Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders: W 7-5 vs. Toledo Mud Hens
Taking notes from the Colorado Rockies’ pitching staff last night, the RailRiders built up a sizable lead, only to nearly blow it but come out on top. Gary Sanchez hit his first homer since coming back from the DL on June 12th. The two-run blast clanged off the video scoreboard in left field, and he celebrated his return to the catching position with a 2-for-4 game. Aaron Judge had a two-hit showing with two walks and a stolen base, and Ben Gamel chimed in as well with three knocks from the leadoff position, including a triple.
Despite two hits, Brady Lail capitalized on two double plays to face the minimum through four innings before falling apart in the fifth. Toledo torched him for four runs on five hits and a walk, surging back from a 5-0 deficit to make it a one-run game. Fortunately, Scranton tacked on some insurance runs and Giovanny Gallegos threw two scoreless frames for the save. The preseason sleeper pick now has a 1.51 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings of work this year between Scranton and Trenton.
Double-A Trenton Thunder: W 7-4 vs. Harrisburg Senators
Recently called up from Tampa, Miguel Andujar slotted into the third spot in the Trenton lineup and immediately looked to be at home. The 21-year-old went 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI, though he did make a throwing error at third (still a pretty nice debut). Andujar was not alone, either; all but two of Trenton's starters got hits, including multi-hit games from Mark Payton and Dante Bichette Jr.
Making just the third Trenton start of his own, Vicente Campos flashed excellence over the first six innings, striking out eight batters while surrendering just two runs on three hits and a walk. A sluggish seventh added a couple runs and hits to his final line, though he still has a 2.84 ERA in Trenton. J.R. Graham covered the next inning and a third scoreless before Jonathan Holder struck out the side in a perfect ninth. Holder has 50 strikeouts compared to just five walks in 33 2/3 innings of 2.41 ERA ball.
High-A Tampa Yankees: L 0-2 vs. St Lucie Mets
Ian Clarkin was in control on Tuesday night, going seven on 92 pitches while fanning three and giving up one lousy run on five hits and two walks. However, the lefty was the hard-luck loser in this one, as the T-Yanks couldn’t score him a single run of support. Jorge Mateo went 0-for-4 with a throwing error, too. It was just a quiet night for the offense.
The only player in the lineup with a good game was Abiatal Avelino. The second baseman went 2-for-4 with his 17th stolen base of the year, though he was also caught earlier in the game. Otherwise, Tampa generated just four hits, spread among Austin Aune (a double), Devyn Bolasky, Thairo Estrada, and Jake Skole. Maybe they just missed Andujar in their first game without him.
Low-A Charleston RiverDogs: W 3-0 vs. Augusta GreenJackets
In all fairness, the RiverDogs only had six hits, too. Luckily, they made them count and put three of them together in a three-run fifth that proved to be the decisive inning of the night, clinching a first-half title in the Sally League. Nathan Mikolas reached on an infield single and soon stole second. Alexander Palma and Hoy Jun Park notched back-to-back hits to bring Mikolas home, and Palma scored when pitcher Cory Taylor threw away a force attempt. A Gosuke Katoh sacrifice fly plated the third run, and that was all they needed.
The pitching staff combined on a five-hit shutout, as Nestor Cortes led the way with six frames of one-hit ball. That lowered his season ERA to a microscopic 0.98 in 36 2/3 innings. It seems like a good chance that his next outing will be in Tampa. Jose Mesa Jr. and Andrew Schwaab threw three scoreless to secure their first playoff berth since 2005, with a groundout to Kyle Holder at shortstop ending it.
Congrats to Charleston!