It was not a great day for the Tampa Bay Rays minor league organization, as they would go just 1-6. At least that one win was exciting, as the Princeton Rays would take their game by a score of 16-12 in 12 innings.
Triple-A International League: Toledo Mud Hens (DET) 5, Durham Bulls 3
Mike Montgomery wasn’t at his sharpest for the second outing in a row, going a solid 6.0 innings but allowing 4 runs while striking out 3 and walking 1. In relief, Adam Liberatore threw 2.0 shutout innings. Liberatore continues a solid season that has seen him put up a 2.12 ERA, and he has little left to prove at Triple-A. Brandon Gomes would finish things off by allowing a run in his inning of work.
Jeremy Moore was once again at the head of the offense, going 2 for 3 with a homer, a double, and two runs scored. Jayson Nix and Vince Belnome also contributed, each going 2 for 4. But the Bulls would go just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position, and that would be their undoing in this game.
Double-A Southern League: Chattanooga Lookouts (LAD) 8, Montgomery Biscuits 7
The Biscuits lost a heart-breaker, giving up 5 unanswered runs over the last 3 innings including a walk-off in the bottom of the 9th. Oddly enough the offense scored more runs (7) than they had hits (6). They took advantage of some poor control on the part of the Lookouts, as they drew 8 walks. Jeff Malm was the only Biscuit with multiple hits, going 2 for 5.
Pitching-wise, every Biscuits pitcher gave up at least one run in their outing, with Victor Mateo allowing 4 in 6.1 innings as the starter. Jim Patterson allowed 1 in 0.2 innings of relief, and then Parker Markel gave up 2 runs while getting just 1 out and Bryce Stowell gave up 1 run in 1.1 innings. Despite allowing the run, Stowell has still been great for the Biscuits this season, throwing to a 2.61 ERA and a 40-16 K-BB ratio in 38.0 innings pitch.
High-A Florida State League: Dunedin Blue Jays 2, Charlotte Stone Crabs 1
Coming of the disabled list, Jared Mortensen made his first start since June 5th. He would go 3.0 innings without allowing a hit, striking out 2 and walking none. In relief, Kevin Brandt had a nice outing, going 4.0 innings and allowing 1 run while striking out 3. Colton Reavis came on for the 8th, however he allowed the go-ahead run in his only inning.
The offense, meanwhile, could not take advantage of two solid days from Justin O’Conner and Josh Sale. O’Conner would go 4 for 4 with a homer and a double while Sale went 3 for 4. O’Conner still has the solid raw power that caused him to be a 1st round pick in 2012, and his contact abilities may finally be improving as he is hitting .278 this year. If he can continue the progress with the hit tool, his power will start to show up in games even more and all of a sudden he could turn from “bust” into a big time sleeper in the Rays organization. For the team as a whole, they could not take advantage of 10 hits and would drop this game despite a solid night from the pitching staff.
Low-A Midwest League: Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN) 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 4
In his first start since hitting the DL on June 22nd, Jaime Schultz struggled, allowing 4 runs in 3.0 innings of work. Prior to his injury, Schultz had thrown to a 0.88 ERA and a 49-11 K-BB ratio in 30.2 innings, so you have to hope that he can return closer to that form in the future. German Marquez was much better as the piggyback, throwing 5.0 innings and allowing 1 run while striking out 7 and walking 1.
Offensively the Hot Rods manged just 4 hits, though they did draw 6 walks and still managed to score 4 runs. Julian Ridings was the only player with multiple hits, going 2 for 3 with a 3-run homer. Spencer Edwards also had a nice night, going 1 for 2 with a double and 2 walks. A former second round pick, Edwards has never turned his tools into results as of yet and is hitting just .177 this year.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Lowell Spinners (BOS) 7, Hudson Valley Renegades 4
Hunter Wood didn’t have a great outing as the Renegades starter, going 4.0 innings and allowing 5 runs, though he did strike out 4 and walk none. Gerardo Reyes had a good relief outing, throwing 2.0 shutout innings, but Kyle McKenzie wasn’t as good, allowing 2 runs in his 2.0 innings. The offense, meanwhile, was led by a 2 for 4 night from Hunter Lockwood that included 2 doubles. The good night is a welcomed one for Lockwood, who is hitting just .184 in his last 10 games. Alec Sole also put up a 2 for 4 night out of the nine-hole, but in the end the offense couldn’t overcome the pitching staff’s struggles.
Advanced Rookie Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 16, Pulaski Mariners 12 (12 innings)
This game was crazy, and ultimately the P-Rays managed to pull out the win. Facing a 6 run deficit after just the 3rd inning, the team was able to come back and tie up the game to send it to extras. It looked like they had the game in the bags in the 11th, but they gave up a 2-run lead to continue the game. Once again they took the lead by plating 4 runs in the 12th, and this time they were able to hold onto it. Basically the entire pitching staff was roughed up, with starter Cameron Varga giving up 6 runs (5 earned) in 2.1 innings in his first start for Princeton. Bret Dahlson did throw 2.0 shutout innings to finish off the game.
Offensively, it is hard to know where to start. The team as a whole managed 23 hits and went a solid 9 for 20 with runners in scoring position. Nic Wilson had a great day, going 4 for 7 with 2 homers, 3 RBIs, and 3 runs scored. Manny Sanchez was also solid, going 5 for 7 with a double and 2 runs scored. 2013 1st rounder Nick Ciuffo had a nice night going 3 for 6 with a walk, 2 RBIs, and 2 runs scored. The performance was encouraging for Ciuffo, who has hit just .200 so far this season. Overall, an outstanding job by the offense to steal win despite the poor pitching.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Orioles 6, GCL Rays 5
Tim Beckham continued his rehab in this game, going 1 for 3 with a double at the plate. More importantly, though, is that it was Beckham’s first time back in the field, as he played 5 innings at shortstop. Cade Gotta was the only player with multiple hits, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. However, the Grays still put together 10 hits and drew 5 walks en route to a decent 5 runs.
Unfortunately for them, the pitching staff couldn’t get the job done. Angel Yepez had a decent start, allowing 2 runs in 5.0 innings, and Tommy Lawrence was also solid, throwing 3.0 innings in relief and allowing just 1 run. However, between them, Christoper Crisostomo allowed 3 runs in just 1.0 inning, and that would come back to cost the Grays.