W - Hankins (6-7)
HR - Nelson (20), Solarte (9)
53-65, 13.5 GB
Since arriving at Triple-A Round Rock in late June, left-hander Chad Bell (4.56 ERA/.284 BAA) has consistently pitched well early in starts but struggled in his final inning.
That was the case on Tuesday, as the 23-year-old Bell retired the game's first eight batters and later had worked five innings of one-run ball. But he failed to retire a hitter in the sixth inning, giving up a single, a double, and two walks before being lifted from the game.
Three of those four base runners ultimately scored. Bell yielded four runs in five-plus innings, giving up four hits, walking three, and striking out four.
The southpaw was taken off the hook by his offense, though. Cleanup-hitting DH Brad Nelson (.290/.373/.500) went 3-for-4 with a double and a solo home run, extending his hitting streak to nine games. Nelson is now hitting .374/.482/.747 in 26 games since the Triple-A All-Star break.
Second baseman Yangervis Solarte, who was 1-for-4, added a solo home run of his own––his ninth of the season.
Shortstop Luis Hernandez (2/5, 3B) singled and tripled while centerfielder Leonys Martin (1/4, 2B, HBP) hit his 12th double and was hit by a pitch. Hernandez's two-out run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth inning won the game in walkoff fashion.
Joey Butler (2/4) had two hits while also picking up an outfield assist from right field, as he gunned down a runner at home plate.
Brandon Snyder played at first base and went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. In five Triple-A games since being optioned back to the minor leagues, the 25-year-old corner infielder is 4-for-20 (.200) with two doubles, no walks, and seven K's.
Right-handed relievers Johan Yan (2 IP), Mark Lowe (1 IP) and Derek Hankins (1 IP) all worked scoreless ball out of the bullpen, though Yan did let two inherited runners score.
The rehabbing Lowe was particularly impressive, throwing nine of his 10 pitches for a strike while fanning two in a perfect eighth inning.
Lowe, who has now made five rehab appearances between Double-A and Triple-A, was pitching on consecutive days with the Express. He's retired all six Triple-A batters he has faced, striking out four.
20-24, 9.0 GB
After playing a game on 26 consecutive days, the RoughRiders got a well-earned day of rest on Tuesday.
L - Rojas (8-4)
26-18, 0.0 GU
Nationals prospect Alex Meyer defeated the Pelicans for the second time within three weeks. The 23rd overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, Meyer has surrendered only two earned runs on 13 hits in his first 23 High-A innings.
On Tuesday, Myrtle Beach managed only one run on two hits in six innings against Meyer. They had four knocks for the game.
Middle infielders Odubel Herrera (1/2, 2B, BB, HBP) and Hanser Alberto (1/4, 2B) both doubled while Jeremy Williams (1/4) and Teodoro Martinez (1/3) each singled.
Myrtle Beach starting pitcher Randol Rojas (3.26 ERA/.256 BAA) surrendered five runs––four earned––over seven innings, giving up four hits, walking three, and striking out four.
The 21-year-old Rojas has now logged 22 appearances (12 starts) in High-A after beginning the year at Hickory. His Carolina League stat-line––91.0 ip, 90 h, 33 er, 32 bb, 57 k. The sinkerballer is inducing 1.4 groundouts per airout.
Reliever Matt West worked around a walk in an otherwise clean eighth inning. He threw his fastball at 92-94 mph.
Roman Mendez, who is finishing this season in the bullpen, fanned one in a perfect ninth while firing 95-97 mph heat.
Although West has pitched well at times since returning from injury, he has been inconsistent. He's yielded only 13 hits in 17 innings but has walked 14 while striking out 10.
Mendez, on the other hand, has been dominant in four relief appearances––8.1 ip, 4 h, 0 r, 1 bb, 14 k.
Left fielder Chris Grayson went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and a walk. He has two hits (both singles) in 14 at-bats since being promoted to Myrtle Beach.
24-21, 1.0 GB
The entire South Atlantic League was off on Tuesday.
L - C.J. Edwards (1-1)
6-8, 3.0 GB
Entering Tuesday's start against Salem-Keizer, right-hander C.J. Edwards hadn't allowed more than one run in any of his nine appearances (eight starts) this summer. The 20-year-old prospect surrendered three in the bottom of the first inning on Tuesday.
Edwards eventually settled down but was stuck with his first professional loss. He yielded three runs on three hits in four innings, walking three and striking out six.
Between the two short-season levels, the 6-foot-2, 155-pound prospect has now allowed six earned runs on 21 hits in 48 innings. He's struck out 58 and walked 19.
The top four hitters in Spokane's lineup combined for all five hits. The bottom five were a collective 0-for-19 with seven strikeouts.
Right fielder Royce Bolinger raised his batting average to .266 with two singles and a walk in four plate appearances. Gabriel Roa (1/4), Pat Cantwell (1/3, BB) and Cam Schiller (1/3, BB) all singled once.
Closer Josh McElwee (3.00 ERA/.263 BAA) fanned four in 1.1 scoreless frames, working around two hits. The Rangers' 20th-round pick in this year's draft, McElwee has struck out 28 (and walked five) in his first 21 pro innings.
L - Leclerc (1-1)
22-16, 1.0 GU
The Rookie Rangers' talented offense was held scoreless for the first time in 38 games this summer.
A quartet of A's pitchers––led by Dakota Bacus and Jose Azor, who worked three innings apiece––limited the Rangers to four hits and two walks. The Rangers had only two at-bats with a man in scoring position all game.
Although he suffered the loss, Dominican right-hander Anyelo Leclerc (4.03 ERA/.296 BAA) pitched well. The 20-year-old hurler gave up two runs (one earned) on five hits in a season-high five innings pitched. He struck out four without issuing a walk.
Sidearming southpaw Alexander Claudio (2.61 ERA/.265 BAA) then yielded two runs on two hits in four innings.
Lewis Brinson (1/4), Nomar Mazara (1/4), Ronald Guzman (1/4) and Jamie Jarmon (1/2, BB) all had one hit apiece.
W - de la Cruz (3-1)
34-21, 0.5 GU
The Dominican Rangers jumped back into first place with a 5-4 win over the Red Sox.
Left-hander Nerfy Nunez (6.59 ERA/.311 BAA) kept the Sox off the scoreboard through the first four innings before allowing a pair of unearned runs in the fifth. That would be the only damage he permitted in four-plus frames.
Third baseman Elio Castillo (.267/.393/.335) and centerfielder Jose Cardona (.263/.386/.332) both had perfect days at the plate. Castillo went 2-for-2 with two walks and a hit-by pitch. Cardona had two singles, two walks, and a sacrifice fly in his five trips.
Jose Leclerc (2 IP) and Jesus Fandino (1 IP) both worked shutout ball out of the bullpen in relief of Nunez. After Felix Carvallo yielded two runs in one-third of an inning, Puerto Rican righty Alex de la Cruz (1.2 IP) came on the shut the door.
The 20-year-old de la Cruz, who signed with the Rangers as a free agent after the draft, has fanned 21 and walked one in his first 26 pro innings.
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