A couple of really bad starts early in the season can inflate a pitcher’s ERA for months on end. Nate Karns is on fire, but his ERA is still 4.96. At this point, however, the ERA does not matter too much. He was struggling, but now he is pitching to his capability, and the Rays are excited to see what he can do.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 5, Columbus Clippers (CLE) 2
Four straight starts of six or more innings and two or less runs allowed–that’s a pretty good streak for Nate Karns. In this game, Karns went 6.1 innings allowing just 2 runs on 3 hits, striking out 7 while walking 2. Karns is on fire and is finally becoming a big league factor. Unfortunately for him, his chance to join the rotation has come and gone with Alex Cobb back. Vince Belnome and Jayson Nix supported Karns with a 2-run shot and a solo homer respectively to help the Bulls to the win.
Double-A Southern League: Huntsville Stars (MIL) 7, Montgomery Biscuits 3
Roberto Gomez had a rough outing in this one, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits in 5.1 innings, and Sam Runion allowed 2 more runs in 1.2 innings behind him. On the positive side, Matt Ramsey tossed a perfect 8th with a strikeout, Bryce Stowell delivered his 6th straight shutout appearance, and Richie Shaffer went 1 for 3 with his first stolen base of the season.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 9, Bradenton Marauders (PIT) 5
A quartet of unearned runs made this one a ballgame at the end, but it was pretty much all Charlotte otherwise. Reinaldo Lopez worked around some control issues to have a nice outing going 7 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 5 while walking 4. His groundout to flyout ratio was an excellent 11-3. Combine his outing with quite a bit of offense, and this was a fun game. Maxx Tissenbaum and Tommy Coyle both drove in 3 and Josh Sale went 2 for 3 with a double and 2 runs scored to highlight the bats’ contributions. The Rays would love to see Sale get going, and you never know whether this game could be the one that starts something.
Low-A Midwest League: Lake County Captains (CLE) 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 4
Jacob Faria has been great this season for the Hot Rods, but even the best occasionally struggle. In Faria’s defense, his defense certainly didn’t do him any favors in this game. Faria went 6.1 innings allowing 5 runs, 2 earned on 5 hits, striking 6 while walking 1. He was great before coming apart in the 7th. Brad Schreiber and Colton Reavis tossed 2.2 shutout relief innings with 4 strikeouts to end the game, but the Hot Rods’ late rally fell just short. Ariel Soriano went 3 for 4 with a double and Pat Blair had a pair of RBIs in the loss.