MiLB Recap Blog: French hiccups in return

Each morning, check in for the Minor League Recap Blog. Get all of the results from the games, the latest standings and the daily blog recapping the previous day's action.

May 23rd Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – GWINNETT 9, TOLEDO 3
17-25, 4th in West Division

AA Erie SeaWolves - AKRON 7, ERIE 6
24-17, 2nd in Southern Division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – POSTPONED; RAIN
17-19, 4th in North Division

A West Michigan Whitecaps - WEST MICHIGAN 7, KANE COUNTY 4
28-13, 1st in Eastern Division

2-3, t-4th in VSL

In a game that was completed after only five innings due to rain, Toledo again fell hard to Gwinnett. After taking a 3-0 lead in the third inning, Gwinnett scored two runs in the third, three in the fourth, and four in the fifth to secure the win. Luke French's return to Toledo didn't go so well, as he gave up eight earned runs in 4 2/3 innings; struggling with his control as he walked four. Ryan Roberson knocked his third home run of the year off of the rehabbing Tom Glavine, and Wilkin Ramirez ripped his second triple of the year, as the two players accounted for all of the runs driven in by Toledo.

After a pitcher's duel on Friday, Saturday's game in Akron brought a slightly more offensive twist. With a three-run first, Erie jumped out to a strong lead but couldn't hold on through all nine innings as Akron scored a run in both the eighth and ninth innings to win the game. Alex Avila smoked his third home run of the season in the sixth inning as part of a 3-for-4 night that also saw him collect a double and a single. Also going 3-for-4 was Joe Tucker, while Santo De Leon and Max Leon both collected two hits in the contest. Alfredo Figaro yielded five runs in just five innings of work for one of his poorer outings of the year. Zach Simons was solid in relief, tossing 2 2/3 innings of one-run ball with four strikeouts, while Cody Satterwhite battled his control in the ninth by walking two and eventually taking the loss.

It was a return home for young lefty Casey Crosby, and after striking out the side in the first, it was a bit down hill from there. Crosby finished by giving up three runs in 3 1/3 innings of work, walking five and striking out four. Victor Larez came on in relief and was nothing short of stellar; fanning five and walking none in 3 2/3 innings of one-hit ball. Jared Gayhart continued his outstanding relief work, and Tyler Stohr slammed the door in the ninth. Avisail Garcia picked up two hits, as did Gustavo Nunez, while Brent Wyatt collected three of his own to lead the offense that took the lead and ran away in the seventh inning and later.

It took four games for the VSL Tigers to collect their first win of the season, and they apparently liked it so much that they decided to try and do it again on Saturday. With a six run sixth inning, the Tigers ran away from the Mariners for their second win of the year. Ivan Espinoza led the way from the top of th eorder with three hits including a double and a triple, while Gabriel Purroy collected two doubles and drove in three runs to carry his share. Also doubling in the game and keeping his average at a smooth .400 was outfielder Alexander Moreno. Gino Aguirre gave up three runs in five innings and Leonel Vasquez tossed 1 1/3 scoreless to collect the win. Wilfredo Ramirez picked up his first save of the season by striking out four and allowing only two hits in 2 2/3 scoreless frames.

Posted by: Mark, 5/24

May 22nd Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – GWINNETT 7, TOLEDO 3
17-24, 4th in West Division

AA Erie SeaWolves - ERIE 1, AKRON 0
24-16, 2nd in Southern Division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – POSTPONED; RAIN
17-19, 4th in North Division

A West Michigan Whitecaps - WEST MICHIGAN 14, PEORIA 4
27-13, 1st in Eastern Division

Rookie VSL Tigers - VSL TIGERS 6, VSL METS 1
1-3, 7th in VSL

Donnie Kelly again collected two hits, and Will Rhymes showed signs of life at the plate with a 3-for-4 night, but Toledo came out on the wrong end of a 7-3 final line. Rhymes night included his fifth triple of the season and a run scored, but it wasn't enough. Returning to the minor leagues, Wilkin Ramirez was saddled with an 0-for-4 night, but he did walk once and steal his 15th base of the season. Ruddy Lugo's defense let him down, as Mike Hessman made three errors in the contest, and four of the five runs against Lugo were unearned. The loss dropped Lugo to 3-4 on the year, and dropped the Hens to seven games below .500 as we approach the end of May.

