Nationals Minor League Notebook: June 13 and 14

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League):

Tuesday: The Syracuse Chiefs dropped both games of a doubleheader with the Pawtucket Red Sox on Tuesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. In game one, Pawtucket grabbed a 7-1 victory as five different PawSox collected RBIs. Then, in game two, Syracuse fell 6-3.

Syracuse (19-41) got on the board first in the bottom half of the first inning. Emmanuel Burriss walked against Red Sox starter Henry Owens to lead off. After Burriss was caught stealing third, Adrian Sanchez doubled to left. Two batters later, Joey Butler walked. Clint Robinson singled to center, plating Sanchez and putting Syracuse up 1-0.

Pawtucket (32-28) didn’t score until the top of the fifth. Allen Craig and Matt Dominguez led off with singles versus Greg Ross to left and center. Mike Miller’s sacrifice bunt moved Craig to third and Dominguez to second. Rusney Castillo then chopped a high grounder to second, allowing Craig to score. With Ryan Court batting, Greg Ross threw a wild pitch past new Chief Spencer Kieboom. Dominguez scored on the play.

In the fifth inning, Brandon Snyder and Joey Butler walked with two outs. In the next at-bat, crew chief John Bacon called for a rain delay with a 3-1 count on Robinson. After a 45-minute delay, Noe Ramirez threw ball four to Robinson, completing a walk charged to Owens and loading the bases. However, Grant Green flied out to right field to eliminate the scoring threat.

The PawSox added to their lead in the top of the sixth. First, Bryce Brentz singled off Austin Adams to right. Two batters later, Blake Swihart singled as well. Allen Craig then reached on a fielding error by the shortstop Sanchez. Sanchez then committed a throwing error on the toss to second allowing Brentz to score and Swihart to take third. Swihart scored on the subsequent play on a Matt Dominguez sacrifice fly.

Rafael Martin replaced Adams in the top of the seventh. Martin hit Court with a fastball to start the inning. Travis walked. Brentz then singled on a grounder to left, plating Court and moving Travis to third. Steve Selsky singled on a ground ball to center, scoring Travis. Pawtucket continued to pile on the runs as Swihart doubled to center. Brentz scored to put the Red Sox up 7-1.

In game two, PawSox kicked off the scoring against Chiefs starter Kyle McGowin. In the top of the second inning, Selsky led off the frame with a single into right field. After Brian Bogusevic flied out to center, Miller reached on a throwing error from the third baseman Sanchez which advanced Selsky to third. In the next at-bat, Jantzen Witte doubled over the head of Caleb Ramsey in right field, plating Selsky. One batter later, Dan Butler hit the second consecutive double for Pawtucket, scoring Miller and Witte and putting the PawSox up 3-0.

The lead grew for the PawSox in the third inning. After back-to-back walks to Brentz and Selsky led off the inning, Bogusevic grounded into a double play that allowed Brentz to move up to third. One batter later, Miller singled into left field, bringing Brentz in to score and increasing the Pawtucket lead to 4-0.

The Chiefs responded in the bottom half of the third versus Edgar Olmos. Following an Andrew Stevenson fly out to lead off the frame, Irving Falu walked, Ramsey singled, and Wilmer Difo walked to load the bases. Sanchez followed the Difo walk with a groundout to shortstop, but Falu scored from third, slicing Pawtucket’s lead to 4-1.

The long ball then added to the PawSox lead in the fourth inning. With two outs in the frame, Travis singled on a ground ball into right field. One batter later, Brentz crushed a fly ball over the left-field fence and extended the PawSox lead to 6-1.

The Chiefs attempted to inch closer in the sixth. Sanchez led off the inning with a double off Brandon Workman. Snyder followed with a double of his own, scoring Sanchez and cutting the Pawtucket lead to four. In the next at-bat, Joey Butler flied out to right field and allowed Snyder to advance to third in the process. One batter later, Robinson collected his second RBI of the day, reaching on a fielding error from Witte and making the score 6-3

The Chiefs and PawSox will square off in the third of a four-game series Wednesday evening at 6:35 p.m. at NBT Bank Stadium. A.J. Cole will take the mound for Syracuse while right-hander Shawn Haviland gets the start for Pawtucket.


Andrew Stevenson tripled, doubled, walked and drove in a pair of runs on Wednesday. (Danny Tripodi | Syracuse Chiefs)
The Syracuse Chiefs defeated the Pawtucket Red Sox, 7-6, on Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. The Chiefs trailed 6-4 entering the bottom of the eighth but launched a comeback by scoring three straight runs.

