Washington Nationals Farm Report May 29

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Courtesy of the Syracuse Chiefs

Compiled via team press releases:

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Paolo Espino allowed just one run in seven innings Sunday. (Jeff Irizarry)

Syracuse Chiefs (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs closed out a three-game sweep of the Gwinnett Braves with a 3-1 victory at Coolray Field on Sunday afternoon. Paolo Espino threw seven strong innings in the win, moving the Chiefs one shy of a season high at six games over .500.

Gwinnett (24-27) added the game’s first run in the opening inning. With two outs and the bases empty, Emilio Bonifacio singled and stole second base. Cleanup hitter Brandon Snyder knocked him in with a ground-ball single to left field.

Espino helped Syracuse (27-21) answer with his bat in the third inning. With one out, he lined a single to right field against G-Braves right-hander Tyrell Jenkins. Trea Turner and Tony Campana followed with singles to load the bases for Matt den Dekker. The red-hot Syracuse left fielder knocked a sacrifice fly into left field, driving in Espino to even the score.

The Chiefs took the lead for good in the next inning. Jason Martinson started the rally with a single. Caleb Ramsey then laid down a bunt down the third-base line, which Jenkins booted on a fielding attempt. The sacrifice bunt and error put a pair aboard for Syracuse. After a Scott Sizemore double play temporarily quieted the rally, Pedro Severino served an RBI single into right field, giving the Chiefs a 2-1 lead.

Those runs held up for Espino, who retired 11 straight at one point and did not surrender a run after the first. He walked one and struck out four in seven innings of seven-hit, one-run ball.

Syracuse added some insurance in the ninth against Jose Ramirez. Ramsey started the inning with a ground-ball double into left field. He advanced to third on a Sizemore sacrifice bunt and scored on a Severino sacrifice fly.

The Chiefs begin a three-game series with the Charlotte Knights Monday at 7:05 p.m. Syracuse right-hander A.J. Cole is scheduled to start against Charlotte’s Chris Volstad.

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Wilmer Difo hit a double in the ninth inning and came around to score the winning run in Harrisburg’s victory over Akron on Sunday. (Courtesy of Mark Pynes/pennlive.com)

Harrisburg Senators (AA Eastern League): On Sunday afternoon in Akron, the Senators (25-23) had just enough offense to beat the RubberDucks (35-14) 2-1. The Senators win snapped Akron’s 17 game home winning streak and snapped the Sens mini two-game losing streak.

Reynaldo Lopez started and worked five innings fanning a career-high twelve batters while allowing a run on five hits. Lopez struck out the side twice, and had at least two punch outs in each of his five innings of work.

Harrisburg took a 1-0 lead in the second on a triple by Neftali Soto and an RBI groundout off the bat of Chris Bostick. Akron tied the game in the third on a single and a double and that’s where the game stayed until the ninth inning.  In the ninth, Wilmer Difo hit a ground-rule double leading off and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Isaac Ballou.  Soto then hit a foul flyball to deep right field that was caught, scoring Difo from third giving the Senators a 2-1 lead.

Koda Glover, who worked a scoreless eighth, then worked around a lead-off walk in the ninth to record his second win for the Senators.

Wander Suero pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Lopez before handing the ballgame over to Glover. Suero lowered his ERA to 1.69 on the season with the two scoreless innings. The Senators only managed four hits, but it was enough.

The Senators go for a series split on Monday afternoon with RH Lucas Giolito on the mound. The final game of the four-game weekend series at 1:05 p.m.

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The P-Nats wore special Autism Awareness jerseys Sunday afternoon. (Courtesy of the Potomac Nationals)

Potomac Nationals (High-A Carolina League): Two early towering home runs from the Winston-Salem Dash (18-33 Overall, 13-14 Road) propelled them to snap a five-game losing streak, as the hometown Potomac Nationals (26-21 Overall, 12-11 Home) managed just three hits in a 4-1 loss Sunday afternoon at Pfitzner Stadium.