Folks, I think we can say Jon Kibler is starting to settle in at Double-A this season. After skipping Lakeland and heading straight to Erie, Kibler struggled mightily in his first few starts. That is a distant memory after Kibler tossed 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball with just two walks and six strikeouts. Brett Jensen came on to record his sixth save of the season by getting the final out of the game. A double by Andy Dirks and an RBI single from Shawn Roof was all the offense Erie would generate and need. Alex Avila also doubled in the contest, his tenth of the year.

A nine run seventh inning by the Whitecaps was just icing on the cake as they already had a 5-4 lead at that point. Billy Nowlin led the way with a perfect 4-for-4 night that included a double, two home runs and five RBI. Nowlin is now hitting .331 on the season and showing the power he was known for as a draft prospect. Right fielder Avisail Garcia also had a four hit night with a double and three RBI, while Jordan Lennerton collected three hits. Every player in the lineup collected at least one hit in the game and only Luis Palacios failed to score a run in the contest. Brandon Hamilton earned the win despite four runs yielded in just six innings, though he walked only one against five strikeouts. Tyler Conn and Anthony Shawler combined for four strikeouts in three perfect innings to end the game.

The tine finally came as the VSL Tigers picked up their first win of the young season, and it tooke the arm of a returning player coming off a fine 2008 season to do it. Josue Carreno made his case to move stateside last year, but his extreme youth kept him in Venezuela. On Friday, Josue tossed 3 1/3 innings of one-run ball with one walk and five strikeouts. He was backed up by rookies Jose Tablante and Yonny Mosquera who collected the win and the save, respectively. Alexander Moreno kept hitting with a double and an RBI, and Luis Cortez collected two hits including a double and an RBI himself.

Posted by: Mark, 5/23

May 21st Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – GWINNETT 7, TOLEDO 2
17-23, 4th in West Division

AA Erie SeaWolves - OFF DAY
23-16, 2nd in Southern Division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – GAME 1: LAKELAND 5, TAMPA 2 - GAME 2: LAKELAND 6, TAMPA 0
17-19, 4th in North Division

A West Michigan Whitecaps - PEORIA 4, WEST MICHIGAN 1
26-13, 1st in Eastern Division

0-3, 7th in VSL

A solo shot and two runs scored from center fielder Donnie Kelly was the only offense the Mud Hens could muster on Thursday. Outside of two hits form Kelly, singles from Jeff Frazier, Brent Dlugach, and Will Rhymes was the extent of the offense. Jeremy Bonderman made his second minor league rehab start, struggling a little along the way. In six innings of work (98 pitches) Bonderman gave up seven hits and five runs, while walking two and striking out four. Matt Rusch gave up two runs in just an inning of work, and Ron Chiavacci gave up three hits but no runs in his inning on the hill.

Lakeland was finally able to find time between the rain drops to get a double-header played against the Tampa Yankees. In the first game of the twin bill, Jeramy Laster jumped right back into the lineup with his first bomb of the year. Michael Bertram and Kody Kaiser each collected two hits, including a double for Kody. Both Kaiser and Justin Henry swiped two bases off of Yankee prospect Jesus Montero. Andrew Hess got the start in game one, working six innings of four-hit, two-run ball with only one walk and one strikeout. The win evened his record at 2-2 on the year. Scott Green worked a clean final inning for his fifth save of the season.

