Dickerson gives Naturals a walk-off win

The Royals had a good night in the minors, with three of their four affiliates winning their games. Joe Dickerson gave the Naturals a walk-off win, while Sam Runion pitched the Bees to their second win of the season. Inside, RC recaps all the day's minor league action

Low-A: Burlington Bees

Burlington 9, Beloit 2

The Bees on Thursday exploded for a season-high nine runs as they picked up their second victory of the season. Sam Runion rebounded nicely from his previous start on Friday, in which he surrendered six earned runs in four innings. On Thursday, Runion tossed five strong innings while earning his first victory of the year, surrendering just two runs on five hits and a walk. Justin Garcia and Barry Bowden pitched in relief, combining for four shutout innings to close out the win.

Offensively, leadoff hitter Patrick Norris set the table, going 3-for-3 with two walks, and Kyle Martin chipped in two doubles and an RBI in a 3-for-4 effort. The Bees knocked out 17 hits, with only Wilson Tucker (0-for-2) and Eric Hosmer (0-for-5) missing out on the fun. Both Nick Francis and Jose Bonilla went 3-for-5 with an RBI, and Bonilla is now hitting .267 after a slow start. Not to be outdone, catcher Salvador Perez was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

The Bees (2-5) continue their series with Beloit on Friday, with Luis Cota likely on the mound. Cota last pitched on Saturday, picking up his first loss of the year despite a stellar outing in with he surrendered just one run on three hits while striking out eight batters.

High-A: Wilmington Blue Rocks

Wilmington 7, Kinston 2

Trailing 2-1 in the top of the seventh inning, third baseman Mike Moustakas stroked a one out, two-run double that gave the Blue Rocks a lead they would not relinquish. The Rocks added four runs in the ninth, taking a five-run lead on three singles, a pair of doubles, and an untimely throwing error.

Ray Liotta got the victory after pitching 3.1 scoreless innings in relief of starter Eduardo Paulino, who surrendered two runs in his 3.2 innings of work. Brandon Sisk locked down his second save of the season with two scoreless innings, in which he surrendered just one hit.

At the plate, Moustakas paced the offense with a 3-for-5, two RBI effort, an encouraging development after Moose's slow start. Johnny Giavotella, Jeff Bianchi, Paulo Orlando, and Matt Morizio all added two hits apiece to the Rocks' attack, while first baseman Clint Robinson knocked in two runs in a 1-for-4 effort. The Rocks (5-3) now return to Wilmington, where they open their home schedule on Friday against the Lynchburg Hillcats, with Jason Godin and Mario Santiago scheduled to pitch in the opener.

Double-A: NW Arkansas Naturals

Northwest Arkansas 5, San Antonio 4

Outfielder Joe Dickerson's ninth inning walk-off RBI single saved the night for the Naturals, who were opening their home ballpark against the San Antonio Missions on Thursday evening. Knotted in a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the ninth, Jose Duarte led off the inning with a sharp single to left, and after stealing second base, he advanced to third on a wild pitch. Dickerson then squeezed a ground ball to left through the hole, scoring Duarte and giving the Naturals their fourth win of the season.

Anthony Lerew started for the Nats, and he pitched very well, surrendering just two runs (none earned) on four hits and two walks in five innings pitched. He handed off a two-run lead to Gilbert De La Vara, who gave up the lead in the sixth inning, thanks in part to an error by Mario Lisson. Greg Holland and Chris Hayes preserved the tie, combining for three scoreless innings, and Hayes picked up his first victory of the season when Dickerson knocked in the winning run in the ninth.

At the plate, Duarte paced the offense by scoring two runs while going 2-for-4, while Brian McFall knocked in a pair in a 1-for-4 effort. Every player in the Naturals' lineup had at least one hit, even though Duarte was the only Natural with two hits. The Nats (4-3) and Missions square up again on Friday, with Blake Johnson on the hill for NW Arkansas. Johnson last pitched on Saturday, surrendering three runs in four innings in a no decision at San Antonio.

Triple-A: Omaha Royals

Round Rock 6, Omaha 5

In a change of pace, the O-Royals were the system's only loser on Thursday, falling to the Round Rock Express, 6-5. Starting pitcher Heath Phillips, who tossed six shutout innings for the O-Royals on Saturday, gave up five earned runs in four innings while picking up his first loss of the season.

Down by two in the ninth, Omaha mounted a small rally. Cory Aldridge led off with a double, and after J.R. House advanced him to third on a ground out, Kila Kaaihue knocked him in with a sacrifice fly to right. Unfortunately, Travis Metcalf followed by striking out to end the game.

Offensively, the O-Royals banged out 10 more hits, but it wasn't enough. Kaaihue was 1-for-4 with two RBIs, while Chris Lubanski went 1-for-3. Lubanski is hitting .406, and he has now hit safely in all eight of Omaha's games this season. The O-Royals (5-3) now head to Omaha, where they open their home schedule on Friday against Albuquerque. Omaha took three-of-four games against the Isotopes to open the season, and they'll look to continue that trend with Brandon Duckworth on the mound on Friday.

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