The Cleveland Indians may have lost a heartbreaker (again...), but at least the farm teams did well yesterday. The Lynchburg Hillcats bounced back from their first loss in almost two weeks with a blowout win over the Winston-Salem Dash, and in Double-A the Akron RubberDucks won again thanks to a leadoff home run from Clint Frazier and contributions from all over the diamond.
Columbus Clippers 7, Charlotte Knights 3
Box Score · Clippers improve to 11-7
The Columbus Clippers extended their winning streak to six games, thanks to a big fifth inning and a passable outing from reliever-acting-as-a-starter Jarrett Grube.
For the most of the evening, the Clippers and the Charlotte Knights exchanged blows. By the time the bottom of the fifth inning rolled around, the two teams were tied at three -- then the Clippers broke it open. After a quick double play put the Clippers at two outs, they struck with back-to-back doubles from Robbie Grossman and Giovanny Urshela, followed by a two-run home run from catcher Adam Moore. When all was said and done the Clippers were up by four and they never needed another run to put away the Knights.
Moore's home run -- his second of the season -- was obviously his biggest hit of the night, but it was far from the only one. He also singled twice and drove in three runs while only striking out once. Outfielder Joey Butler had a nice night as well, going 2-for-3 while playing left field.
Columbus batters did not miss on opportunities Tuesday night. As a team, they were 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position and they left just seven total men on base. Conversely, the Knights were just 1-for-10 with runners primed to score.
Jarrett Grube was a victim of the teams' back-and-forth first few innings, but relievers Tom Gorzelanny, Tommy Hunter, and Toru Murata shut down the Knights offense in the final 4.1 innings. Murata was especially impressive, striking out four and walking one in a three-inning save.
Akron RubberDucks 5, Reading Fightin' Phils 2
Box Score· RubberDucks improve to 12-7
Clint Frazier wasted no times getting the Akron RubberDucks on the board, crushing the first pitch he saw from the leadoff spot for his third home run of the season. That also extended his hitting streak to five games, and his on-base streak to 11 games. Although, it is worth noting that Frazier has not had a multi-hit game since April 16. So, while it is nice that he is getting on base at least once per game, he has yet to truly dominate in any particular outing.
The RubberDucks went back-and-forth with Reading through much of the game but pulled away in the seventh when five straight batters made it on base and the 'Ducks scored two runs as a result. From there, relievers DJ Brown and Ben Heller were able to close out the game. Heller recorded his fifth save of the season.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from Frazier is Bradley Zimmer, who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. The top Indians prospect is now mired in a 3-for-16 slump in his last four games.
Frazier was the headliner, but several RubberDucks batters had big games yesterday. Bryson Myles was 3-for-5 with a home run, and Nellie Rodriguez, Eric Stamets, and Todd Hankins added two hits apiece. Rodriguez, in particular, is finding his stride lately. The first base prospect is 6-for-11 in his last three games, including two home runs and just two strikeouts.
Starting pitcher Rob Kaminsky turned in his best outing of the season, striking out five and walking three in 5.0 innings of work. This was his first start of the season in which he struck out more than two batters; 53 of his 86 pitches found the strike zone.
Lynchburg Hillcats 11, Winston-Salem Dash 6
Box Score· Hillcats improve to 15-4
The Lynchburg Hillcats finally managed to lose a game on Sunday, but they recovered nicely after an off day with a blowout win over the Winston-Salem Dash.
First baseman Bobby Bradley is known for his big home runs, but the 19-year-old also contributed a duo of singles on Tuesday as well as a team-high four runs batted in. Alongside Bradley's fourth homer of the season, catcher Daniel Salters and designated hitter added power, belting their third and first home runs of the season, respectively.
Outfielder Mike Papi has cooled off considerably since his red-hot first week of the season, but he tallied two hits today -- his first mult-hit game since April 17.
Julian Merryweather continues to be one of the best pitchers on this great Lynchburg staff. He allowed just two runs on six hits tonight, and on the season, he has just a 0.76 earned run average. Cole Sulser had a rough eighth inning, but he induced a double play and a groundout after allowing three straight hits to escape with only one earned run.
Lake County Captains 2, Burlington Bees 1
Box Score· Captains improve to 13-6
The Lake County Captains could only manage two runs on six hits against the Burlington Bees, but that's all they needed on their way to a series-opening win.
Tyler Krieger set the table for the Captains' first run, leading off the fourth inning with a triple. Catcher Francisco Mejia got him home in the next at-bat with a sacrifice fly. With that triple, Krieger has now hit in six straight games. He also scored in three straight, thanks to Mejia hitting well behind him.
Lake County starting pitcher Matt Esparza dominated in his five innings of work, allowing just five hits and one earned run while striking out seven. Closer Yoiber Marquina finished out the game striking out two Bees batters in the ninth.