Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook: April 13

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Photo: @dave_mitolo

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Pawtucket Red Sox, 2-1, Thursday afternoon at McCoy Stadium. Deven Marrero hit a blooper over the head of Clint Robinson in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Matt Dominguez for an unearned run and giving Pawtucket the win.

Joe Ross for the Chiefs and Brian Johnson for the PawSox were both excellent on the mound. Ross threw the best start of the season for Syracuse, allowing just a run on six hits in seven innings. Ross did not walk a batter and struck out six. Johnson was equally good, going six and two-thirds innings, allowing just a run on four hits with only one walk and eight strikeouts.
The game remained scoreless for the first five innings.
Syracuse (1-6) finally started the scoring in the sixth. Rafael Bautista led off with an infield single and reached second on a Brian Goodwin sacrifice bunt. Robinson followed with an RBI single to score Bautista and give the Chiefs the lead.
Pawtucket (5-3) squared the game in the bottom of the sixth. Rusney Castillo continued his great series with his second hit of the game, a single with one out. He moved to second on a groundout, and scored on a Dominguez RBI single, just scoring ahead of a good throw from Bautista in center to tie the score.
The game stayed 1-1 until the ninth. Austin Adams started his second inning out of the bullpen with a ground ball hit by Dominguez to second. Brandon Snyder’s throw was low to first and Robinson couldn’t catch it, allowing Dominguez to reach second on a two-base throwing error. Adams then struck out Allen Craig and got Bryce Brentz to strikeout. After intentionally walking Junior Lake, Marrero blooped a 3-2 pitch just over the outstretched glove of Robinson behind first, and the ball landed just a few paces fair for a hit, and drive in the game-winning run.
Syracuse hits the road and will travel to Rochester to open a three-game set starting Friday at 1:35 p.m. Jacob Turner is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Nick Tepesch for the Red Wings.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Aderlin Rodriguez hit a walk-off single with one out in the ninth inning, as the Bowie Baysox beat the Harrisburg Senators 5-4 on Thursday. Cedric Mullins scored the game-winning run after he reached base with a double and advanced to third on a walk by Audry Perez. The Baysox scored four runs in the seventh before Harrisburg tied the game 4-4 in the ninth when Drew Ward hit a two-run home run. Reliever Jesus Liranzo (1-1) picked up the win after he allowed two runs and one hit over one inning. He also struck out two and walked one. Jimmy Cordero (0-1) allowed one run and got one out in the Eastern League game. In the losing effort, the Senators recorded a season-high five extra base hits. Raudy Read doubled twice and singled for the Senators.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): After a road trip filled with wins powered by the long ball, the Potomac Nationals (5-2) continued the trend of winning with the home run, as the club opened its 2017 home campaign with two more home runs in a 6-4 win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks (2-5). RHP Hector Silvestre (W, 1-0) allowed four runs over six innings for the P-Nats, which matched the team’s longest start of the early season.

For just the second time in the first seven games of the season, the P-Nats gave up the first run of the game. With one out in the top of the third inning, Wilmington SS Nicky Lopez tripled, and after 2B DJ Burt was hit by a pitch, CF Elier Hernandez made it 2-0 with a two-run double. Potomac quickly answered against RHP Scott Blewett, as 1B Ian Sagdal led off the bottom of the frame with a single, and 2B Bryan Mejia tied the game with a two-out, two-run home run, his second home run of the season.

Wilmington took the lead back in the top of the fourth inning, but quickly gave it away. 3B Wander Franco led off the top of the inning with a triple and scored two batters later on an RBI single by LF Roman Collins. In the bottom of the frame, Blewett issued a leadoff walk to SS Edwin Lora. LF Telmito Agustin singled, and two batters later, DH Austin Davidson tied the game at 3-3 with an RBI double. Sagdal followed with an RBI single, which put Potomac ahead 4-3.

Both teams scored again in the fifth inning, but once again, Potomac tallied one run more than the Blue Rocks in the frame. Burt began the inning with a double and scored on an RBI single from Hernandez, which briefly tied the game, but C Chase Vallot grounded into an inning-ending double play. With Blewett still on the hill, C Taylor Gushue led off the home half of the inning with a solo home run, his team best third home run of the season. Back in the lead, this time for good, the P-Nats added one more in the frame. Mejia reached on an error by Burt, and the Potomac second baseman scored two batters later on an RBI single from Lora, the shortstops second of three hits on the night.

Out of the bullpen, both teams were nearly flawless. The combination of LHP Jake Kalish and RHP Jacob Bodner allowed just one hit and struck out four over 3.2 innings of scoreless relief for Wilmington, while LHP Grant Borne (SV, 1) allowed one hit, but faced the minimum over three innings.

Two games clear of the rest of the Northern Division, the P-Nats will look to RHP Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 9.00) for a third consecutive win. Rodriguez allowed five runs, four earned, over four innings against the Blue Rocks last week. Opposite the righty, Wilmington will send LHP Emilio Ogando (0-0, 13.50) to the hill. Ogando allowed six runs on nine hits over four innings against Potomac less than a week ago. The second consecutive starting pitcher rematch gets underway at 7:05pm Friday night at Pfitzner Stadium.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): For the second consecutive night, the Suns plated seven runs in a single inning, sealing their fourth straight win and first road victory of the season, 12-5, against the Delmarva Shorebirds on Thursday at Perdue Stadium. 

Twelve Suns batters went to the plate in an electric top of the third inning. Left fielder Daniel Johnson led off with a solo home run, his team-leading fourth of the season, and then added a double later in the frame. The 21-year-old is surging in 2017 after slugging just one home run in 62 games with the Auburn Doubledays in Class A Short Season last year.

First baseman Anderson Franco lined a two-run double to center and catcher Tres Barrera tagged his first home run of the season to cap off the six-hit, seven-run inning that put the Suns up 8-1 in the third. 

Carter Kieboom added another impressive 3-for-5 night at the plate with two runs scored. The 19-year-old Suns shortstop, a top-five prospect in the Washington Nationals minor league system, has now recorded a base hit in all seven games of his Suns career and now leads the South Atlantic League in batting average at .483.

Suns pitchers combined for a season-high 13 strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Right-handed starter Carlos Acevedo didn’t meet the inning minimum to qualify for the win, but held the Shorebirds at bay with five strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs on just two hits before giving way to Kyle Simonds out of the bullpen. The Suns reliever from Texas A&M earned his first win with a career-best seven strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. 

The Suns remain tied atop the SAL Northern Division standings with the Greensboro Grasshoppers at 6-2. The four-game series at Delmarva continues Friday. Suns southpaw McKenzie Mills draws the start against fellow lefty Travis Seabrooke at 7:05 p.m.

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