Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook: April 18

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Courtesy of the Potomac Nationals

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs won their second straight game, defeating the Toledo Mud Hens, 3-2, on Tuesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Adrian Sanchez scored the game-winning run on a bunt single plus a throwing error in the bottom of the eighth.

Syracuse (4-7) got to work early in the bottom of the first. With a full count, Clint Robinson blasted a fastball off Buck Farmer to right center for his second home run of the season.

Toledo (8-4) responded in the top of the fourth off starting pitcher A.J. Cole. Jim Adduci singled up the middle and then stole second. The left fielder reached third on a fielder’s choice. A sacrifice fly by Michael Almanzar then brought Adduci home to tie the game.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Chiefs retook the lead. Irving Falu doubled on a fly ball which moved Corban Joseph to third. Falu moved to third on a fielder’s choice on which Joseph was thrown out at home. Lefthander Blaine Hardy came in to face Brian Goodwin. He threw a wild pitch which plated Falu.

It took only a half-inning for the Mud Hens to tie things up. Jim Adduci doubled to open the inning on a line drive. Two batters left, Michael Almanzar picked up his second RBI as he singled home Adduci on a line drive to center.

The Chiefs’ bats reclaimed the lead for good in the eighth. Sanchez doubled off Logan Kensing to open up the half-inning on a line drive to right. Rafael Bautista laid down a sacrifice bunt and catcher Bryan Holaday threw the ball wide past the first baseman’s glove. Sanchez dashed home off the error to score. He thrust his hands into the air in celebration as the Chiefs took a 3-2 lead.

Rafael Martin picked up three straight outs in the top of the ninth to finalize Syracuse’s win. The save extended Martin’s all-time Chiefs record and was his 45th in history.

The second game of the three-game set starts Wednesday at 1:05. Jacob Turner is set to start for Syracuse while Chad Bell will start for Toledo.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Mario Lisson hit a grand slam in the third inning, and Jaron Long allowed just five hits over seven innings as the Harrisburg Senators defeated the Hartford Yard Goats 9-2 on Tuesday.

The grand slam by Lisson, part of a five-run inning, gave the Senators a 4-0 lead before Yadiel Hernandez hit an RBI single later in the inning.

The Senators later added two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Drew Ward and Neftali Soto both drove in a run, while Andrew Stevenson hit a two-run single in the fifth.

Long (2-1) allowed one run while striking out five and walking one to get the win.

Jack Wynkoop (1-2) went five innings, allowing nine runs and 13 hits in the Eastern League game. He also struck out one and walked one.

For the Yard Goats, Max White tripled and singled twice.

Harrisburg improved to 4-1 against Hartford this season.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): With three games scheduled to start within just over 18 hours, the Potomac Nationals (6-6) and Down East Wood Ducks (7-6) played a pair of relatively quick games, each of which featured a shutout. The visiting Wood Ducks used three doubles and a home run in a span of seven hitters over the second and third innings of game one in route to a 3-0 win, while Potomac took advantage of a three-run home run from C Jake Lowery in a 6-0 game two victory.

RHP Luis Reyes (L, 1-2) entered the doubleheader with the best ERA of any starter in the Potomac rotation, and though he gave up three runs over five innings, he certainly kept Potomac in the game. The Wood Ducks scattered nine hits against the Potomac starter. LF LeDarious Clark had a one-out double in the second inning, and Down East made it 1-0 as DH Jairo Beras followed with an RBI double. Reyes got a double play and avoided further damage in the frame, though the Wood Ducks tacked on two more runs in the following inning.

2B Luis La O led off the third inning with a towering home run over the left field wall, his second home run of the season. After Reyes retired SS Josh Morgan, three straight Wood Ducks tallied hits, as CF Michael O’Neill made it 3-0 with an RBI single, which plated RF Eduard Pinto. That was enough for Down East, as LHP Joe Palumbo (ND) was brilliant before he departed with an injury.

