See also: Wednesday’s Playoff Dish
Rochester 6, Toledo 1 (Series tied 1-1)
Righthander Kevin Slowey shut down Toledo to bring Rochester even in the IL finals. Slowey, a second-round pick in 2005, allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings in his Triple-A debut. He struck out six and walked one in his first start since throwing five innings and giving up only one run against Cuba in the final game of the Americas Olympic qualifier in Havana, Cuba. First baseman Garrett Jones (three RBIs) and center fielder Andres Torres (one RBI) keyed the Red Wings offense with home runs. Toledo starter Chad Durbin had a rough outing–five runs in 4 1/3 innings–after a strong regular-season campaign (11-8, 3.11).
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE
Tucson 6, Round Rock 3 (Tucson leads series 2-0)
The Sidewinders jumped to a 2-0 series lead on the strength of Dustin Nippert’™s right arm. Nippert won his second playoff start, going seven innings and allowing a lone run on four hits. He struck out six and walked one, the same number Nippert drew as a batter. Tucson second baseman Alberto Callaspo chipped in two hits and two RBIs, and catcher Juan Brito drove home the Sidewinders’™ final three runs with a bases-loaded double in the eighth inning. Round Rock righthander Matt Albers went seven innings, allowing three runs.
Portland 13, Akron 8 (Portland leads series 2-0)
A rain delay, a combined 23 hits, 13 walks and nine pitching changes made for quite the marathon on Wednesday, but Portland catcher Dusty Brown connected for a three-run double in the ninth inning put the Sea Dogs up for good–and has the club one win away from the EL championship. George Kottaras went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs to help pace the Portland offense. The Aeros turn to righthander–and Futures Gamer–Sean Smith (10-5, 3.38) to stave off elimination on Friday.
Montgomery 11, Huntsville 4 (Series tied 1-1)
Jason Pridie, Michael Coleman and Evan Longoria all homered to lead the Biscuits past Huntsville, 11-4. Righthander Andy Sonnanstine earned the win, allowing four runs on nine hits over seven innings. Game Three shifts 163 miles down the road to Montgomery, where the duration of the series will be played.
HIGH CLASS A
Visalia 5, San Jose 2 (Visalia wins series 3-2)
Consecutive throwing errors by San Jose reliever Alfredo Simon allowed Visalia to score two runs and take a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning en route to a 5-2 win. Josh Arhart padded the lead with a two-run double in the seventh, and the Oaks bullpen escaped two-on San Jose threats in each of the final two innings to preserve the win. Outfielder Shaun Cumberland led Visalia with three hits, and the Oaks got a solid start from Derek Feldkamp, who gave up just one run on four hits over five innings. Visalia advances to the Cal League championship series against Inland Empire, which gets going in Visalia tonight.
LOW CLASS A
West Michigan 4, Kane County 3 (Series tied at 1-1)
It was another 4-3 game in the MWL championship series, but this time West Michigan prevailed to knot the series. Chad Boyd led off with a home run for Kane County to give them a 1-0 lead, but the Whitecaps stormed back in the fourth inning when Cameron Maybin hit a two-run triple and scored when second baseman Isaac Omura booted a ground ball from Matt Joyce. The Cougars tied it in the sixth but the Whitecaps pushed across the winning run in the eighth when Joyce was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs.
NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE
Tri-City 9, Staten Island 2 (Series tied at 1-1)
After falling in the opener, Tri-City answered with a vengeance in Game Two to force a decisive third game. The ValleyCats opened with three runs in the top of the first keyed by an RBI single from James Van Ostrand and chased Yankees starter Angel Reyes in favor of Edgar Soto. Soto kept the Yankees in it by allowing only one run until the seventh, but once again Van Ostrand made the difference as he clubbed a grand slam home run to make it a laugher. Tri-City got an impressive pitching performance from reliever Douglas Arguello who finished the game with five scoreless innings of relief. Game Three is tonight with Chris Salamida (the league regular-season leader in wins and ERA at 10-1, 1.06) getting the ball for Tri-City and George Kontos (7-3, 2.64) on the hill for Staten Island.