New York State was kind to the affiliates last night but the state of Michigan? Not so much. Still, the affiliates overcame less than stellar starting pitching to win 2 out of 3 on Memorial Day south of the border.
Syracuse 8 Norfolk 5
Syracuse Post-Standard Tales From The P-A Booth
Syracuse Post-Standard Howie Clark Feature
Syracuse, NY - It was troubled waters in this one for Syracuse starter Ismael Ramirez as he faced former Baltimore Oriole Kurt Birkins. Brandon Fahey got to I-Ram just two batters in for a solo homer followed by a double and single and just like that, it was 2-0 Tides. Ramirez ran into more trouble with the long ball in the 2nd as Tike Redman belted a 3 run shot to make it 5-0. The Chiefs got on the board the next half inning as John Hattig came up with a 2 run single to plate a Chad Mottola single and John-Ford Griffin double to cut into the Norfolk lead at 5-2.
Lefty Jim Crowell reliever Ramirez in the 3rd and managed to hold Norfolk off the board in his nearly 5 innings of work. The Chiefs didn't do a whole lot in innings 3 through 6. Chad Mottola had a single, walk, and stolen base and Curtis Thigpen also singled and pilfered a bag but it didn't lead to them scoring.
Crowell ran out of gas in the 7th, giving up a pair of two out singles but Jordan De Jong put out that fire by getting a ground ball to keep it 5-2 Norfolk into the 7th inning stretch. The Chiefs followed suit by scraping together a couple of 2 out singles of their own by Russ Adams and Curtis Thigpen. Unlike the Tides, Syracuse made them count as Howie Clark jacked one out to right-center off Norfolk reliever Nick McCurdy to tie the game at 5-5.
After Jordan De Jong worked a clean 8th, the Chiefs would take the lead. Erik Kratz greeted Norfolk reliever Steve (no relation to Mike!) Green by singling home a John-Ford Griffin double. Russ Adams then came through with a 2 out, 2 run double to make it 8-5 Syracuse. Blaine Neal made sure it was low tide for Norfolk by inducing a tapper to the mound and punching out the last two batters he faced to preserve the victory for Syracuse.
Offensively, Russ Adams, Curtis Thigpen, Chad Mottola, and John-Ford Griffin had 2 hit nights with Griffin collecting a couple of two-baggers. Howie Clark had 3 RBI thanks to his game tying home run while Russ Adams and John Hattig drove in a pair each. Russ Adams has inched his batting average to .241 on the season while Curtis Thigpen is above .300 at .301.
On the mound, Ismael Ramirez was lit up for 5 runs (all earned) on 5 hits and a walk in only 2 innings. Jim Crowell led the bullpen shut-out brigade, delivering 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief while Jordan De Jong went 1 1/3 and Blaine Neal went a clean frame for his 3rd save. De Jong also stranded a pair of Crowell's runners to earn the victory to go to 1-0, dropping his ERA to 2.79.
New Hampshire 8 Binghamton 5
Binghamton, NY - Russ Savickas got the call for the Fisher Cats against Marcos Carvajal. It was an error by B-Mets outfield prospect Fernando Martinez in the 2nd inning that opened the floodgates in this one as he muffed a Rob Cosby fly ball in center field, leading to a pair of Fisher Cat runs to give them a 2-0 advantage. Rob Cosby would drive in a run the more conventional way the next time up as he connected for a solo homer in the 4th to up the New Hampshire bulge to 3-0.
Meantime, Russ Savickas was dodging bullets, keeping the B-Mets off the board for the first 3 innings despite giving up 4 walks, a double, and a single. He was bailed out by a pair of double plays as Chip Cannon snared a ball at first to double off his former teammate Miguel Negron in the 2nd inning while Ryan Patterson started a 7-4 twin killing to get a runner at 2nd to end inning number 3. Savickas' luck would come to an end in the 4th as a single, double, sac fly, and a throwing error by Juan Peralta plated two runs to cut the Fisher Cats lead to 3-2.
The F-Cats would restore their 3 run lead in the 5th as Chip Cannon, Ryan Patterson, and Ryan Klosterman doubled to produce two runs and an RBI single by Rob Cosby made the score 6-2. It would stay that until the Binghamon 6th when a Ryan Klosterman error set the stage for Miguel Negron and he made his former organization pay with a 2 run shot to draw Binghamton to within 6-4. That was the end of the line for Russ Savickas, as he gave way to Jean Machi.
Ryan Klosterman made amends for his error in the top of the 7th as he led off with a double and would come home on a wild pitch to give the F-Cats some breathing room at 7-4. The 'Cats would add to that in the 8th as a David Smith walk would be chauffered home courtesy of a Chip Cannon 2 run blast to give New Hampshire a whopping 9-4 lead. Binghamton would get two runs off Jesse Carlson in the 9th but New Hampshire still held on for the 3 run victory.
The hit leaders in this one were Rob Cosby and Chip Cannon with 3 knocks apiece, including a home run. The two Ryans, Patterson and Klosterman, had 2 hit evenings along with Sergio Santos but Santos also whiffed 3 times for the hat trick. David Smith had the most interesting line of the night, going 0-for-3 officially but also drawing 3 walks. Dustin Majewski was 0-for-4 but recorded two bases on balls. Leadoff man Juan Peralta was 1-for-4 with a free pass and he's now hitting .321.
