The theme throughout these games of Tampa Bay Rays affiliates is first-inning runs. Scoring early and, for the most part, often, payed off for the Rays’ minor league teams. Among Rays affiliates, only the Biscuits would lose.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 4, Buffalo Bisons (TOR) 2
The Bulls strolled a first-inning run to the board when DH Wilson Betemit took a bases-loaded walk scoring right-fielder Robby Price. Jeremy Moore, recently hot at the plate (.361/.425/.806!! in his past 10 games), increased the lead, hitting a two-run homer (his 5th at Durham, his 11th of the season). Vince Belnome doubled in a late security run for the Bulls. Justin Christian and Belnome each had two hits for the Bulls. Hak-Ju Lee continues to struggle at the plate, going 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts.
Nate Karns pitched much better than his 5.66 ERA entering the contest indicated: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 7 SO, and only allowing 1 earned run. Adam Liberatore and Brandon Gomes each got a hold, and Jeff Beliveau pitched a perfect 9th inning to earn his 11th save.
Double-A Southern League: Pensacola Blue Wahoos (CIN) 3, Montgomery Biscuits 1,
After a rain-delayed start, Biscuits’ starting-pitcher Albert Suarez had a poor first-inning, giving up two early runs. The Biscuits got one back in the fourth when Kes Carter hit a sac fly to right scoring Richie Shaffer. The Blue Wahoos added an unearned 6th-inning run against Suarez after 1B Jeff Malm dropped a pop-foul. The Biscuits weren’t completely shut-down, getting 7 hits (3 doubles) and 7 walks, but could not combine them into runs. Alejandro Segovia had the only multi-hit game for the Biscuits, although Taylor Motter was on-base 3 times (1 double, 2 BB).
Class-A Advanced Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 6, Brevard County Manatees (MIL) 2
The Stone-Crabs offense was clicking early and often, scoring in each of the first four innings. Charlotte manufactured a first-inning run when second-baseman Tommy Coyle singled to lead off the game, promptly stole second (his 19th of the season), and was driven-in by catcher Justin O’Conner. Coyle had 3 hits on the day (two doubles). O’Conner went 2-4 with an RBI. Julian Ridings hit a two-run home-run in the second-inning. Tyler Goeddel and Patrick Leonard also each had an RBI for Charlotte.
Austin Pruitt had a strong start for the Stone Crabs winning his fifth game of the season. He went 7 innings, giving-up 7 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3, and relying mostly on ground-balls.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 7, Lansing Lugnuts (TOR) 2
It was a monster day for Hot Rods’ third-baseman Ty Young. Young hit two two-run homers in the game, each scoring Oscar Hernandez. The Hot Rods put 3 runs together in the 5th inning, off of some infectious hitting: Darryl George, Spencer Edwards, and Pat Blair had three straight hits to load the bases at the beginning of the 5th. Armando Araiza walked in a run before Juniel Querecuto and James Harris each drove in another run.
It would be more than enough for Bowling Green’s starter as lefty Chris Kirsch who earned his fourth win of the season. Kirsch went 7 innings, giving up 6 hits and an earned run, striking out 7 while walking only one.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 6, Mahoning Valley Scrappers (CLE) 4
The Hudson Valley Renegades put up four first-inning runs. Two runs scored off of a Jace Conrad triple before 2014 first-round pick Casey Gillaspie then reached on a two-base fielding error scoring Conrad. Gillaspie was then driven in by Zach Marberry.
The Scrappers kept it close, scoring in the 7th and 9th, but Brian Miller held on for his second save of the season for the Renegades. Marberry, Conrad, and Blanchard each had 2 hits for the Renegades. Ryan Pinnel got the win in relief (1.1 IP, 1 BB, and 2 SO) of Chris Pike who only went 3.2 innings (3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO) and did not qualify for a win. Pike lost his control in the 4th: walking one batter, throwing a wild pitch, and giving up two doubles in that inning.
Short Season Rookie League: Princeton Rays 5, Burlington Royals 3
Princeton was down quickly against Burlington when Rays’ pitcher Trevor Lubking surrendered a first-inning three-run homer to Joshua Banuelos. The Rays rebounded in the 5th inning when they strung together 5 runs. Every Ray was on base at least once, as 8 different Rays players walked for 11 total walks. Patrick Grady (.429 BA) was on base four times (2 H, 2 BB), and Jose Paez drove in 2 for the Rays.
Lubking gave up the three-run homer first, but then combined with Yonny Chirinos and Kyle McKenzie to shut down the Burlington Royals for the remained of the contest. Lubking went 4.2 innings only allowing one other hit while striking out 6. Chirinos went 2.1 innings earning the win, and Kyle McKenzie saved the game only allowing one hit over an inning-and-a-third.
Short Season Rookie Gulf-Coast League: GCL Rays 3, GCL Orioles 2
The Gulf Coast League Rays walked-off in 10 against the GCL Orioles. The Rays took a 2-0 lead to the ninth-inning when Nick Sawyer replaced Trevor Dunlap and surrendered two small-ball runs to the Orioles. In the bottom of the 10th, though, DH David Rodriguez (who went 2-for-5 in the game) drove in 2B Oscar Sanay who got on base via a bunt, then advanced on a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch. Sanay was 2 for 3 on the day and is batting .406 on the season. At once Sawyer earned both his first blown-save and his first win of the year. Henry Centeno, the Rays starting pitcher, had a quality-start but no-decision, going 5 innings and striking out 5 while only allowing 3 hits.