After a dreadful Friday the 13th where Tribe minor league teams went a combined 1-4, it was opposite day on Saturday.
Columbus, the only team to win on Friday, would fail to start a new winning streak while Akron, Lynchburg and Lake County all bounced back into the win column, aided by some spectacular efforts from some of their most consistent players this season.
Columbus Clippers 6, Louisville Bats 8
Box Score · Clippers fall to 22-13
It was an ugly game defensively for both clubs as each team would have three errors on the day. Despite the high score, Columbus was never in the lead at any point in the game, always playing catch-up.
Yandy Diaz collected his first hit at Triple-A this year, a double, but paid for it with a costly dropped foul pop-up which led to a run. Columbus was paced by Joey Butler, who went 2-4 with a double on the day, the only Clipper to collect multiple hits.
Ryan Merritt, pitching for the first time since his complete game shutout of Lehigh Valley, surrendered four runs (two earned) on eight hits in six innings while striking out only two.
The bullpen was now particularly impressive either, as Josh Martin and Tom Gorzelanny gave up four more runs in the following 1.2 innings, although thankfully Shawn Armstrong had a decent outing in mop-up duty.
Akron RubberDucks 4, Harrisburg Senators 3 (12 innings)
Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 25-10
Paced by some brilliant relief pitching from players you'll (hopefully) be seeing soon in the big leagues, Akron bounced back from a tough loss by doing something the big league club hasn't been able to do this year: win in extra innings.
Recently promoted Taylor Murphy would lead the way for the RubberDucks with three hits and he would score the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th on an error straight out of Major League. Designated hitter Eric Haase would also have three hits on the day, two of them doubles. Top prospect Clint Frazier was held hitless on the day, but did manage two more walks to keep that on base percentage high and he also gunned down a runner at home plate and stole a base.
Starting pitcher D.J. Brown was on cruise control until he couldn't get out of the fifth inning. After only giving up one hit in the first four frames, Brown hit a batter, threw a wild pitch and gave up four straight singles before getting yanked.
Thankfully the Akron bullpen was unbelievably good. Louis Head, JP Feyereisen, Ben Heller and Perci Garner combined for 7.1 innings of scoreless relief to give Akron the opportunity to come back and win the game, which is exactly what they did.
Lynchburg Hillcats 4, Carolina Mud Cats 1
Box Score · Hillcats improve to 23-12
There have been two things super consistent this year for Lynchburg: Bobby Bradley will hit home runs and Julian Merryweather will have a great outing on the mound. Both were out in full force yesterday, doing exactly what they've done all season.
Bradley went deep with a three run bomb in the fifth inning, his organization-leading ninth on the season. Mike Papi continued his recent trend of bouncing back with another 2-3 day at the plate including his career high fifth home run.
Starting pitcher Julian Merryweather was dominant, going 5.2 innings, giving up four hits and blowing away Carolina hitters to the tune of nine strikeouts on the day. His ERA on the season dropped to 0.63 as he improved to 6-1 with the victory.
Lake County Captains 9, Bowling Green Hot Rods 3
Box Score · Captains improve to 22-14
After getting swept in a double header yesterday with an anemic offensive performance, Lake County hitters were out for revenge.
The Captains teed off on Bowling Green starter Michael Velasquez to the tune of seven runs in the first two innings. Top catching prospect Francisco Mejia led the charge, going 2-5 with a double and two RBIs on the day. Red hot Ka'ai Tom also went 2-5 while top second base prospect Tyler Krieger blasted off with the first home run of his minor league career, a three run bomb in the second inning.
Captains starter Matt Esparza gave up three runs in the first inning but would settle down, pitching three scoreless innings the rest of the way. Matt Whitehouse, Billy Strode and Kieren Lovegrove would pitch five scoreless innings of relief to keep the Hot Rods at bay the rest of the way.