There were several highs and lows for Cleveland minor league affiliates on Sunday, including a scary moment in Akron. On the bright side, Triston McKenzie’s return to the minors may be a short one.
Columbus Clippers 4, Indianapolis Indians 1 (F/8)
Box Score · Clippers improves to 10-19
Believe it or not, but after skipping straight to MLB in 2020 and starting the year in the Cleveland rotation, this was Triston McKenzie’s first-ever game at Triple-A. And he pitched like he belonged in Cleveland.
McKenzie was terrific, tossing 5.1 shutout innings on just two hits while striking out four and walking two. Considering he did this the same day Cal Quantrill and Sam Hentges combined to give up a bajillion runs in Cleveland, he may have cemented a spot back in the rotation.
Great first start at Triple-A Columbus today for #Indians 23yr old Triston McKenzie. McKenzie with 5.1 scoreless innings striking out four on the day.— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 6, 2021
Line - 5.1(IP) 2H 0R 0ER 2BB 4SO (71 Pitches 44 Strikes)@T_eazy24 #DrSticks #OurCLE pic.twitter.com/EdXZTjjtKE
Despite only scoring four runs, a whopping five different Clippers had multi-hit games. Daniel Johnson and Conner Marabell both went 2-for-4 with a double. Andres Gimenez went 2-for-3 with a walk, and Oscar Mercado and Ernie Clement both went 2-for-5, with Clement also stealing a base.
Also of note, Nolan Jones was hit by a pitch and managed to steal not one, but two bases.
Akron RubberDucks 0, Erie SeaWolves 6
Box Score · RubberDucks fall to 18-10
Akron hopped on the struggle bus Sunday, getting shut out on just four hits. No one had a multi-hit game, but Richard Palacio and Trenton Brooks both went 1-for-3 with a walk.
Their offensive struggles were justified though, after what they saw in the second inning.
Starting pitcher Eli Lingos had a terrifying moment, getting struck in the head by a batted ball and leaving the game after just 1.2 innings pitched. Despite how scary it looked, I heard he walked off the field under his own power.
Prayers please for #Indians LHP prospect Eli Lingos. Lingos hit in the head on by a line drive in his start for Double-A Akron. Was able to get up and walk off without assistance. pic.twitter.com/pz88fMAwQZ— Indians Prospective (@indiansPro) June 6, 2021
The bullpen gave Akron a chance to get back in the game, but it just didn’t happen. A standout performance, in particular, was Francisco Perez, who struck out four in two shutout innings. Perez has been the best pitcher in Cleveland’s farm system thus far this season, striking out 16.2 batters per nine innings with a 0.65 WHIP and a 0.90 ERA.
Lake County Captains 14, Dayton Dragons 4
Box Score · Captains improve to 15-15
After several weeks of offensive struggles, Lake County took out some frustration on Dayton on Sunday.
Every member of the Captains lineup participated in the onslaught, with each player collecting a hit. Jose Tena led the way, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple, and four runs batted in.
Raynel Delgado also had a great game, going 2-for-3 with a home run, two walks, a stolen base and four runs batted in. Brayan Rocchio also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-5. Joe Naranjo reached base safely three times, going 1-for-3 with a pair of walks and Bryan Lavastida reached base three separate ways, going 1-for-3 with a walk and a hit by pitch.
Starting pitcher Mason Hickman was rock solid, allowing just one run on four hits in 5.2 innings while striking out five and walking one to earn the win. Nic Enright slammed the door with a 1-2-3 ninth inning with a pair of strikeouts.
Lynchburg Hillcats 2, Salem Red Sox 9
Box Score · Hillcats fall to 16-13
Hampered by injuries, Lynchburg was completely outgunned on Sunday.
Starting pitcher Lenny Torres Jr. continued his up and down season, allowing four runs on six hits in four innings while striking out two and walking two. The bullpen wasn’t any better, allowing five more runs over the next four innings.
Offensively, the Hillcats scuffled. No one reached base twice, although there were a pair of extra-base hits. Angel Martinez hit a triple and Will Bartlett hit his fourth home run of the season.