Pawtucket (32-29) struck first in the top of the second. Steve Selsky led off the inning with a single off A.J. Cole to center. Blake Swihart grounded out which moved Selsky over. Brian Bogusevic then hit an infield single on a grounder to short. Selsky moved to third, but a dive by shortstop Wilmer Difo kept the ball in play, potentially preventing Selsky to score. Nevertheless, on the next play, Matt Dominguez brought in Selsky on a sacrifice fly to center.

The Red Sox extended their lead in the top of the fourth. Bryce Brentz began with a double to center. Two batters later, Swihart singled on a pop-up to shallow left, moving Brentz to third. Brentz scored the next play when Bogusevic grounded out to short. Matt Dominguez then singled to center, scoring Swihart.

Syracuse (20-41) scored on a two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth. New Chief Alejandro De Aza walked and Andrew Stevenson did as well. Jhonatan Solano singled on a ground ball to center, plating De Aza.

Pawtucket struck back in the top of the fifth. Court walked to lead off the inning. Sam Travis reached first on a fielder’s choice. Brentz then homered to right, plating Travis and putting the Red Sox up 5-1.

The Chiefs inched closer in the bottom of the sixth. Clint Robinson started things with a single on a fly ball to right. A passed ball by Blake Swihart permitted Robinson to reach second, before De Aza walked. Then, Andrew Stevenson blasted a shot to right-center for a triple, Syracuse’s second all season. Robinson and De Aza scored on the play. Three batters later, Wilmer Difo rocked a one-hop liner against Ty Buttrey to short. It bounced off the glove of Ryan Court and deflected into the outfield, allowing Stevenson to score on the error. The Chiefs were within 5-4.

With two outs in the top of the eighth, Mike Miller hit a ground ball off Erick Fedde for an infield single. Rusney Castillo doubled on a fly ball to left, plating Miller and extending Pawtucket’s lead to two. Fedde then struck out Court to end the 24-year-old Triple-A debut.

Syracuse completed the comeback in the bottom of the eighth. Stevenson led off with a ground-ball double down the third-base line. Stevenson advanced on a wild pitch from Buttrey. Solano singled on a liner to right to bring in Stevenson, Solano’s second RBI of the game. Kyle Martin replaced Buttrey, but the Chiefs weren’t done yet. Difo singled to right to move Solano to second, before Emmanuel Burriss walked.

With the bases loaded, Brandon Snyder stepped to the plate. Snyder rocked a shot off Martin to deep center and off the wall for a double. Solano and Difo scored to give Syracuse the lead.

Wander Suero shut the door for Syracuse in the top of the ninth. Suero struck out two and picked up his first career Triple-A save.

Syracuse returns to action Thursday night at 6:35. Sean O’Sullivan is set to start for the Chiefs while Jalen Beeks will pitch for Pawtucket. 

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League):

Tuesday: Yu-Cheng Chang homered and had two hits, and Matt Esparza allowed just two hits over seven innings as the Akron RubberDucks topped the Harrisburg Senators 3-0 on Tuesday.

Mitch Brown got Raudy Read to ground out with runners on first and third to end the game for his fourth save of the season.

Esparza (3-0) picked up the win after he struck out five and walked two.

In the bottom of the first, Akron grabbed the lead on a sacrifice fly by Francisco Mejia that scored Jordan Smith. The RubberDucks then added single runs in the fifth and seventh innings. In the fifth, Chang hit a solo home run, while Eric Haase hit a solo home run in the seventh.

Jaron Long (5-6) went eight innings, allowing three runs and four hits while striking out three in the Eastern League game.

The Senators were held scoreless for the seventh time this season, while the RubberDucks’ staff recorded their fourth shutout of the year.

Wednesday: Neftali Soto hit a run-scoring single in the seventh inning, leading the Harrisburg Senators to a 12-7 win over the Akron RubberDucks on Wednesday.

The single by Soto came in the midst of a six-run inning and tied the game 7-7. Later in the inning, Harrisburg took the lead when Corban Joseph hit a sacrifice fly and then added to it when Osvaldo Abreu hit an RBI single.

Jose Marmolejos tripled and singled, scoring a couple of runs while also driving home two for Harrisburg.

