Get one clutch hit and it may just be luck. Get two and it has to mean something, right? After all of Mark Thomas‘ struggles so far this year, the Rays have to hope that’s the case.
Triple-A International League: Indianapolis Indians (PIT) 1, Durham Bulls 0
The Bulls tried their best going up against 2011 No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole, but Cole was just too much, tossing 7 shutout innings allowing just 3 hits and a walk while striking out 3. J.D. Martin gave the Bulls his best effort going against such a daunting task, tossing 7.2 innings allowing just an unearned run in 7.2 innings, but it was not enough. Brandon Guyer did go 1 for 3 in the loss.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Pensacola Blue Wahoos (CIN) 2 (Completion of suspended game from Tuesday)
This game was very frustrating right when it was suspended, with Merrill Kelly allowing 2 runs in the 7th after tossing shutout ball in the first 6 innings to put the Biscuits behind 2-1, but the Biscuits put up 3 runs when the game resumed to win it 4-2. As it turned out, the game turned out to be Mark Thomas’ best of the year–and the Rays hope it’s his coming out party. Thomas gave the Bulls the lead with a homer in the 3rd to make it 1-0, and then he gave them the lead again in the 7th, drilling a 2-out, 2-run triple t- make it 3-2. Thomas is hitting just .139 on the season, but the Rays know he’s a lot better than this and hopefully he can start showing that. Thomas also did a great job catching Kelly, who nailed down his fourth straight quality start, going 7 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. Also, Keith Castillo stayed hot for Montgomery, going 1 for 3 with a double and a walk, and Riccio Torrez went 1 for 3 with a double and a run scored.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 7, Dunedin Blue Jays 4
Ryan Carpenter had a nice start and the Stone Crabs rode clutch hitting to 7 runs as they beat the Blue Jays 7-4. Carpenter went 5.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, striking out 7 while walking 2. He has allowed just 2 runs in 11.2 innings in his last two starts after allowing 13 in 11.1 IP in his previous two. On the offensive side, Drew Vettleson went 2 for 4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, Kes Carter went 2 for 5 with 2 RBI and a run scored, Willie Argo went 2 for 5 with a stolen base, an RBI, and a run scored, and Jake Hager went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and 2 runs scored. Vettleson is hitting just .257, but he’s hitting .286 in his last 10 games as he’s slowly but surely starting to heat up.
Low-A Midwest League: Dayton Dragons (CIN) 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 3
5.1 innings of one-run relief weren’t enough as the Hot Rods lost their 7th in a row. Blake Snell got the start and struggles, allowing 4 runs, 3 earned, on 4 hits in 3.2 innings, striking out 2 while walking 1. Snell has been extremely inconsistent all year, managing just a 4.14 ERA with 41 strikeout but 27 walks in 41.1 IP. That being said, take out two 6-walk outings and his K-BB ratio is better than 2-1, so the potential is there if only Snell can harness it. 6’7″ lefty Matthew Spann followed Snell as he made his season debut, going 3.1 innings allowing just an unearned run on 2 hits, striking out 2 and walking 2 as well. Nice to see Spann get on a mound after a solid year at Hudson Valley last year, and we’ll have to see what he can do. Nick Sawyer and Ryan Garton each struck out 1 working around a hit in an inning of work to finish off the game. On the offensive side, Andrew Toles went 2 for 5 and stole his 34th base of the season (!!), Leonardo Reginatto went 2 for 5 with an RBI, and Joey Rickard managed 2 RBI without a hit. Patrick Leonard also had an encouraging game, going 1 for 2 with a double, 2 walks, and 2 runs scored. He’s hitting just .181 on the season but .265 in his last 10 games, so maybe he’s primed to break out.