Matt Hoffman made his Lakeland debut in style with a complete game shutout in game two on Thursday. Through seven innings (shortened game), Hoffman yielded only six hit without walking a batter, and striking out four. Chris Carlson and Audy Ciriaco led the way at the plate, each picking up a double, while six different players scored in the game.

Mauricio Robles had his worse start in recent memory, giving up four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings of work on Thursday. Despite the runs given up, Robles only walked two and struck out eight in the contest. Erik Crichton and Tyler Stohr combined to work 2 2/3 scoreless innings but the offense couldn't mount a comeback. Luis Salas accounted for the only 'Caps run with a solo shot in the seventh, and Billy Nowlin doubled to provide the only other significant hit in the game. Despite going hitless on Thursday, Gustavo Nunez did snag his 17th base of the season.

The VSL Tigers remained winless on the season, as their early season struggles continue. This was to be expected with such a young team. Luis Cortez collected two hits, including a triple, while driving in all three runs for the Tigers. Juan Espinoza tossed three innings of one-run ball, though he walked three against just two strikeouts. Carlos Alvarez was touched up for five runs on two hits and two walks in just 1 1/3 innings, and Fernando Celis worked 3 2/3 innings of one-run ball to close out the game.

Posted by: Mark, 5/22

May 20th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – OFF DAY
17-22, 4th in West Division

AA Erie SeaWolves - HARRISBURG 11, ERIE 5
23-16, 2nd in Southern Division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – POSTPONED; RAIN
15-19, 4th in North Division

A West Michigan Whitecaps - WEST MICHIGAN 6, PEORIA 2
26-12, 1st in Eastern Division

0-2, 7th in VSL

Jonah Nickerson and Ramon Garcia had a rough night on the mound for Erie, yielding ten of the eleven runs Harrisburg would score on the night. Nickerson's night wasn't helped by numerous errors in the field, but giving up eight hits and four walks in just five innings isn't exactly the way to help yourself. Brett Jensen turned in a scoreless seventh inning, possibly the only bright spot for Erie on the pitching side of the ledger. Scott Sizemore homered yet again to lead the the offense, his eighth shot of the year. Alex Avila and Shawn Roof both went 2-for-4 on the night, with Avila picking up two RBI as well.

As a team, the Whitecaps pounded out 13 hits against Peoria on Wednesday, led by Bryan Pounds' three-hit night; a night that included his second home run of the season. Billy Nowlin, Jordan Lennerton, Gustavo Nunez, and Luis Salas all picked up two hits on the night, with Lennerton homering in the seventh. Brent Wyatt was 1-for-1 on the night, but was on base four times thanks to three walks. Luke Putkonen tossed 7 1/3 innings of five hit ball, giving up just two runs while striking out five. Jared Gayhart closed things out for his second save, fanning three in 1 2/3 perfect innings of work.

Posted by: Mark, 5/21

May 19th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – CHARLOTTE 2, TOLEDO 0
17-22, 4th in West Division

AA Erie SeaWolves - HARRISBURG 7, ERIE 4
23-15, 2nd in Southern Division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – CANCELLED; RAIN
15-19, 4th in North Division

A West Michigan Whitecaps - GREAT LAKES 3, WEST MICHIGAN24
25-12, 1st in Eastern Division

Rookie VSL Tigers - VSL Pirates 15, VSL Tigers 8
0-2, 7th in VSL

It may not have been Jose Contreras on the hill for Charlotte Tuesday night, but Toledo still couldn't push any runs across. Center fielder Donnie Kelly and left fielder Jeff Frazier each picked up two hits to lead the offense. Eddie Bonine was the tough luck loser as he continues to make his case for a return to Detroit. Bonine tossed a complete game, allowing two runs on seven hits with now walks and three strikeouts. The loss pushed Bonine's record to 0-1 since returning to the minor leagues.