Derek Eitel (2-2) got the win with 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief while D.J. Brown (0-4) took the loss in the Eastern League game.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League):

Tuesday: The Potomac Nationals (30-35) fell 5-1 to the Buies Creek Astros (35-30) on Tuesday night at Pfitzner Stadium. The Astros starter, RHP Yoanys Quiala (W, 5-1), stifled the P-Nats over eight scoreless frames. Potomac scored it’s only run of the game on a bases loaded walk in the ninth inning.

Yoanys Quiala kept Potomac off-balance all game long. Through five innings he had given up just one base hit but had faced the minimum 15 batters. He allowed multiple baserunners in just one of his eight shutout innings. Quiala outdueled the Carolina League Pitcher of the Week with his best start of the season. The 2017 Southern Division All-Star gave up only four hits and struck out six

Buies Creek ended RHP Luis Reyes (L, 5-6) scoreless inning streak at 18 straight with two runs in the top of the first inning. CF Myles Straw singled to begin the game and advanced to second on a passed ball. Then, LF Rodrigo Ayarza doubled to right-center to drive in the first run of the game. After Reyes loaded the bases, 3B Randy Cesar cashed in his first RBI of the game with a one-out single.

Reyes allowed a third earned run in the top of the fifth inning. With one out, DH Jake Rogers was hit by a pitch and C Anthony Hermelyn drew a walk to put two on for 1B Spencer Johnson. After a single to load the bases from Johnson, Cesar drove in his second run of the game with a single to extend the Astros lead to 3-0 after five.

The Potomac starter would last only five innings in his 13th start of the season breaking a streak of two quality starts in a row. Reyes allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks. The right-hander registered five strikeouts in the game.

The Astros added two insurance runs against the P-Nats bullpen in the eighth and ninth innings. After a Johnson double to begin the eighth against LHP Jordan Mills, RF Pat Porter lined a single off of the Potomac reliever to plate a run. Mills would leave the game after he was struck with the 105 mph line drive off of the bat. In 2.1 innings pitched in his second appearance since his call up from Hagerstown, Mills struck out three before he was removed from the game.

In the ninth, Straw began the inning with a walk. Ayarza followed with his second RBI-double of the game to all but seal it for Buies Creek. With two more hits on Tuesday, Ayarza has now reached base five times in nine plate appearances in two games.

Potomac made things a little interesting in the ninth inning and loaded the bases with one out against RHP Andrew Walter. LHP Sebastian Kessay came in relief and walked DH Matthew Page to force in the first P-Nats run of the game. However, Kessay settled down and got RF Rhett Wiseman to line out and SS Edwin Lora to strike out swinging to end the game.

Other than the ninth, Quiala kept the P-Nats off the base paths. Only four starters registered a hit in the contest. Page reached base twice and drove in a run. CF Victor Robles represented the only run of the ball game for The Red, White & Blue.

After a split of the first two games, these teams will decide the winner of the three-game set with the rubber match scheduled for 7:05 pm on Wednesday evening at Pfitzner Stadium. Potomac sends LHP Grant Borne (1-2, 1.14) to the mound against a TBD pitcher for Buies Creek. Borne took the loss the last time out against Down East despite allowing just one run over seven strong innings.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm at The Pfitz.

Wednesday: The Potomac Nationals (31-35) earned a series victory with a 4-2 win against the Buies Creek Astros (35-31) on Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium. 1B Ian Sagdal and C Taylor Gushue drove in three of the four runs and LHP Grant Borne (W, 2-2) pitched seven strong in the win for Potomac. With the two-run triumph, the P-Nats took five wins in seven games over the final home stand of the first half.

Buies Creek jumped out first in the top of the first inning against Borne, but the left-hander quickly recovered with the help of his offense. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Potomac scored two runs against RHP Jorge Alcala (L, 1-3) to take a lead it would not surrender. CF Victor Robles began the frame with a double. The Northern Division All-Star came in to score after LF Jack Sundberg dropped down a bunt single up the third base line. Trying to throw out Sundberg, 3B Alex DeGoti overthrew first base for a throwing error which allowed Robles to score and tie the game. After a Sagdal groundout pushed Sundberg to third, Gushue gave the P-Nats a 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly to right.

After allowing two hits in the first, Borne gave up only one more base hit over the next six frames. He finished seven strong innings allowing just the lone run in the first on three hits and two walks. He tied his season-high in strikeouts, fanning six batters as the left-hander picked up his second win of the season. Borne has now thrown two quality starts in a row and has allowed just two earned runs over his past 14 innings.

