Nationals Minor League Report: July 13

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Spencer Kieboom smashed a double on Thursday night. (Danny Tripodi | Syracuse Chiefs)

By Michael Marzzacco

Compiled via team press releases: 

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Pawtucket Red Sox 5-0 on Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium in the first game back from the All-Star break. Syracuse (32-56) ran into a strong pitching performance from Brian Johnson. The left-hander tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, and striking out a pair.

Pawtucket (45-44) kicked off the scoring with a trio of runs in the third inning versus Jacob Turner. Heiker Meneses led off the frame with a line-drive double over the head of Stephen Perez in left field. Jantzen Witte followed with a single into left field, allowing Meneses to advance to third on the play. In the next at-bat, former Chief Dan Butler poked a single into center field, scoring Meneses and putting Witte at second. One batter later, Aneury Tavarez lined a single into center to load the bases. Turner then issued a walk to Ryan Court, plating Witte and keeping the bases loaded for Brian Bogusevic. The left-hander responded to the bases-loaded situation by popping a sacrifice fly into left field, allowing Butler to score and putting the PawSox out in front 3-0.

The PawSox tacked on another run to their lead in the fifth. Butler led off the frame with a scalding line drive into left field. After a Tavarez fly out and a Court walk put runners at first and second, Bogusevic lined a single into center field, bringing Butler in to score and increasing the Pawtucket lead to 4-0.

Edwin Jackson finally allowed the first run of his Chiefs career in the top of the seventh. Butler continued his impressive game with a single into left to lead off the inning. Two batters later, Court singled into center to advance Butler to second. Bogusevic followed with a single of his own to load the bases for Steve Selsky. Selsky slapped a ground ball up the box and into center field, scoring Butler and expanding the lead to 5-0. Jackson was able to get out of the bases-loaded jam in the next at-bat inducing a 6-4-3 double play from Matt Dominguez to end the frame. Coming into the inning, Jackson had not allowed a run through his first 18 and one-third innings of baseball with Syracuse.

The Chiefs and PawSox continue a four-game series on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. from NBT Bank Stadium. Erick Fedde, the Nationals’ top pitching prospect per Baseball America, takes the mound for the Chiefs opposite a pitcher to be announced for the PawSox.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Corban Joseph hit a run-scoring single in the ninth inning, leading the Harrisburg Senators to an 8-6 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Thursday.

The single by Joseph, part of a two-run inning, gave the Senators a 7-6 lead before Joseph scored on an error later in the inning.

Derek Eitel (3-2) got the win in relief while Cody Hall (2-1) took the loss in the Eastern League game. Brady Dragmire retired the side in order for his first save of the season.

For the Flying Squirrels, K.C. Hobson homered and singled.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): For the second consecutive night, the Salem Red Sox (53-37, 13-8) kept the Potomac Nationals (39-50, 6-13) off the scoreboard. After a 6-0 shutout loss Wednesday night, Potomac fell 4-0 Thursday night at Haley Toyota Field. Despite more hits than the Red Sox, two home runs from Salem proved to be the difference in the game.

Salem struck in the bottom of the first inning against RHP Luis Reyes (L, 5-10). With two outs, DH Josh Ockimey lifted his ninth home run of the season over the left field wall, which made it 1-0 Salem and proved to be the difference in the game. After Reyes then tossed three straight scoreless frames and put two outs on the board in the fifth inning, 1B Jordan Betts hit a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run home run. The second two-out home run of the night for the Red Sox made it 3-0 after five innings.

The P-Nats had chances throughout the night against RHP Roniel Raudes (W, 3-6). Potomac tallied three singles in the second inning, but CF Tate Matheny threw out SS Edwin Lora at the plate on a single by RF Rhett Wiseman , Potomac’s only hit with a man in scoring position in the game. The P-Nats left men two on in the second inning, a man at third base in the third frame, and men at the corners in the fourth inning. Raudes allowed just four hits over five-shutout frames.

Out of the Salem bullpen, LHP Logan Boyd allowed just one hit over 2.2 innings and departed for RHP Austin Gloriuswith two outs in the eighth. Glorius gave up a single to 3B David Masters , but struck out Lora, which ended the inning. The first two Potomac batters then reached against Glorius in the ninth inning before RHP Stephen Nogosek (SV, 4) entered with the tying run in the on-deck circle. The right-handed reliever caught 2B Bryan Mejia looking at a called third strike, while CF Victor Robles grounded into a fielder’s choice out at third base. LF Jack Sundberg walked, which loaded the bases, but DH Austin Davidson took a called third strike, which ended the game.

