Slam a bunch of homers, and most of your problems will go away. As the Rays slammed 3 home runs the day after getting perfect-gamed by Felix Hernandez, several of their affiliates followed suit. The Rays and their affiliates in total slammed 11 home runs in 8 games. Homers aren’t everything, but they help.
Triple-A International League: Columbus Clippers (CLE) 7, Durham Bulls 1
Homers for your team are good. Homers for the other team are bad. Lance Pendleton allowed 3 homers while the Bulls’ offense stayed mostly quiet in their 7-1 loss to Columbus. Pendleton went 5 innings allowing 6 runs on 10 hits, striking out 3 while walking 1 but allowing flyball after flyball as 3 left the yard. Cord Phelps, Gregorio Petit, and our old buddy Russ Canzler did the honors for Colombus. T.J. McFarland struck out 6 in 7 innings of 1-run ball for Columbus. As it works out, Pendleton’s ERA on the season is now 4.76- McFarland’s is 4.75. Will Rhymes did go 2 for 3 with a walk for Durham while Brooks Conrad went 2 for 4 with the lone RBI.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 5, Huntsville Stars (MIL) 4 (10 innings)
Starting on the same night as his ex-Vanderbilt roommate, Matt Buschmann gave the Biscuits 6 solid innings before coming apart a bit in the 7th, but the Biscuits rallied to win in 10 innings. Buschmann went 6.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 8 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1 and posting a 9-2 groundout to flyout ratio. The problem was that he allowed 2 home runs, a solo shot each to Hunter Morris and Scooter Gennett in the 7th. Buschmann allowed just 5 flyballs on the day, but two left the yard. Buschmann was unlucky, and thankfully the Biscuits picked him up. Ty Morrison beat out a 1-out bunt single in the 8th and advanced to 2nd on an error and 3rd on a groundball before a Mikie Mahtook RBI single drove him in, and Morrison singled, stole 2nd base, and scored on Omar Luna‘s go-ahead single to give the Biscuits a 5-4 lead, and that was the margin of victory. Chris Rearick and Kirby Yates followed Buschmann followed Buschmann with 3.2 perfect innings of relief. Morrison came up huge late in the game and went 2 for 5 with his 29th stolen base of the season and 2 runs scored, while Mahtook went 2 for 4 with a walk and his big RBI and Luna went 2 for 5 with his game-winning run batted in.
High-A Florida State League: Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 5, Charlotte Stone Crabs 4
The Stone Crabs’ defense fell apart as they let this one slip away. Todd Glaesmann drilled a 2-run homer in the 1st inning to hand Charlotte a 2-0 lead, but a Robby Price error scored a run for Bradenton before the Marauders came up with 3 runs in the 5th with a Robi Estrada error and a wild pitch mixed in to take a 4-2 lead. Hector Guevara slammed a 2-run homer to tie the game in the 6th, but Bradenton responded with a Dan Rovatt homer to take a 5-4 lead and that was the final. Enny Romero was not particularly sharp but didn’t get any favors from his defense, going 4.2 innings allowing 4 runs, just 1 earned, on 3 hits, striking out 4 while walking 2. His groundout to flyout was just 6-5. Enigmatic Enny surfaces again. Glaesmann and Guevara each had a 2-run homer for their only hit, while Price went 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored and Luke Scott went 0 for 3 with 2 walks in his rehab appearance.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 6, Great Lakes Loons (LAD) 2
Parker Markel was sharp and the Hot Rods ran all over the Loons to come away with a 6-2 win. Markel went 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 6 while walking none. It was his incredible 6th consecutive quality start as he has rebounded in a huge way after a terrible start to 2012 including a shoulder injury. On offense, Cameron Seitzer did slam a 2-run homer, but the focus here has to be on the stolen bases. Ryan Brett stole his 46th, Tyler Goeddel his 27th, Taylor Motter his 19th, and Jake Hager his 11th, and the four combined for 5 of the 6 runs. Brett’s 46 bases lead the Rays system and are tied for 10th in the minor leagues.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 8, Connecticut Tigers 3
Rays 2012 first rounder Richie Shaffer got off to a tough start to his pro career, hitting just .227 in his first 13 games. He has finally begun to put it all together, going 3 for 4 for the second consecutive game, and he slammed the third home run of his pro career in the 8th inning of this one as the Renegades won 8-3. Jesse Hahn started for Hudson Valley and was nearly perfect in 5 innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 6 while walking none. His groundout to flyout ratio was also 7-2. Hahn earned his first professional win in the game (which is more of a reflection of Short Season-A bullpens than anything else). Brandon Henderson followed with 5 strikeout versus no walks in 2 innings, although he allowed 2 runs, 1 earned, and Rob Finneran struck out 1 in a perfect 8th before Jose Alberto Molina struck out 1 as he allowed a run in the 9th. Add up all the strikeouts by Renegades pitching, and you get an impressive 13. Pretty impressive and congrats especially to Hahn. Oh yeah, the offense scored 8 runs. Shaffer went 3 for 4 with his homer, a walk, and an RBI, Joey Rickard went 3 for 5 with a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored, and Luke Maile went 2 for 4 with a solo homer and a walk.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 5, Burlington Royals 4
Brandon Martin simply took over as the P-Rays came back to beat Burlington 5-4. Kevin James tossed 4 nice innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 6 while walking none and posting a 3-1 groundout to flyout ratio. He left with a 2-1 lead after the P-Rays tallied 2 runs in the 5th, including a solo homer by Martin, but Jacob Faria allowed 3 runs in the 6th as Princeton trailed 4-2. But Faria and Randy Davis tossed the next 2 innings scoreless, and the P-Rays came up with a run in the 8th on a Juan Morillo RBI single to pull within 4-3. John Walter came in for the 9th to close out the game for Burlington. But he hit James Harris with a pitch to begin the inning (Harris left the game), and then Walter had the unfortunate please of running into Brandon Martin. Martin drilled a 2-run homer to give Princeton a 5-4 lead, and Nick Sawyer worked around a walk and an error in the 9th for the save as the P-Rays won 5-4. Sawyer lowered his ERA to a ridiculous 0.39 on the season, 0.49 at Princeton, as he has struck out an insane 41 versus just 9 walks in 23 innings. Doesn’t get any better than that. Martin went 3 for 5 with his two huge homers, and Reid Redman, William Argo, and John Alexander all had multi-hit games as well.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Rays 3, GCL Twins 2 (10 innings)
Some of these players are really talented, but God I hate the GCL. Listen to this game. It was scoreless through 6 innings as the Rookie Rays failed to back up Geisel De La Cruz, who went 5 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits and a walk while striking out 5. Sorry Geisel. Somebody finally got a run in the 7th as Leopoldo laced an RBI single to give the Rookie Rays a 1-0 lead. But reliever Jason Wilson blew the lead in the 8th, allowing a Logan Wade 2-run homer in give the GCL Twins a 2-1 lead. But the Rookie Rays tied the game in… kind of dramatic fashion, scoring the tying run on an error by the second baseman. And how about the winning rally in the 10th? Walk, sac bunt, groundout, hit-by-pitch, wild pitch. Sheesh. What is the GCL? Great starting pitchers who never get wins, hitters who can’t hit, position players who can’t field, and relievers who are lucky to be in pro ball. But that’s really why no one in their right mind would ever watch the GCL on TV. When you’re trying to craft kids into the best baseball players on the planet, a ton of work has to be done, and you have to start all the way at the bottom with the basics.