Nationals Minor League Report: July 9

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Photo: @aguillascibaenas

By Michael Marzzacco:

Sunday Nats Minor League update including Victor Robles in the Future’s Game.

Compiled via team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped the final game before the All-Star break to the Rochester Red Wings, 8-2, Sunday afternoon at Frontier Field. Mitch Garver hit three home runs for the Red Wings, the first individual to hit three home runs in a single game against the Chiefs since July 23, 2009 when Toledo’s Brent Clevelan hit three.

Rochester (49-40) started the scoring in the first. Sean O’Sullivan hit Matt Hague with a pitch with two outs, and then ByungHo Park doubled Hague in a batter later for a 1-0 Wings lead.
The Red Wings broke the game open in the second. Three doubles in a row by Bengie Gonzalez, Ryan Strausborger, and Engelb Vielma plated two runs for a 3-0 lead. Then after a strikeout, Garver hit a two-run home run to extend the lead to 5-0.
Syracuse (32-55) got on the board in the third. Emmanuel Burriss singled to lead off the inning against Justin Haley. Andrew Stevenson then singled home Burriss two batters later to make the score 5-1.
After Garver hit his second home run of the game to make the score 6-1, this time against Jaron Long in the fourth, the Chiefs added a run in the fifth. Stevenson walked with two outs, and scored on Irving Falu’s double to cut the lead to 6-2.
But Garver wasn’t done yet. His third home run of the game sailed over the left-field fence in the sixth to extend the lead to 7-2. Garver became the first Red Wing to homer three times in a game in the 20-year history of Frontier Field.
The Red Wings added a run in the eighth. Hague doubled in Tommy Field, who was hit by a Wander Suero pitch, for an 8-2 advantage.
The Chiefs will return after the All-Star break to open a four-game series against the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday, July 13th at 6:35 p.m at NBT Bank Stadium.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): Harold Castro had three hits and two RBI as the Erie SeaWolves topped the Harrisburg Senators 7-4 on Sunday. The SeaWolves swept the three-game series with the win.

Trailing 2-0 in the first, Harrisburg went out in front when Drew Ward hit a three-run home run.

Erie answered in the next half-inning, taking the lead for good when Castro singled to bring home Wade Hinkle and A.J. Simcox.

The SeaWolves later tacked on three runs in the fourth when Castro hit an RBI double and then scored on a two-run home run by Kody Eaves to secure the victory.

Erie starter Matt Crouse (5-2) picked up the win despite allowing four runs and six hits over five innings. Opposing starter Kyle McGowin (0-5) took the loss in the Eastern League game after a rough outing in which he allowed seven runs and eight hits over four innings. Zac Reininger recorded his first save of the season.

Ward homered and singled, driving home three runs for the Senators.

With the win, Erie improved to 10-3 against Harrisburg this season.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): For the second time in three days, the Wilmington Blue Rocks (47-41, 8-10) held the Potomac Nationals (39-47, 6-10) to just one run, as the Blue Rocks came away with a 3-1 victory Sunday afternoon at Pfitzner Stadium. Potomac did not score until the final frame, and has just three men reach base over the first eight innings against LHP Cristian Castillo (W, 6-4).

Back with Potomac for the first time since the end of the 2016 season, RHP Austen Williams (L, 0-1) took the mound for The Red, White, & Blue. The righty, who had a tough stint with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators through the first half of the season, allowed just one hit and an unearned run over four innings. Wilmington 2B D.J. Burt led off the game with a single and immediately stole second base. With CF Nick Heath, the second batter of the game, still at the plate, Burt tried to steal third base. The throw from Matt Reistetter beat Burt to the third base bag, but 3B Dan Gamache had the ball go off his glove and roll into the outfield. The error on Gamache allowed Burt to score, as the Blue Rocks led 1-0 before Potomac even stepped up to the plate.

The P-Nats failed to muster much of anything offensively against Castillo, who retired the first seven batters that he faced. Over his eight-inning outing, Castillo worked five perfect frames and allowed just three hits, all singles. The left-handed starter struck out six and did not issue a walk. RF Rhett Wiseman singled in the third inning, Gamache singled in the fourth frame, and LF Dale Carey led off the eighth inning with a single.

The score remained 1-0 in favor of Wilmington until the top of the sixth inning, when RHP Nolan Sanburn gave up a run in his second inning of work. Sanburn issued a leadoff walk to 1B Colton Frabasilio, who advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. After Burt grounded out for the second out of the inning, Heath tallied his first hit of the series, a two-out RBI double. Heath had been 0-10 against Potomac in the series.

A leadoff walk came back to bite Potomac again in the eighth inning, as RHP Kyle Schepel walked RF Jose Sanchez. After Schepel retired the next two hitters, he walked Burt, which gave Heath another opportunity at a two-out RBI. Once again, the centerfielder came through. A two-out RBI single made it 3-0, which was more than enough for Castillo.

