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Indians minor league recap: Triston McKenzie dominates again

McKenzie had his best outing yet with the Captains.

Every time Triston McKenzie takes the mound, I try and find some reason to use someone else in the headline, just to be fair to all the talented prospects in the Cleveland Indians organization. I usually fail, and today is no exception. The 19-year-old phenom had his first scoreless outing in High-A for the Lake County Captains, and he struck out eight in the process. The future continues to look bright.

McKenzie was not the only starting pitcher with a great outing, though. Adam Plutko twirled a gem in Triple-A, and Luis Lugo turned in several strong innings in a losing effort.

Columbus Clippers 3, Toledo Mud Hens 1

Box Score · Clippers improve to 75-54

The Columbus Clippers matched pretty evenly, hit-for-hit, with the Toledo Mud Hens, but home runs from Jesus Aguilar and Adam Moore — plus a fantastic outing from Adam Plutko — were enough to seal the win.

Aguilar added a single in the game as well, as the only other player besides Joey Butler to have a multi-hit game for the Clippers.

Bradley Zimmer’s rough streak continues, as the 23-year-old outfielder went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. In his last 10 games, he has gone 7-for-30 and struck out 17 times. I did not think he had a high chance of being called up in September anyway, but it certainly does not look like he will now, unless he really turns around in the next couple weeks.

Adam Plutko pitched a brilliant six innings of work, striking out five and walking two. Plutko still has not allowed more than two earned runs in any start since July 20, and he has walked two or fewer batters in every outing since July 9.

Reliever Craig Stammen still sports a 7.71 ERA in Triple-A, thanks to one bad outing, but he pitched a scoreless frame yesterday for the Clippers.

Lynchburg Hillcats 6, Myrtle Beach Pelicans 7 (F/10)

Box Score · Hillcats fall to 78-49

Although the Lynchburg Hillcats were able to make a comeback with a huge sixth-inning, they ultimately fell in extra innings to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans due to some shaky bullpen action.

In the sixth inning, down 4-0, Francisco Mejia led off with a walk. Then, after a Bobby Bradley line out, the next five batters reached base. By the time the inning was over, the Hillcats had three doubles and stormed back into the game to make it 6-4.

Unfortunately, the lead fell apart in the bottom of the ninth when Trevor Frank allowed a double and a home run. And, after the Hillcats offense was scoreless in the top of the 10th, the Pelicans scored on a single following a fielding error.

Bobby Bradley had a rough day at the plate, going 0-for-5 with a strikeout, but the batters right behind him — Tyler Krieger and Taylor Murphy — had two hits apiece.

Francisco Mejia failed to record a hit for the third time in his last five games, but he did draw a walk, keeping his on-base streak alive.

Starting pitcher Luis Lugo finished left the game after a strong outing, striking out seven batters and walking just one.

Lake County Captains 6, Fort Wayne TinCaps 1

Box Score · Captains improve to 66-59

Scoring six runs with Triston McKenzie on the mound is usually a good way to ensure victory, and that’s exactly what the Lake County Captains did yesterday.

This was McKenzie’s first start without allowing an earned run in Single-A — his last three outings ended with exactly three earned runs each. The 19-year-old struck out eight batters yesterday, and he has struck out at least seven in every Single-A start.

The only run of the game allowed by the Captains came off of reliever Argenis Angulo in the seventh inning.

Offensively, the Captains scored early, up 4-0 by the time the bottom of the second inning rolled around. David Armendariz was 3-for-5 on the day, while Jose Medina was 4-for-5 and a home run shy of the cycle.

Mahoning Valley Scrappers 0, State College Spikes 5

Box Score · Scrappers fall to 29-31

Despite a strong outing from starting pitcher Tanner Tully, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers fell victim to a collapsing bullpen and an offense that could not get any hits when it counted.

The Scrappers and the State College Spikes were actually even at seven hits apiece, but Mahoning Valley batters were just 1-for-4 with runners in scoring position and they left eight total runners stranded on base. They also struck out six times compared to two walks.

The top of the Scrappers order — Gabriel Mejia and Silento Sayles — combined to go 4-for-7 on the day, but the rest of the offense did not add much.

As previously mentioned, Tanner Tully had a strong outing. He lasted five innings and only struck out one batter, but he did only allow two earned runs off of three hits. He was given the loss, due to the Scrappers’ inability to score, but that distinction should realistically go to Randy Valladares, who allowed two runs in a single inning of work.

AZL Indians 7, AZL Dodgers 4

Box Score · Indians improve to 29-21

Usually, in a game with 11 combined runs, one or two innings will be big ones. In this game, however, no more than two runs were scored in any half-inning. Luckily, the AZL Indians’ stream of runs continued longer than that of the AZL Dodgers, and they came out on top.

Samad Taylor and Jason Rodriguez led the way for the Indians, each going 2-for-3 with the former adding a home run and two of the teams' six runs batted in.

After drawing so many walks early in his professional career, Nolan Jones finds himself in a rough slump. The 18-year-old is 4-for-37 in his last 10 games with only four walks to 21 strikeouts. Even still, his on-base percentage remains at .389 thanks to all his previous walks.

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The Akron RubberDucks game was suspended due to rain.

The DSL Indians had a scheduled off day.