BAPR Plus: April 23

Augusta keeps winning, Jeff Larish drove in six runs and the Red Sox continue to have plenty of reasons to wish they had never ended up in Lancaster.

Triple-A

Mike Hessman homered twice, but it was his double that finally broke open the game in 16th inning as Toledo outlasted Durham. At nearly five hours, it was the longest game in Durham Bulls Athletic Park history.

Pawtucket’s Abe Alvarez shut down Buffalo on Sunday.

Yunel Escobar was one of the stars of Braves spring training, and that hot hitting has carried over into the regular season. Escobar hit his first home run of the season on Sunday to help pace Richmond’s 8-3 win over Indianapolis. Escobar is now hitting .352/.397/.500.

J.A. Happ lowered his ERA to 1.08 as he and Ottawa beat Scanton/Wilkes-Barre 4-3. There’s also a feature on catcher Chris Coste who is quite unhappy with being sent back to Triple-A after he hit .325 in 65 games in Philadelphia last season.

Dallas Braden has gotten the call to the majors where he’ll fill in for the injured Rich Harden (sore shoulder). His teammates in Sacramento went out and beat Las Vegas 6-4 behind Jason Stokes’ third home run of the season.

Memphis sent Tyler Lumsden to the showers early–the Redbirds jumped on Lumsden for seven runs in three innings. Billy Butler did hit his fifth home run of the season for Omaha.

Jayson Nix’s three hits lifted Colorado Springs to a second-straight win.

Fernando Nieve’s struggled with his command as Round Rock lost its fourth straight. Freddy Guzman doubled, tripled and stole a base for Oklahoma.

Ryan Braun hit hit sixth home run of the season and Nashville topped Iowa in 10 innings.

Double-A

Andrew McCutchen’s average still sits at a horrendous .163, but he did show on Sunday why the Pirates are so excited by his potential. McCutchen stole a base in the second and doubled in the third. But his most important highlight was his decision in the ninth inning to try to score from third on a dribbler in front of the plate. He beat the throw home to give Altoona an 8-7 win, as the Altoona Mirror reported.

“It was a great read by (McCutchen),” said Curve manager Tim Lieper, “because if there’™s any hesitation whatsoever he doesn’™t score. We have a lot of guys in that situation that could do it, but it was nice that it was him. That was a great baserunning play.”

Scouts and coaches have always liked Trevor Plouffe’s swing and have had trouble explaining why the shortstop struggles so much at the plate. Maybe the light is coming on. Plouffe hit his second home run of the season and raised his average to .302. New Britain rallied for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat Connecticut 9-8.

Mike Carp doubled twice and homered, but Binghamton still lost its third consecutive game.

Manny Mayorson drove in the winning run in the ninth and Ricky Romero allowed only two runs in six inning as New Hampshire beat Portland.

Jeff Larish homered, doubled and drove in six runs as Erie pounded Bowie 11-6. The Erie Times-News has a solid game story/featurette on the SeaWolves first baseman, who now leads the Eastern League with 18 RBIs.Landon Jacobsen entered Sunday’s game with a microscopic 0.50 ERA. Not much later, he was showering with a 4.05 ERA after Akron rocked him for eight runs in two innings on the Aeros way to a 14-3 laugher.

Mark Hollimon’s eight shutout innings led Tennessee over Mobile.

Gio Gonzalez struck out 12 batters in six innings and still lost on Sunday. Van Pope and Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered for the Mississippi Braves and Jo-Jo Reyes allowed only one run in seven innings.

It’s about time to put Manny Para back on the prospect radar. For the third straight start, Parra struck out seven batters. On Sunday he allowed one run in seven innings to lower his ERA to 1.89.

Eric Hurley’s ERA didn’t suffer much because six of the runs were unearned, but he was roughed up for 10 hits and nine runs in 4 2/3 innings as Corpus Christi hung on for a 14-11 win.

Luke Hochevar was steady but unspectacular on Sunday, allowing three runs and striking out seven in seven innings. Adam Donachie, back after spending spring in Orioles camp as a Rule 5 pick, homered to make Hochevar a winner.