Palumbo allowed just one hit and two total baserunners over 4.2 innings, but after his second pitch of his fifth inning plate appearance vs. LF Dale Carey, the left-handed starter immediately called for the trainers and subsequently left the game. Out of the bullpen, LHP Brady Feigl (W, 2-0) retired Carey, and then worked around three singles in the sixth frame. Potomac left the bases loaded in the sixth inning against Feigl, and then did the same thing against RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (SV, 2) in the final frame. Rodriguez hit CF Telmito Agustin with a pitch with two men on and two men out in the seventh inning, but the righty struck out 2B Bryan Mejia and secured a shutout for Down East.

The script flipped in the back half of the doubleheader, as Potomac LHP Matthew Crownover (W, 2-0) dominated in his first start of the season. After he transitioned into a bullpen role prior to the season, the lefty made the spot start and did not allow a run over five innings. Crownover gave up seven hits, but multiple men reached base in only one inning that he pitched.

In the bottom of the second inning against RHP Richelson Pena (L, 0-1), Potomac had the first two men reach base. 3B Kelvin Gutierrez singled, while RF Rhett Wiseman reached on an error by Morgan. After SS Edwin Lora flew out, Lowery hit his first home run of the season, which cleared everything in right field. Potomac led 3-0, as Pena lasted just three innings.

Potomac put the game away against RHP Jacob Shortslef, as the P-Nats scored once in the fourth and twice more in the sixth. In the fourth inning, Lora led off with a double, and then scored three batters later on an RBI single by Agustin. In the sixth inning, Lora was hit by a pitch, Carey walked, and Mejia walked. With the bases loaded and two outs, 2B Austin Davidson capped off the scoring with a two-run single. RHP Ronald Pena closed out the evening on the mound for Potomac, as the righty retired all six men that he faced.

It will be a quick turnaround for both squads, as the rubber match is set for Wednesday morning at Pfitzner Stadium. LHP Hector Silvestre (1-0, 6.30) is expected to get the start on the mound for Potomac, while RHP Pedro Payano (0-0, 2.79) is set to take the mound for the Wood Ducks. First pitch of the series finale is scheduled for 10:35am on Wednesday.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): One night after the Suns and BlueClaws nursed a 3-3 tie into the 13th inning, Hagerstown handled business in the top of the ninth as Carter Kieboom broke another 3-3 tie with a two-run double to left, putting the Suns (8-5) ahead for good in a 6-4 win at FirstEnergy Park on Tuesday.

The lone hit of the night for Kieboom, drafted 28th overall by the Washington Nationals in 2016, scored Tres Barrera and Aldrem Corredor with no outs and moved Blake Perkins to third. Lakewood chose to intentionally walk the next batter, Juan Soto, but Sheldon Neuse followed with a sacrifice fly RBI to pad the Suns lead.

Reliever Mick VanVossen (Win, 1-0) earned his first victory of the season after pitching a spotless eighth inning and returned to the mound with a 6-3 lead in the ninth. South Atlantic League hits leader Daniel Brito tagged VanVossen for an RBI double in the final frame, but the 24-year-old righty ended the game by striking out last year’s first overall draft pick, Mickey Moniak, who represented the tying run.

Kyle Simonds (Blown Save, 1) let a 3-1 Suns lead slip away in the seventh on a two-run single by Moniak, but the Suns rallied back for their fourth win in the first five meetings with Lakewood (7-6) this season.

Suns starter Sterling Sharp took a no-decision but allowed just one run on four hits and no walks while striking out six BlueClaws in six innings of work. The reliever-turned-starter is still seeking his first South Atlantic League win.

The Suns trailed 1-0 before scoring three runs in a wacky top of the fifth. Perkins reached first on a two-out single that scored Anderson Franco. Perkins was nearly picked off but reached second on a catch error by Lakewood first baseman Danny Zardon. Perkins then swiped third base before scoring on a passed ball. Soto followed with an RBI double, scoring Kieboom to make it 3-1 Suns.

Perkins finished 2-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored. Barrera and Corredor also tallied two-hit nights. Kieboom led with two RBIs and two walks.

On Wednesday morning, the Suns wrap up their seven-game road trip with an 11:05 a.m. first pitch against the BlueClaws. Suns lefty McKenzie Mills draws the start against Lakewood righty Sixto Sanchez.

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