Around the Minors: April 14

While the big league club exploded for nine runs on Tuesday night, the four minor league affiliates combined for just five, and only the Burlington Bees emerged victorious. While the offense struggled across the organization, the Royals' affiliates did receive some strong pitching performances. RC recaps all of Tuesday's minor league action inside.


Burlington 3, Kane County 2

The Burlington Bees' struggling offense only managed three hits on Tuesday afternoon, but it was enough as the club won its first game of the season over the Kane County Cougars. Outfielder Nick Van Stratten put the Bees on the board with a two-out RBI triple in the sixth inning, breaking a scoreless tie. In the top of the eighth, the Bees added two more runs on just one hit, thanks to three Kane County errors in the inning. The Cougars responded with two runs of their own off reliever Manauris Baez in the bottom of the frame, but closer Barry Bowden entered with two outs and men on first and second and got out of the jam by inducing an inning-ending ground out. Bowden then closed the game out with a perfect ninth, earning his first save while preserving the Bees' 3-2 victory. Zach Peterson got the win in his first start of the season, pitching 5.2 scoreless innings while allowing just four hits and a walk and striking out three batters. Because of Monday's rainout, the Bees (1-3) and Cougars match up for a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon, with the first pitch scheduled for noon.


Kinston 1, Wilmington 0 (7 innings)

The Blue Rocks got another great outing from starter Alex Caldera, but the team's bats were shut down by Kinston pitching en route to a rain-shortened loss on Tuesday night. Caldera allowed the game's only run in the first inning on three hits and a walk, but he allowed just one more hit while blanking the Indians over the next four frames. In five innings of work, Caldera struck out a pair of batters while issuing just one walk, and two starts into the season, the 23-year-old right-hander sports a tidy 2.00 ERA. Ben Swaggerty pitched a scoreless sixth, but the game was halted before he could return to the mound in the seventh. At the plate, there wasn't much doing for the Rocks hitters. Wilmington managed just four hits, with Adrian Ortiz, Jeff Bianchi, Clint Robinson, and Paulo Orlando each going 1-for-3. Mike Moustakas, who is hitting just .150 thus far this season, was absent from the Rocks' lineup. Wilmington (3-3) squares up with Kinston again on Wednesday for game three of the four-game set, with Danny Duffy likely on the hill looking to build upon his stellar Carolina League debut last Friday.


Corpus Christi 9, Northwest Arkansas 1

The Naturals headed to the diamond with the opportunity to pick up their first series sweep of the year, but their bats fell silent as the Nats' pitchers allowed nine runs. Daniel Cortes got the start, and he pitched reasonably well, striking out five batters in 3.2 innings. After allowing a home run in the third inning, Cortes fell victim to his own throwing error in the fourth with the bases loaded, which led to three unearned runs. Chris Nicoll relieved and picked up the final out, and then threw two more scoreless innings before handing the ball to Victor Marte. Both Marte and Kyle Crist got hit around in their innings of work, leading to five more runs for the Hooks. At the plate, the Naturals didn't get on the board until the seventh, plating their lone run on a two-out RBI single by Joe Dickerson. Centerfielder Jose Duarte had a nice offensive game atop the lineup, going 2-for-3 with a walk, and he's now batting .333 on the season. Brian McFall, who has been swinging a hot bat thus far, was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning and had to leave the game. The Nats (3-3) have Wednesday off, and they open their home schedule on Thursday with a three-game series against San Antonio.


Round Rock 2, Omaha 1

Omaha's four-game winning streak came to an end on Tuesday night, despite an outstanding start by Brian Bannister. Bannister, who was ripped for five runs in four innings last Thursday, shut out the Express for seven innings, allowing just three hits while striking out four. The O-Royals pushed across their lone run in the fifth, when Chris Lubanski singled and scored on a two-out double by Mitch Maier. Bannister handed off the one-run lead to Carlos Rosa, but Rosa allowed the tying run to score in the eighth, and the winning run crossed home with one out in the ninth. The loss was Rosa's first of the year. At the plate, Lubanski finished 1-for-3 with a walk, pushing his season-opening hitting streak to six games and his batting average to .435. Maier also finished 1-for-3 with two walks and an RBI, and he's now hitting .429.The O-Royals (4-2) send Luke Hochevar to the mound on Wednesday for game three of the four-game series with Round Rock. Hochevar picked up his first win of the season last Friday with a strong five-inning effort against Albuquerque.

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