The well-known saying is momentum is only as good as your next day’s starting pitcher . Well, when you follow up your no-hitter with another starter poised for a big game, one great game can become two in a row and just maybe a streak. That is what’s going on with the Bowling Green Hot Rods, and the Rays would do anything for a remotely similar series of events.
Triple-A International League: Buffalo Bisons (TOR) 6, Durham Bulls 3
Cory Wade made a spot-start for the Bulls with so many players getting called up to start for the Rays, and while he did well, his pitch count was limited and it was only so long that the Bulls pullpen could last with that being the case. Cory Wade went the first 3.2 innings and actually tossed no-hit ball, striking out 2 while walking 1 and forced a 5-2 groundout to flyout ratio. But things just got progressively worse after that. Adam Liberatore allowed 1 run in 1.2 innings, Steve Geltz allowed 2 in 1.2 innings, and Will Inman allowed 3 in one inning of work to put the Bulls behind as the BIsons won 6-3. Chris Gimenez went 2 for 4 with a solo home run and Brandon Guyer went 2 for 5 with a double and a run scored in the loss.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Pensacola Blue Wahoos (CIN) 3
Crazy finish to this one, but the Biscuits were the ones to score last and that made all the difference. Pensacola starter Shaun Ellis kept Montgomery off the board for the first 4 innings, but the Biscuits finally got to him in the 6th, with Robi Estrada drilling an RBI single before the Biscuits stranded the bases loaded. The missed opportunity loomed large the following inning as Victor Mateo finally came apart after 5 shutout frames, allowing a Yorman Rodriguez RBI single and getting into a bases-loaded jam of his own before Erik Hamren escaped further trouble. Mateo went 5.2 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 5 while walking 1. It was a very fine start, but the tough finish just didn’t cut it in such a low-scoring game. It looked like the Biscuits would be OK, though, when Mikie Mahtook delivered a 2-out RBI double in the 7th to make it 3-2 Montgomery. But Pensacola came right back with 2 runs in the 8th and the Biscuits had to rally again in the 9th against 7’1″, right-hander Loek Van Mil. Luckily they found a way to do just that. With 1 out, Kevin Kiermaier doubled and Robby Price drilled a walk-off 2-run home run as the Biscuits won the game 4-3. Kyeong Kang, Estrada, Mahtook, and Kiermaier all had multi-hit games to help lead the Biscuits to their dramatic win.
High-A Florida State League: Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 5, Charlotte Stone Crabs 3
Felipe Rivero impressed the Rays enough at Low-A that they added him to the 40-man roster following the season to prevent him from being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. His first season on the 40-man, though, has been marred by plenty of inconsistency and Saturday was just the latest case. Rivero worked around a hit and 3 walks to toss scoreless ball in the first 3 innings but allowed 2 runs each in the 4th and 5th to turn the Stone Crabs 3-0 lead into a 4-3 deficit. Rivero went 4.1 innings allowing 4 runs on 6 hits, striking out 4 while walking 5. His ERA on the season is 3.70, certainly not terrible, but he has failed to put up a 2-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and he has allowed more than a hit per inning. Jimmy Patterson was great in relief, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits in 3 innings, striking out 4 while walking none, but by then the damage was done. In the loss, Ben Kline, Curt Casali, and Willie Argo all went 2 for 4, Luke Bailey drilled a 2-run double, and Richie Shaffer had an encouraging game, 1 for 3 with a double, a walk, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 9, Lansing Lugnuts (TOR) 1
At least one of the Rays’ full-season teams as absolutely on fire. The Hot Rods came through with another excellent game on both sides of the ball to follow up their 14-1 combined no-hitter win on Friday. Dylan Floro got the ball and was excellent, going 6 innings allowing no runs on 3 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. Floro lowered his ERA to 2.08 in the process, registering his 5th straight start with 6 innings and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 2-1. Floro has a 50-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 65 innings on the season, allowing just 2 home runs. Jose Alberto Molina and Ryan Garton allowed just 1 run in 3 innings to close out the game. And offensively, it was the right side fo the Bowling Green infield, second baseman Tommy Coyle and first baseman Patrick Leonard, who both proved impossible to get out. They improbably both went 2 for 2 with a 3-run homer, a double, and 2 walks, and Coyle scored 2 runs while Leonard scored 3. Coyle has been huge for the Hot Rods all year, managing a .271/.403/.445 line with 16 doubles, 24 stolen bases, and 50 walks against 33 strikeouts, while Leonard, the final piece of the James Shields trade, is hitting just .215 but has really come alive of late, hitting over .300 in his last 21 games.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 4, Staten Island Yankees 2
Will the Renegades ever lose? Probably, but they haven’t proved it yet. Their win on Saturday improved them to a 6-0 record on the season, and they are showing no signs of slowing down. The Renegades were perfect in their go-around of the rotation and lefty Jordan Harrison looked just as good in his second outing, going 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 8 while walking 2 and forcing 7 groundouts to 1 flyout. Corey MacDonald tossed 3 shutout frames to close out the game. On the offensive side, Pat Blair slammed a 2-run home run, Oscar Hernandez went 3 for 4 with a run scored, and Ryan McChesney went 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI, lowering his average to .600 in the early goings in the process. How long can Hudson Valley keep this up?
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Orioles 9, GCL Rays 5
A strong finish proved to be too little, too late as the Rays suffered their first defeat of the season. Jose Alonzo and Jhefferson Furtada struggled mightily in the first 4.2 innings, allowing 8 runs (6 earned) as the GCL Rays found themselves trailing 9-2. But everything changed in the final 3 innings as Eric Fredrick tossed 3.1 no-hit innings, striking out 5 while walking 1, and the GCL Rays scored 3 runs in the 6th to lose a little more respectively 9-5. Erick Vasquez went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, 2 RBIs, and a run scored, Taylor Hawkins had a 2-run double and a run scored, and Alexander Simon went 2 for 4 with 2 stolen bases and an RBI. Hopefully the GCL Rays can take the momentum from the end of this game into their next contest.