W - Ramirez (5-4)
SV - Scheppers (7)
21-27, 6.5 GB
Neil Ramirez (6.48 ERA/.253 BAA) entered Thursday's start against Sacramento having permitted at least six runs in four of his last five outings.
Although he was shaky at times on Thursday, Ramirez pitched well enough overall to earn the victory. The 23-year-old yielded three runs in six innings. He allowed four hits while walking four and striking out six.
The right-hander threw 110 pitches (64 strikes) in the six innings. He threw a first-pitch strike to just 12 of the 25 hitters he faced during the start.
Ramirez is having an odd season thus far. His first four starts––21.0 ip, 15 h, 5 er (2.14 ERA), 4 bb, 20 k. He threw 67 percent strikes with an average of 14.9 pitches per inning.
His last six starts––29.0 ip, 33 h, 31 er (9.62 ERA), 15 bb, 21 k. He's thrown 59.5 percent of his pitches for a strike with 17.9 pitches per inning.
Veteran second baseman Matt Kata (.272/.323/.465) provided Ramirez with some support by smashing a three-run double with two outs in the sixth inning. He had two doubles in four at-bats.
Red-hot leadoff man Julio Borbon (.292/.341/.438) singled three times in four trips, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. After hitting just .211 in April, the centerfielder is hitting .371 in 22 games this month.
Luis Hernandez (1/4, 2B) doubled while Joey Butler (1/3, BB) singled and walked.
Third baseman Tom Mendonca, second baseman Kata, and first baseman Elio Sarmiento helped minimize Sacramento's offensive damage by turning three double plays in the game.
Three Express relievers tossed a scoreless frame in relief of Ramirez to secure the victory.
Tyler Tufts worked a 1-2-3 seventh, Sean Green pitched around a walk while fanning two in the eighth, and Tanner Scheppers tossed a blank ninth.
Tufts is throwing plenty of strikes this season, as he has during his entire career, but he's also struck out only six batters in 20 Triple-A innings. When Tufts fanned 55 in 62.1 frames last season, his fastball often sat between 93-95 mph. But his velocity has been down in the 89-92 range this season.
Scheppers, who yielded one hit and struck out one, now has a 3.63 ERA this season. He has struck out 22 and walked four in 22.1 innings.
W - Grimm (7-3)
28-18, 3.0 GU
Coming off one of his weaker outings of the season, Frisco starter Justin Grimm (2.05 ERA/.227 BAA) matched a career best by hurling seven shutout innings.
The 23-year-old righty scattered six hits (all singles) and struck out six without issuing a walk. In 57 innings this season, he has yielded 48 hits, walked 11, and struck out 51.
Grimm's 2.05 earned-run average currently ranks second in the Texas League (to John Gast, who was recently promoted to Triple-A). He's third in innings pitched (57) and fourth in strikeouts (51).
With the assistance of a rapidly developing (borderline plus) changeup, he is also limiting left-handed hitters to a paltry .203/.232/.304 slash line with a 29 percent strikeout rate.
Super-prospect Jurickson Profar (.337/.386/.533 in May) extended his on-base streak to 42 games by going 2-for-5 with his 13th double of the season.
Left fielder Alex Buchholz (2/4, 2B) and catcher Jose Felix (1/4, 2B) also doubled.
Playing in his first game since April 26, switch-hitting middle infielder Leury Garcia had a single and a triple in four at-bats. Garcia now has four triples in 19 games played.
Mike Olt added two singles and a walk in five trips. His .901 OPS is tops on the ‘Riders and eighth in the circuit.
Left-hander Joe Ortiz (1 IP) and righty Ross Wolf (1 IP) closed the game with one inning of scoreless relief apiece.
Ortiz, who induced three consecutive groundouts while throwing seven of his 10 pitches for a strike, has a 1.89 ERA through 19 Double-A innings.
W - Mendez (3-3)
SV - R. Henry (5)
22-22, 3.5 GB
Entering Thursday's game, the Pelicans' scuffling offense had scored seven total runs in their last four games. Myrtle Beach plated eight on Thursday, including a five-run outburst in the third inning.
Perhaps most notable was that centerfielder Jake Skole (.192/.267/.246) finally broke out of his slump by going 3-for-3 with a double, a walk, two RBI, and his first stolen base of the season. Prior to Thursday's game, Skole had been 5-for-52 (.096) without an extra-base hit this month.
Shortstop Odubel Herrera (.265/.311/.381) extended his hitting streak to 14 games with two triples in three official at-bats. He also walked twice.
DH Vin DiFazio (2/4, 2B) and C Tomas Telis (2/4, 2B, BB) both doubled. DiFazio drove in four runs.
Jared Hoying (2/5), Brett Nicholas (1/4, BB) and Christian Villanueva (1/3, 2 BB) all reached base multiple times.
Starting pitcher Roman Mendez (4.08 ERA/.244 BAA) provided solid work on the mound by matching a season-high with nine strikeouts in 5.2 innings of one-run ball. He scattered six hits and walked two.
After scuffling early in the season, Mendez has pitched relatively well in his last five starts––27.2 ip, 21 h, 6 r, 12 bb, 30 k.
Righty reliever Randol Rojas followed by permitting three unearned runs in an inning. Though the runs were unearned, he gave up three hits, walked two, and plunked one.
Ben Henry allowed two runs in 1.2 innings before closer Randy Henry came on to record the final two outs, earning his fifth save.
Pelicans second baseman Santiago Chirino and manager Jason Wood were both ejected in the eighth inning.
L - Mavare (1-2)
21-24, 11.0 GB
The Crawdads fell to a paltry 5-16 in May after dropping another game on Thursday.
Left-hander Victor Payano limited the damage to two runs in five innings despite allowing seven hits and walking four. He struck out three.
Arlett Mavare then allowed three runs in three innings, and Greg Williams followed by giving up two runs in the ninth.
Rougned Odor (1/3, 2B, BB), Kellin Deglan (2/4, 2B) and Jordan Akins (1/4, 2B) all doubled once in the game.
The 18-year-old Odor is putting together an impressive month, as he's hitting .294/.372/.485 with five stolen bases in 19 May games.
Although Delgan is having a rough campaign thus far offensively, he is thriving behind the plate. The young backstop has gunned down a remarkable 42.5 percent (17-of-40) base stealers this season. As a comparison, Joe Maloney was 3-for-14 and Kevin Torres is 0-for-16.
Shortstop Luis Sardinas (2/4) singled twice while DH Drew Robinson (1/3, BB) had a single and a base on balls.
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