The Undercards: Albert Suarez Emulates Price, Throws 5 No-Hit Innings

By Robbie Knopf

Tuesday was quite an exciting day for Rays fans. David Price was dominant, The early minor league games were exciting, and then there were the games we’ll talk about here.

Triple-A International League: Norfolk Tides (BAL) 8, Durham Bulls 5

The Durham Bulls’ losing streak has reached 9 games and they have lost 12 of their last 13 after falling 8-5 to the Orioles-affiliated Norfolk Tides on Tuesday night. The Bulls had their moments, but they just could not put it all together.

Alex Cobb, usually dependable for the Bulls, struggled with command and had a terrible night, going just 4 innings and allowing 6 runs on 8 hits, striking out 6 while walking 4. The Bulls offense could not overcome that. Will Rhymes gave his best effort for Durham, going 3 for 5 with just a double short of the cycle, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, and Kyle Hudson went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored. Reid Brignac and Brandon Guyer each went 1 for 5 with an RBI single while Stephen Vogt‘s 2 for 3 day in the second game of a doubleheader on Monday proved to be just a temporary break from his slump as he went 0 for 5 with 2 strikeouts. The Bulls had a solid offensive day, but Cobb’s disaster outing was just too much. The Bulls were the only Rays affiliate to lose Tuesday and no matter what you want to say about winning in the minors, the Bulls have to turn this around.

High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 6, Palm Beach Cardinals 4

While David Price was no-hitting the Los Angeles Angels to begin the Rays’ game on Tuesday, Albert Suarez did the same versus the minor league affiliate of Albert Pujols‘ former team, the Cardinals. Suarez was perfect through 3 innings before allowing a 4th inning walk, and then Suarez managed to allow a 5th inning run without a hit through a walk, stolen base, wild pitch, and an error. Suarez exited after allowing a hit in the 6th. Suarez went 6 innings, allowing 1 run, unearned, on  1 hit, striking out 3 while walking 2. He forced 9 groundouts compared to 7 flyouts. Suarez was all over the place on the day, but hitters could not make good contact against him.

The Stone Crabs took a 1-0 lead in the 2nd on a Phil Wunderlich double and Riccio Torrez RBI single before the Cardinals tied the game in the crazy 5th inning. Thanks to a walk, two singles, a sac fly, and a key error, the Stone Crabs grabbed a 3-1 lead in the 7th. But a Jonathan Rodriguez double off of Charlotte reliever Victor Mateo and a subsequent Luis De La Cruz RBI single gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game and put the Stone Crabs in danger of losing despite Suarez’s outstanding outing. But the Stone Crabs came up with a 9th inning rally as Robby Price hit an RBI triple, Mikie Mahtook hit a sac fly, and Torrez hit another RBI single to take a 6-4 lead, and Jim Patterson closed out his own win as that was the final. Torrez went 3 for 5 with his 2 key RBI for the Stone Crabs while Mahtook went 2 for 3 with his sac fly and Price went 2 for 4 with his pivotal RBI triple, an RBI, and a run scored. Even when things got a little out of hand, the Stone Crabs battled back, and their reward is a .500 record on the season at 9-9. Suarez had a night to remember and the Charlotte offense came through as the Stone Crabs gave the Rays organization a 4-1 day counting the big league team and not just one potential no-hitter to talk about, but two.