When injuries strike, you need players to step up. That can’t always happen. But it did for Hudson Valley on Thursday night with Taylor Guerrieri scratched from his start.
Triple-A International League: Norfolk Tides (BAL) 10, Durham Bulls 5
Are the Rays better than the Orioles? I’ll say yes, but I have no great proof for that. Well, the Orioles’ Quad-A guys were better than the Rays’ on Thursday- have to give them that. Alex Torres lasted just 3 innings, allowing 4 runs on 4 hits, striking out 2 and working 2 and the bullpen of Ryan Reid, Josh Lueke, and Romulo Sanchez allowed 6 runs in 6 innings of relief, allowing 3 home runs after Torres allowed 1 (can’t really lump Lueke into that- he tossed 2 shutout innings with 3 strikeouts). Bill Hall, Nate McLouth, L.J. Hoes, and Lew Ford all homered for Norfolk. Brandon Allen and Henry Wrigley both homered for the Bulls while Shawn O’Malley went 2 for 4 and Reid Brignac went 1 for 4 with a run scored, extending his hitting streak to 5. His numbers this season are approaching respectability after a horrific start as he has a .232/.318/.372 line in 58 Triple-A games.
Double-A Southern League: Mobile Baybears (ARI) 6, Montgomery Biscuits 5
Do bullpen collapses run in the organization? Nick Barnese was halfway-decent in this game for the Biscuits, going 4.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. He continues to work his way back from a shoulder injury. The Biscuits scored 4 in the 6th to take a 5-3 lead before the bullpen blew it. Ryan Garko went 3 for 5 in the game with an RBI and a run scored, raising his batting average to .340 on the season. His line is currently .340/.439/.484. We’ll have to see if the Rays bring him up to Triple-A and see if he has anything to contribute to the big league team. Michael Sheridan also went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI, and Hak-Ju Lee and Mark Thomas had the other RBIs for the Biscuits.
High-A Florida State League: Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 8, Charlotte Stone Crabs 5
Another day, another comeback falls short for the Stone Crabs. Braulio Lara has had an awful season and went 5 innings on Thursday allowing 5 runs, 3 earned, on 6 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. Chris Andujar struggled behind him, allowing 3 runs on 3 hits in 1.1 innings, losing control with 4 walks compared to 3 strikeouts. Chris Rearick did keep the Stone Crabs somewhat in the game with 1.2 scoreless with 2 strikeouts to finish the game. The Stone Crabs got 4 for 5 days from Cody Rogers, who had 2 RBI and a run scored, and Steven Tinoco, who had an RBI and a run scored, Robi Estrada went 3 for 4 with an RBI and Derek Dietrich also went 2 for 5 with a run scored. Rogers had a 2-run single in the 9th for Charlotte.
Low-A Midwest League: Fort Wayne Tincaps (SDP) 8, Bowling Green Hot Rods 3
Tough day for the Hot Rods- although you have to credit them for offensive efficiency. They managed 3 runs despite just 3 hits, just one for extra-bases, and went just 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position. Trevor Shull and Jacob Partridge each allowed 4 runs in 3 innings, combining to allow 9 hits in 6 innings, striking out 7 but walking 8, although they combined for a 9-2 groundout to flyout ratio. Justin Woodall closed out the game for Bowling Green with 2 shutout innings, forcing a 5-0 groundout to flyout ratio. On offense, Alejandro Segovia went 1 for 3 with an RBI triple, a walk, and ar un scored, Josh Sale went 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI, and while Tyler Goeddel went 0 for 2, he did walk twice and score a run, so that’s a good sign.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 6, Vermont Lake Monsters (OAK) 0
Taylor Guerrieri tossed a bullpen and hopes to make his next scheduled start in 5 days after missing his last two starts because of shoulder stiffness. He has to be happy with how the Renegades’ pitching performed in his absence on Thursday. Reinaldo Lopez got the start for Hudson Valley and was great, going 5 innings allowing no runs on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking none and posting an 8-3 groundout to flyout ratio. The bullpen was just as good, with Brandon Henderson allowing no runs on 2 hits in 2.1 innings, striking out 4, before Ryan Garton retired all 5 batters he faced to end the game, striking out 4. The Renegades got all the run support they needed on a 3-run home run by Justin O’Conner as part of a 4-run 5th inning. O’Conner went 1 for 4 with a walk in the game, but he made the 1 count. Deshun Dixon also went 3 for 3 with a walk, a stolen base, an RBI, and a run scored.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Pulaski Mariners 5, Princeton Rays 4
Always terrible to lose in walk-off faction, but there are some positives to take from this game as well. Eli Echarry had easily his best start in a season of struggles, going 6 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, striking out 1 while walking none. His groundout to flyout ratio was a good 10-5. He was followed by Nick Sawyer, who made his first appearance at Princeton and did so quite well, allowing a hit but tossing a shutout inning with 2 strikeouts. But Alex Keudel struggled in the 9th, allowing a game-tying RBI double from Tyler Marlette and then a Felipe Burin walk-off single as the Mariners won 5-4. On offense, Oscar Hernandez, John Alexander, and Omar Narvaez each went 1 for 4 with a double, with Hernandez and Alexander each scoring a run and Narvaez driving in 1. James Harris and Juan Morillo had the other RBIs for Princeton.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Red Sox 6, GCL Rays 4
Geisel De La Cruz is not an imposing figure, coming in at 6’0″, 139. But the little lefty had impressed the Rays so much over the past two seasons that they brought him from the Dominican Summer League over to the the US and the GCL Rays. De La Cruz was electric in his first US start on June 29th, going 6 innings allowing not a single run on 3 hits, striking out 8 while walking 1. The results were not nearly as good, but the ability continues to be there. De La Cruz lasted just 4 innings allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on 6 hits. But he struck out 2 while walking none and his groundout to flyout ratio was a great 7-1. He got penalized by the poor GCL defense in this one. We’ll have to hear more about his repertoire of pitches, but there definitely appears to be some promise here. Isaac Gil followed De La Cruz with 2 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits by striking out 2, before the pairing of 2012 high picks Nolan Gannon and Damion Carroll closed out the game. Gannon allowed an unearned run on 1 hit in 2 innings, striking out 4. We’ll have to see how long it is before we see him starting games. Carroll tossed a shutout 9th, allowing a walk but forcing 2 groundouts. The GCL Rays got more impressive performance from Ben Kline. Kline went 2 for 4 but actually saw his average slip to .607. But Kline hasn’t been hitting for much power, and he changed that on Thursday, slamming a 2-run homer, the first of his professional career. Adderly Rosa also went 2 for 3 with a triple, a double, and an RBI, while Leopoldo Correa went 2 for 4 with a run scored.