Letters of Intent
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays From Away
There were several close games for the Blue Jays’ minor league affiliates with the Toronto affiliate coming up on the right side of three. The Fisher Cats also split a double-header with the New Britain Rock Cats.
Buffalo Bisons 2, Rochester Red Wings 0
Despite an offense that continues to be anemic, the Buffalo Bisons beat the Rochester Red wings thanks primarily to another excellent game by their pitching staff. Newly signed Randy Wolf got his first win in a Bisons uniform, throwing five scoreless innings, walking three and allowing five hits while striking out four. Preston Guilmet threw two excellent innings, giving up a hit and striking out three. Greg Infante worked a scoreless eighth and Bobby Korecky, the Bisons’ 2014 closer, picked up his first save of the season, striking out two and allowing two hits.
Chris Dickerson picked up two hits, walked twice and drove in a run for the Bisons while Caleb Gindl drove in the other with a triple and also walked.
Player of the Game: Dickerson.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 0, New Britain Rock Cats 3
The Fisher Cats dropped the first game of a double header despite a solid performance by starter Casey Lawrence. The defense was uncharacteristically poor, making four errors but they only led to one unearned run for the Rock Cats. Lawrence, in his season debut, went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits and two walks with five strikeouts. Blake McFarland entered with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and managed to keep things close for the Fisher Cats by getting a strikeout and a fly out to end the threat. The offense only got three hits and was silenced efectively by New Britain pitcher Shane Carle who picked up the complete-game shutout.
Player of the Game: Lawrence.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 4, New Britain Rock Cats 0
In Game 2 of the double header, the Fisher Cats turned the tables, shutting out the Rock Cats for a 4-0 victory. In the shutout-by-committee, Dustin Antolin threw the first 2 2/3 innings, giving up just one hit but walking three with three strikeouts. Greg Burke went another 2 1/3, allowing four hits but walking one and striking out three and Danny Barnes was dominant, throwing two perfect innings and striking out four to earn the save.
On offense, it was Matt Newman’s show. The right fielder was 2/3 with a home run while Kevin Nolan drove hom two and K.C. Hobson continuted to swing his hot bat, hitting a double. Melky Mesa’s batting average fell to .500 after a 1/3 game.
Player of the Game: Newman and Barnes..
Dunedin Blue Jays 6, Clearwater Threshers 5
Luis Santos made his first appearance as a member of the Blue Jays’ organization after he was released by the Royals in spring training. Santos wasn’t incredibly sharp, allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks over 4 2/3 innings. Tiago Da Silva allowed a run but struck out two in his two innings while Chad Girodo also allowed a run (and struck out two) in 1 1/3 innings. Wil Browning picked up his second save of the year with a scoreless ninth.
On the offensive side of the ball, David Harris swung a big bat, going 2/4 with a home run and three RBI. Andy Fermin (2/4, RBI) and Matt Dean (2/3, RBI) also had multi-hit games. Michael Saunders tweaked a hamstring and came out of the game after his first at bat.
Player of the Game: Harris.
Lansing Lugnuts 4, Fort Wayne TinCaps 3
I was in Fort Wayne for the Lugnuts’ exciting 10-inning win over the TinCaps that got almost everyone on the team involved somehow. While the first two innings featured some very sloppy play from both teams, things tightened up for the remainder of the game. Chase Mallard got the start and kept his cool despite some chaos around him. a ground-ball pitcher, a lot of hits found holes and he allowed all three runs on eight hits with four strikeouts (without walking anyone). Lefty Colton Turner made his first appearance in a game since 2013, throwing 3 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Turner came out for the ninth inning with the score tied and gave up two hits before striking out lefty Edwin Moreno who came to bat (although it was a very questionable strikeout that came when the home plate umpire decided that Moreno had attempted to bunt a pitch that, to me, he did not). Lugnuts’ closer Phil Kish came on to not only finish the ninth without allowing either runner to score, but he came back for a 1-2-3 10th inning.
The offense really didn’t get much going despite scoring four runs on seven hits and five walks. They were helped out by a couple of balks and wild pitches by starting pitcher Dinelson Lamet but they were punchless against Taylor Aikenhead and T.J. Weir, the latter striking out four Lugnuts with his impressive slider. Tim Locastro had a pair of hits and drove in the game-tying run in the ninth with a sharply hit ball down the third base line that he beat out for a single. Rowdy Tellez got the 10th-inning rally going with a sharp single the other way and tagging up to score on Dan Jansen’s sacrifice fly to center field. He even flashed some leather, making a leaping grab in the bottom of the 10th to keep Kish’s sheet clean. Gunnar Heidt walked twice and stole two bases while Chris Carlson was on twice with a single and a walk and stole two bases. Josh Almonte contributed on defense, throwing out a runner with a laser beam from right field and making a diving catch later in the game.
Player of the Game: Locastro, Kish and Turner.
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