Things were good for the top of the Indians organization, but the low levels continued to struggle on a 3-4 day for Tribe affiliates.
Nearly all of the runs for Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus were scored in one inning, but they did more than enough in those big innings to earn a victory.
Also of note, the AZL Indians collected their first victory of the young season as Will Benson collected his first career hit.
Columbus Clippers 10, Norfolk Tides 7
Box Score · Clippers fall to 39-36
This game was over practically before it started as the Clippers did their best Houston Astros impression, blasting off for a ridiculous nine runs in the first inning, knocking Norfolk starter Scott McGough out of the game after just 0.1 innings of work.
Michael Choice collected a grand slam in the first inning and Columbus wasn't done there, scoring four more runs on a double by Abraham Almonte and a two run single from Yandy Diaz.
With a massive cushion, Clippers starter Michael Clevinger decided to keep the ball in the zone, not walking anyone and striking out eight, but he did give up four runs over the course of six innings. The bullpen gave up three more along the way to actually make the game close late, but TJ House pitched a perfect ninth to record his first career save.
Akron RubberDucks 5, Trenton Thunder 2
Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 43-31
Just like Columbus, Akron did all of its damage early, picking up five runs in the second inning against tough starting pitcher Daniel Camarena. Luigi Rodriguez knocked in two with a single, red hot Todd Hankins picked up another RBI single and then Bradley Zimmer closed the scoring with a huge two-run double.
Akron only collected three more hits the rest of the way, but they didn't need any more runs thanks to some solid pitching. Starter Rob Kaminsky made one mistake over five innings, a two run home run in the third, and relievers Robbie Aviles and JP Feyereisen shut the door with four scoreless innings of relief.
Lynchburg Hillcats 4, Potomac Nationals 2
Box Score · Hillcats fall to 45-26
Lake County Captains 3, Great Lakes Loons 4
Box Score · Captains fall to 40-32
Lake County had all their All-Stars back in the lineup but they still couldn't quite dig out of the hole they fell behind early as starter Casey Shane surrendered four early runs, although only one of them was earned as Willi Castro picked up his whopping 21st error of the season and Ordomar Valdez contributed two more.
The Captains mounted a comeback thanks in part to a 3-4 day from stud catching prospect Francisco Mejia, who extended his hitting streak to 21 games and even stole his first base of the season. Jose Medina also bashed a home run while center fielder Nathan Lukes collected a triple.
Battery-mates Kieren Lovegrove and Billy Strode kept them in the game thanks to three scoreless innings of relief.
Mahoning Valley Scrappers 1, Williamsport Crosscutters 2
Box Score · Scrappers fall to 1-7
Stop me if you've heard this story before. A brilliant pitching performance from a Mahoning Valley starter was once again all for naught as the offense was anemic and the bullpen blew it late.
Granted, there wasn't much margin for error, but Indians stud prospect Juan Hillman did his best, throwing five shutout innings while striking out four and walking one, leaving the game with a 1-0 lead thanks to an RBI single from 2016 second round compensatory pick Logan Ice.
That would be it for the offense on the day as the Scrappers only had five baserunners reach safely on the day and two of them were caught stealing or picked off.
Reliever Ryan Perez, famous for his ability to switch pitch, blew the game in the eight inning, giving up two runs on two walks and a hit while only getting one batter out.
Mahoning Valley's offense is in dire straights, having now scored one run or less in five straight games.
AZL Indians 7, AZL Rangers 6
Box Score · Indians improve to 1-3
The AZL Indians finally got into the win column thanks to some big time offensive performances.
Oscar Gonzalez put the Indians on the board in the second inning with his third home run of the young season already, a solo shot to right. They would put a four-spot on the board in the fourth inning as recent first round pick Will Benson starting things off with his first professional hit, a double. Li-Ju Chen would score him with a double of his own and catcher Simeon Lucas would cap off the scoring with a three-run bomb.
The Rangers would rally back to tie the game in the sixth inning, but Trenton Brooks would collect an RBI double to put the Indians ahead for good.
Rehabbing pitcher Dace Kime was serviceable with three innings of one-run ball, although recently promoted DSL pitcher Felix Tati nearly blew the game, giving up four runs on six hits in two innings. Cesar Ventura closed the lid with two solid scoreless innings and Dalbert Siri picked up the save.
DSL Indians 4, DSL Cubs1 5
Box Score · Indians fall to 9-8
This game should not have been as close as it was. The DSL Indians fell behind early 5-0, and lucked themselves back into the game with a four-run rally in the seventh inning thanks to a combination of two hits and three errors by the DSL Cubs1, who had five in total on the day.
No one on the Indians was able to manage an extra base hit or a multi-hit game in an overall sluggish performance and the usually dependable starting pitching let them down with a weak two-inning outing from Yeffersson Yannuzzi, who gave up three runs in the process.