The Columbus Clippers did not want anything easy last night. They took the game to the final out, stayed alive thanks to a dropped ball and won in extra innings. If you were lucky enough to watch it live, you might have high blood pressure, but at least you got some exciting baseball.
Down in Low-A, Triston McKenzie continues to look incredible while the offense appears to finally be clicking. Dangerous (and exciting) things could be coming in the lower ends of the Cleveland Indians' farm system.
Columbus Clippers 9, Louisville Bats 8 (F/10)
Box Score · Clippers improve to 53-45
The Columbus Clippers did everything to not make this win easy, trailing for most of the game and taking it to the final out of the ninth inning, but they would end up winning in comeback fashion for the 24th time this season, their fifth walk-off comeback.
Columbus entered the bottom of the ninth down, 8-5, and quickly loaded the bases via two walks and a single. After a Joey Butler ground out that scored Jesus Aguilar from third, the Clippers were left with runners on second and third with two outs, down by two. Yhoxian Medina slapped a single that landed in front of the Louisville Bats' right fielder. Giovanny Urshela easily scored from third base, but Guillermo Quiroz was waived home, despite the shallow hit. Then this happened:
Quiroz was out by a mile, but the catcher just dropped the ball, allowing him to score and send the game into extra innings. The Clippers would end up winning after Ronny Rodriguez doubled and was hit home by Yandy Diaz.
On top of his game-winning hit, Diaz also had two doubles in the game and he is the owner of a nine-game hitting streak. Yandy is an incredible 17-for-38 in that span with seven walks and five strikeouts. The only thing he is missing (and perhaps the only thing keeping him from a major-league call-up) is power. He has just four home runs with the Clippers this season, six in the entire season between Double- and Triple-A.
Yhoxian Medina, who was the ninth inning hero of the game, was 2-for-4 on the day.
Ryan Merritt lasted six innings, but it was not pretty. He allowed five runs off a 11 hits with six strikeouts and no walks. It looked like the 24-year-old was getting on back track with his solid outing on July 14, but his performance last night raised his ERA on the season to 5.75.
The bullpen combination of Perci Garner, Jeff Johnson, Tyler Olson, Ben Heller, and Shawn Armstrong was able to hold Louisville batters to just two runs off three hits (both runs coming off Olson in the ninth).
Akron RuberDucks 5, Richmond Flying Squirrels 2
Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 52-45
In a much less dramatic game, the Akron RubberDucks seized the lead in the sixth inning with a three-run outburst and held on until the end.
Everyone in the lineup except Clint Frazier and Mike Papi recorded a hit on the night, including Bradley Zimmer who went 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout and swiped his team-leading 31st stolen base of the season. Frazier is mired in a horrendous slump since his three-hit night back on July 15. In the four games since he is 0-for-16 with no walks, no home runs, and seven strikeouts.
Julian Merryweather was given the win on the day, throwing six innings and allowing two runs off of five hits. More encouragingly, Merryweather seems to have his walk issues under control, if even just temporariliy. He issued just one free base yesterday and has allowed two over his last three starts.
Craig Stammen continued his rehab assignment with two innings of shutout baseball and two strikeouts.
Lynchburg Hillcats 4, Wilmington Blue Rocks 0
Box Score · Hillcats improve to 61-33
The Lynchburg Hillcats just keep climbing. Last night's 4-0 victory over the Wilmington Blue Rocks was their seventh-straight win and second-straight shutout victory.
This time around it was star prospect Justus Sheffield throwing a shutout, complete with eight strikeouts over 6.2 innings. The New York Yankees scouts in attendence were treated to a show.
Bobby Bradley followed his 3-for-4 game Monday with a 1-for-4 outing today, striking out twice and walking none. Meanwhile, Tyler Krieger extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a 1-for-3 night.
Second baseman Mark Mathias has been incredible over his last 10 games, going 19-for-39 with a home run and raising his batting average from .247 to .278. He is now slashing .278/.368/.423 on the season and leads the Hillcats in doubles with 29.
Mahoning Valley Scrappers 9, Auburn Doubledays 1
Box Score · Scrappers improve to 12-20
I am truly running out of ways to describe how much Triston McKenzie is decimating the New York-Penn League. His latest masterpiece was last night's six-inning win, in which he struck out eight batters and walked two.
Among pitchers who have started at least six games, McKenzie leads all NYPL pitchers in ERA (0.48), he is second in strikeouts (42), and he is third in innings pitched (37.2).
McKenzie did not win the game last night by himself, of course (although he could have). Mahoning Valley jumped out to a 5-0 lead and that was more than enough to carry them to a blowout win. Andrew Calica, Gabriel Mejia, Gavin Collins, and Gian Paul Gonzalez all had multi-hit games, while Mejia, Calica, and Silento Sayles all had triples on the day. Calica also had the game's only home run, leaving him a double shy of hitting for the cycle.
AZL Indians 9, AZL Rangers 4
Box Score · Indians improve to 15-8
Despite a late rally from the AZL Rangers, the AZL Indians were able to lean on their nine-run lead and win their 15th game of the season.
Elvis Perez led the way, offensively, going 3-for-4 with a run batted in. Dorssys Paulino had two at-bats in his rehab assignment, replaced by Hosea Nelson who promtly went 0-for-3 and struck out in every at-bat.
The Indians relied on Jhonieider Salinas to give them four innings of shutout baseball, with four strikeouts and a walk.
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The Lake County Captains and DSL Indians had scheduled off days.