Low A Dish: Heyward, Johnson Go Deep

As we did last year, we’ll look around the minors every weekday with the Daily Dish, a supplement to the Baseball America Prospect Report, which is available by e-mail every weekday.

Rome’s talented outfielders Jason Heyward and Cody Johnson each hit home runs, Brandon Waring went deep, Corey Brown had a big night and a pair of Blue Jays infield prospects had multi-hit games in yesterday’s low Class A action.

South Atlantic League

Rome (Braves) 8, Columbus (Rays) 6

A back and forth game in Rome ended with the Braves holding on for an 8-6 victory over Columbus. Braves No. 2 prospect Jason Heyward hit his first home run of the season and second professional home run, a two-run shot in the fifth inning off Columbus righthander Justin Garcia. Heyward’s outfield running mate, Cody Johnson, also homered for the Braves. Rome’s Carlos Rivas picked up an eight-out save, allowing two hits and striking out two.

Hickory (Pirates) 7, Greensboro (Marlins) 2

Austin McClune went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs as Hickory spoiled Greensboro’s home opener. Mike Stanton went 2-for-4 with a double and a triple to lead Greensboro. Hickory starter Jose De Los Santos struck out seven in five innings of work to pick up his first win of the year. The win was Hickory’s fourth in a row since dropping their opener to West Virginia.

Asheville (Rockies) 4, Kannapolis (White Sox) 1

Asheville starter Sheng-An Kuo allowed seven hits but only one run over 5 2/3 innings. The Taiwanese import struck out five and walked two to pick up the win in his first start of the year. Asheville closer Randall Taylor allowed Kannapolis to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but recovered by striking out Sergio Morales and ended the game by getting Dale Mollenhauer to pop up. Kannapolis DH Logan Johnson went 2-for-3 with a home run off Kuo for Kannapolis’s lone run of the night.

West Virginia (Brewers) 7, Augusta (Giants) 1

West Virginia scored five runs in the third inning to blow the game open. John Alonso and Zelous Wheeler both homered for the Power, and starter Michael Ramlow pitched five shutout innings for the win. Augusta shortstop Charlie Culberson, one of several highly regarded prospects on the GreenJackets, committed two errors, giving him five already on the young season.

Greenville (Red Sox) 6, Lexington (Astros) 3

Greenville center fielder David Marks went 3-for-4 with a double and a two-run home run to lead Greenville over Lexington. Greenville third baseman Manuel Arambarris also collected three hits for the Drive. Eammon Portice worked 3 1/3 strong innings out of the bullpen to pick up the victory for Greenville, allowing only one run on one hit with five strikeouts.

Charleston (Yankees) 4, Savannah (Mets) 2

Charleston starter Zach McAllister pitched five shutout innings, outdueling Savannah’s Angel Calero, who went four innings allowing two runs (both unearned). Charleston closer Chase Vacek picked up the two inning save, but not before allowing the Sand Gnats to put the tying runs in scoring position with two outs in the top of the ninth before striking out Matthew Bouchard, who had homered earlier, to end the game.

Midwest League

Kane County (Athletics) 13, Burlington (Royals) 5

Kane County scored six runs in the first inning off Burlington starter Zach Peterson and cruised an easy victory. The Kane County attack was led by center fielder Corey Brown, who went 3-for-5 with an RBI, and first baseman Greg Dowling, who went 4-for-5 with three RBIs and was a triple short of the cycle. Right fielder Toddric Johnson, Kane County’s no. 8 hitter, also went 4-for-5 with four RBIs and was only a double away from the cycle. Kane County starter Scott Mitchinson struck out eight in four innings of work.

Lansing (Blue Jays) 12, South Bend (Diamondbacks) 6

Lansing’s young, talented lineup had a huge night as the Lugnuts outlasted South Bend. Lansing shortstop Justin Jackson went 2-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. Second Baseman John Tolisano also went 2-for-4, but the best night was had by Manuel Rodriguez, who went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and four RBIs. Lansing reliever Randy Boone worked 4 2/3 strong innings, allowing only one run on two hits to pick up the victory.

Quad Cities (Cardinals) 12, Cedar Rapids (Angels) 7

Quad Cities rallied for eight runs in the final three innings to turn a 7-4 deficit into a 12-7 victory in a wild game that saw the teams combine for 21 hits and three home runs. Quad Cities was led by first baseman Andrew Brown, who went 2-for-4 with five RBIs, including a three-run home run in the third inning, and a clutch two-run single in the seventh that tied the game at 7-7. On the mound, Quad Cities righthander Cardoza Tucker gave up a home run to the first batter he faced after coming out of the bullpen to start the sixth, but settled down to pitch four innings allowing only the one run on two hits while striking out eight to pick up the victory.

Dayton (Reds) 3, Fort Wayne (Padres) 2

Four Fort Wayne pitchers combined to strike out 16 Dayton batters, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a 3-2 victory for the Dragons. Fort Wayne starter Allen Harrington struck out seven in three innings of work, and reliever Jeremy Hefner struck out seven of his own out of the bullpen. Dayton broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth when right fielder Denis Phipps singled off Fort Wayne’s Tyler Davis, bringing Brandon Waring in from second. Waring went 2-for-3, with a two-run home run in the first off Harrington.

West Michigan (Tigers) 11, Great Lakes (Dodgers) 1

West Michigan right fielder Casper Wells hit two home runs to lead the Whitecaps on a rout of Great Lakes. Wells went 4-for-5 with four RBIs on the day as the Whitecaps pounded out 14 hits and were aided by three Great Lakes errors, including two by third baseman Pedro Baez. Three other West Michigan players also had multi-hit games, including left fielder Marc McBratney, who went 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and four runs scored. Whitecaps starter Jonathan Kibler had a solid outing, working five innings, allowing one run on three hits, walking none, and striking out four.

Beloit (Twins) 8, Peoria (Cubs) 0

Three Beloit pitchers combined on a two-hit shutout against Peoria. Starter Brian Kirwan worked 5 2/3 innings allowing only one hit, one walk, and collected four strikeouts. Relievers Charles Nolte and Blair Erickson carried the shutout the rest of the way. The score was still only 2-0 after eight innings before Beloit tallied six times in the top of the ninth to put the game away. Peoria committed a whopping seven errors, including four by shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, leading to six unearned runs for Beloit. Beloit enter fielder Joe Benson went 2-for-5 but was caught stealing twice, while Peoria catcher Josh Donaldson’s early-season struggles continued in his 0-for-3 performance. Donaldson’s defense was sharp, though, as he threw out all four runners trying to steal on him and picked a runner off first base.

Clinton (Rangers) 8, Wisconsin (Mariners) 1

Every starter in the Clinton lineup had at least one hit as the LumberKings knocked off Wisconsin 8-1. However, the LumberKings got plenty of help from the Wisconsin defense, which committed seven errors by five different players. Clinton starter Jorge Quintero worked five solid innings, allowing only one run on three hits.