Russ Savickas got the "W" despite a less than stellar 5 innings of work. He gave up 4 runs (2 earned) on 5 hits and 5 walks and only struck out 2. However, it was enough to even his record at 2-2. Jean Machi struck out 2 in 2 clean innings of work to bring down his ERA to 3.14.
Dunedin - Scheduled Day Off
Hey, at least their attendance is up!
Great Lakes 8 Lansing 6
Midland, MI - Nathan Starner got the starting assignment for the Lugnuts in this one against Loons lefty Colin White. After getting around a single and stolen base in the 1st, Starner saw his offence come up empty in the 2nd as a double play groundball came before a Sean Shoffit triple that would be stranded. Great Lakes then got to Starner with 4 singles for the first run of the ball game but would leave the bases loaded. A Jonathan Diaz lead off walk in the top of the 3rd would come home to score on an error by Great Lakes 3rd baseman Josh Bell to tie the game at 1-1.
Great Lakes would storm ahead with 3 runs in the 4th on a walk, 2 singles, and a fielder's choice to jump out to a 4-1 lead. However, Lansing would storm right back with 3 runs of their own in the top of the 5th as Yuber Rodriguez unloaded for a 3 run homer, plating Raul Barron and Chris Emanuele singles to knot up the score at 4-4.
The Loons would pull away with 2 runs apiece in the 5th and 6th innings to go up 8-4. All of the damage came against Lansing reliever Edward Rodriguez. In the 8th, the Lugnuts drew closer with a pair as Travis Snider came off the bench to do the PH/DH thing for Jonathan Jaspe to deliver a pinch-hit RBI double. Snider would come around to score on a Jonathan Diaz triple to make it 8-6. Chris Reddout gave the Lugnuts a chance with his 2nd scoreless inning of relief but the Lugnuts went 3 up, 3 down in the 9th to lose by two.
At the plate, no Lugnut had more than one hit on the night. Y-Rod had the big blow with a 3 run dinger, vaulting his average to .252. The downside though was a couple of strikeouts. Meantime, Sean Shoffit had a triple, walk, and stolen base as he went an official 1-for-3. Jonathan Diaz also had a 3 bagger and an RBI in a 1-for-3 night. Travis Snider's pinch hit double lifted his average to. 357.
On the hill, Nathan Starner surrendered 9 hits and a walk to allow 4 runs (2 earned) in his 4 frames of work. Edward Rodriguez gave up 7 baserunners in 2 innings (5 hits and 2 walks), resulting in 4 runs. E-Rod falls to 1-and-1. Chris Reddout gave up two hits in 2 scoreless innings and now has an ERA of 2.63.
*** 3 Stars ***
3. Jim Crowell, Syracuse - 4.2IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 1K
2. Chip Cannon, New Hampshire - 3/6, HR, 2 2B, 2 RBI
1. Rob Cosby, New Hampshire - 3/5, BB, HR, 2 RBI
Honourable Mentions -
Syracuse - Russ Adams, Curtis Thigpen, Chad Mottola, John-Ford Griffin, John Hattig, Jordan De Jong, Blaine Neal.
New Hampshire - Sergio Santos, Ryan Patterson, Ryan Klosterman, David Smith, Jean Machi.
Lansing - Yuber Rodriguez, Matt Liuzza, Sean Shoffit, Jonathan Diaz, Travis Snider, Chris Reddout.
Syracuse 21-28, 8 GB Buffalo - International League North Division
New Hampshire 25-21, 6 GB Trenton - Eastern League Northern Division
Dunedin 22-27, 10.5 GB Sarasota, Florida State League West Division
Lansing 25-22, 6.5 GB Dayton, Midwest League Eastern Division
Today's Schedule/Probable Starters -
Trenton @ New Hampshire, 6:35 p.m. - RHP Jason Jones (3-3, 3.23) vs. LHP Kurt Isenberg (1-1, 2.52)
West Michigan @ Lansing, 6:35 p.m. - RHP Chris Cody (4-3, 1.56) vs. RHP Graham Godfrey (1-1, 3.52)
Dunedin @ Clearwater, 7:00 p.m. - RHP Kristian Bell (2-3, 3.26) vs. TBD
Norfolk @ Syracuse, 7:00 p.m. - RHP Tim Kester (3-3, 5.59) vs. RHP Victor Zambrano (NR)
Bluejays.scout.com has an article up on Travis Snider, detailing his thumb injury.
Baseball America reports in its Prospects Blog that a former Blue Jays farmhand is on his way to the bigs. The same article also mentions another former member of the Jays organization.
Bonus Canadian Minor League Baseball Coverage!
With my impending move to Alberta, here's a quick update of my new favourite Canadian independent minor league ball club, the Edmonton Cracker-Cats of the Northern League. The Cracker Cats pulled one out of the fire last night at Telus Field, rallying from a 5-0 deficit to defeat the Gary South Shore Rail Cats 6-5. They scored two in the 9th to make a winner of Lou Pote, the former Angel and Indian. That's a huge win for the C-Cats, who lost 3 in a row to Gary at home after a 3-4 road trip to open the season. When Edmonton wins the Northern League championship, we'll look back on this date as the turning point :) Go Cracker-Cats!!