Nationals Minor League Notebook: June 26

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs outlasted the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, 5-2, after a nearly two-hour rain delay. The Chiefs scored three runs in the seventh to break a 2-2 tie.

Syracuse (27-47) took the lead in the bottom of the first. Andrew Stevenson led off with a single off Joe Mantiply to right, extending Stevenson’s hitting streak to eight games. Stevenson then stole second for his eighth steal on the year. He advanced to third on the play on a throwing error by Eddy Rodriguez. One batter later, Stevenson scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Snyder.

The Chiefs added to their lead in the bottom of the second. Neftali Soto picked up his second hit with the Chiefs with a single to right. Alejandro De Aza walked. A passed ball with Irving Falu at the plate moved the runners to second and third. Falu then reached on a fielder’s choice. Soto scored on the play but De Aza was thrown out at third.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (46-30) cut Syracuse’s lead to one in the top of the fifth after Dustin Fowler’s single off Sammy Solis brought in Rodriguez.

All of a sudden, a heavy downpour ensued. Syracuse needed one more out in order to make a win official, if the game were to be canceled. With two outs, the RailRiders had the tying run at second. Solis struck out Miguel Andujar on three pitches to retire the side.  A one-hour and 44-minute delay followed. The umpires examined the playing field multiple times and eventually determined it was suitable for play.

The RailRiders got right back to work when the game resumed in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs in the top of sixth, Jake Cave seared a shot off Cody Satterwhite down the right-field line for a homer to tie the game.

Syracuse exploded in the bottom of the seventh with three runs against Nestor Cortes. De Aza led off with a single on a ground ball to right. Falu followed with a bunt single down the first-base line. De Aza and Falu advanced on a throwing error by first baseman Ji-Man Choi. The Chiefs weren’t done yet. Spencer Kieboom singled on a grounder to left, plating De Aza and Falu. Kieboom advanced all the way to third on a throwing error by left fielder Clint Frazier. Emmanuel Burriss singled up the middle, scoring Kieboom and putting the Chiefs up for good.

Edwin Jackson pitched four scoreless and hitless innings in his starting debut with Syracuse. He has yet to give up a hit in two outings.

Syracuse returns to action Tuesday night at 6:35. Sean O’Sullivan will take the mound for the Chiefs while Chance Adams will pitch for the RailRiders.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Mitch Walding hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning, leading the Reading Fightin Phils to a 5-3 win over the Harrisburg Senators on Monday.

The home run by Walding scored Jiandido Tromp to give the Fightin Phils a 4-3 lead.

The Fightin Phils tacked on another run in the ninth when Tromp scored on a fly out.

Joey DeNato (5-1) got the win with two innings of scoreless, one-hit relief while Harrisburg starter Matt Crownover (0-3) took the loss in the Eastern League game. Tom Windle retired the side in order for his first save of the season.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): In the first game of their longest road trip of the season, the Potomac Nationals (35-40, 2-3) took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, saw the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (44-30, 1-3) plate three runs, but escaped with a 4-3 victory. RHP Gilberto Mendez (SV, 9) struck out LF Eloy Jimenez with two runners on base to end the game.

Both teams got good starting pitching performances, as the game didn’t feature a run until the top of the fifth inning. Potomac finally cracked LHP Justin Steele (L, 5-4) with three singles in a span of four batters in the fifth frame. SS Edwin Lora led off with a single, RF Rhett Wiseman followed with a base hit, while C Matt Reistetter dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt, which put men at second and third base. Already with a hit on the night, 2B Bryan Mejia grounded a single past 1B Tyler Alamo, which plated both Lora and Wiseman. Steele allowed only those two runs over 5.2 innings.

The P-Nats doubled up their lead on one swing against LHP Tommy Thorpe in the eighth inning. After RHP Nolan Sanburn (W, 3-1) stranded the tying runs in scoring position in the seventh inning, Thorpe gave up a leadoff single to 1B Ian Sagdal in the eighth frame. After LF Dale Carey bunted into a force out at second base, 3B David Masters hit a towering shot over the left field wall. His fourth home run of the season made it 4-0 in favor of Potomac, and proved to be the difference in the game. Sanburn matched his season high in strikeouts with nine over seven-shutout innings.