With four straight losses, the P-Nats sit six games behind Salem in the Northern Division. In an attempt to avoid a season high fifth consecutive loss, Potomac will send LHP Grant Borne (4-3, 2.04) to the mound. Borne has tallied a quality start in six of his last seven outings and has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 12 outings in 2017. For the Red Sox, LHP Dedgar Jimenez (9-3, 3.30) will make his second start of the season vs. Potomac. Jimenez allowed just one unearned run on three hits over 5.2 innings in a victory at Pfitzner Stadium on 5/13.

First pitch is set for 7:05pm Friday 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):

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K-Rod (Photo: John Slick)

Former Major League closer Francisco Rodriguez (a.k.a. K-Rod) pitched a scoreless first inning for the Hagerstown Suns (11-8, 49-39) on Thursday night at Municipal Stadium, but the Charleston RiverDogs (14-6, 48-42) scored six runs in two innings against Tyler Watson to grab the 7-5 victory in a battle of South Atlantic League division leaders.

Rodriguez signed a Minor League contract with the Washington Nationals on July 5 and made his fifth appearance for a Nationals affiliate. The 35-year-old from Caracas, Venezuela made his last professional start in 2001 with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in the A-Advanced California League.

K-Rod allowed a leadoff single to Hoy Jun Park, who promptly stole second base. The next batter, Diego Castillo, flied to center where All-Star outfielder Blake Perkins made a diving catch and Park continued running around third base without tagging up. The Suns doubled him off easily as Jake Noll tapped the bag at second. Rodriguez ended his night by inducing a groundout to second base by Yankees prospect Blake Rutherford.

Rodriguez, who set the single-season Major League record with 62 saves in 2008 for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, left after the first inning on Thursday with one base hit allowed, no walks, and no strikeouts. He threw 11 strikes with 15 total pitches. Following three appearances with Double-A Harrisburg, one relief outing with A-Advanced Potomac, and his one-inning start with the Suns, K-Rod has a 1.80 ERA in five innings with four hits, one earned run, three walks, and two strikeouts in Minor League Baseball this season.

Hagerstown plated two runs in the bottom of the first against Charleston starter Nick Green. Perkins scored on an RBI groundout by Sheldon Neuse and Nick Banks tallied a two-out, infield single that drove in Aldrem Corredor .

Watson (Loss, 5-4) inherited a 2-0 lead in the top of the second but gave up two RBIs on a pair of ground balls that never left the infield. After tying up the game at 2-2, Charleston poured it on in the third with three straight doubles by Donny SandsIsiah Gilliam, and Brandon Wagner, who gave the RiverDogs a 6-2 advantage.

Watson allowed six earned runs on eight hits with one strikeout in his two frames. Steven Fuentes relieved him and allowed a leadoff homer to Carlos Vidal in the fourth before retiring the next 12 batters in order.

Hagerstown cut the Charleston lead to 7-5 with a three-run bottom of the fourth. Telmito Agustin launched his third home run in the last six games on a two-run shot to right-center field. Neuse followed with a two-out RBI single for his team-leading 51st run batted in this season. Neuse and Agustin led the Suns with two RBIs each.

Jordan Mills pitched the final two innings and allowed two base hits in his second appearance with the Suns since rejoining from A-Advanced Potomac on July 6, but the Hagerstown bats mustered one hit in the final 4 1/3 innings against Charleston relievers Matt Frawley (Win, 5-1) and Trevor Lane (Save, 2). The RiverDogs, division leaders in the SAL Southern, have lost only four times when leading after five complete innings in 2017.

Following a loss by the Hickory Crawdads on Thursday night, Hagerstown remains in first place atop the SAL Northern Division second-half standings. On Friday, the Suns try to avoid a three-game sweep during Charleston’s lone regular season visit to Hagerstown this season. Suns right-handed starter Weston Davis (0-2, 5.73) goes to the mound first at 7:05 p.m. against RiverDogs righty Freicer Perez (5-3, 3.03).

Before Friday’s game, the Suns will posthumously honor former general manager Bob Miller. The 1982 Sporting News Class A Baseball Executive of the Year will be inducted into the Hagerstown Suns Hall of Fame with his family in attendance at Municipal Stadium. Live in-game entertainment will feature dueling pianos and a fireworks spectacular will immediately follow the game. To purchase tickets, call (301) 791-6266 or visit hagerstownsuns.com.

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