Washington Nationals Minor League Notebook: April 19

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Photo: Hagerstown Suns

By Michael Marzzacco

While the Nationals got a big win in Atlanta and the Capitals and Wizards put on for our city, the Nats minor league affiliates were in action. Well two were because April showers bring postponements.

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): Wednesday’s game between the Syracuse Chiefs and Toledo Mud Hens has been postponed due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Thursday afternoon at 12:05 p.m., moved up from the previously-scheduled 6:35 p.m. start time.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Tonight’s Senators game in Hartford has been postponed due to rain. The game will be made up later this season when the Senators return to Hartford.

The final game of the series is Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. with RH Erick Fedde on the hill for the Senators against RH Yency Almonte for Hartford.
POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Playing a third game in less than 24 hours, the Potomac Nationals (7-6) used a three-run home run from SS Edwin Lora in route to a 6-2 victory over the Down East Wood Ducks (7-7) Wednesday afternoon at Pfitzner Stadium. LHP Hector Silvestre (W, 2-0) did not allow a run over six innings in Potomac’s best starting pitching outing thus far in 2017.

After three scoreless innings from both Silvestre and RHP Pedro Payano (L, 0-1), Potomac finally put the first runs on the board. After C Taylor Gushue reached on a fielder’s choice groundout in the fourth frame, RF Rhett Wiseman singled. With two men on and one out, Lora hit his second home run of the season, a three-run home run that put Potomac on top 3-0 and proved to be enough offense for Potomac.

The P-Nats tagged Payano for a run in the fifth frame on a sacrifice fly from 1B Ian Sagdal, before the right-handed starter departed the game for RHP Tyler Davis. Davis stranded men on the corners in the fifth inning, but gave up a leadoff double in the sixth to LF Dale Carey, who advanced to third on a wild pitch. The wild pitch proved costly, as 2B Bryan Mejia followed with a sacrifice fly. Potomac led 5-0 after six innings.

Out of the bullpen, RHP Mariano Rivera (SV, 1) worked the final three innings on the mound for Potomac. Rivera gave up a home run to the first man that he faced in the seventh frame, as CF LeDarious Clark tallied his first home run of the season. Rivera got out of a jam in the inning, as he got 2B Luis La O to ground into an inning-ending double play.

Potomac got the run back in the home half of the seventh inning against LHP Jason Richman. Sagdal led off the inning with a single and then stole second base. Four batters later, Lora had a two-out RBI single, which capped off Potomac’s scoring and made it 6-1. Lora had a season best four RBIs in the victory.

Rivera gave up another run in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Clark, but the righty took advantage of a base running blunder, as LF Eduard Pinto was thrown out at 3B on Clark’s single, which ended the inning. Rivera gave up a two-out double to 3B Josh Altmann in the ninth inning, but got La O to ground out to end the game. The Wood Ducks finished the matinee just 2-9 with RISP, while Potomac went 5-16 in similar situations.

With the series victory and a record back over .500, the P-Nats will head out for a brief four-game road trip, which will lead the P-Nats to their first true day off of the season. Potomac will head to Lynchburg, VA for a series with the Hillcats. RHP Jefry Rodriguez (0-1, 7.20) is set to make his third start of the season for Potomac. The righty has given up four earned runs in each of his first two starts of the season. For the Hillcats, RHP Jared Robinson (1-1, 2.00) will make his third start of 2017. Robinson did not allow an earned run in his last start, a victory over the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. First pitch at Calvin Falwell Field is set for 6:30pm Thursday night.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): Suns starting pitcher McKenzie Mills struck out a season-high nine batters after an early wakeup call on Wednesday in a tidy 2-1 win over the BlueClaws at FirstEnergy Park.

Following an 11:05 a.m. first pitch, Mills (Win, 2-1) cruised through five scoreless innings against sleepy Lakewood hitters. The 21-year-old southpaw from Marietta, Georgia allowed just one hit; the fewest by any Suns starter this season.

The Suns gave Mills a 2-0 lead before his exit. In the fourth inning, Sheldon Neuse walked and Carter Kieboom stole third before scoring on a throwing error by BlueClaws catcher Edgar Cabral. In the fifth, Daniel Johnson extended his team-best hitting streak to seven games with an RBI single that scored Nick Banks.

Lakewood (7-7) snapped an eight-inning scoreless streak by Suns reliever Jorge Pantoja (Hold, 1) in the sixth inning on an RBI double by Cord Sandberg, but the 23-year-old Alabama State alum bounced back to strike out two BlueClaws in two innings of work before handing the ball to Jordan Mills (Save 1), who allowed just one hit in two scoreless innings.

Hagerstown (9-5) leads the South Atlantic League Northern Division thanks to a winning road trip with four wins in seven days. The Suns improved to 5-1 against Lakewood this season following their 11-game win streak against the BlueClaws to open the 2016 campaign. 

On Thursday, the Suns return to Hagerstown Municipal Stadium for a seven-game home stand.

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