The P-Nats padded the lead with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning against Alcala. Once again, Robles started the rally getting hit by a pitch for a Carolina League-leading 13th time. With Sundberg batting, Alcala balked to move Robles to second and Sundberg sacrificed the Nats’ top prospect to third base. Then, Sagdal struck with a triple into the right-center field gap to easily plate the third Potomac run. Gushue followed and knocked in his 50th RBI of the season with a sharply hit liner to right that RF Pat Porter could not handle for a catching error. Sagdal’s run still counted as an RBI despite the error, since he would have scored on the sacrifice fly.

RHP Ronald Pena (S, 1) notched his first save of the year while finishing off the final two innings for Borne. The right-hander allowed a solo home run in the ninth inning but struck out three Astros in his 15th outing of the year. He got DeGoti to fly out to right to finish the game and the series with a win.

Seven different starters registered eight total hits for Potomac in the game. 3B David Masters represented the only multi-hit performance for the P-Nats recording his second multi-hit game of the series. One of his hits included his first triple of the season. The Potomac infielder now has four games with multiple hits over his past 10 games.

Potomac finishes the first half at home with a record of 18-16. After beginning the season 9-12 at The Pfitz, the P-Nats put together a 9-4 record over the last 15 home games to end the first half at home. As a team, The Red, White & Blue hit .269 at Pfitzner Stadium in the first half, scored 154 runs and clubbed 30 home runs while defending home field.

Potomac closes out the first half with a four-game series against the Carolina Mudcats at Five County Stadium in Zebulon, NC. First game is scheduled for Thursday evening at 7 pm. The P-Nats send LHP Hector Silvestre (6-2, 4.34) to the bump against RHP Cody Ponce (5-5, 3.70) for the Mudcats.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic):

Tuesday: Postponed

Wednesday: Kannapolis first baseman Brandon Dulin clubbed three home runs and Hagerstown’s league-leading offense managed just two runs in 14 innings as the Intimidators swept the Suns in a Wednesday doubleheader at Intimidators Stadium, 4-1 in Game 1 and 10-1 in Game 2.

After losing both seven-inning contests, Hagerstown’s lead in the SAL Northern Division dropped to one game over Kannapolis with five games left before a first-half champion and automatic playoff qualifier is decided at the All-Star break. The Greensboro Grasshoppers fell to third place on Wednesday, 1 1/2 games behind the Suns, after losing both games of their home doubleheader against the Hickory Crawdads.

Hagerstown starter Sterling Sharp (Loss, 3-4) tossed four innings in Game 1, allowing four runs on eight hits. Dulin opened the scoring with a leadoff, solo home run in the bottom of the second. The Intimidators doubled their lead in the third when Tyler Sullivan scored from second base on a Sharp throwing error that broke up a potential double play.

Kannapolis scored twice more in the fourth before the Suns broke through for their lone run in the top of the seventh on a throwing error by Jimmy Lambert (Win, 7-2) that allowed Sheldon Neuse to reach home from second, cutting the Intimidators lead to 4-1. The Suns brought the game-tying run to the plate, but Danny Dopico (Save, 1) threw one pitch out of the pen and induced a game-ending double play by Tres Barrera .

In Game 2, the Intimidators jumped out to a 7-0 lead against Suns starter A.J. Bogucki (Loss, 0-1). Dulin went deep with a two-run shot in the first inning and again on a solo blast in the third; his tenth home run of the season and third of the evening. 

Kannapolis starter Kelvis Valerio (Win, 1-0) held the Suns scoreless through five innings with just two hits allowed during his first outing for the Intimidators this season. 

The Suns scored their only run in Game 2 on an RBI groundout in the sixth inning by All-Star first baseman Aldrem Corredor and managed just three total hits for their second-worst offensive output of the season. On April 26, in the opening game of a doubleheader with the Intimidators in Hagerstown, the Suns tallied two hits against former Washington Nationals draft pick and Kannapolis starter Dane Dunning during a 1-0 loss in seven innings.

On Thursday, the Suns and Intimidators conclude their four-game series with a second-straight doubleheader, beginning at 4 p.m. Hagerstown right-handed starter James Bourque (1-3, 5.05) goes to the mound in Game 1 against fellow righty Yosmer Solorzano (1-5, 5.74) before lefty Yonathan Ramirez (0-1, 4.18) starts for the Suns in Game 2 against a Kannapolis pitcher to be announced.

Hagerstown concludes the first half with three games in Lexington, Kentucky, beginning Friday at 7:05 p.m. and the All-Star break follows on Monday, June 19.


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