Results from games played Sunday, August 24th.
Marco Gonzales struck out six in six and four Redbirds went yard as Memphis (74-61) blanked Fresno 8-0 in the series’ opener. The Redbirds remain tied with Nashville atop the American Southern Division with eight to go.
Gonzales (W, 4-1) surrendered just three hits and a walk, inducing seven ground- and three fly-ball outs. He hit one batter and required 102 pitches, 63 for strikes. Heath Wyatt yielded two hits over two innings and Jorge Rondon fanned two in a perfect ninth.
Six of the team’s eight tallies were the result of home runs by Tommy Pham, Pete Kozma, Xavier Scruggs (20th of the season) and Ed Easley. Pham put the home team on the board with a third-inning solo shot, one of his two hits in four at bats along with a base-on-balls and two runs scored.
Kozma followed in the fourth with a bomb that plated Scruggs and Easley (both singles). The shortstop added a double and single in four at bats, scoring twice. Scruggs and Easley went back-to-back in the seventh, Scruggs going 2-for-5 with two runs scored while Easley garnered his third three-hit night in his last five games, going 3-for-3 and touching home twice. A single by Stephen Piscotty accounted for the last of 13 team hits.
Monday’s game: vs. fourth-place (Pacific Northern) Fresno (65-71) (SF), 7:05 pm CT, Tyler Lyons (8-2, 4.43) had been scheduled to start prior to his Monday call up to St. Louis.
Spotlight on – Tyler Lyons. Lyons has struggled of late, serving up seven and five runs in his last two starts that each went six frames. Opposing batters are hitting .293 off the lefty.
Playoff watch – Memphis has three more at home versus Fresno before heading to fourth-place New Orleans (MIA) for five. Nashville hosts first-place (Pacific Northern) Sacramento three more times, then finishes the regular season with five at third-place Round Rock (TEX). It’s finish on top or go home in the Pacific Coast League.
Second-place Springfield (29-32) dropped their second straight to Tulsa, leaving them three away from elimination with nine games remaining.
The S-Cards’ offense mustered just three hits and a base-on-balls and Jonathan Rodriguez collected one of those hits as a pinch hitter.
Kurt Heyer allowed single scores in the first, sixth and seventh plus two in the fifth, four earned, on nine hits and a free pass in 6 2/3. He struck out six. Three of the four batters retired by Lee Stoppelman were on strikeouts, with the 24-year-old giving up one hit and stranding an inherited runner. Sam Tuivailala fanned the side in the ninth.
Monday’s game: vs. third-place Tulsa (27-34) (COL), 7:10 pm CT, Kyle Hald (10-4, 3.89)
Spotlight on – Kyle Hald. Hald is nearing the finish of the 2014 season with two excellent outings, shutting out Frisco through seven on August 14th succeeded by a one-run effort through 6 1/3 against Northwest Arkansas.
Dante Rosenberg’s first at bat of the day produced a 12-11 walk-off win over the Marauders (PIT) in 10, as the Beach Birds split the four-game series. That victory, coupled with Ft Myers’ loss, leaves Palm Beach (38-25) in sole possession of first with the Miracle and Bradenton just a game back with seven games to go.
Rosenberg came to bat in the 10th with Jimmy Bosco on second, thanks to his ninth double of 2014, and one out. The light-hitting catcher lined his 20th hit of the season into right, sending Bosco across home and lifting his squad to victory. Rosenberg took over behind the plate for Gerwuins Velazco in the top of the frame after Velazco worked a ninth-inning base-on-balls, triggering pinch runner Juan Herrera’s entry.
Rosenberg’s contribution bailed Ronnie Shaban out after Shaban blew a 10-6 lead by serving up a five-run ninth on three hits and two walks, including a grand slam. Herrera and Mason Katz sent the game into extras after the latter’s infield single to short resulted in an errant throw, allowing the pinch runner to tie the score at 10 all.
The PB-Cards’ 18 hits were disbursed among eight players, six of them with multi-hit performances. Bosco, our Player of the Day, was nearly a one-man wrecking crew, accounting for seven runs by going 4-for-6 with two doubles, a triple, scoring three times with four RBI.
Katz and Cesar Valera each singled three times in five at bats, Katz drawing a free pass while driving in two and Valera touching home once. Anthony Garcia, Bruce Caldwell and Velazco all had two hits, Garcia and Velazco both doubling once. Garcia scored twice with two RBI while Caldwell and Velazco crossed home once, Velazco walking twice and knocking in one.
Logan Billbrough pitched around a two-out single for a scoreless 10th, earning his first win for Palm Beach. Corey Baker went the first four, yielding three runs, two earned, on seven hits and a balk. Iden Nazario surrendered an unearned tally in two innings, giving up two hits and a free pass.
Kevin Herget (BS, 1) was charged with two runs on two hits and a walk in 1 1/3, the final run coming home when Steve Sabatino gave up a run-scoring single, one of two hits allowed in 2/3 of an inning.
Monday’s game: vs. sixth-place Jupiter (20-41) (MIA), 6:35 pm ET, Tyrell Jenkins (5-4, 3.39)
Spotlight on – Tyrell Jenkins. Jenkins has pitched consecutive seven-inning starts in which he permitted two and three runs, respectively. The right-hander faced the Hammerheads last time out, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks, fanning six.
