Blue Wahoos Win in Ten

Josh Smith might not be one of the higher-profiled pitching prospects, but his AA ERA is on the way down and he's on his way to mastering another level. The 25 year-old right-hander came to the Reds from a late round selection after undergoing Tommy John surgery while in college.

A walk-off single by Ryan LaMarre in the tenth inning gave Pensacola a 4-3 victory over visiting Chattanooga. The Wahoos had taken one-run leads earlier on a home runs by Joe Mather leading off the third and Bryson Smith in the next inning. Those three all reached safely in the eighth when Mather drove home a run to tie the game at three. Smith and Mather both had three of the nine fish hits while LaMarre singled and walked twice.

On the hill Josh Smith got no decision from seven innings over which he allowed only one run and seven hits and drove his ERA under four. Drew Hayes threw two scoreless frames to end regulation and Chris Manno got the win by shutting out the Lookouts in the tenth.

Smith got roughed up in his first two starts after debuting at the AA level at the beginning of the season, but he's really starting to figure things out now and has a 1.24 ERA in 29 innings over his last five outings. During that period his K/BB ratio is 30/8 with a 0.833 WHIP.

It's really no surprise that the late-round selection is coming around because he had an outstanding season in 2011 at Dayton, going 14-3 with a sub-three ERA. He came back last year at Bakersfield with a sub-four ernie which was the fifth lowest of all the qualifying pitchers in the hitter-friendly California League. Thought the right-hander is not one of the higher-profiled prospects in the Reds system he could be banging on the door for a promotion to AAA in the not-too-distant future.

Smith is a control pitcher with a low-90's fastball and plus curve. His command has enabled him to move up the Reds system. Lifetime in the minor leagues he has a K/BB over three and a half while striking out nearly ten per nine innings. Thus far this season he hasn't allowed more than two walks in any of his eight appearances.

He was postponed starting his professional career by Tommy John surgery while in college. Now he's appearing to master hitters in the Southern League at 25 years old, which is the same age as Tim Crabbe and one year younger than Rule 5 pickup Ryan Dennick. The other two pitchers in the Pensacola rotation, Chad Rogers and Daniel Renken are both 23. There's not a lot of space to move upward in the organization right now and the Louisville rotation will get more crowded when Johnny Cueto returns from the DL. There are multiple candidates in the Pensacola quintet to take over spots in the Louisville rotation if any of their veterans decide to take their chances in another organization next season.

Meanwhile Smith is on his way to mastering four levels in four years after debuting in the Billings bullpen following the draft. He may be under the radar and not moving up analysts' top prospect lists, but he's been effective at moving up the organization, which is the direction he wants to be going.

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The Reds won again Wednesday by shutting out the Marlins 4-0 at Miami. Brandon Phillips doubled home Shin-soo Choo with the first run of the game in the top of the first inning. Choo later added solo home runs in the fourth and sixth innings while Joey Votto plated one with a single in between them. Choo finished with four hits while Votto singled twice and walked. Phillips and Jay Bruce had two hits each and Cesar Izturis reached with a hit and walk and scored a run. Mike Leake allowed nine hits and a walk in six-plus innings, but none of them crossed the plate while he struck out six for the win. Sam LeCure and Aroldis Chapman both tossed a scoreless frame end the contest.

Louisville rallied for six runs in the second inning and hung on for a 9-6 win at Charlotte. The rally included seven hits and a hit batsman with Denis Phipps, Corky Miller, Billy Hamilton, Henry Rodriguez, and Felix Perez picking up RBI's. Perez and Phipps each drove in another in the fourth and Miller capped off the Bats scoring with a solo homer in the seventh. Perez and Mike Hessman both had three of their team's sixteen hits. Perez also walked, drove in three, and raised his average to .317. Rodriguez, Phipps and Miller had two hits apiece. Daniel Corcino picked up his second win of the season by allowing two runs on three hits in five innings. He ran up his pitch count with three walks and seven strikeouts. Jose Diaz did not allow a run in one-plus innings to end the game with a save.

Bakersfield tied their game at Stockton with a run in the eighth before allowing one in the bottom of the inning in a 2-1 loss. Juan Duran had two of the five Blaze hits and provided his team's only run with a solo homer. Carlos Contreras got no decision from a solid start, allowing only one unearned run on two hits and a walk while striking out nine in six innings. Michael Dennhardt threw the final two frames, allowed the game-winner, and took the loss.

Dayton got pounded for four runs in both the sixth and seventh innings in their 11-3 home loss to West Michigan. Seth Mejias-Brean had two hits, a walk, and an RBI. Robert Ramirez also had two hits. Beau Amaral and Jeff Gelalich both reached safely twice with walks and scored a run. Ismael Guillon got no decision after allowing three runs in five innings. He continued to struggle with command and walked five while striking out five. Joey Housey was roughed up for eight runs and took the loss. Wandy Peralta and Ben Klimesh both threw a scoreless inning with three strikeouts each.

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