The Dash scored in each of the first three innings, but then managed just two baserunners, and did not have a hit from the fourth inning on. RHP Boone Whiting (L, 5-2) allowed a solo home run to LF Mason Robbins in the first inning and the Dash never looked back. 3B Ryan Leonards had an RBI triple in the second inning and he scored one batter later on C Daniel Gonzalez’s first 2016 hit. Winston-Salem capped off its scoring with a leadoff home run in the third by RF Michael Suiter, his second in just three games with the Dash.

After Suiter’s home run, Whiting retired 15 straight Dash hitters, but his offense did not muster much of anything against RHP Jordan Stephens (W, 1-6). Stephens retired the first seven men that he faced on the afternoon before he issued back-to-back third inning walks to SS David Masters and RF Narciso Mesa, the eight and nine hitters in the Potomac order. CF Andrew Stevenson followed the walks with an RBI double to left field, which made it 4-1 in favor of the Dash, the eventual final. Stephens stranded men on second and third in the frame, as neither DH Alec Keller nor 1B Jose Marmolejos could not bring either Mesa or Stevenson home.

Potomac’s next scoring chance came in the seventh inning against RHP Jacob Morris. After Whiting had completed his fourth straight 1-2-3 inning, the P-Nats loaded the bases with one out on a single and two walks. Morris settled down and struck out Mesa, and then induced a fly ball out from Stevenson. Potomac went just 1-8 with men in scoring position and left nine men on. The P-Nats threatened in the bottom of the ninth, as RHP Connor Walsh (SV, 3) walked C Matt Reistetter to begin the frame and Masters reached on an error by Leanords at third base. With men on the corners, Mesa popped out on the infield before Stevenson flied out to left field to end the game.

The three hits for Potomac matched a season low set on May 23rd in the second half of a doubleheader in Frederick. Despite the loss, Potomac remained 4.5 games behind division leading Lynchburg and has an opportunity to win the series Monday night.

First pitch Monday night in the series finale is set for 7:05 between the P-Nats and the Dash. RHP Luis Reyes (3-3, 3.50) is set to start for Potomac. Reyes has not pitched against the Dash in 2016, but has gone six straight starts without allowing more than three earned runs. Opposite Reyes, the Dash will counter with RHP Spencer Adams (4-3, 4.11). The White Sox’s 2014 second round pick tossed eight innings vs. Potomac in a win on May 14th. In that start, Adams allowed just two earned runs on three hits and struck out seven.

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Courtesy of the Hagerstown Suns

Hagerstown Suns (Low-A South Atlantic League): Chase Vallot went 3-for-5 with a home run, double and six RBIs, and the Lexington Legends mashed three homers in all to beat the Hagerstown Suns 11-8 on Sunday at Municipal Stadium.

After the Suns (30-19) opened the scoring with a three-run first inning, the Legends (21-29) took the lead with a five-run fourth and added three more in the sixth to open up the advantage. Hagerstown scored three in the ninth, but Lexington shut the door as the teams split the four-game series.

The Suns remained 1½ games ahead of Hickory — a 6-2 loser to Greensboro — in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division. Matthew Page had a big day for the Suns, going 4-for-4 with a double, triple and six RBIs. His double came in the first with the bases loaded, scoring them all. Travis Maezes homered, Samir Duenez hit a three-run triple and Vallot added an RBI single in Lexington’s five-run fourth, which chased Hagerstown starter Pedro Avila (3-3). Vallot unloaded a three-run homer in the sixth to make it 8-3.

Ryan Ripken doubled and scored on Victor Robles‘ single in the bottom of the sixth, and Jakson Reetz doubled and scored on Page’s single in the seventh to pull the Suns within 8-5. Vallot made it 10-5 in the eighth with a two-run double, and Marten Gasparini made it 11-5 in the ninth with a solo shot for the Legends. Page capped his day with a two-run triple in the bottom of the ninth. He scored on Austin Davidson‘s sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 11-8, but the Suns would get no closer.

Yunior Marte (3-2) got the win for Lexington, working 4 1/3 innings in relief and surrendering two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four. Duenez and Roman Collins each went 3-for-5 and Tanner Stanley had two hits. Rhett Wiseman had two hits for the Suns, who will continue their homestand with a three-game series against Asheville. The opener is scheduled for Monday night at 7:05.

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