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Quality starts from Plutko, Merryweather and Chiang lead way for Columbus, Akron and Lynchburg wins

Cleveland Indians minor league recap for May 13, 2017.

Columbus Clippers 5, Durham Bulls 2

Box Score · Clippers improve to 15-18

After a slow beginning to the season (other than Mike Clevinger), Columbus starting pitchers are turning things around.

Adam Plutko threw his fourth straight quality start yesterday, lasting six innings while giving up two runs on five hits. He also struck out seven batters and walked none. Plutko began the year with three straight rough outings to balloon his ERA to nearly 12, but he’s been whittling away at it ever since.

The Columbus offense backed up Plutko with a pair of home runs from surging top prospect Bradley Zimmer and veteran catcher Erik Kratz, who continues to torture Triple-A pitchers.

Daniel Robertson also had a great day at the plate, reaching base safely four out of five times with two singles and two walks while Ronny Rodriguez had a multi-hit game of his own.

Akron RubberDucks 5, Binghamton Rumble Ponies 1

Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 15-17

It’s tough to lose a game when your ace is as dominant as Julian Merryweather was last night. Perhaps inspired by some insanely good performances from other pitchers in the system, Merryweather was a man possessed yesterday, tossing six innings without giving up and earned run while striking out a career high 10 batters. The hard-throwing right-hander only allowed three baserunners, two hits and one walk in total.

The Akron offense woke up with 11 hits of their own. Sure-handed defensive specialist Eric Stamets continued his resurgence at the plate with a big 3-4 game which included a double. Bobby Bradley and Mike Papi also collected multi-hit games. Papi is now batting .310 on the season, which is 80 points better than his career average. Something has to be clicking with the former first round compensatory pick, who also stole his second base of the year.

Designated hitter Tyler Krieger also contributed a two-run home run while Mitch Brown impressively struck out five of the six batters he faced in relief to help put a lid on the victory.

Lynchburg Hillcats 3, Myrtle Beach Pelicans 1

Box Score · Hillcats improve to 17-15

Shao-Ching Chiang continues to impress.

The Taiwanese sinker-baller pitches to contact, and he has been consistently going deep in games for Lynchburg this season while refusing to give up the big hit. He entered yesterday’s game with a stellar 1.83 season ERA through five starts and he managed to actually lower it by giving up one run over seven innings on five hits without walking a batter. He’s not going to blow hitters away, as evidenced by his two strikeouts, but he makes up for it with longevity as this was his fifth straight start lasting at least seven innings.

Offensively, it was the Connor Marabell and Sam Haggarty show as both players collected three hits. Willi Castro also had a two-run single for the Hillcats.

Lake County Captains 5, Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 7

Box Score · Captains fall to 13-21

Lake County exploded for five runs in the first inning and then proceeded to allow Wisconsin to chip away at the lead for the rest of the game, culminating in a three run ninth inning which lost them the game.

The scoring for the Captains was entirely from a pair of home runs as Trenton Brooks led off the game with a solo shot and Luke Wakamatsu blasted a grand slam. Li-Jen Chu also contributed a multi-hit game.

Juan Hillman continues to slowly turn his season around as he put forth a decent effort yesterday, giving up four runs in five innings while walking zero and striking out four. He left the game with a 5-4 lead.

Tanner Tully was absolutely cruising in relief until an error unraveled everything in the ninth inning. Tully actually struck out the side in the ninth, but a throwing error from third baseman Miguel Eladio allowed the tying run to score and Wisconsin proceeded to hit a pair of RBI singles after that, also aided by a throwing error from outfielder Conner Capel.