The Wilmington starter gave way to RHP Jacob Bodner (SV, 3) for the ninth inning, and though Potomac rallied, the hometown team never got the tying run on base. CF Jack Sundberg led off with a walk and advanced to third base on a double by 2B Bryan Mejia . Bodner then struck out Gamache, while 1B Ian Sagdal plated a run with a groundout. Bodner got DH David Masters to fly out to left field to end the game, as the Blue Rocks tallied their second win in three days.

Needing a win to avoid a series loss, Potomac is set to start LHP Taylor Guilbeau (2-1, 3.88) Monday afternoon. Guilbeau has tossed three consecutive quality starts and has surrendered just six earned runs over his last 27.1 innings. Scheduled to start for the Blue Rocks is RHP A.J. Puckett (7-7, 4.11). Last time out, Puckett went a career high eight innings in a victory over the Lynchburg Hillcats.

First pitch is set for 12:05pm Monday afternoon. The Potomac broadcast will get underway at 11:50pm with the P-Nats Leadoff Show. You can listen to the Potomac broadcast at potomacnationals.com or on the TuneIn Radio App.

The homestand concludes with Summer Camp Day! Area camps will head to The Pfitz to enjoy a fun-filled afternoon of baseball. There will also be water balloons being tossed into the crowd.

In the Futures Game, Victor Robles was playing left field for the World team in their 7-6 loss to USA. He came into the game in the fifth and went 0-1 with a sacrifice fly.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Telmito Agustin launched his fourth home run this season in the opener of a Sunday doubleheader and Sterling Sharp tossed five scoreless innings with just three hits allowed in the finale, but the Suns lost both games to the Kannapolis Intimidators by identical scores of 3-2 in a pair of seven-inning contests at Intimidators Stadium.

In Game 1, Suns starter Carlos Pena (Loss, 4-5) gave up three earned runs on four hits in five innings, including a solo homer by Aaron Schnurbusch that put the Intimidators up 3-0 in the fourth inning. Agustin followed with his fourth home run of the season to put the Suns on the board in the fifth inning, 3-1.

The Suns nearly tied it up in the sixth. Daniel Johnson tallied his first base hit of the day to push his league-best active hitting streak to 13 games and later scored on an RBI single by Jake Noll , but Hagerstown settled for one run as Intimidators starter Kelvis Valerio (Win, 2-0) stranded Sheldon Neuse at third base to keep the Kannapolis lead at 3-2.

Matt Foster (Save, 4) set down the Suns in the seventh as Hagerstown dropped the makeup game from Saturday’s rainout.

In Game 2, the Suns took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a sacrifice fly to center field by Johnson that scored Blake Perkins . Sharp retired the first six batters he faced and never allowed more than one base hit in an inning as he carried the 1-0 lead into the sixth. The 22-year-old righty from Southfield, Michigan has now given up just one run across 18 innings in his last three starts.

Anderson Franco doubled the Hagerstown lead in the sixth with another sac fly to center that scored Neuse to make it 2-0, but the Suns couldn’t hold the lead in the bottom of the inning. Jordan Mills (Loss, 4-2) allowed a single, two walks, and an RBI groundout in his first appearance out of the Suns pen since June 1 after returning to the roster from the Potomac Nationals in the A-Advanced Carolina League. Tommy Peterson entered with runners at first and second and two outs to face J.J. Franco, who doubled down the left field line to put Kannapolis ahead for good, 3-2, as Gavin Sheets and Schnurbusch scored.

Perkins drew a two-out walk in the seventh, but Jake Elliott (Win, 1-1) left him at first and earned the victory by recording the last five outs of the ballgame without giving up a hit.

Johnson went 0-for-2 in Game 2, snapping his hit streak at 13 games. During that span, the 21-year-old outfielder from Vallejo, California batted .444 (24-for-54) with 14 RBI and 14 runs scored.

After dropping the doubleheader, the Suns remain winless at Kannapolis in seven road games this season and 1-8 overall against the Intimidators; their worst record against any South Atlantic League opponent in 2017.

On Monday, the Suns and Intimidators wrap up their four-game series at 7:05 p.m. with Suns left-handed ace McKenzie Mills (10-2, 2.39) getting the start against righty Blake Hickman (1-3, 4.39) for the Intimidators.

Hagerstown currently leads the SAL Northern Division second-half standings with a 10-6 record since the All-Star Break. Following a league-wide off day on Tuesday, the Suns return home to Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown on Wednesday, July 12 at 7:05 p.m. for the first of three games against the Charleston RiverDogs, Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees. For tickets, call (301) 791-6266 or visit hagerstownsuns.com.

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