (1-0), Osvaldo De La Rosa and Kris Jackson combined to surrender three hits and a walk while punching out seven over the final six frames.
Ranfy Adon singled in Brooklyn's lone run and Joe Genord went 3-for-4.
Starter Frank Valentino (0-1) was charged with three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings.
Winner-take-all Game 3 is in Brooklyn on Tuesday night.