Luis Marte was roughed up in six innings of work for Erie, giving up seven runs on seven hits with four walks an dseven strikeouts. He yielded three home runs in his six innings of work. Josh Kite helped him out with three scoreless innings allowing just one hit, but the offense couldn't come up with a late rally. Scott Sizemore continued to absolutely roll through Double-A, going 2-for-4 with his seventh home run of the season. Also leaving the yard was Ryan Strieby, his league leading eleventh bomb of the season. Santo De Leon had his second straight multi-hit day in a row, while Shawn Roof and Jeff Kunkel both had 2-for-4 performances.

After giving up an early lead the night before, West Michigan tried to win another why, but their ninth inning comeback came up a run short. Jordan Lennerton and Bryan Pounds both doubled in the game, with Pounds double driving home the teams two runs in the ninth. Gustavo Nunez and Brent Wyatt both singled at the top of the order as well. Mark Sorensen made his full-season debut for the 'Caps, tossing six innings of five hit ball, allowing two runs -- both unearned on a Luis Salas error -- while striking out three. Luis Sanz tossed three innings of relief behind Sorensen, giving up the eventual game winning run on a run and walk with two strikeouts.

It was a another rough day in Venezuela, as the VSL Tigers pitching staff yielded four home runs in the final three innings to let the game slip away. Rookies Endrys Briceno and Angel Nesbitt, along with veteran Juan Lozano were all touched up late in the game, with none of them allowing less than three runs. Leonel Vasquez and Miguel Morandi did manage to combine for an early 1 2/3 scoreless innings. At the plate, Alexander Moreno was the man on Tuesday, ripping off a 4-for-5 night with a double and a run scored. Jesus Alvarado and Dixon Machado both picked up two hits, with Alvarado tripling and driving in four. Eugenio Suarez was only 1-for-3, but he did walk two times and scored three runs in the contest.

Posted by: Mark, 5/20

May 18th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – CHARLOTTE 4, TOLEDO 0
17-21, 4th in West Division

AA Erie SeaWolves - ERIE 4, HARRISBURG 3
23-14, 2nd in Southern Division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – POSTPONED; RAIN
15-19, 4th in North Division

A West Michigan Whitecaps - GREAT LAKES 6, WEST MICHIGAN 4
25-11, 1st in Eastern Division

Rookie VSL Tigers - VSL Rays 6, VSL Tigers 5
0-1, t-5th in VSL

With Jose Contreras back in the minors for the White Sox, it was almost like Toledo didn't have a chance on Monday. Contreras looked like a pitcher intent on getting back to the big leagues, firing a complete game one hitter with three walks and five strikeouts; needing only 100 pitches in the process. The lone Hens' hit came off the bat of Danny Worth, a double in the eighth innings to break up the no-hit bid. Brooks Brown made his Triple-A debut for Toledo, firing seven innings of five-hit ball with two runs and two walks while striking out four. He was the tough luck loser in the game, though he continued to make a strong impression on the hill.

Free from the shackles of the dominating Bowie pitching staff, Erie finall got some runs on the board and a win in their pocket on Monday. Brennan Boesch and Cale Iorg led the way at the plate, with both players picking up three hits including a home run for Boesch and a double for Iorg. Santo DeLeon also collected three hits, all singles, and Shawn Roof managed two singles of his own playing third base. Duane Below's Double-A debut was erratic, but not a bad performance overall. He tossed five innings allowing only two earned runs and striking out four, though he did walk five in the contest. Zach Simons was huge in relief, working three innings of hitless ball with three strikeouts, holding the fort down for Cody Satterwhite to come in and slam the door with two more hitless innings to earn his first win of the year.

An early four run lead for the 'Caps wasn't enough, as the bullpen lelt the game slip away. Casey Crosby was nothing short of sensational with six innings of one hit domination, allowing one hit, one run, and one walk while striking out seven. Anthony Shawler came on and had a horrific outing, giving up four hits in 2/3 of an inning, yielding four runs in the process and taking the loss. The top three in the order all collected two hits for the 'Caps, with Ronnie Bourquin continuing his tear with a double, two RBI, and two walks. Brent Wyatt and Brandon Douglas were the other two with two hits each. Bryan Pounds, Avisail Garcia, Luis Salas, and Luis Palacios each collected on hit each.

