By Michael Marzzacco
From the wires:
Syracuse (AAA International League):
The Syracuse Chiefs took the series opener against the Gwinnett Braves Monday night, 7-4. Jason Martinson tripled and homered in the game while scoring two runs and driving in three more.
Gwinnett (41-55) opened the scoring just four pitches into the game off Syracuse starter Jaron Long. Leadoff man Emilio Bonifacio sent the third pitch he saw to the gap in right-center field for a double. That hit was followed by a single on the next pitch from Omar Infante, which scored Bonifacio and gave the Braves an early 1-0 lead.
Syracuse (45-50) wasted no time responding in the bottom of the inning. After a Steve Lombardozzi groundout, Brian Goodwin came to bat. He then sent a Roberto Hernandez pitch well over the fence in right field for a solo home run, tying the game at 1-1.
The Chiefs continued the scoring in the bottom of the second. Zach Collier extended the inning for Syracuse with a two-out single to center. Jason Martinson then plated Collier with a triple to left field, giving the Chiefs a 2-1 advantage. Long then helped his own cause by reaching on a throwing error from Braves third baseman Rio Ruiz. Martinson scored on the play, pushing the score to 3-1.
The lead would not stand for long. Infante started a Braves rally with a leadoff double in the top of the third. Reid Brignac then swapped places with his teammate, scoring Infante with a double of his own to cut the lead to 3-2. Ronnier Mustelier followed with a third consecutive hit, a single to right which put Braves on the corners with no outs. After a fly out and a wild pitch, Brignac and Mustelier stood on second and third for Mel Rojas Jr. He tied the game with a groundout to Lombardozzi at second that scored Brignac and moved Mustelier to third. Gwinnett then took a 4-3 lead when Ruiz plated Mustelier with a single.
Syracuse knotted the score in the fourth. Matt den Dekker opened the frame by drawing a walk. He then stole second base to put a runner in scoring position. Pedro Severino advanced den Dekker to third with a single. Collier followed by grounding into a double play, but den Dekker scored to tie the game at 4-4.
The tie was broken in the next frame. Steve Lombardozzi ripped a one-out triple to right-center field to put the go-ahead run 90 feet away. After a Goodwin strikeout and an intentional walk to Matt Skole, Christopher Bostick came up to bat. He drove a pitch right back up the middle, plating Lombardozzi to give the Chiefs a 5-4 lead.
The Chiefs tacked on two insurance runs in the last of the eighth off of Gwinnett reliever Maikel Cleto. Severino reached base with a one-out single. After a Collier strikeout, Martinson came to the plate. He drove a Cleto pitch over the fence in left field, pushing the Syracuse advantage to 7-4.
Syracuse and Gwinnett play again Tuesday night in the second game of this three-game series. Lucas Giolito is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite the Braves’ Casey Kelly. Giolito is making his Triple-A debut in the start. He is ranked as the #1 prospect in baseball by MLB.com. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35.
Harrisburg (AA Eastern): Tyler Mapes celebrated his 25th birthday in style Monday night by tossing a nine-inning complete game, his third on the season, leading the Senators to a 5-1 win over Erie. The Senators have won four straight on the road and moved to 51-43 with the win.
Mapes allowed just four hits, walked three, and hit one batter in his ninth win on the season. The only run he allowed was a solo home run to Dominic Ficociello in the seventh inning.
The Senators scored single runs in the first two innings to give Mapes a 2-0 cushion. Rafael Bautista walked in the first and eventually moved to third where he scored on a ground out off the bat of Wilmer Difo. In the second, Isaac Ballou doubled and then scored from third on a sacrifice fly by Shawn Pleffner.
Harrisburg scored two more in the third when Difo doubled in Andrew Stevenson, then scored himself on a sacrifice fly by Neftali Soto. The Senators made it 5-0 in the seventh when Soto singled with two outs to drive in Bautista.
Soto had three hits in the game and Ballou chipped in with two.
Erie threatened in the seventh, loading the bases with two outs, before Mapes retired Jason Krizan on a ground ball to second base. It was the only time in the game Erie had more than one runner on base.
The Senators and Erie SeaWolves play game two of their three-game series Monday night at 7:05 p.m. at Jerry Uht Park in Erie. The game can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at senatorsbaseball.com, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:50 p.m.
Potomac (High-A Carolina): In a great bounce back performance, the Potomac Nationals (49-42, 15-8) responded from Sunday night’s walk-off loss with a 7-2 win over the Salem Red Sox (55-38, 12-1) Monday night at LewisGale Field. LHP Matthew Spann (W, 2-1) had his best outing of the season, while the P-Nats survived a career high nine strikeouts by Salem starter RHP Michael Kopech (L, 0-1).
The night got off to a good, but not so good start for Potomac, as CF Victor Robles was hit by a Kopech fastball just two pitches into the game. CF Dale Carey replaced Robles and scored on an RBI double by LF Alec Keller, as Potomac led 1-0 two batters into the game. Kopech then struck out the next three hitters and limited the damage to just one run.
The P-Nats scored again against Kopech in the fourth, though it was an unearned run. 1B Jose Marmolejos reached on a fielder’s choice, took second base on a wild pitch, and moved to third base on a passed ball charged to C Jordan Procyshen. With two outs, C Jake Lowery had his first hit of 2016 with Potomac, which plated Marmolejos and made it 2-0. Potomac stranded men at the corners in the inning and Kopech then worked a scoreless fifth frame.
