A perfect night for the Blue Jay farm, featuring a somewhat more-than-perfect night for Ryan Patterson. Exaggeration? Not much.
Syracuse 2 @ Scranton-Wilkes Barre 1 (12 innings)
He wasn’t quite as good as Roy Halladay, but he wasn’t far off: Josh Banks went 8 innings in SWB, allowing just 3 hits and one run (a solo homer) while striking out 9 and issuing zero free passes. He threw just 22 balls against 74 strikes.
Unfortunately, the SkyChief bats only put up 1 run in support of him, and the game headed to extras. It remained 1-1 until the top of the twelfth, when Jason Phillips lead off with a ground ball that the shortstop booted for a two-base error. Danny Solano came in to run, and Rob Cosby moved him over to third with a sacrifice bunt. Wayne Lydon finished the manufacturing with a single to right, and that made the bottom of the 12th Game Over Gronk time.
As in the Toronto game, Gronkiewicz allowed a single to lead off the last frame, but after a flyout induced a ground ball for the game-ending double play. Between Banks and Gronk, Adrian Burnside pitched a scoreless inning and Jason Frasor made this statement: 2 innings, 1 single, 4 strikeouts.
Sergio Santos had a double and a single for Syracuse, Lydon two singles and a walk.
New Hampshire 6 @ Reading 2
The Fisher Cats got a balanced attack (how nice is it to be able to say that?) and solid pitching to neatly defeat the Phillies. Jason Arnold started and put up 4 sparkling innings of 3-hit 7-K ball. Jordan De Jong vultured the win with 3 innings of 1-run ball, Jimmy Bullard allowed a second run in his one-third of a frame, and Tracy Thorpe was credited a save for retiring the final 5 batters, 2 by way of whiff.
Ah yes, the balanced attack: 2 hits each from Manny Mayorson, John Schneider, and Chip Cannon, who blasted a solo shot to get things started in the 2nd. Eric Arnold smacked a 2-run jack; David Smith and Miguel Negron bagged two-baggers; Adam Lind and Carlo Cota settled for singles. Only Erik Kratz failed to reach on his own merits, but he did steal a bag.
Dunedin 19 @ Vero Beach 12
Pitching & defence are all well and good, but every now and then it’s fun just to bludgeon your opponent. This one wasn’t even as close as the score would indicate, as 5 of the Vero Beach runs came in the 8th inning with the 19 Jay runs already recorded.
It’s hard to imagine a better night than the one enjoyed by Ryan Patterson; 6 hits is rare enough; likewise 5 runs scored, and likewise 3 homers, and likewise 9 RBI; 5 extra-base hits are just unheard of. Doing all of that in one night? I don’t think I have an appropriate word for it. Wow. Let’s just say, Wow.
Leadoff hitter Aaron Mathews did his bit setting up the 2-hitter Patterson, slapping six singles. Robinzon Diaz hit a grand slam, Ron Davenport and Juan Peralta solo bombs. Davenport also doubled, and Eric Nielsen and David Corrente joined him in the 2-hit ring. Dustin Majewski thought he’d try something different, drawing 4 walks to go with his double. Somehow, Ryan Klosterman managed to go oh-for-five with a walk.
Robert Ray and TJ Gornati were beat about the head & shoulders. Danny Core had a most curious outing, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk in 2 1/3… but striking out 6. Connor Falkenbach allowed a run on 3 hits over 2. The calm in the midst of the storm was Kyle Yates, pitching a perfect 6th with 2 punchouts.
Back to the hitting; another amazing aspect of Patterson and Mathews’ nights is that the other 7 hitters in the lineup totaled “only” 9 hits. The blowout discount still applies, but not nearly as much as it might – the rest of the offence was merely very good, not nuclear like the first 2 hitters.
Kane County 4 @ Lansing 9
The Lugnuts tried to find a reasonable balance between excellent pitching and pulverizing offence. Leadoff hitter Sean Shoffit led the hitting side of things with 2 doubles and a single; close behind was Josh Bell with2 doubles of his own, and 3 batted in. Jacob Butler, Brian Pettway, and Anthony Hatch all homered.
Aaron Wideman started and went 5 first-rate innings, allowing just a run on 3 hits, 2-1 on the K-BB count. Adrian Martin was roughed up for 3 runs on 6 hits over the next 2 2/3, and Joe McLaughlin finished out with 1 1/3, 1 hit, 1 walk. Junior has started the season with 6 1/3 shutout innings out of the Lansing ‘pen.
The Third Star: Aaron Mathews, Dunedin. Six singles not so shabby.
The Second Star: Josh Banks, Syracuse. 8 Halladay-esque innings.The First Star: Ryan Patterson, Dunedin. 17 total bases, 5 runs, 9 RBI. Feel free to take the rest of the week off.