...but not so much in Syracuse & New Hampshire.
Buffalo 1 @ Syracuse 0
A second-inning Bison run stood up to win the match as pitching ruled the day in Syracuse. Ty Taubenheim made another strong start for the Chiefs, going 6 innings allowing 6 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4. He saw his ERA rise to 1.08. Brandon League and Adrian Burnside turned in 3 shutout innings of relief. For the bad guys, Steve Karsay earned a hold for his 3 scoreless frames.
The Syracuse offense amounted to 3 singles and 3 walks. No need to name names.
New Hampshire 0 @ Harrisburg 2
The hitting woes continued in double-A, as the Fisher Cats were shut out on just 1 hit and 1 walk. Ismael Ramirez was the hard luck loser, allowing just 1 run on 2 hits over 5, striking out 4 and walking 2. Jamie Vermilyea allowed the other run, unearned due to a Manny Mayorson error. Vermilyea gave up four hits and struck out 1 in pitching 3 innings.
Fort Myers 4 @ Dunedin 5
For eight and two-thirds innings, the Dunedin Blue Jays were falling in line with their higher-up minor league cousins, scoring just 1 run on 3 hits and falling behind 4 – 1. But then Eric Nielsen drew a walk, and Robinzon Diaz snuck a ground ball into right field for a single. Dustin Majewski hit a grounder that should have ended it, but the shortstop booted it and suddenly the sacks were full and there was hope for the home town. Catcher John Schneider wasted no time making good on that hope, smacking a home run to left for the grand slam walkoff.
Daryl Harang receipted for the W, having pitched the 8th and 9th giving up a run on 2 hits but punching out 4. Preceding him was Danny Core, who tossed 2 frames featuring 2 hits and 3 Ks. In the beginning there was Jesse Litsch for 5, 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits and a walk, 4 whiffs. Diaz and Schneider both had two hit nights and were both involved in Dunedin’s first run, when Schneider’s single drove in Diaz’s double.
Beloit 2 @ Lansing 3
As if to balance the 2 shutouts at the top of the system, the Lugnuts made it 2 bottom-of-the-ninth wins from the lower teams. They came into the final frame down 2 – 1, and like the Dunedins they surrendered two precious outs before getting down to business. Cory Patton started the comeback with a double. Yuber Rodriguez pinch ran for him, and Joey Metropoulos drew a walk. Jacob Butler did the finishing honours with a double to right.
Like Schneider in High-A, Butler was responsible for all of Lansing’s runs-batted-in, the other coming on a groundout in the 7th. Before the ninth inning, the Lugnuts had managed just a single from Jesús Gonzalez and a triple and another walk for Big City. Pitching-wise, Russ Savickas was brilliant for 6, striking out 10 and walking not a one in surrendering the 2 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits. Sean Stidfole made his 2006 debut memorable in scoring the W for his 3 shutout innings of relief. He totaled 2 each of hits, walks, and strikeouts.
The Third Star: Russell Savickas, Lansing. 6 dominant innings.
The Second Star: Jacob Butler, Lansing. The walk-off double and all 3 Lugnut RBI.The First Star: John Schneider, Dunedin. The walk-off salami and all 5 Blue Jay RBI.