Minor League Roundup: Playoffs? Playoffs?

With the minor league season done outside of the Pioneer League, it’s time to turn the attention to playoffs. We’ll round up the action, with a focus on teams’ Top 30 Prospects as well.

International League • AAA

Division Series: Columbus (Indians) 9, Durham (Rays) 4; Columbus leads series 1-0

Francisco Lindor (Photo Courtesy Akron RubberDucks)

Francisco Lindor (photo courtesy of Akron RubberDucks)

Powered by nine strikeouts from veteran righty Kyle Davies and home runs from David Murphy, Matt Carson and James Ramsey, the Clippers jumped all over the Bulls and starter Alex Colome to take the first game in the best-of-five series. Top Indians prospect Francisco Lindor collected three hits and scored a run. Ramsey, acquired from St. Louis in the trade that made Justin Masterson a Cardinal, went 2-for-4 with the home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. A quartet of Columbus relievers allowed just three hits over the final four innings to make Davies’ work stand up.

Division Series: Pawtucket (Red Sox) 2, Syracuse (Nationals) 1; Pawtucket leads, 1-0

After pitching 8 2/3 scoreless innings, Pawtucket lefty Edwin Escobar—a Futures Gamer who came over from the Giants in the Jake Peavy trade—made one mistake that cost him dearly. With two outs in the ninth, Syracuse’s Brandon Laird touched Escobar for a game-tying blast, sending the opening game of the series to extra innings. The blast also ended Escobar’s night, making way Heath Hembree, the other pitcher the Red Sox acquired for Peavy. He spun 1 1/3 scoreless innings, giving his team time to string together the winning rally. Bryce Brentz started the 10th inning with a double, and was plated two batters later on Garin Cecchini‘s single to center of off reliever Ryan Mattheus. Pawtucket catcher Blake Swihart went 3-for-4 in the win, and Travis Shaw‘s longball gave Pawtucket its other run.

Pacific Coast League • AAA

Division Series: Omaha (Royals) 7, Memphis (Cardinals) 0; Omaha leads, 1-0

Cheslor Cuthbert

Cheslor Cuthbert (photo by Bill Mitchell)

Buoyed by eight innings of five-hit shutout ball with 10 strikeouts from Aaron Brooks, the Storm Chasers thrashed the Redbirds. All but one of Omaha’s runs came via three longballs, which were supplied by third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert, left fielder Whit Merrifield and DH Matt Fields. That trio combined for 48 homers in the regular season. Cuthbert also had a double in the series-opening rout. Reliever Tim Collins pitched a scoreless ninth to finish what Brooks had started. Storm Chasers pitching held Memphis to five hits and no walks.

Division Series: Las Vegas (Mets) 5, Reno (Diamondbacks) 4; Las Vegas leads, 1-0

Vegas starter Rafael Montero didn’t fare particularly well in this one, allowing three earned runs on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings before getting yanked in favor of John Lannan, who started a parade of five relievers. Lannan, Zach Thornton, Jack Leathersich, Miguel Socolovich and Gonzalez Germen held the fort after Montero left, limiting Reno to one run over the final 14 outs. The 51s got homers from Cory Vaughn and top catching prospect Kevin Plawecki, who had two hits in the win. Diamondbacks shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed went 2-for-5 with a triple and a run for Reno in the loss.

Eastern League • AA

Division Series: Binghamton (Mets) 8, Portland (Red Sox) 5; Binghamton leads, 1-0

Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson (photo by Mike Janes)

As usually is the case, Portland lefty Brian Johnson was stellar. The EL’s ERA champ spun seven innings of two-run ball with eight punchouts and one walk. The bullpen behind him, however, imploded. Robby Scott and Noe Ramirez combined to allow six runs (though only one was earned) on four hits and a walk, the death blow coming on T.J. Rivera‘s walk-off three-run home off of Ramirez. New Cuban import Rusney Castillo went 1-for-3 in the loss, and second baseman Sean Coyle added a home run. Rivera collected four hits in the win, including the home run and two doubles, scored twice and drove in five runs.

Division Series: Richmond (Giants) 3, Akron (Indians) 2; Richmond leads, 1-0

The Squirrels’ winning rally was set up by Mario Lisson‘s leadoff walk in the 11th inning and culminated with first baseman Angel Villalona‘s double a batter later. Giants’ Cuban signee Daniel Carbonell went 1-for-4 in the win with a triple and a run scored, and Villalona collected two hits. Indians second baseman Joe Wendle went 1-for-4 in the loss. Adalberto Mejia fanned seven for the Squirrels, who got solid relief behind him from Steven Okert, Cody Hall and Jose Casilla. Duke von Schamman gave Akron seven solid innings of two-run ball.

Texas League • AA

Division Series: Arkansas (Angels) 4, Tulsa (Rockies) 1; Arkansas leads, 1-0

Eddie Butler

Eddie Butler (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Drew Rucinski gave the Travelers seven innings of one-run ball, then handed the ball to dynamo relievers Trevor Gott and Jairo Diaz, who did the rest. Gott, who was hit fairly hard in his brief time in the Texas League, pitched a scoreless eighth. Diaz, who struck out 85 in 65 innings at two stops this year, finished the job. Rockies stud righthander Eddie Butler allowed two runs over five innings in the loss. Angels prospect Kaleb Cowart went 0-for-2 with a walk, a stolen base and an RBI in the win, and second baseman Alex Yarbrough collected two hits.

Division Series: Frisco (Rangers) 7, Midland (Athletics) 3; Frisco leads, 1-0

Alex Gonzalez got the nod for the RoughRiders in this one and turned in six innings of five-hit, two-run ball with seven punchouts. Hard-throwing closer Keone Kela fanned three in the ninth to finish the win. Second baseman Odubel Herrera led off Frisco’s first inning with a home run, the start of a six-run frame that set the tone for the rest of the night. Trever Adams scored on a wild pitch for the second run, then Nomar Mazara, Jorge Alfaro, Nick Williams and Hanser Alberto followed with a walk, two singles and a double.

