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Mar 12, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Nathan Karns (51) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Undercards: Nate Karns, Bullpen Combine For Shutout

It was a mixed day for the Tampa Bay Rays organization, as they had some great pitching and offensive ones, and some not so great ones. All-in-all Rays’ affiliates went 4-3, so you can’t complain much about a winning record for the day.

Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 1, Gwinnett Braves 0

The Bulls’ pitching staff deserves all the credit for this win as they shut out Gwinnett. Nate Karns had a solid start, going 6.2 scoreless innings while allowing just 3 hits, striking out 5 and walking 2. Karns has been inconsistent to the tune of a 5.62 ERA season, but it is starts like this that keep hope alive that he can be a number 2 or 3 starter in the big leagues soon. Steve Geltz and Josh Lueke combined to throw the final 2.1 innings without allowing a hit. Lueke has continued to be an enigma for the Rays, as he continually dominates Triple-A hitters (2.25 ERA and 16-4 K-BB ratio in 16.0 innings this year), but still can’t figure out big league hitters (5.66 ERA and 19-5 K-BB ratio in 30.1 innings this year). Offensively the Bulls managed just 4 hits, and they needed the help of a Braves’ error to score their only run. Jayson Nix went 2 for 3 with a double, but other than that nothing was doing for the offense.

Double-A Southern League: Jackson Generals (SEA) 6, Montgomery Biscuits 0

Albert Suarez had a rough start for the Biscuits, going just 2.2 innings and allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks. Suarez had been pitching well in limited time this season (6 starts) since returning from injury, but this start would be the first time he gave up more than 3 runs. Jim Patterson then allowed a run in 2.1 innings of work before Parker Markel, Cory Burns, and Bryce Stowell combined to throw the final 4.0 innings without giving up a run. The Biscuits could do nothing offensively, managing just 4 hits, none by the same player and none for extra bases.

High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 8, Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET) 0

This was a great game all-around from the Stone Crabs. Reinaldo Lopez had a good outing as the starter going 6.0 innings and allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. Jose Molina, Kevin Brandt, and Zach Cooper would then each throw a scoreless inning. Offensively, Johnny Field led the way by going 2 for 5 with a homer and 3 runs scored. Field put up a solid .290/.367/.461 line at Low-A Bowling Green this season, and he has gone 4 for his first 11 after recently being promoted to High-A. As a college draftee in 2013, High-A will be a better test of if his bat can hold up against more advanced pitching. Maxx Tissenbaum also had a nice night, going 3 for 5 with a pair of RBIs, and Justin O’Conner also drove in 2 and was on base 3 times. Both Tommy Coyle and Tyler Goeddel also had multi-hit nights.

Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 6, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL) 2

German Marquez, who we just ranked as the Rays’ number 14 prospect, went 5.0 innings in this start allowing 2 runs on 3 this and 2 walks while striking out 9. It took him just 71 pitches to do so as the Rays stay cautious with the 19 year old’s work load. Brad Schreiber had a nice outing in relief, throwing 3.0 shutout innings and striking out 5 before Andrew Hanse finished things off with a scoreless inning. The Hot Rods didn’t have anyone with a multi-hit night, but they managed to put together 6 hits and 4 walks to score 6 runs. Darryl George went 1 for 3 with a homer, a walk, and two runs scored. Julian Ridings also had a key hit- a two RBI double- as the Hot Rods cruised to victory.

Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 7, Auburn Doubledays (WSH) 6

The Renegades didn’t get the greatest performance out of their pitching staff, as Chris Pike allowed 4 runs in 4.2 innings and Edgar Gomez allowed 2 runs in 3.1 innings. But thankfully, the Renegades offense smacked 13 hits en route to 7 runs. 2014 1st rounder Casey Gillaspie led the way by going 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and 5 RBIs. Things have been firing on all cylinders for Gillaspie as of late, as he has put up a 1.030 OPS in his last 10 games. Grant Kay‘s great start to his pro career continued with a 2 for 4 performance in this game. Daniel Miles, Braxton Lee, and Zach Marberry all also smacked 2 hits as the offense bailed out the pitchers.

Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Elizabethton Twins 4, Princeton Rays 2

A pair of Riley Unroe errors hurt the P-Rays in this contest, as 2 of Trevor Lubking‘s 3 runs were unearned. Lubking had a nice outing, striking out 8 and walking 0 in 4.2 innings of work. Yonny Chrinos then allowed a run in his 3.1 innings before Kyle Bird threw a shutout inning. Offensively, Thomas Milone had a nice night going 3 for 4 with a double, a walk, and his 7th stolen base of the year. Milone remains a toolsy player, but his .793 OPS this season is showing that those tools are beginning to turn into production. Nick Ciuffo went 2 for 4 in this game, and after struggling early this season at the plate he is finally showing signs of life by notching hits in each of his last 4 games. Both Patrick Grady and Unroe also had multiple hits, but despite 12 hits the P-Rays could only score 2 runs, and that would cost them the win.

Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Orioles 4, GCL Rays 1

Brock Burke made his professional debut in this game, throwing a scoreless inning with a strikeout as the starter. Burke, a projectable lefty, has the upside of a frontline starter, but as with most high school draftees there is plenty of work to be done with his secondary pitches and command. Angel Yepez was solid behind Burke, allowing just an unearned run in 5.0 innings, but Alberto Casanas was not so fortunate, giving up 3 runs in 2.0 innings. Meanwhile, the offense managed 8 hits, but went just 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position. Oscar Sanay and Chris DeMorais both went 2 for 4, and Cade Gotta went 1 for 2 with a triple and 2 walks. But, the offense couldn’t come up with the key hits to win this game.

Tags: Brock Burke Casey Gillaspie Nate Karns Tampa Bay Rays

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