It’s your debut. The adrenaline is pumping, the pressure is mounting. But when you come through, there’s no better feeling. Those sentences could describe two Rays who debuted on Wednesday: Chris Archer, who made his big league debut, and Taylor Guerrieri, who made his pro debut at Short Season-A Hudson Valley. But no matter where they come, debuts are always special, especially when they go well.
Triple-A International League: Rochester Red Wings (MIN) 7, Durham Bulls 6
This game ended with an exciting 9th inning. Unfortunately, the Bulls could not come out on top. Shane Dyer‘s struggles at Durham continued, but he battled for a halfway-decent outing, allowing 4 runs on 11 hits in 6 innings, striking out 4 while walking 1 and posting a 6-1 groundout to flyout ratio. The Bulls trailed 5-4 entering the 9th, but came up with some magic. Chris Gimenez led off the inning with a home run and after a Cole Figueroa single and a sac bunt, Shawn O’Malley, pinch-hitting for Jeff Keppinger (who went 0 for 4 in the game), came up with a big go-ahead RBI single to give the Bulls a 6-5 lead entering the bottom of the 9th. However, Brandon Gomes allowed a Wilkin Ramirez 2-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th as the Bulls fell 7-6. Figueroa went 4 for 4 with a triple, an RBI, and 3 runs scored in the game while Gimenez went 2 for 4 including his homer and Henry Wrigley went 3 for 4. Stephen Vogt and the red-hot Reid Brignac also had hits in the game.
High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 7, Palm Beach Cardinals 5
It’s not often that you win a game when you pitchers walk nine and striking out just 4. Victor Mateo tossed a disgusting 6 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and 4 walks while striking out just 2, but George Jensen made up for it with 5 runs allowed in 1+ innings, walking 4 while striking out just 1. The Stone Crabs got their run support from Stephen Tinoco, who went 2 for 3 with 2 RBI, Riccio Torres, who went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored, and Mikie Mahtook, who had a triple, a double, and a run scored.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 5, Aberdeen Ironbirds (BAL) 3
So far, so good for Taylor Guerrieri. The Rays’ first selection in 2011 made his pro debut in style, allowing no runs on 2 hits in 5 innings, striking out 6 while walking 1 and posting a 5-2 groundout to flyout ratio. It wasn’t exactly Dylan Bundy-esque, but he was great. Guerrieri couldn’t get the win in the game thanks to spotty bullpen work, but the Renegades got the win thanks to a couple of nice offensive performances. Joel Caminero went 2 for 5 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI and Justin O’Conner went 3 for 5 with 2 doubles and a run scored. Jake DePew also went 2 for 3 with a walk.
Advanced Rookie-level Appalachian League: Princeton Rays 10, Kingsport Mets 7
The P-Rays came back from a 5-0 deficit to come away with a well-deserved win. Eli Echarry had a disaster start in his first outing of the year, allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on 4 hits in 1.2 innings, striking out 1 while walking 2. The credit goes to the bullpen and the offense in this one. Joan Guerrero, Jon Weaver, and Pedro Silvestre combined to go 7.1 innings allowing just 2 unearned runs on 7 hits, striking out 11 while walking 3. At the top of the lineup, Brandon Martin had a huge game, going 2 for 5 with a homer, 3 RBI, and 2 runs scored, Juan Morillo went 2 for 5 with a double, 2 RBI, and 2 steals, and James Harris went 2 for 3 with a walk, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored.
Rookie-level Gulf Coast League: GCL Twins 6, GCL Rays 2
Not much went right for the GCL Rays in this one as they lost their first game of the season to drop to 2-1. Starter Jorge Rodriguez allowed 5 runs in 3 innings, although just 1 run was earned. At least 2012 draftees Nick Sawyer and Jordan Harrison had solid one-inning stints, with Saywer allowing a hit and a wallk while striking out 2 and Harrison allowing a hit while recording one K. On offense, Jiminson Natera homered in four trips, Johnny Eierman went 2 for 4 with a double and a walk, and Cesar Perez went 2 for 5 with a run scored.