Nationals Minor League Notebook: May 18

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Courtesy of the Harrisburg Senators

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bisons, 7-5, Wednesday night at Coca-Cola Field. Jhonatan Solano hit his first career grand slam and the Chiefs survived a four-run Bisons’ rally in the ninth to snap a four-game losing streak. Joe Ross allowed just a run in seven strong innings, with just one walk and six strikeouts.

Buffalo (20-17) started the scoring in the second inning. Shane Opitz doubled to start the inning and Roemon Fields doubled him home two batters later to give the Bisons a 1-0 lead.
Syracuse (13-22) struck back for four in the fifth against T.J. House. Adrian Sanchez singled with one out and Matt Skole doubled to right. Skole was replaced at second by Andrew Stevenson due to an apparent injury. Brandon Snyder then was intentionally walked to load the bases. Two batters later, Solano struck his first home run since July 25, 2015, a grand slam to deep left for a 4-1 Chiefs lead.
The Chiefs added a run in the eighth on an Irving Falú sacrifice fly.
In the top of the ninth, Stevenson singled to lead off the inning against Wil Browning. Two batters later, Clint Robinson hit a line drive the opposite way off the left-field pole for his fifth home run of the season and a 7-1 lead.
Fields started the Bisons’ rally with a one-out single against Dustin Antolin in the bottom of the ninth. Antolin then walked Jonathan Diaz, and Ian Parmley doubled home both runners to bring the Bisons within 7-3. Jake Elmore followed with a single to put runners on the corners. The Chiefs turned to Joe Nathan out of the bullpen. Dwight Smith, Jr. then hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Parmley and bring the Bisons within three. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then hit a pop up behind second. Two Chiefs infielders didn’t see the ball and Bautista was too deep in center and it fell in for a tough-luck double, scoring Elmore and making the score 7-5. But Nathan struck out Jason Leblebijian to end the game for his fourth save.
The Chiefs can still split the series with a win Thursday night at 6:05 p.m. Greg Ross is scheduled to start for Syracuse opposite Luis Santos for Buffalo.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Stephen Perez hit a three-run home run in the second inning, leading the Harrisburg Senators to a 12-4 win over the Bowie Baysox on Wednesday.

The home run by Perez capped a four-run inning and gave the Senators a 4-2 lead after Raudy Read hit a solo home run earlier in the inning.

The Senators later scored in four additional innings to punctuate the blowout, including three runs in the fourth.

Harrisburg right-hander Taylor Hill (1-0) picked up a quality start and the win after allowing three runs on seven hits over six innings. Opposing starter David Hess (5-2) took the loss in the Eastern League game after a rough outing in which he allowed eight runs and eight hits over three innings.

For the Baysox, Adrian Marin tripled, doubled and singled, driving in a run and also scoring one.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Behind an early home run and a season high seven doubles, the Wilmington Blue Rocks (19-21) picked up their fifth win in the past six games. 1B Chris DeVito tallied a two-out, two-run home run in the top of the first inning against LHPMatthew Crownover (L, 3-1), while Wilmington had a man reach scoring position in seven of the nine frames. RHP A.J. Puckett (W, 4-3) allowed just two runs on three hits over 6.1 innings in the victory.

SS Nicky Lopez led off the game with a double, and after Crownover struck out the next two batters, DeVito made it 2-0 Wilmington with his first Carolina League home run. Crownover gave up four earned runs over 6.2 innings, which matched the total runs that he had allowed in 27 innings prior to Wednesday night’s matchup.

The P-Nats immediately answered against Puckett, as DH Austin Davidson homered with one out in the bottom of the first inning. The home run for Davidson was his second in as many nights.

Wilmington plated the eventual winning run against Crownover in the top of the fifth inning. CF Cody Jones led off the frame with a double and moved to third base on a bunt single by 3B Jecksson Flores. Lopez grounded out to SS Edwin Lora , which plated a run and made it 3-1. Wilmington left two men in scoring position in the inning and finished the game 4-18 with RISP.

Puckett faced just one over the minimum through the first five innings, though Potomac pulled back within one in the sixth frame. 2B Bryan Mejia led off the inning with a double, and after a sacrifice bunt by LF Telmito Agustin , CF Victor Robles tallied his seventh RBI of the season with a groundout. Potomac left the tying man at first base in the frame.

The Blue Rocks tallied an insurance run in the seventh inning and another in the ninth. A pair of two-out hits from Lopez and 2B D.J. Burt made it 4-1 Wilmington in the seventh inning, while an unearned run scored on a double by Burt off of LHP Taylor Guilbeau in the ninth. RHP Gabe Cramer (SV, 3) struck out four and allowed just one hit over 2.2 shutout frames.

The loss leaves Potomac in fourth place in the Northern Division, just 0.5 games ahead of the Blue Rocks, who sit in last place in the division. The two teams will meet in the series finale Thursday night at Pfitzner Stadium. LHP Hector Silvestre (3-1, 3.83) is set to start for Potomac. Silvestre has gone at least five innings in six straight starts. For Wilmington, LHP Cristian Castillo (2-2, 3.20) is scheduled to make his second start of the season against the P-Nats. The left-handed starter allowed three earned runs over five innings in a no-decision on 4/16.

First pitch is set for 7:05pm on Thursday night.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): OFF.

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