It seems like forever ago that Giovanny Urshela gave us something positive to talk about, but he had a great game yesterday. His glove was as good as ever, and he had one of his best offensive games of the season. Hopefully, this is a harbinger of things to come.
Down in Double-A, Michael Brantley continued his rehab, while Bradley Zimmer continued to remind us why he is still a top prospect.
Columbus Clippers 8, Toledo Mud Hens 4
Box Score · Clippers improve to 52-44
The Columbus Clippers fell into an early hole, down 2-0 after the first inning, but six runs spread out over the middle innings were enough to get them the win in the series finale.
Catcher Guillermo Quiroz recorded his eighth home run of the season in the eighth inning, while Eric Stamets, who was playing in his sixth game with the Clippers, hit his first out of the park in Triple-A.
Giovanny Urshela and Adam Moore each had three hits on the day as well. After a prolonged slump that lasted all of June and most of July, Urshela's bat is finally heating up again. His three-hit day was his second multi-hit game in his last 10, and in that span, he has gone 11-for-43 with a home run.
That's all well and good, but Urshela is mostly known for defense. Defense like this:
Columbus turned to Toru Murata for the start, just his second of the season. The reliever lasted two innings in the starting role, allowing four hits and two earned runs. The rest of the bullpen held the Mud Hens without an earned run (although two unearned runs crossed the plate with Tyler Olson on the mound), including Nick Maronde who struck out three batters in 2.1 innings.
Akron RubberDucks 5, Erie SeaWolves 8
Box Score · RubberDucks fall to 51-44
The Akron RubberDucks have stumbled out of the gate following last week's All-Star break, as they dropped three out of their four games against the Erie SeaWolves. In this latest loss, they at least put up a fight in the sixth inning, but an eight-run hole was too much to overcome.
Starting pitcher Nick Pasquale pitched well in the first three innings, allowing just one hit and striking out five. He completely collapsed in the fourth, however. He started the frame walking a batter and inducing a double play with the next. From there, things went off the rails with a triple followed by two walks and two-straight doubles before Pasquale was finally able to get out of the inning with his sixth strikeout of the game.
Pasquale's troubles followed him into the fifth inning as he led off the inning with a strikeout but allowed a walk and a single before being replaced by Louis Head. Head did not fair much better, allowing four earned runs over 1.1 innings. Seemingly the only pitchers who had a good day were Casey Weathers and JP Feyereisen, who combined to throw 3.1 shutout innings.
Michael Brantley played seven innings in left field in his rehab start, going 0-for-3 with a run scored. Bradley Zimmer went 2-for-4 on the day, while Ivan Castillo's two-hit game was the only other multi-hit game on the ducks. Jeremy Lucas' lone hit was a three-run home run, his ninth of the season.
Akron batters struck out 12 times on the day, including three from Nellie Rodriguez and third baseman Joe Sever.
Lynchburg Hillcats 7, Wilmington Blue Rocks 2
Box Score · Hillcats improve to 59-33
The three runs the Lynchburg Hillcats scored in the first two innings would have been enough for them to record a win over the Wilmington Blue Rocks, but they are greedy and Anthony Santander loves hits so they scored four more for good measure.
Santander's big 4-for-5 day also included a home run, his 14th of the season, and no strikeouts. Bobby Bradley's new approach at the plate, if that truly what it is, continues to result in more walks but fewer home runs. He was kept homerless again today, and he only has one long ball in his last 10 games. He has, however, walked 10 times and struck out only 14 times in that span.
Tyler Krieger continues to dazzle, sparkle, or whatever other adjective you want to use, in High-A. His 1-for-4 day yesterday extended his hitting streak to 14 games, and he has had at least one hit in all but one of his 17 games with the Hillcats. And, of course, we cannot talk about hitting streaks without mentioning Francisco Mejia, who had yet another hit yesterday, extending his ridiculous streak to 36 games.
Anderson Polanco pitched five innings for the Hillcats, allowing just one earned run but walking five batters and striking out four.
Lake County Captains 9, Quad Cities Bandits 4
Box Score · Captains improve to 49-45
Last week was a rough one for the Lake County Captains, having lost nine in a row heading into Saturday. They were able to take one game of their doubleheader that day and finally recorded another win yesterday, taking the series from the Quad Cities Bandits two games to one.
The win came thanks to a huge fifth inning that included two singles, a walk, and a grand slam from Willi Castro. Two batters later, Nathan Lukes added another homer to make it a five-run inning.
Conor Marabell finds himself in a bit of a slump for, really, the first time all season. The 22-year-old outfielder has gone 1-for-9 with six strikeouts in his last three games.
Starting pitcher Matt Esparza was brilliant, throwing six scoreless innings and striking out seven batters and walking none on route to his eighth victory of the season. This was Esparza's seventh game this season with at least seven strikeouts; he has yet to walk more than two batters in any start.
Mahoning Valley Scrappers 3, Auburn Doubledays 2
Box Score · Scrappers improve to 11-19
Don't look now, but the Mahoning Valley Scrappers are absolutely on fire. Last night's 3-2 win means they have won six of their last eight and are just eight games under .500 after a brutal start to the season. Despite outhitting their opponent 10-3, the Scrappers were trailing for the most of the game, before a two-run seventh inning tied it and a ninth-inning sac fly became the go-ahead run.
Jodd Carter, Emmanuel Tapia, and Gian Paul Gonzalez all had multi-hit games, including a triple for Carter.
Starting pitcher Aaron Civale pitched three innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out two. Michael Letkewicz got himself into trouble with two walks in his two innings of relief work, but he got out of it -- and was given the win -- thanks to four strikeouts.
AZL Indians 2, AZL Diamondbacks 5
Box Score · Indians fall to 14-8
It was not a great day in Arizona for top Indians prospects.
Starting pitcher Brady Aiken had a rough outing, lasting just 2.2 innings and allowing three earned runs off of six hits. The encouraging news is that he struck out four and allowed no walks.
Similarly, Will Benson went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. Benson is now 10-for-56 on the season with 21 strikeouts and just five walks. The 18-year-old has not looked good so far in his professional career, but this is exactly what the Rookie League is for.
Third baseman Nolan Jones, on the other hand, went 3-for-4 in his sixth game with the Indians. He has hit the ground running, and to this point is slashing .316/.480/.316 with six walks and eight strikeouts.
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The DSL Indians had a scheduled off day.