Rangers Minor League Roundup – 5/28

Double-A Frisco outfielder Joe Benson socked his third home run in three games as a member of the Texas Rangers organization on Tuesday. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Rangers system.

AAA: Round Rock 3 – (@) New Orleans 2
W - Robertson (1-1)
SV - McClellan (2)
HR - Cunningham (3, 4)
28-24, 1.0 GB

Left fielder Aaron Cunningham (.288/.378/.454) carried Round Rock to victory on Tuesday, accounting for all three of the club's runs.

Cunningham put the Express on top with a two-run homer in the top of the first inning. He later added a game-winning solo shot––his fourth of the year––in the eighth.

Meanwhile, the Express got another strong outing from recently signed right-hander Scott Richmond, who didn't factor in the decision but pitched well.

The 33-year-old Richmond allowed just a run on two hits in six innings, walking three and striking out two. He has permitted only four runs in 15 frames over his first three starts this season.

After Yoshinori Tateyama gave up a solo home run in one-third of an inning, Nate Robertson (1.2 IP) and Kyle McClellan (1 IP) kept the Zephyrs off the scoreboard to preserve the victory.

Although the 37-year-old Tateyama was dominant in Triple-A last season, he has scuffled this year––21.1 ip, 27 h, 13 r, 6 bb, 24 k.

McClellan threw eight of 14 pitches for strikes in a blank ninth, giving up a hit and fanning one. It was his third appearance with the Express, and his first without yielding a run.

Robinson Chirinos (2/4) singled twice in four at-bats. Second baseman Yangervis Solarte went just 1-for-4, but that knock extended his hitting streak to nine games. Solarte is hitting .379/.420/.456 in 26 contests this month.

Third baseman Mark Teahen singled one and whiffed twice in four at-bats. The 31-year-old veteran is just 3-for-20 (.150) since joining Round Rock last week.

Player of the Game: LF Aaron Cunningham
4 2 2 0 2 3 0 1 .288

AA: Frisco 6 – Springfield 5
W - Reyes (1-1)
SV - Rowen (5)
HR - Benson (3), Alberto (2)
30-21, 1.0 GB

The Joe Benson show moved to Frisco and continued on Tuesday evening.

The Rangers' newest prospect wasted no time in acclimating himself to Dr Pepper Ballpark, as he launched a three-run homer––his third in three games with the organization––in the bottom of the first inning.

Overall, Benson went 2-for-4 with a triple, that home run, and three RBI. He also added an assist from right field, gunning down a runner at first.

A former top prospect in the Minnesota organization, the 25-year-old Benson reached the major leagues in 2011. But he posted a disappointing .202/.288/.336 slash line at the upper levels last season, and he was hitting just .192/.256/.285 in Double-A this year before joining Frisco.

Shortstop Hanser Alberto (.227/.268/.295) added a three-run homer of his own later in the game. He went 1-for-3 with a HBP.

On the mound, righty Carlos Pimentel was knocked around for a change, giving up five runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings. He fanned five and walked one.

Jimmy Reyes (1.2 IP), Roman Mendez (1.2 IP), and Ben Rowen (0.1 IP) all tossed scoreless ball out of the bullpen. Mendez pitched around three walks, as he threw just 12 of 28 pitches for strikes.

The submarining Rowen lowered his ERA to 0.72.

Player of the Game: RF Joe Benson
4 2 2 0 1 3 0 1 .364

A+: Myrtle Beach 1 – (@) Lynchburg 8
L - Payano (4-3)
29-21, 3.0 GU

The Pelicans were 14-6 in May as of last Friday. They've since lost five consecutive games, including the 8-1 defeat on Tuesday.

Lynchburg tagged Myrtle Beach hurlers Victor Payano and Will Lamb for five home runs in their eight innings at-bat.

Payano (4.22 ERA/.211 BAA), who gave up three long balls, worked six innings and permitted five runs. He allowed eight hits, walked two, and struck out four.

Lamb (6.65 ERA/.244 BAA) surrendered three runs, including two homers, in two innings. The 22-year-old lefty has now issued more walks (14) than strikeouts (13) in 21.2 innings this season.

Centerfielder Royce Bolinger (.257/.315/.425) was one of the Pelicans' lone performers at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk. After hitting a punchless .186 in April, Bolinger is batting .333/.375/.519 this month.

Rougned Odor (1/4, 2B) added his 15th two-bagger of the year.

Player of the Game: CF Royce Bolinger
3 0 2 2 0 1 1 1 .257

A: Hickory 7 – (@) Augusta 4
W - Leclerc (1-2)
SV - Claudio (8)
29-21, 1.5 GB

The Crawdads clubbed five extra-base hits––surprisingly without a home run––to get by Augusta on Tuesday evening.

Outfielders Nick Williams (1/5, 3B) and Lewis Brinson (1/4, 3B) both tripled. The team also got doubles from Nick Urbanus (2/5, 2B), David Lyon (1/3, 2B, BB), and Luis Marte (1/3, 2B, BB).

Marte committed a pair of errors and Urbanus had one, leading to four unearned runs in the game's first five innings.

Hickory starting pitcher Luis Parra gave up all four of those unearned runs in four-plus innings. He worked around four hits and five walks, striking out a season-best seven batters. He also uncorked a wild pitch.

After Parra exited the game, relievers Jose Leclerc and Alex Claudio slammed the door.

Leclerc, a hard-throwing righty, struck out four in three innings of one-hit scoreless relief. He walked one. The sidearming lefty Claudio worked two blank frames to finish the game.

The 19-year-old Leclerc has pitched particularly well in his last six outings––11.0 ip, 7 h, 2 r, 2 bb, 15 k.

The Crawdads shook up their whiff-happy lineup a bit on Tuesday, moving former leadoff man Brinson to the six spot and slugger Joey Gallo to the seven-hole. Gallo was 0-for-3 with a walk and two punchouts.

Player of the Game: RHP Jose Leclerc
3.0 1 0 0 1 4 0 4.67

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