Southern League • AA

Scheduled off-day

Florida State League • Hi A

Division Series: Daytona (Cubs) 9, Dunedin (Blue Jays) 4; Daytona wins series, 2-0

Dan Vogelbach

Dan Vogelbach (Photo by Paul Gierhart)

The top five hitters collected 11 hits in 23 at-bats, including three each for Jacob Hannemann and Gioskar Amaya and two apiece for Dan Vogelbach and Bijan Rademacher, and drove home seven of Daytona’s nine runs in the series-clincher. Amaya had a double, and Rademacher connected on a two-run homer off Dunedin starter Taylor Cole, who paced the FSL this season with 171 strikeouts. After Daytona’s Tayler Scott got roughed up for four runs in two innings, Nathan Dorris, Austin Kirk and Zack Godley silenced the D-Jays the rest of the way. Dunedin’s Dwight Smith Jr. went 1-for-2 with a double, a run, an RBI and two walks, and Mitch Nay slugged a three-run homer.

Division Series: Fort Myers (Twins) 6, Bradenton (Pirates) 2; Fort Myers wins series, 2-0

Aderlin Mejia, Travis Harrison and Max Kepler each collected two hits, and the Miracle advanced to meet Daytona in the championship series. Fort Myers got seven solid innings from starter D.J. Baxendale in the win, and Todd Van Steensel and Zack Jones pitched the final two innings. Mejia and Harrison each doubled, and Dalton Hicks hit a two-run homer that knocked starter Shane Carle from the game. Catcher Jin-De Jhang was the only Bradenton player with multiple hits.

California League • Hi A

Division Series: Visalia (Diamondbacks) 13, Stockton (Athletics) 1; Visalia leads, 1-0

Matt Olson (Photo by Bill Mitchell).

Matt Olson (Photo by Bill Mitchell).

Steve McQuail, a 30th-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2010 who was signed by the Diamondbacks out of the Frontier League last October, hit three homers and Rudy Flores, who hit 28 homers during the regular season, socked one as well in Visalia’s rout. Former indy-baller Brandon Sinnery got the win, going six innings and allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out five. Matt Olson, who hit 37 homers for Stockton, went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the loss, and shortstop prospect Daniel Robertson had two hits and walked twice.

Division Series: Inland Empire (Angels) 4, Lake Elsinore (Padres), 2; Inland Empire leads, 1-0

One-time Mariners second-rounder Dennis Raben, who hit 31 homers in the regular season, doubled and homered and drove in two runs for Inland Empire, which grabbed the opener. Tayron Guerrero, who finally put together his blow-you-away stuff and command, allowed the game-tying double to Raben after he walked the leadoff man and threw a wild pitch.

Carolina League • Hi A

Division Series: Potomac (Nationals) 4, Lynchburg (Braves) 2, Potomac leads, 1-0

Dominican lefthander Hector Silvestre held Lynchburg to a run and five hits over seven innings, and Randolph Oduber broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth with a home run to lift the P-Nats. Tony Renda had a hit and an RBI for Potomac.

Lewis Brinson

Lewis Brinson (Photo by Tony Farlow)

Division Series: Salem (Red Sox) 3, Myrtle Beach (Rangers) 1, 10 innings; Salem leads, 1-0

Jake Romanski, who hit three homers all season, hit a two-run homer in the 10th to break a 1-1 tie and boost Salem. Rising Red Sox prospect Manuel Margot had a double in four trips, while Lewis Brinson homered for the Pelicans’ lone run.

South Atlantic League • Lo A

Division Series: Hagerstown (Nationals) 3, Greensboro (Marlins) 2, Hagerstown leads, 1-0

The Suns scored three times in the bottom of the ninth to steal Game One. Wilman Rodriguez‘s double tied the game and Rafael Bautista won it with a single up the middle.

Division Series: Asheville (Rockies) 8, Savannah (Mets) 3, Asheville leads, 1-0

Kyle Freeland, the eighth overall pick in June, settled down after allowing a homer to leadoff hitter Champ Stuart to allow two runs over five innings, and Raimel Tapia and David Dahl each had three hits to lead Asheville. Ryan McMahon and Jose Briceno added two hits for the Tourists.

Midwest League • Lo A

Division Series: Lake County (Indians) 6, South Bend (Diamondbacks) 2, Lake County leads, 1-0

Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Clint Frazier homered, Bradley Zimmer tripled in two runs and Mitch Brown allowed just three hits and a run over 5 2/3 innings to lead Lake County.

Division Series: Fort Wayne (Padres) 7, West Michigan (Tigers) 5, Fort Wayne leads, 1-0

Josh VanMeter broke a 5-5 with a two-run single in the eighth off a rehabbing Luke Putkonen to lead Fort Wayne, who knocked around Tigers prospect Austin Kubitza. Domingo Leyba homered for West Michigan, while 2014 first-round pick Trea Turner went 1-for-4 for Fort Wayne.

Division Series: Burlington (Angels) 2, Cedar Rapids (Twins) 0, Burlington leads, 1-0

Eric Aguilera homered to back the shutout pitching of Victor Alcantara for Burlington. Chih-Wei Hu pitched five scoreless innings for Cedar Rapids.

Division Series: Kane County (Cubs) 7, Wisconsin (Brewers) 3, Kane County leads, 1-0

A rehabbing Mike Olt hit a three-run homer to back the pitching of Jen-Ho Tseng, who allowed two hits and two runs through six innings for Kane County. Clint Coulter walked and scored a run for Wisconsin.