TMLN: Slowey Dominant For Red Wings

In this edition of Twins Minor League Notebook, the Red Wings split a doubleheader with Pawtucket, the Rock Cats ride an early lead en-route to a 5-4 win, the Miracle drop a heart breaker in the ninth inning, and the Snappers come from behind to win against Wisconsin. All that and more:

Rochester Red Wings: The Red Wings split a doubleheader with the Pawtucket Red Sox on Thursday, winning the first game, before dropping the night cap. Kevin Slowey got the start in Game one for the Wings, and the young right-hander was stellar, tossing 5.2 innings of shutout ball. Slowey struck out nine in the Wings 3-0 victory, extending his scoreless streak to 11.2 innings in 2007, while walking none. He has won his first two starts this season, and has yet to walk a batter. Mike Venafro picked up his first save of the season, tossing 1.1 innings of one-hit ball. Venafro has really come on as of late, shaking off a rough start to the season, and he now looks like the pitcher the Twins saw in Spring Training.

In a 3-0 contest, there usually is not much offense, but the Wings got another big day from infielder Matt Tolbert. Tolbert went 2-3 in the contest, smacking his first Triple-A home run, as he drove in his third run of the season. Denard Span had a run, and an RBI, going 1-4 on the day. Douglas Deeds was the only other Red Wings player with a multi-hit game, picking up two hits in four at-bats, and Matthew Moses had his first stolen base of the season.

In the nightcap, Top Prospect Matt Garza took the hill for the Red Wings, and he battled all game long, as the Wings were shutout 4-0. Garza pitched fairly well, tossing 5.0 innings of two-run ball, but he had to work out of some tough jams. Overall, Garza struck out five, allowed a home run, and walked two. He is 0-1 on the young season. Carmen Cali got the ball in relief, allowing an earned run without recording an out, before handing the ball off to Julio DePaula to finish off the game. DePaula worked a scoreless inning, though he has still yet to strike out a batter in four appearances this season.

The Red Wings could only muster four hits in game two, as Matt LeCroy, Chris Heintz, Matthew Moses, and Trent Oeltjen each recorded a knock. Oeltjen was busy on the basepaths in this game, picking up his first steal of the season, while also getting caught stealing for the second time this season. Douglas Deeds followed a multi-hit effort with a rough night at the plate, going 0-3, while striking out two times. Second baseman Matt Tolbert also struck out twice in the game.

New Britain Rock Cats: The New Britain Rock Cats got out to an early lead on Thursday and never looked back, as they won a nail-biter 5-4 against the Connecticut Defenders. Brian Duensing, making his second start of the season, was very effective, tossing 5.2 innings of two-run ball, en-route to picking up his first win of the season. The lefty struck out four along the way, walking one, while allowing five hits. Brad Baker, who has been used in all kinds of roles this season, was touched up for two earned runs in only 1.2 innings of work. Baker has been very solid for the Cats this season, posting a 2.16 earned run average in three appearances. Jose Mijares picked up his second save of the season, running his scoreless innings streak to 4.1 frames. He has appeared in four games this season, striking out five.

Seven of the nine starters for the Rock Cats picked up hits in this game, led by designated hitter Brian Buscher. Buscher smacked two doubles on the night, driving in two runs, and scored once. The ribbies were the first of the year for Buscher, who was making his second start at DH. Shortstop Trevor Plouffe continues to have a good season for the Cats, joining Buscher with two hits on the night, and he also stole his first base of the season. The young shortstop is now batting .320 in the early going, and leads the team with seven runs scored. Brock Peterson blasted his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth inning. Peterson has struggled early on, but he is a proven hitter, and should turn it around. Third baseman David Winfree doubled in the game, and is batting a respectable .296 on the season.

Fort Myers Miracle: Different day, another heart breaking loss for the Miracle, who allowed Tampa to score twice in the bottom of the ninth, en-route to a 4-3 loss. Alexander Smit pitched much better than he had in his previous two starts for the Miracle, tossing 5.0 innings of six-hit ball. Smit allowed only two earned runs, and finally displayed his strikeout potential, fanning seven Tampa Yankees. Smit was opposed in the game by New York Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang. Kyle Aselton was stellar in relief for the Miracle, as he pitched scoreless baseball in his two innings of work. He struck out one, allowing one hit, and walked one. Angel Garcia, who had pretty much been untouchable through his first four appearances for the Miracle, picked up the loss, as he allowed two earned runs in the final 1.2 innings of the game. The runs were the first allowed by Garcia this season.

Once again, Whitney Robbins proved to have the hot bat in the game, recording the only multi-hit effort for the Miracle on Thursday. Robbins drove in his team-leading tenth run of the season, and raised his batting average to .333. Fellow slugger Erik Lis drove in two runs in the contest, upping his season total to nine, and also doubled off Wang. Steven Tolleson picked up his team-leading third stolen base in the contest, while scoring his eighth run in 13 games. He has really been a table-setter from the leadoff spot this season.

Beloit Snappers: The Snappers evened their record at 5-5 on Thursday, scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth to cap off a 3-2 victory over visiting Wisconsin. Jeffrey Manship, who has really become a top prospect this season, was stellar once again, tossing seven solid innings for the Snappers. Manship struck out seven without allowing a walk, giving up two earned runs along the way. For the season, Manship has yet to record a decision, but he has a 1.42 earned run average through his first 19.0 innings. He has also struck out 23 batters without issuing a walk. Danny Hernandez, who led the Appalachian League in saves in 2006, came on to close out the game, picking up his first victory in the process. He pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, extending his scoreless innings streak to 5.1 frames, and struck out two. Batters are hitting only .167 against Hernandez this season.

Offensively, the Snappers were led by Johnny Woodard, who had the only multi-hit game for the Snappers on Thursday. Woodard drove in a run also, while swiping his first base of the season. Chris Parmelee went 1-1 in the game, before being lifted for a pinch-runner in the second inning. William Luque smacked his second double of the season, and Garrett Olson, Danny Santiesteban, and Joe Benson all scored runs in the game.

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