Tim Brown hit two home runs, Chase Headley added another and Sean Kazmar hit a two-run triple as the San Antonio Missions rallied to beat Midland.

The best pitching matchup of the day was in Tulsa. Jamie Garcia outdueled Greg Reynolds, although both of them pitched well, as Springfield edged Tulsa 4-2. Garcia gave up two hits and one run in six innings–he struck out seven. Reynolds allowed four hits and two runs in seven innings–he also struck out six. Joe Mather homered twice to take over the minor league home run lead with seven.

Yeah, we write a lot about what a brutal place High Desert is for pitchers, but days like Sunday are why. Aaron Jensen entered Sunday with a 1.00 ERA. Less than four innings later, his ERA was a much less impressive 6.00, thanks to 12 hits and 12 earned runs. Matt Antonelli, Nic Crosta and Matt Bush all homered for Lake Elsinore.

Daniel Bard’s struggles continued on Sunday. Bard allowed six runs (four earned), five hits and walked four, which means that he lasted only 2 1/3 innings and picked up the loss. Bard did lower his ERA to a still ugly 10.12. The isn’t a game story for the Inland Empire victory, but the Visalia paper did write about the gamble that is the Red Sox decision to send some of their best pitching prospects to Lancaster.

Alan Johnson shut down Bakersfield in a 9-2 Modesto win.

Chorye Spoone and two relievers shut out Potomac. Spoone could have fallen apart, as he walked the bases loaded in the second, but as the Potomac News’ Dan Clendaniel explained, Spoone got out of the jam because his catcher stopped calling fastballs and started calling offspeed pitches. Credit Spoone with some self-depricating wit.

“I had my ‘A’ game except for one inning when I reminded everybody of the way I pitched last year,” said Spoone, who threw six shutout innings. “I was opening up too soon with my fastball.”

Low Class A

Daryl Thompson could end up making last year’s Austin Kearns deal a little more palatable for the Reds. Thompson is showing proof he’s recovered from shoulder surgery. He’s allowed one run in three starts and on Sunday he shut out Burlington for six innings. Drew Stubbs homered to lead Dayton. Sean McClelland explains Thompson’s comeback in a solid game story.

Shane Dove threw six shutout innings and Joey Side had four hits as South Bend beat Clinton.

Ryan Streiby had three hits and Christopher Cody baffled Wisconsin hitters for seven innings as West Michigan picked up an 8-2 win.

Great Lake has started to turn things around after a brutal start. The Loons beat up Cedar Rapids starter Sean O’Sullivan on the way to a 10-1 win.

Dustin Richardson didn’t get the win, but he threw five shutout innings and struck out eight as Greenville beat Asheville 4-3. Miguel Socolovich relieved Richardson, promptly gave the lead back but then picked up the win when the Drive rallied.

Pinch-hitter Brandon Snyder came into a tie game hoping that he could find a pitch to drive. He didn’t exactly hit a rocket shot, but his liner has enough on it that pitcher Neil Wagner couldn’t glove it. It trickled off his glove towards shortstop, which gave Miguel Abreu enough time to score from third, giving Delmarva a 5-4 win over Lake County.

Grant Duff led Charleston to its fifth straight win.

With apologies to the Dayton Dragons and Lansing Lugnuts, the best team in the minors this April is the Augusta GreenJackets. Augusta has seven shutouts in 18 games this season, including one on Sunday. Ben Snyder lowered his ERA to 0.47, helping Augusta to a 7-0 win over Kannapolis.

After Columbus and Rome traded zeroes for six innings, the Catfish blew the game open in the 16th inning with five runs for an 8-3 win. Desmond Jennings had four hits for Columbus. Rome was understandably crushed with this loss. They lost after rallying for two runs in the ninth to send the game to extra innings, and they lost a game where their pitching staff combined for a team-record 23 strikeouts.
Logan Morrison homered twice in Greensboro’s easy win over Lexington.
Kenny Holmberg and Brent Brewer each had three hits as West Virginia won its ninth-straight game.

Minors |

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