Amazingly the Rays weren’t the only team in their organization to lose by 4 runs in an extra inning. But it was far from all bad as Durham and Bowling Green nailed down nice wins and players standing out in all the games.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 5, Charlotte Knights 2
The Bulls rallied for 3 runs in the 7th to break a 2-2 tie as they came with a great all-around effort in their 5-2 victory. Jake Odorizzi struggled early on for the Bulls, allowing two runners in the first inning as he couldn’t retire any of the first five batters he faced, but he buckled down from there to have a solid outing. Odorizzi retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced as he went 5 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 8 while walking 3. Odorizzi has an incredible 25-5 strikeout to walk ratio in 17 innings pitched, but he needs to stop having lapses of command where he lives pitches up in the zone and hittable for him to be successful at the major league level. The Bulls bullpen tossed 4 shutout innings behind Odorizzi to seal the win. On the offensive side, Jason Bourgeois was huge, going 3 for 5 with a double, 2 stolen bases, and 2 run scored while Hak-Ju Lee stayed hot as well, going 2 for 3 with an RBI and a run scored. Bourgeois is hitting .370 on the young season while Lee is at .412. Wil Myers wetn 1 for 4 with a 2-run single before prompting a little too much excitement when he left for a pinch-runner in the 7th inning, and Tim Beckham also had a multi-hit game, going 2 for 4 with a run scored. Nice to see some top prospects (plus Bourgeois) coming up big and the Bulls keeping it together after a tough start to come away with a nice win.
Double-A Southern League: Mobile BayBears (ARI) 8, Montgomery Biscuits 4 (13 innings)
The Biscuits have to be going through a lot of the same emotions the Rays are feeling right now. But it’s doubtful that having another party within the organization sharing their sorrow is making anyone feel better about themselves. Top lefty pitching prospect Enny Romero was the David Price equivalent in this one and was enigmatic although he did pitch a little better, going 5.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, striking out 7 while walking 1. But after getting behind 4-1 in this game after 5 and a half innings, the Biscuits came roaring back, getting a run in the 6th on a Cameron Seitzer RBI double and then tying the game in the 8th in unlikely fashion, scoring on a wild pitch and a sac fly, as the game would head into extra innings. After Zach Quate allowed a 2-run homer, letting an inherited runner from Romero score, the Biscuits bullpen was nearly flawless. Braulio Lara, C.J. Riefenhauser, and Marquis Fleming each tossed 2 shutout innings for Montgomery, allowing just 1 hit across the 6 frames with 6 strikeouts against 1 walk. However, the relief dominance could only last for so long as Neil Schenk allowed 4 runs in the top of the 13th (not on a grand slam but a sac fly, an RBI single, and a 2-run double), and 8-4 would be the final as the Biscuits fought so valiantly only to lose embarrassingly by 4 runs. In terms of the lineup, Seitzer went 2 for 5 with 2 doubles, a walk, and 2 RBI, Mikie Mahtook went 2 for 6 with 2 doubles and a run scored, Kevin Kiermaier went 3 for 5 with 2 triples but shocking didn’t factor into the scoring, and Shawn O’Malley went 2 for 5. The Biscuits went an inexcusable 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position, and despite unbelievable bullpen work from the 7th to the 12th, they were unable to find a way to win.
High-A Florida State League: Jupiter Hammerheads (MIA) 5, Charlotte Stone Crabs 0
Not much to be found here as the Stone Crabs got outplayed in every possible way. Roberto Gomez continued his struggles, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits in 4 innings, striking out 4 and walking 4 as well. Jacob Partridge followed with 3 innings of 1-run ball, striking out 5 while walking 1, and Nate Garcia tossed a perfect 8th, but by then it was too late. On the offensive side, the Stone Crabs actually out-hit Jupiter 8 to 7, but went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Richie Shaffer, Curt Casali, and Kyeong Kang did each encouragingly go 2 for 2 among the few highlights for Charlotte in this one.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 6, Great Lakes Loons (LAD) 0
This wasn’t one of those games where the Hot Rods dominated through and through and came away with an easy win. They struggled much more than the score would indicate but held Great Lakes to 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and scored 6 runs (2 earned) in the final 4 innings to pull away when it mattered most. Lefty Blake Snell started for Bowling Green and was like Matt Moore from a couple of outings ago: enigmatic but still very effective. Snell went 5 innings allowing no runs on 2 hits, striking out just 3 while walking 4 but forcing an incredible 11-2 groundout to flyout ratio. The Hot Rods bullpen walked 3 more over the game’s final 4 innings, but they also held the Loons to just 1 hit to cap off an unlikely 3-hitter where the Hot Rods didn’t overpower anybody, as evidenced by their 8-7 strikeout to walk ratio on the day. On the offensive side, the Hot Rods had 9 hits but just one for extra bases, but they scratched and clawed their way to 6 runs. Ben Kline had a 2-run double and a run scored, Justin O’Conner and Ryan Dunn both went 2 for 5, and Tyler Goeddel went 1 for 5 with a stolen base and a run scored. Outstanding effort by the Hot Rods even if it wasn’t so pretty, and even if this game was much closer than the score would tell you, it demonstrates how far all-out play can take you.