The Undercards: Marty Gantt Walk-off Single Wins It as Renegades Find Magic Again
It’s special to find a team on such a roll that no matter how a game starts, even if they’re getting blown out, they have the confidence that they will find some way to turn the game around and escape with a victory. Short Season-A is extremely far from the big leagues, but the Hudson Valley Renegades are playing exactly like that.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 16, Gwinnett Braves 8
Reid Brignac has cooled of late. But as the Rays are evaluating their options with the trade deadline approaching, Brignac could not have picked a better night to break out. Lance Pendleton started for Durham and had a disaster outing, but you have to give him credit for remaining in the game so long. He went 5.2 innings allowing 8 runs on 10 hits, striking out 3 while walking 3 as well. Honestly, it was a gritty performance, and it was the difference in the game. Despite such a horrific night, Pendleton earned the win in the game, and it’s hard not to say he deserved it given the circumstances of the game. In sharp contrast, Gwinnett starter Jose Lugo lasted just two-thirds of an inning, allowing 4 runs. Following Pendleton, the Bulls bullpen of Adam Liberatore, Josh Lueke, and Dane De La Rosa tossed the final 3.1 innings scoreless. On offense, several Bulls had huge nights, beginning with Brignac, who went 2 for 5 with a grand slam and a walk. His grand slam made an 8-7 game into a 12-7 game, shifting the momentum back in the Bulls favor as this game wasn’t close by the end. Rich Thompson also went 4 for 6 with a leadoff homer in the game, a double, a stolen base 2 RBI, and 4 runs scored, Henry Wrigley went 2 for 4 with a double, 2 walks, 4 RBI, and a run scored, Leslie Anderson had a 2-run home run, and Tim Beckham went 2 for 5 with a walk, a stolen base, and 2 runs scored. It wasn’t nearly as crisp as the Rays’ blowout win on Wednesday, but the Bulls kept it together and came away victorious.
Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Jackson Generals (SEA) 3
Kyle Lobstein had another mostly great start that makes you shake your head, Hak-Ju Lee and Ty Morrison continued their steals parade, and Mikie Mahtook was money in his Biscuits starting debut as the Biscuits held on to beat the Generals 4-3. Lobstein went 7 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 6 while walking 1. But his groundout to flyout ratio was just 4-10! His groundout to airout ratio hasn’t been above 1.00 since June 15th, 8 starts ago, even as he has pitched well! Some guys are simply flyballs pitchers, but this is getting crazy. Lee and Morrison each went 1 for 3 from the top of the lineup and ran down the Generals’ throats. Lee’s hit was a double, and he also walked twice, stole two bases to give him 36 on the year, and scored twice as well. Morrison, meanwhile, walked once, stole his 13th base at Montgomery and 24th on the year, notched 2 RBI, and scored once. And Mahtook, starting in a game for Montgomery for the first time after getting his feet wet with a pinch-hitting appearance on Tuesday, went 2 for 4 from the cleanup spot with 2 doubles.
High-A Florida State League: Ft. Myers Miracle (MIN) 12, Charlotte Stone Crabs 4
Awfully hard to be perfect two nights in a row. Rays affiliates backed the Rays’ encouraging win Tuesday with a perfect 5-0 night, but they had to settle for 5-1 on Wednesday as the Rays blew out the Orioles as the Stone Crabs had a tough night. Enny Romero had no idea where the ball was going and ended up with a scary final line, allowing 8 runs, 7 earned, in just 3 innings, striking out 4 while walking 5. Romero has walked 4 or more batters in 5 consecutive starts. He has electric stuff but has to find some measure of control. The Stone Crabs were down 11-0 before they managed 4 runs in the 8th. Todd Glaesmann slammed a 2-run homer in his Charlotte debut, Luke Bailey also homered, and Derek Dietrich went 3 for 4 with a triple and a run scored.
Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 15, Lansing Lugnuts (TOR) 13 (13 innings)
Wow. This game was as crazy and as captivating as you’re going to see. The two teams combined for 28 runs on 39 hits with 9 innings not enough to decide the victor and the first score in extra innings not being the winning margin. Ryan Carpenter had an awfully tough night, putting the Hot Rods in an 8-2 hole at one point as he went 4.2 innings allowing 8 runs on 13 hits, striking out 1 and walking 1 as well. But the Hot Rods battled back with 3 in the 5th, 2 in the 6th, and 1 in the 7th to tie it up at 8. Stayton Thomas relieved Carpenter with 2.1 shutout innings with 3 strikeouts and was the only pitcher to not allow a run in the game. An unearned run allowed by Jason McEachern gave the Lugnuts a 9-8 lead heading to the 9th. Then the Hot Rods ralllied for four runs in the top of the 9th to take a 12-8 lead, with Josh Sale delivering a 2-run triple. But Kevin Patterson delivered a game-tying 3-run homer for Lansing in the bottom of the inning off of Austin Hubbard as this game continued. The Hot Rods finally thought they had the game when Juniel Querecuto scored on an error in the 11th, but a Shane Opitz RBI triple off Andrew Bellatti kept the game going. Finally in the top of the 13th inning, the Hot Rods got a 2-run double from Ryan Brett, and Bellatti held the line in the bottom of the frame as the Hot Rods won 15-13. Jake Hager went 2 for 7 with a homer, a walk, a stolen base, 4 RBI, and a run scored, Josh Sale went 1 for 3 with a triple, 3 walks, 3 RBI, and 3 runs scored, Querecuto went 4 for 6 with a double, a walk, and 3 runs scored, Brett went 2 for 6 with a double, 2 walks, 2 RBI, and 2 runs scored, and Alejandro Segovia and Drew Vettleson each had multiple-hit games while Taylor Motter went just 1 for 5 but stole 2 bases and drove in 2 runs.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Hudson Valley Renegades 10, Tri-City ValleyCats (HOU) 9 (12 innings)
This team just doesn’t give up. Two nights after overcoming an 8-0 deficit to win, the Renegades came up with another huge rally here to win their 7th straight game. Reinaldo Lopez didn’t have nearly the disaster that that some of the other starters we’ve seen in this recap had, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits in 4 innings, striking out 1 while walking 4. He actually left with the game tied at 3. Ian Kendall was not so fortunate. He allowed 3 runs each in the 5th and 6th innings to put the Renegades up against an 9-3 deficit. But the Renegades didn’t lose confidence. They remained calm, and came right back. It started with Kendall, who tossed 2 shutout innings to finish his outing. And while Kendall provided some pitching stability, the offense finally came alive. Tommy Coyle laced a 2-run double in the 7th to pull the ‘Gades within 9-5. And in the bottom of the 8th, a Deshun Dixon RBI single paired with an error scored 3 runs to pull Hudson Valley within 9-8 before Joey Rickard drilled a game-tying RBI triple. Rob Finneran then matched up against Tri-City’s Blake Ford as they game went into extra innings. Finneran gave the Renegades the best relief appearance of his young career, allowing just a hit in 3 innings spanning from the 9th to the 11th, striking out 2 while walking 1 and posting a 4-0 groundout to flyout ratio. Finneran has struggled through a terrible pro debut, but maybe Wednesday will go down as the turning point for him. After Dylan Floro tossed a perfect 12th with 3 groundouts for the Renegades, they finally sealed the deal on their incredible comeback win. With 2 outs and a runner on 2nd, Marty Gantt came through with a walk-off RBI single as the Renegades won 10-9. Gantt went 3 for 5 with a walk, the clutch RBI, and 2 runs scored, Tommy Coyle went 2 for 5 with a double, a walk, his 10th steal, 2 RBI, and a run scored, Rickard went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, an RBI, and a run scored, and Luke Maile had a 2-run double in the first inning while Ryan Dunn and Leonardo Reginatto both had multiple hits.
Rookie Gulf Coast League: GCL Rays 2, GCL Twins 1
There had to be some pitching somewhere in the Rays organization on Wednesday night. Of course, it came in the pitcher-friendly GCL, where the GCL Rays won their second consecutive game, both by a 2-1 score. Luis Cabrera, a 21 year old converted outfielder, got the start for the GCL Rays and went 6 one-run innings allowing just 5 hits while striking out 4 and walking none. His groundout to flyout ratio was 6-5. Cabrera was an utter disaster after being signed as a 16 year old by the Rangers in 2006, but it is nice to see him reconstructing his career as a pitcher. So far in 2012, he has a 3.25 ERA with a 17-5 strikeout to walk ratio in 27.2 IP, pretty terrific for someone who started pitching full-time last year. Isaac Gil tossed the final three frames for the GCL Rays, allowing no runs on 3 hits, striking out 2 while walking 1 and posting a 5-1 groundout to flyout ratio. In terms of the precious little offense in the game, Leopoldo Correa went 3 for 3 with a walk but couldn’t factor in the scoring. Jiminson Natera‘s RBI single and Yoel Araujo‘s sac fly were the 2 GCL Rays runs. Bralin Jackson also went 1 for 4.