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June 26, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) delivers a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

The Undercards: Exciting Night (Everywhere But Charlotte)

There’s always somebody left out of the party. Sometimes they try to go in twice and still can’t get in. Rays affiliates had a 6-2 day on Wednesday. Every win was exciting, and a bunch of them were special. But the two losses? Both by the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Sorry guys.

Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 2, Norfolk Tides (BAL) 0

It is pretty unbelievable to win despite getting 1-hit. The Bulls did just that on Wednesday- although the winning rally was not exactly breathtaking. Chris Gimenez singled off Jake Arrieta in the 1st and that was it for the Durham hits. But the Bulls were kept in the game by a tremendous outing by Chris Archer, who went 6.1 shutout innings allowing just 3 hits, striking out 8 while walking 2 and posting a 7-1 groundout to flyout ratio. In the 6th, the Bulls finally got him the run support he needed against Arrieta, who was supposed to play a big role for the Orioles this season before collapsing. The rally: with 1 out, walk, walk, walk, walk, wild pitch. That’s 2 runs right there, and that was all the scoring in the game. Arrieta had a funny outing, going 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 1 hit, striking out 8 while walking 5 and posting an 8-0 groundout to flyout ratio. He was actually replaced by another failed Orioles starter, Brian Matusz, who struck out the side in the 7th. On the Bulls side, lefty Adam Liberatore tossed 1.2 shutout innings with 2 strikeouts to get the ball to Dane De La Rosa, who worked around a walk and a single in the 9th with 2 strikeouts for his 17th save as the Bulls won 2-0. Gimenez was the only hitter on the Bulls side who had a game he could be proud of, going 1 for 1 with 2 walks and the game’s only RBI, on a bases-loaded walk.

Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 9, Pensacola Blue Wahoos (CIN) 8

Incredible win for the Biscuits as they came back from a 7-2 deficit after 6 innings. Nick Barnese had himself a tough night, going 5 innings allowing 6 runs on 6 hits, striking out 2 while walking 2 as well, although his groundout to flyout ratio was 7-2. David Vidal‘s 3-run homer off Barnese in the 5th made it a 6-2 game before an unearned run for Pensacola in the 7th against Shane Dyer made it 7-2. But the Biscuits came back with 4 runs in the 7th inning, scoring on RBI singles by Ty Morrison and Derek Dietrich and then a 2-run single by Mikie Mahtook to pull within 7-6. And in the 9th, the Biscuits tied the game and took the lead in dramatic fashion begin the inning with back-to-back home runs by Dietrich and Ryan Garko and scoring another run when Mahtook tripled and scored on Michael Sheridan‘s RBI single. That run loomed large as Chris Rearick allowed a run in the 9th trying to nail down the save, but he held the Blue Wahoos right there as the Biscuits won 9-8. Ty Morrison had a huge game, going 3 for 5 with a homer, his 20th stolen base of the season at Montgomery and 31st overall, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, while Derek Dietrich and Mikie Mahtook each went 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored, although Dietrich hit a solo home run while Mahtook tripled.

High-A Florida State League Game 1: Palm Beach Cardinals 7, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2 (7 innings)

The Stone Crabs wish they could forget Wednesday. In Game 1, Braulio Lara got the start and allowing 5 runs on 5 hits in 4 innings, striking out 3 while walking 3. Alex Koronis allowed 2 runs over the final 2 innings. The Stone Crabs’ runs came from a Kevin Kiermaier RBI triple and a Robby Price sac fly. Plenty of Palm Beach highlights, but let’s just move on.

Game 2: Palm Beach Cardinals 4, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2 (7 innings)

Not much better for Charlotte in the second game. George Jensen got the start and lasted just 3 innings allowing 4 runs on 4 hits, striking out just 1 while walking 2. He allowed a 3-run homer to Cody Stanley in the 3rd inning, Stanley had 2 homers and 8 RBI between the two games for Palm Beach. Jim Patterson did go the final 3 innings scoreless for Charlotte, retiring all 9 batters he faced, 2 on strikeouts and 4 on groundouts. At least he had a performance he could certainly be proud of. On offense, Robby Price went 3 for 3 with a walk and a run scored, Todd Glaesmann went 3 for 4, and Phil Wunderlich and Robi Estrada had the Stone Crabs’ only RBI. They actually banged out 9 hits in the 7 innings, but they went just 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 10 runners on base.

Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 12, Dayton Dragons (CIN) 5

Back to the exhilarating games. Justin Woodall had a tough outing for Bowling Green, allowing 5 runs on 7 hits in 4 innings, striking out 4 while walking 4. But the bullpen and the Hot Rods offense were more than happy to pick him up. Charlie Cononie tossed the rest of the game and was dominant, allowing just a hit and a walk in 5 innings, striking out 5 and posting a 7-2 groundout to flyout ratio. And the offense was prolific. The Hot Rods scored in every inning but the bottom of the 2nd and the bottom of the 9th (because it wasn’t necessary), never scoring more than 3 runs in any single inning. Drew Vettleson went 4 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored, breaking the Hot Rods’ hit record in the process with his 136th base-knock on the season. Matt Rice went 3 for 5 with a double, 2 RBI, and a run scored. He is now 9 for his last 14 (that’s a .643 batting average if anyone’s counting) to improve to  a .305 average on the season. Jake Hager also went 2 for 5 with his 9th homer of the season, a 2-run shot, his 13th steal, and 2 runs scored, Cameron Seitzer also slammed a 2-run homer, Ryan Brett went 2 for 3 with a double, 2 walks, and 3 runs scored, and Juniel Querecuto went 2 for 4 with his 12 stolen base and a run scored.

Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 11, Connecticut Tigers 0

Anyone remember a Renegades team this good? The Renegades are an insane 42-20 on the season, a .677 winning percentage (think a 110-win MLB season). This one, as you can see, wasn’t even close. Matthew Spann started and was great, allowing just 2 hits and 2 walks and 6 shutout innings, striking out 5, and Kris Carlson and Rob Finneran allowed just 1 hit in tossing shutout ball to end the game. Finneran has tossed shutout ball in his last 6 appearances spanning 9.2 IP, striking out 8 while walking 2. Now, to the offense. Tommy Coyle drilled a 3-run homer, Richie Shaffer went 3 for 4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored, Luke Maile went 2 for 5 with a triple and 2 RBI, Marty Gantt went 2 for 4 with an RBI and 3 runs scored, Joey Rickard went 2 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and 2 runs scored, and Leonardo Reginatto went 2 for 4 with an RBI as well.

Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 7, Danville Braves 5

The P-Rays used a late comeback to nail down their third straight win. Bruedlin Suero started for Princeton and wasn’t so bad but was penalized by Rookie ball defense, going 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 7 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1 and posting a 7-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Even with this start, Suero has a 2.14 ERA in his last 8 starts. He has really impressed after a terrible start to the season. The game was tied 3-3 when Suero departed but Jon Weaver allowed 2 runs, 1 earned, over the next 1.1 innings to make it a 5-3 game in favor of Danville. But Zach Butler was outstanding over the last 2.2 innings for Princeton, allowing just a walk while striking out 3 and posting a 5-0 groundout to flyout ratio. All 8 of his outs were on either a strikeout or a groundout- not too shabby, Mr. Butler. And Butler got a well-deserved win, although in absolutely insane fashion. In the 8th, Andrew Toles and Willie Argo strung together 1-out singles, with Toles moving to 3rd on Argo’s base hit. Omar Narvaez followed with a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt, and the throw misguidedly came home and Toles beat it as everyone was safe and now the P-Rays were within 5-4. Now listen how MiLB.com describes the next play:

With Oscar Hernandez batting, William Argo steals (16) 3rd base, William Argo scores. Omar Narvaez scores. Omar Narvaez steals (4) 2nd base. Throwing error by catcher Troy Snitker. Throwing error by left fielder Kurt Fleming.

What? Apparently, the P-Rays did a ridiculously gutsy move, attempting a double-steal with the tying run on 2nd  in a 1-run game, and the Danville catcher’s throw went into left field, allowing Argo to score, and then the left fielder threw to 3rd trying to get Narvaez, but his throw was off-line, allowing Narvaez to score. Wow. Butler got 3 groundouts and a strikeout (dropped third strike) to retire the side in the 9th as the P-Rays won 7-5. Andrew Toles went 2 for 4 with a homer, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Willie Argo went 1 for 3 with a walk, his 16th stolen base, and the go-ahead run scored, and John Alexander went 2 for 4. Alexander is 9 for his last 19 (.473).

Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Rays 3, GCL Red Sox 2

The GCL Rays also play in Port Charlotte, Florida. Luckily, they didn’t share the Stone Crabs’ bad luck. Jorge Rodriguez started and went 4 innings for the Rookie Rays allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 4 while walking none. In vintage GCL fashion, he left trailing 2-1. He was relieved by Stepan Havlicek who was as about as good as you can possibly get. Havlicek went 4 perfect innings, striking out 3 and posting an 8-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Havlicek has an incredible 1.31 ERA in his last 7 appearances spanning 20.2 IP, striking out 14 while walking just 2. Havlicek was the Rays’ first ever signee out of Europe, and he has been a whole lot more than a gimmick this year. A Leoplodo Correa 2-run single gave Havlicek his third win of the season as the GCL Rays won 3-2. Isaias Velasquez had a huge rehab game for the Rookie Rays, going 3 for 3 with a double, a walk, 2 stolen bases, and 2 runs scored. He looks just about ready to return to Montgomery. Yoel Araujo also went 2 for 4. The Rays’ high-profile Dominican signee back in 2010, Araujo is 7 for his last 15 with 3 doubles and 1 triple.

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Tags: Chris Archer Drew Vettleson Stepan Havlicek Tampa Bay Rays

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