In the season opener for the young VSL Tigers, a 5-2 lead after eight innings wasn't enough as the game got away behind a tough night from the newly signed Wilfredo Ramirez and rookie Yonny Mosquera. Mosquera allowed three runs in 2/3 of an inning to blow the save in the ninth, and Ramirez allowed one run in the top of the eleventh to take the loss. Gino Aguirre turned in a solid opening start with 3 2/3 innings of two-run ball, followed by 3 1/3 innings of one-hit, no run ball from Fernando Celis. At the plate, returning utility man Oscar Gomez picked up three singles while scoring two runs. He was followed by two hits each from Eugenio Suarez, Alexander Moreno, and Gabriel Purroy; with one of Moreno's knocks a solo shot in the second inning off of right-hander Daniel Sanchez.

Posted by: Mark, 5/19

May 17th Games

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – CHARLOTTE 5, TOLEDO 2
17-20, 4th in West Division

AA Erie SeaWolves - BOWIE 3, ERIE 1
22-14, 2nd in Southern Division

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – CLEARWATER 9, LAKELAND 8
15-19, 4th in North Division

A West Michigan Whitecaps - WEST MICHIGAN 5, GREAT LAKES 4
25-10, 1st in Eastern Division

The Toledo offense centered almost entirely around Wilkin Ramirez on Sunday, and while he was good, he couldn't lift the team to victory. Ramirez collected three hits including a solo home run in the fifth inning. The perfect night at the plate raised his season average to a robust .325 and further signals that he may be taking to Triple-A quickly. Starter Chris Lambert gave up all five of Charlotte's runs, working six innings with three walks and eight strikeouts. Left-handers Clay Rapada and Fu-Te Ni both tossed scoreless innings to close it out.

For the second straight day, the Bowie pitching staff shut down the Erie offense, allowing just one run total in the last 18 innings. Scott Sizemore doesn't seem to care who is on the mound, as he continues to rake, including his ninth and tenth doubles of the season. Cale Iorg also collected two hits, a single and a double, along with two walks as he continues to come alive at the plate. Alfredo Figaro took the loss, falling to 2-1 on the season. He worked seven innings allowing three runs (two earned) and striking out five, though he walked four.

After falling behind 5-0 after two innings, things looked bleak for the LFT, but they showed tons of heart with an enormous comeback late in the game. Lakeland scored six runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to take the lead, but couldn't hold on in the end. Six Lakeland players picked up at least two hits, including two doubles from Mike Gosse, and a single and double each from Michael Bertram, Jordan Newton, and Roger Tomas. Justin Henry had three hits in five at-bats, including his first triple of the season. Kody Kaiser popped his fourth home run of the season in the seventh to join the hit parade. Despite being touched up for five runs in the second inning, Lauren Gagnier hung in there to work six innings with nine strikeouts to keep his team in the game. Rob Waite gave up one run in 1 1/3 innings, while Lester Oliveros blew the first save opportunity of the game by giving up two runs in an inning of work. In the end, Chad Linder lost the game with two hits and one run allowed in just 2/3 of an inning.

Brandon Hamilton continued his jekyl and hyde performance this season, by tossing six innings of excellent ball for the 'Caps on Sunday. Hamilton allowed just two runs and two walks while striking out six, but he didn't figure in the decision. Jared Gayhart earned the win with two innings of one-run ball and three strikeouts, and Tyler Stohr notched his seventh save of the season despite allowing an unearned run in the ninth. Five Whitecaps picked up doubles in the contest including Jordan Lennerton, Luis Palacios, Brenth Wyatt, Ronnie Bourquin, and Bryan Pounds. Right fielder Avisail Garcia picked up a single in his second game with West Michigan.

Posted by: Mark, 5/18

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