Playoff watch – Palm Beach faces Jupiter three times before finishing the season with four against fifth-place St. Lucie (NYM). Bradenton hosts Ft Myers (MIN) for three then splits a home-and-away four-game set with fourth-place Charlotte (TB). After traveling to Bradenton for three, Ft. Myers plays Jupiter four times. Each of the three four-game series is split evenly, home and away.
Since the Miracle won the first-half, in the event they again finish first, the team with the best overall record in the division makes the playoffs. Right now the PB-Cards lead Bradenton by two games in the overall standings.
A two-run seventh sent the Chiefs (30-32) to a 4-3 loss at Clinton in the first of three. Peoria has been eliminated from second-half division title contention but is within two games of Wisconsin (MIL) for the wild card.
Jhonny Polanco (BS, 1) and Jacob Booden (L, 0-2) were each charged with one of those tallies, Polanco giving up two runs on three hits and a base-on-balls while recording three outs. Booden permitted two hits and two walks, one intentional, over the final 1 1/3.
That spoiled an outstanding effort by Alex Reyes, who fanned nine through six, surrendering a run on three hits. Reyes did not issue a free pass.
Ronald Castillo and Rafael Medina each had two of the team’s eight hits, Castillo blasting a home run with the bases empty with a walk in three at bats. Steve Bean and Justin Ringo both went 1-for-3 with a run scored.
Monday’s game: at Clinton (27-35) (SEA), 6:30 pm CT, Chase Brookshire (4-7. 3.91)
Spotlight on – Steve Bean. The 20-year-old has put up fairly mediocre numbers in his first year of full-season ball, going .238/.332/.308/.640, 57-for-240 in 73 games. Bean has hit a bit better of late, with a .265 average in his last 10 games.
Playoff watch – Kane County (CHC) leads the Western Division with Cedar Rapids (MIN) two back. Wisconsin trails Kane County by nine and is within two of title elimination. Both Peoria and Quad Cities (HOU) are two games in back of Wisconsin. Since Kane County won the first-half and is almost guaranteed to finish in the top two in the second-half, Cedar Rapids has clinched a playoff slot and one of Wisconsin-Peoria-Quad Cities will claim the other.
Fresh off clinching their second straight Pinckney Division title, the Spikes (41-27) fell to the second-place Jammers (PIT), preventing a three-game sweep by State College.
Fernando Baez kept Jamestown off the board through three but allowed three runs in his last two innings for his second loss in four decisions. Baez yielded seven hits and two free passes, fanning six. Both runs charged to Joe Scanio in the sixth, the first of his two innings of work, were unearned. Scanio yielded two hits and plunked one. Josh Lucas walked one in the eighth.
State College pushed across single scores in the fifth and ninth, managing eight hits. Brett Wiley and Collin Radack both went 2-for-3, Wiley doubling once with a walk and run scored while Radack knocked in one.
Monday’s game: at Mahoning Valley (30-37) (CLE), 7:05 pm ET, Trey Nielsen (3-2, 2.20)
Spotlight on – Trey Nielsen. Nielsen held Auburn (WSH) scoreless on four hits through four last time out, rebounding from a five runs in three frames effort versus Connecticut (Detroit) on August 10th.
Appy Birds pitching was torched for 17 hits in their Wild Card showdown with Kingsport, resulting in a 9-1 loss in the series’ opener. Johnson City (33-30) and the Mets are tied for the West Division Wild Card with five contests yet to play.
Six runs in the sixth broke open a game still being contended, all six tallies charged to Jeff Barkley in the first of his three-inning stint. Barkley was touched for 10 hits and a walk but Landon Beck (L, 1-1) took the loss. Beck gave up three runs, one earned, on seven hits in five. He did not issue a free pass.
Christian Muscarello’s first home run of the season ended the Mets’ shut-out bid in the ninth, his only hit in three at bats. Blake Drake singled and doubled in four at bats for two more of five team hits.
Monday’s game: at Kingsport (33-30), 7:00 pm ET, Dailyn Martinez (5-3, 4.64)
Spotlight on – Dailyn Martinez. The 21-year-old’s biggest start of the season so far comes Monday when he tries to pitch the JC-Cards past Kingsport in the battle for the Wild Card. Martinez is scheduled to oppose Cuban southpaw Yoan Gonzalez (1-3, 4.94) who has thrown only 23 2/3 innings in seven games, four starts.
Playoff watch – Johnson City and Kingsport face off two more times before the Appy Birds host fourth-place Greeneville (HOU) for three and Kingsport goes to first-place Elizabethton (MIN) for their three-game set. Greeneville is still contending for the Wild Card berth, sitting two games behind the Cardinals and Mets.
The Gulf Coast League does not play on Sundays.
Monday’s game: GCL Cardinals (32-23) at GCL Mets (31-25), 12:00 pm ET, Jack Flaherty (1-1, 2.04)
Spotlight on – Jack Flaherty. Flaherty is likely to get the call on Monday, facing the second-place Mets in the first of a two-game away-and-home set with the division title on the line. Flaherty matched a season-high four innings in his last start when he limited the Mets to a run on five hits and two walks.
Playoff watch – The Gulf Birds lead the Mets by 1 ½ with five regular-season games on tap. After an away-and-home two-game series versus their chief rivals, the GCL Cardinals play the third-place Nationals for three, two away then one at home. The Mets have only four games not played, their final two contests being against the fourth-place Marlins, one away and the season finale at home.
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