Swings and misses, the story of O'Conner's 2012 season and his pro career. (Credit: Flickr user Minors Fan Photos)

The Undercards: O'Conner, Maile Each Drive in 5 as Renegades Win Slugfest

Always great when your offense comes up big. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. In one game, the Renegades scored more than double the number of runs that the Rays’ other 3 affiliates scored in their games combined. Given, Rays affiliates went just 1-3 on Sunday, but offensive outbursts like the Renegades’ are always special.

Triple-A International League: Charlotte Knights (CHW) 2, Durham Bulls 1

When the offense doesn’t come, great pitching can be negated by one mistake. The Bulls got great pitching by Chris Archer, who went 6 innings allowing just 1 run on 2 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1 and posting an 8-1 groundout to flyout ratio. Archer now has a 1.75 ERA to go along with a 2.79 FIP in his last 10 starts, and as we discussed yesterday, Archer could be a player to watch for the Rays down the stretch. But Archer left trailing 1-0 as Andre Rienzo had kept the Bulls offense quiet. Finally the Bulls got something across against Rienzo in the 7th. Leslie Anderson singled to begin the inning, and two batters later, Henry Wrigley singled with Anderson stopping at 2nd base. But Anderson moved to 3rd on a Trayce Thompson error on the play and scored on a Jesus Feliciano sac fly to tie the game at 1. Lefty Adam Liberatore followed Archer with 3 1-hit innings, striking out 5 while walking none, but the Charlotte bullpen kept the game tied 1-1 as the game went into extra innings. Liberatore has been especially dominant of late, not allowing a run in his last 4 appearances spanning 7.2 IP while striking out 13 and walking just 1. But a pitcher on the opposite edge of the spectrum, struggling right-hander Josh Lueke, faltered in the 10th, allowing a Seth Loman single, a wild pitch, and a walk-off single by Brandon Short as the Knights won 2-1. Lueke has just a 15.12 ERA in his last 7 appearances across 8.2 IP, albeit while striking out 9 and walking just 2. He has 5 losses on the season, 3 of them during that stretch.Lueke has been hit hard and has had terrible luck of late, but he has a good arm and hopefully he can get back on track soon. Robby Price, up from High-A as a replacement for the promoted Reid Brignac, went 2 for 3 in his first Triple-A game, while Anderson went 2 for 5 with the only Bulls run.

Double-A Southern League: Huntsville Starts (MIL) 8, Montgomery Biscuits 2

Little went right for the Biscuits in this one as they got clobbered. Jake Thompson started and was hit hard, lasting just 4.2 innings allowing 4 runs on 8 hits, striking out just 1 while walking 3. His groundout to flyout ratio was a surprising 9-2, but Thompson was horrible yet again, allowing back-to-back homers to Hunter Morris, a 3-run shot, and Brock Kjeldgaard in the 5th. Thompson is 1-7 with a 6.94 ERA and a 5.10 FIP in his last 10 starts as his ERA on the season has ballooned to 5.56. C.J. Riefenhauser and Scott Shuman actually tossed shutout ball for the next 2.1 innings before Shane Dyer fell apart in the 8th, allowing 4 more runs. Matt Nevarez, who has been nothing short of gold since signing with the Rays as a minor league free agent in late July, was dominant yet again in his 2012 Double-A debut, striking out 2 in a perfect inning. Omar Luna went 2 for 5 with both Biscuits RBIs, Shawn O’Malley went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored, and Greg Sexton also went 2 for 4.

High-A Florida State League: Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 6, Charlotte Stone Crabs 3

Take away a 3-run 5th inning, and the Stone Crabs would have gotten 1-hit in this game. The pitching wasn’t nearly good enough for the Stone Crabs to sneak away with an improbable win. George Jensen started and saw a recent run of success come to a screeching halt as the went 3.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 1 while walking none. Theron Geith tossed hitless ball over the next 3.2 innings, allowing an unearned run, before Lenny Linsky continued his ineffectiveness by allowing 2 runs in the 9th. Cody Rogers had a 2-run triple and Hector Guevara had an RBI single for the 3 Stone Crabs runs.

Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 12, Aberdeen Ironbirds (BAL) 9

Pitchers, stay far away. The Renegades tagged Aberdeen starter Lex Rutledge for 5 runs in just 1 inning, with Luke Maile drilling a grand slam. The Renegades made it a 6-0 game in the 3rd when Richie Shaffer tripled and scored on a Justin O’Conner double, but then Jeff Ames wilted in the bottom of the inning, allowing 3 runs including a Creede Simpson 2-run homer. But O’Conner drilled a 2-run double as the Renegades made it a 9-3 game in the 5th. Ames was not that bad, going 5 innings allowing 3 runs on 3 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. Maile singled in Shaffer to make it a 10-3 game after 5 and a half. But how quickly things can change. Ian Kendall entered the game for the Renegades in the 6th and was even worse than Rutledge. He allowed 6 runs in just an inning of work, with runs scoring on a sac fly, a bases-loaded walk, a Will Howard RBI single, a wild pitch, and finally a 2-run triple by Simpson, and suddenly it was a 10-9 game. But Kris Carlson and Jose Alberto Molina tossed 3 scoreless frames to end the game and O’Conner provided some breathing room with a 2-run single in the 8th as the Renegades won 12-9. O’Conner had a career day, going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 5 RBI, Maile went 2 for 4 with a homer, 5 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Richie Shaffer went 2 for 3 with a double, a triple, a walk, an RBI, and 4 runs scored, and Ryan Dunn went 3 for 4 with a walk and 2 runs scored.

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Tags: Adam Liberatore Chris Archer Justin O'Conner Luke Maile Tampa Bay Rays

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