Potomac took the shutout into the ninth inning, and saw the Pelicans have multiple batters reach base in just two of the first eight frames. RHP Dakota Bacus worked around a single in a scoreless eighth inning, but couldn’t finish off the final frame. DH Eddy Martinez began the bottom of the ninth with a single, but was forced out at second base on a groundout by SS Trent Giambrone. Alamo followed with a single, while a base hit from CF Connor Myers loaded the bases. Representing the tying run, RF Robert Garcia plated a run with a groundout to Lora. With two outs, C P.J. Higgins grounded out to Lora, but the Potomac shortstop failed to field it cleanly, which kept the game going and scored Alamo. 2B Bryant Flete followed with an RBI single, which pulled the Pelicans within one run and put the tying run at second base. Bacus departed for Mendez, who struck out Jimenez, the top prospect in the Cubs’ system.

The teams combined for just three hits in 20 at-bats with RISP in the game and left a combined 17 men on base. In the win, the top two hitters in Potomac’s order, CF Victor Robles and DH Jack Sundberg, went a combined 0-10. The hitless night for Robles ended a nine-game hit streak, while Sundberg went hitless for the second straight day after he had tallied at least one hit in eight straight starts.

Off of the one-run victory, the P-Nats will try to make it two wins in a row for the first time in nearly two weeks. LHP Grant Borne (3-2, 1.61) is set to start for Potomac Tuesday night. The left-handed starter has tallied four consecutive quality starts and is 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA over that span. For the Pelicans, RHP Adbert Alzolay (6-1, 2.83) will look to level the series. Alzolay has recorded a quality start in four of his last five outings, and has surrendered more than three runs just once in 13 starts in 2017.

First pitch at TicketReturn.com Field is set for 7:05pm Tuesday night. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 6:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): Hours after winning South Atlantic League Player of the Week, Daniel Johnson scored the go-ahead run on a seventh-inning wild pitch before Carlos Pena , A.J. Bogucki , and Tommy Peterson finished off a combined shutout win over the Delmarva Shorebirds, 1-0, on Monday night at Perdue Stadium.

The contest lasted two hours and two minutes, matching the shortest game played by Suns this season on May 19 in a 4-3 home win over the Lakewood BlueClaws.

Johnson led off the top of the seventh with a single to left field before moving to second base on a groundout by Sheldon Neuse . The SAL home run leader stole third base for the fourth time in five attempts this season and sprinted home when Delmarva starting pitcher Lucas Humpal (Loss, 4-6) unleashed a wild pitch that spoiled his shutout and put the Suns ahead for good.

Johnson tallied the only multi-hit game for either team, finishing 2-for-4 at the plate. He’s now 10-for-18 with five runs scored in his last four games. Jake Noll and Jakson Reetz recorded the only other two hits for Hagerstown on Monday.

Pena (Win, 4-3) made the best start of his professional career with seven scoreless innings and just three hits allowed. Jake Ring mustered the only extra-base hit against Pena on a double in the first inning to tie Suns first baseman Aldrem Corredor for the SAL doubles lead with 23 this season. Pena later stranded Ring at third base as the Shorebirds went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position across nine innings.

A.J. Bogucki (Hold, 1) made his first relief appearance for the Suns and pitched a scoreless eighth inning before handing the baton to Suns closer Tommy Peterson (Save, 6), who dropped the curtain in the ninth with his second hitless, two-strikeout save in the last three days.

On Tuesday, the Suns and Shorebirds meet again for the second of four games in their midweek series with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Hagerstown right-handed starter Sterling Sharp (3-5, 3.86) goes against Delmarva southpaw Zach Muckenhirn (3-6, 4.68). The Suns return home to Municipal Stadium on July 4 for an Independence Day matchup with the Greensboro Grasshoppers at 4:05 p.m.

 

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