Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook: April 12

Courtesy of the Harrisburg Senators

By Michael Marzzacco

From staff and wire reports:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Pawtucket Red Sox, 6-0, Wednesday afternoon at McCoy Stadium. Brian Goodwin reached base three times in the loss for the Chiefs. The 42-year-old veteran Joe Nathan made his Syracuse debut as well Wednesday.

Pawtucket (4-3) started the scoring on a first-inning home run for the third game in a row. Rusney Castillo led off the bottom of the first with a home run for the second time in three games, this time off Matt Grace to put the PawSox up 1-0. Ryan Court and Matt Dominguez followed with singles, and then Allen Craig hit an RBI groundout to second to extend the lead to two.
Syracuse (1-5) allowed another run in the third. Court doubled home Castillo to push the lead to 3-0.
In the fourth, Bryce Brentz led off with a single against Chiefs reliever Trevor Gott. Two batters later, Deven Marrero and former Chief Dan Butler each doubled, with Butler’s bringing home two runs for a 5-0 lead.
The PawSox added one more in the fifth. Court tripled to start the inning against Gott, and scored on Dominguez’s sacrifice fly for the sixth run of the game.
Nathan was strong in his Chiefs debut in the loss. The man with the seventh-most saves in Major-League history walked one and struck-out one in a scoreless inning of work.
The Chiefs and PawSox conclude their four-game set Thursday at 12:05 p.m. Joe Ross is scheduled to start for Syracuse opposite Brian Johnson for Pawtucket.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Spencer Kieboom hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning, leading the Harrisburg Senators to a 6-0 win over the Hartford Yard Goats on Wednesday.

The home run by Kieboom scored Mario Lisson to give the Senators a 2-0 lead.

Harrisburg starter Jaron Long (1-1) picked up the win after allowing just four hits over six scoreless innings. Opposing starter Jack Wynkoop (1-1) took the tough loss in the Eastern League game after allowing two runs and six hits over seven innings.

The Yard Goats were blanked for the first time this season, while the Senators’ staff also registered their first shutout of the year.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Despite 25 combined hits, the Potomac Nationals (4-2) and Frederick Keys (2-4) tallied just eight total runs, as the P-Nats picked up a 5-3 win in the first non-blowout game of the series. RHP Luis Reyes (W, 1-1) allowed just two runs over six innings, while C Taylor Gushue hit his second home run of the series. Gushue finished the game with four RBIs, eight runs driven in in the series.

After each team had a blowout win and loss in the first two games of the series, the P-Nats and Keys played their most competitive game in Wednesday’s matinee. Despite scoring opportunities for both sides in each of the first six half innings, the game remained scoreless, as Reyes and LHP Keegan Akin traded zeroes and stranded runners in scoring position.

Potomac struck first with a two-out rally in the fifth frame against Akin. DH Bryan Mejia and 3B Kelvin Gutierrez each had a two-out single, while Gushue followed with a three-run home run, his second blast of the series. Gushue also hit a grand slam in the series opener.

Reyes cruised through nearly the entirety of his start, as he walked only one and struck out five. Reyes surrendered a one out double to DH Jomar Reyes in the sixth inning, and after he set down C Yermin Mercedes, Reyes surrendered a two-run home run on a two-strike pitch to 1B Alex Murphy. Reyes departed after six full innings for Potomac’s first quality start of the season.

In relief of Reyes, RHP Dakota Bacus (SV, 1) pitched well over the final three innings. Bacus gave up a single in the seventh frame, a single in the eighth inning, and a solo home run in the ninth. Prior to CF Austin Hays’ solo home run in the bottom of the ninth, the P-Nats added a pair of insurance runs against RHP Jay Flaa. LF Telmito Agustin began the frame with a double that LF Randolph Gassaway lost in the sun. CF Victor Robles followed with a sacrifice bunt and reached first base safely on a fielding error by Murphy. Mejia plated Agustin with a sacrifice fly, which made it 4-2. Robles then stole second base and advanced to third base as Mercedes’ throw to second made its way into the outfield. Gushue followed with a sacrifice fly, which made it 5-2.

3B Drew Turbin pinch hit for 3B Ricardo Andujar to begin the bottom of the ninth inning and singled, but Bacus got 2B Stevie Wilkerson to ground into a double play. After Hays homered, SS Ryan Mountcastle flied out to centerfield, as Potomac took the rubber match of the series 5-3.

With the win, Potomac earned its second straight road series victory, and heads back home for their home opener on Thursday night in first place in the Northern Division. In the opener on Thursday night vs. the Wilmington Blue Rocks, the starting pitchers, LHP Hector Silvestre (0-0, 6.75) for Potomac and RHP Scott Blewett (0-0, 5.40) for Wilmington, will battle for the second time in a week, as the two faced off on Saturday, a 12-inning 4-3 win for the P-Nats. Silvestre allowed three runs over four innings in a no-decision, while Blewett allowed three runs over five innings. The rematch gets underway at 7:05pm Thursday night at Pfitzner Stadium.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): One night after the Suns blew a ninth-inning lead and played into the 15th inning, they left no doubt on Wednesday by plating seven insurance runs in the eighth inning to blowout the Lakewood BlueClaws, 10-2.

18-year-old Juan Soto went 3-for-5 at the plate with a solo home run in the sixth plus RBI singles in the seventh and eighth.

All nine Suns batters came to the plate in the eighth. Jake Noll slammed a two-run triple off the wall in straightaway center and later scored when Nick Banks launched his first homer of the season.

Banks finished 3-for-5 with 3 RBI. Blake Perkins also tallied a multi-hit night, going 2-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored.

For the third straight day, the Suns overcame an early deficit to the BlueClaws with a rally in the sixth inning or later, completing a three-game sweep of Lakewood.

19-year-old Tyler Watson made his second start of the season for Hagerstown and matched a career-high with seven strikeouts in five complete innings. Ace reliever Jorge Pantoja earned the win, his first of the season, running his scoreless streak up to six innings pitched. 

The Suns finished the opening homestead with a 5-2 record and now co-lead the South Atlantic League Northern Division standings with the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

Next up, the Suns hit the road for a seven-game road trip beginning with four games against the in-state rival Delmarva Shorebirds.


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