TMLN: Opening Day Brings Excitement

It is Opening Day around Minor League Baseball, and with that, brings you our first installment of Twins Minor League Notebook. In this edition, Rochester battles back late to win their opener, New Britain is blanked on Opening Day, Fort Myers gets a lot of offense but loses, and Beloit is rained out.

Rochester Red Wings: The Red Wings kicked off their 2008 season in style, scoring six runs in the final two innings to come from behind and win their season opener. Led at the plate by Red Wings star Garrett Jones, Rochester was down 5-3 going into the eighth inning before plating four in the eighth and two in the ninth. Ricky Barrett (1-0) got the win in relief, tossing two innings of shutout ball.

Glen Perkins got the start for Rochester, but struggled with his command, allowing five walks in only three innings of work. The Wings used seven pitches in all, getting great outings from Casey Daigle (1.2 IP, 1 hit), Barrett, and closer Bobby Korecky (1.0 IP, K).

Jones had three hits in the game, driving in two, scoring three times, and smacking a double. Randy Ruiz had two hits in the game, while driving in two. The Wings got great production at the top of the lineup, with Denard Span and Alexi Casilla combining to go 4-10. They also combined to score three times.

New Britain Rock Cats: New Britain was in a pitcher's duel on Thursday, as they traded zeroes with Portland for most of the game before seeing Portland score three runs in the final two innings, en route to a 3-0 loss. Left-hander Ryan Mullins was stellar in his first start of the season, tossing five innings of scoreless baseball. He walked two, struck out three, and allowed only two hits. Armando Gabino took the loss in relief, giving up a run in his only inning of work.

Not many stars at the dish for the Cats on this night, as they could muster only five hits in the game. Matthew Moses, who has made the shift to the outfield in 2008, had a double in the game, which accounted for New Britain's only extra-base hit in the contest. Drew Butera was the hitting star, posting the only multi-hit effort of any Cat on this night. Trevor Plouffe and Felix Molina had the only other hits for New Britain.

Fort Myers Miracle: The Miracle jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a Wilson Ramos two-run blast in the first inning, but Sarasota battled back, as Fort Myers lost their opener 8-6. The main attraction of the night was starter Francisco Liriano, who continues to battle back from Tommy John surgery. Although he struck out eight in only 5.1 innings of work, Liriano took the loss, allowing four earned. It was mostly a start to work on his pitches, though he once again showed why he is regarded as one of the top young left-handers in Major League Baseball.

Reliever Cole Devries was lit up in his Florida State League debut, allowing four earned runs in only 1.1 innings of work. Jose Lugo and Danny Vais pitched very well the rest of the way, combining to allow only one hit in the final 2.1 innings of the game. As a team, the Miracle struck out ten.

The Miracle got plenty of offense in this one, with Ramos leading the way with three hits, including that first inning home run. The Miracle catcher drove in two runs and scored once. Former Elizabethton star Rene Tosoni had two hits in his Florida State League debut, though he struck out once and was caught stealing. Danny Valencia smacked his first home run of the season, and also scored twice.

For the game, Valencia drove in four, as he and Ramos accounted for all six RBI in the game.

Beloit Snappers:The Snappers season opener was postponed due to rain.

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