On the hill for Potomac, Spann was brilliant. In his third start of the season, his 17th appearance, the lefty outdid the highly touted Kopech despite throwing nearly 10 MPH slower than the Salem starter. Spann faced just three over the minimum over six-shutout innings. The lefty allowed only three hits, walked two, and struck out a season high six.
Potomac broke the game open against LHP Bobby Poyner, as the P-Nats jumped on the first pitch in six straight plate appearances to start the sixth inning. Marmolejos tripled and then scored on an RBI single by RF Drew Vettleson. Following a sacrifice bunt by DH Bryan Mejia, Lowery plated Vettleson with his second RBI single of the night. 3B Austin Davidson then singled on the first pitch, and a successful safety squeeze bunt by 2B David Masters made it 5-0 Potomac. The P-Nats added a run in the seventh against Poyner on a sacrifice fly by Vettleson and a run in the ninth against RHP German Tavarez on an two-out RBI single by Davidson. The P-Nats led 7-0 after 8.5 innings.
Following two scoreless innings from RHP Wirkin Estevez, LHP Justin Thomas entered with a big lead in the ninth. 2B Reed Gragnani ended Thomas’ six-game scoreless outing streak with a leadoff home run, while LF Mike Meyers made it 7-2 with an RBI single. Thomas gave up four hits in the inning, but stranded men at first and second base and secured Potomac’s 7-2 victory.
Five different Potomac starters had two hits, while Vettleson and Lowery each had two RBIs. Seven of Potomac’s nine starters had at least one hit, while all nine starters reached base at least once.
Ahead 2-1 in the series, the P-Nats will go for the series victory Tuesday night, as RHP Erick Fedde(5-3, 3.76) is set to take the hill. The righty, just recently named Carolina League “Pitcher of the Week,” is 3-0 with a 0.82 ERA in his last seven outings. Opposite Fedde, LHP Matt Kent (8-4, 3.51) will make his second start of the season vs. Potomac. Kent picked up the victory on June 13th, as he allowed just one run over 6.1 innings against the P-Nats. First pitch is set for 7:05pm at LewisGale Field.
The Potomac Nationals Baseball Network will carry live coverage beginning with the “P-Nats Leadoff Show” at 6:50pm. P-Nats Gameday Audio on the Potomac Nationals Baseball Network is available atwww.potomacnationals.com or via the TuneIn Radio App.
Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns put the Greenville Drive in park on Monday.
Hagerstown spotted Greenville a 3-run lead after two innings before rallying for eight straight runs en route to a 9-6 win.
Ian Sagdal homered for the second straight game, hitting a two-run shot to right to cap Hagerstown’s scoring in a three-run sixth inning.
It was the Suns’ sixth-straight win, including a four-game sweep of the Drive, as Hagerstown (51-38, 16-9) keeps its hold on first place in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division’s second-half standings.
Randy Encarnacion had three hits and two RBIs and Kelvin Gutierrez contributed a pair of doubles to help propel Hagerstown.
The key inning for the Suns was the fourth. Encarnacion hit a two-run double to cap a three-run rally which gave the Suns the lead for good. Telmito Agustin also had an RBI single in the frame.
Jacob Howell limited the Drive to two runs in three innings of relief and Jorge Pantoja got the save with a perfect ninth inning.
James Bourque (2-4) got the win despite giving up two-run home runs to Kyri Washington, in the first inning, and Trent Kemp, in the second. Bourque recovered to allow just one hit over his final 3 2/3 innings.
The Suns return home on Wednesday to open a three-game series with Columbia. With a victory, Hagerstown would match its longest winning streak of the season (seven games).
Auburn (Short Season-A New York Penn League): The Auburn Doubledays, Single-A Short Season affiliate of the Washington Nationals, walked off in 11 innings over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 4-3, on Monday night. Daniel Johnson hit a single to right field that scored Blake Perkins from first base in the 11th inning to give the Doubledays the win.
The Doubledays (15-16) got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning. With two outs, Sheldon Neuse worked a walk. With Nick Banks batting, Neuse stole second base. Banks then doubled down the left-field line to score Neuse and give the Doubledays a 1-0 lead.
Auburn added to its lead in the fifth inning. Clayton Brandt led off the inning with a double. Perkins then struck out. Johnson followed with a ground out to second base, but Brandt advanced to third base on the play. With Brandt on third base and two outs, Neuse singled to center field, scoring Brandt to put Auburn on top 2-0.
The Doubledays scored again in the seventh inning. David Kerian led off with a doubled. Brandt then laid down a sacrifice bunt that moved Kerian to third base. With Perkins batting, a passed ball allowed Kerian to score to extend Auburn’s lead to three, 3-0.
Mahoning Valley (11-20) tied the game in the top of the eighth inning. With one out, Nate Winfrey walked. Silento Sayles then singled to put runners on first and second base. Gabriel Mejia grounded into a fielder’s choice in which Sayles was out at second base but Winfrey advanced to third base and Mejia was safe at first. Andrew Calica followed with a single to left field that scored Winfrey and moved Mejia to second base, cutting the Doubledays lead to two, 3-1. Mitch Longo then doubled down the right-field line to score both Mejia and Calica, tying the game at three.
The Doubledays walked off in the eleventh inning. With two outs, Perkins singled. Johnson followed with a base hit to right field. On the play, Perkins hustled to score from first base and give the Doubledays a 4-3 win.
Auburn and Mohoning Valley conclude their three-game series Tuesday night at Falcon Park. Left-hander McKenzie Mills will pitch for the Doubledays, while right-hander Triston McKenzie will be on the mound for the Scrappers. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.