Another doubleheader was rained out for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, so the damp kitties will now be playing consecutive twinbills in mid-May; welcome to the Eastern League! Happily for Jays fans, the other three full-season minor-league clubs did take the field yesterday, including two doubleheaders. Here's what went down:
Syracuse 7-3 Ottawa 2-4
The Skychiefs split a doubleheader here in Ottawa; I wasn't at either of the games, but I'm sure there must have been at least 40 or 50 people who were. In the opener, David Bush fired a complete (7-inning) game that erased any memories of his tough first start. He allowed just 6 hits, walked 2 and struck out 5 while allowing 1 earned run. 2B Jorge Sequea had another solid game in the leadoff spot, singling twice, walking and coming around to score 3 times. RF Alex Rios' 2-run double was his lone hit in 5 trips, while SS Russ Adams also doubled in a run and C Guillermo Quiroz singled twice.
The Chiefs were cruising along in the nightcap too, until the 7th inning. Josue Matos had made a terrific Syracuse debut, firing 3 2/3 innings of 2-hit ball, walking just 1 and whiffing 6 batters. He left after allowing a double with 2 outs in the 4th, presumably for pitch-count reasons. Vinny Chulk allowed an RBI single to the first batter he faced, but then shut down the Lynx for 2 1/3 hitless innings, striking out 3 and walking no one. Alas, it was all for naught, as closer Mike Smith allowed 3 runs in the bottom of the 7th to blow the game, thanks in part to an error by Sequea (his second of the day), but mostly to a 2-run triple to Darnell McDonald. The Chiefs had an ordinary day at the plate: nobody had more than one hit or scored more than one run, though Rios doubled in 2 runs in the 3rd inning.
So the doubleheader was a sweep for Syracuse in spirit, if not in reality, though the Chiefs came away dissatisfied with the result. But hey, it could have been worse: the Chiefs could have had 6 errors committed by their shortstops, as the Lynx did (4 for Eddie Garabito in Game 1, 2 by Clay Bellinger (!!) in Game 2).
Tampa 10 Dunedin 6
This one was a joint effort by the pitching staff, although Francisco Rosario deserved a better fate. He started the game with 3 scoreless innings, striking out 3, though he walked 2 and allowed 3 hits in there. By the 4th inning, though, he was tiring, and gave up a walk and a home run. Following a fielding error and another walk, Rosario was relieved by Vince Perkins, who did his teammate no favours by promptly surrendering a 2-run double. Rosario's final line -- 3 1/3 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 3 K -- looked uglier than it actually was. Perkins' final numbers, however, were just about right: 2 2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB and 1 K. On the plus side, Vince's control was at least good. Santo Valdez then entered to finish off the job and allowed 3 runs in 2 innings, principally on 2 round-trippers.
The offence was a fairly piecemeal effort for the D-Jays. RF Ron Davenport drove in 2 runs with a pair of singles, while 2B Carlo Cota doubled, walked and scored twice. 1B Vito Chiaravalotti finally cooled off, going 1 for 5 and whiffing three times, as did 3B Raul Tablado, who doubled, scored a run and drove one in. Jayce Tingler continued to be a leadoff presence, though, with a single, walk and 2 runs scored.
Charleston 7-2 Lakewood 0-6
Another doubleheader split. In the first game, Danny Core spun a masterful 2-hitter over 5 2/3 shutout innings, walking 2 and striking out 4; Mark Sopko finished off the blanking with 1 1/3 IP of 1-strikeout hitless ball. The balanced offence was led by centrefielder David Smith, whose 3 hits included his second home run of the young season. Several players had 2-hit games, included C Robby Diaz and 2B Ryan Roberts.
Things went less well in the nightcap. The offence was held to a solitary double by Mike Galloway, though Lakewood pitchers issued 5 walks, 2 with the bases loaded in the 5th inning. On the mound, Justin James was hammered for 5 ER in 3 1/3 innings on 4 hits (including a 3-run homer) and 1 walk, striking out 3. On the plus side, Marcos Sandoval relieved James and retired all 5 batters he faced, striking out 4 of them.
Our Three-Star Selection:
The 3rd Star: Danny Core, Charleston SP, who threw a solid 5 2/3 innings for the win in the first game of a Sally League doubleheader.
The 2nd Star: David Smith, Charleston CF, who homered, singled twice and scored 2 runs in the Alley-Cats' 7-0 win in Game 1.
The 1st Star: David Bush, Syracuse SP, who fired a complete-game six-hitter to take the first of two against Ottawa.