July 6, 2015

Washington Nationals Series Preview: Atlanta Braves

As terrible as June has seemed at times for the Nationals, they might be sorry to see it go.

After starting the month 6-11, the Nationals have found their stride this month, finishing up 8-1 to enter their last game of the month – and the first game of a 3-game set with the Braves – at 14-12 overall in June.

The Nationals (42-34) head to Atlanta 6 games ahead of the Braves (36-40), and two and a half games in front of the second-place Mets. The Mets open up a series with the Cubs in New York.

*The Last Time…

If the Nationals didn’t turn their season around on April 28th, when they came from behind to beat the Braves 13-12, they at least set a tone for their play against Atlanta this season. After losing to the Braves in the teams’ first matchup this year, the Nationals have now won 8 straight against Atlanta, including last week’s three-game sweep in Washington.

*In The Other Dugout

As hot as the Nationals have been lately, the Braves have been cold. The Braves have lost five of six to drop four games below the .500 mark and face Washington with Freddie Freeman still on the disabled list. The Braves do get to give the Nationals their best shot – Shelby Miller, Tuesday’s starter for Atlanta, went seven strong innings against the Nationals last week. Matt Wisler will pitch the second game in his third major league start, and Manny Banuelos will make his major league debut in the series finale.

*Matchup To Watch

Nick Markakis will be one to watch this week – against Jordan Zimmermann, Markakis is 7 for 21 with a homer, he’s 9 for 29 with a homer and 8 RBI against Doug Fister, and 5 for 16 (.313) against Max Scherzer. Overall against the Nationals this year Markakis is hitting .351 in 37 at-bats…but he hasn’t driven in a run.

On the Nationals side, Anthony Rendon is 4 for 11 against Shelby Miller, and when the Nationals faced Matt Wisler last week every starter had a hit against him, including an Ian Desmond home run.

*Probables
Tuesday, 7:10pm: Jordan Zimmermann (5-5, 3.42 ERA) vs. Shelby Miller (5-3, 1.94 ERA)

Wednesday, 7:10pm: Doug Fister (3-3, 4.15 ERA) vs. Matt Wisler (1-1, 3.75 ERA)

Thursday, 7:10pm: Max Scherzer (9-5, 1.79 ERA) vs. Manny Banuelos (Major League Debut)

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 28

Compiled from team press releases: 

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped the finale of a three-game series to the Indianapolis Indians, 5-1, Sunday afternoon at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis. The Indians scored runs in the fifth, sixth and three in the seventh to overcome a 1-0 deficit and sweep the three-game series.

Syracuse (26-51) grabbed a first-inning lead. Jason Martinson hit his team-leading 10th home run of the season off Indians starter Clayton Richard. It was the first home run hit by a Chief in nine games, breaking a streak of 77 innings without a long ball.

Indianapolis (46-31) tied the game in the fifth. Tony Sanchez doubled off Taylor Hill to start the inning, followed by an infield single from Keon Broxton and bunt single by Pedro Florimon. Two batters later, Jaff Decker drove in his first of two runs on a sacrifice fly, scoring Sanchez to tie the game at one.

The Indians took the lead for good in the sixth. Brent Morel doubled off Eric Fornataro to start the inning. He moved to third on a groundout, and scored on a wild pitch to give Indianapolis a 2-1 lead.

The Indians broke the game open in the seventh. Florimon started the inning with an infield single, then stole both second and third base. After a walk, Decker singled in Florimon to make the score 3-1. Rafael Martin came out of the bullpen in relief of Fornataro and struck out the first two batters he faced. With two outs, Morel doubled again, this time plating two runs and extending the lead to 5-1. Of the 18 runs Indianapolis scored in the series, 14 came with two outs.

Syracuse hits the road to open a three-game series Monday night in Louisville. A.J. Cole is slated to start for the Chiefs opposite Keyvius Sampson for the Bats. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The Harrisburg Senators swept a doubleheader from the Altoona Curve on Sunday winning game one 3-2 and game two 4-3. The Senators rallied from deficits in both games to earn a pair of one-run wins. With their win in game two they equal their season high five-game winning streak.

In game one, Shawn Pleffner homered to give the Sens a 1-0 lead. It was his first home run on the season. Trailing 2-1 into the bottom of the sixth inning, Brian Goodwin doubled in Cutter Dykstra with the tying run and Matt Skole followed with a double to drive in Goodwin with the go ahead run. Sammy Solis retired the side in order in the seventh to earn his second save. Sam Runion pitched one inning for the win. Colin Bates started and pitched five innings allowing a run on three hits.

Altoona scored three in the third inning of game two to take a 3-0 lead. The Senators, though, rallied again this time with three runs in the fourth. Jose Lozada drove in a run with a fielder’s choice and Chris Bostick doubled in two runs to tie the game. The game stayed tied into the bottom of the sixth inning when with two outs the Senators had three straight hits capped by a run scoring single off the bat of Isaac Ballou, scoring Lozada, to give the Senators a 4-3 lead. Abel De Los Santos pitched the final two innings allowing just a hit while earning the win. Bryan Harper pitched a scoreless inning in relief of James Simmons. Bostick had two hits in game two.

The Senators and Altoona Curve wrap up their three-game series on Monday night at Metro Bank Park. Game time Monday is at 7:00 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Potomac (34-39-Overall, 19-17-Home, 1-2-Second Half) broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth against the Carolina Mudcats (37-36-Overall, 14-20-Road, 3-1-Second Half), scoring two runs and holding on for the 3-1 win in the series opener at The Pfitz on Sunday night.

RHP Phillips Valdez (2-2, 5.34) made his sixth start of the season and second consecutive against the Carolina Mudcats. Valdez had his best outing in a P-Nats uniform tying a Potomac season high with six solids innings and allowing one run (earned) on four hits, he did not allow a walk and tied a season high with six strikeouts in the win.

Valdez had four strikeouts through the first three innings of the ballgame that went scoreless through the first three innings.

LF Dustin Peterson led-off the fourth with a two-bagger and after 1B Jacob Schrader was hit by a pitch, 3B Carlos Franco hit into a double play that moved Peterson to third base with two outs. Valdez then delivered a wild pitch that allowed Peterson to scamper home for Carolina’s only run of the game and a 1-0 lead.

RHP Seth Webster (3-4, 2.96) made his seventh start of the season and third against Potomac in 2015. Webster held Potomac scoreless through four innings on three hits, including inducing two double play balls to end rallies but ultimately took the loss for his seven innings of work allowing three runs (all earned) on 10 hits and a strikeout, issuing no walks.

In the bottom of the fifth with two outs RF Brandon Miller singled to get aboard. 2B Adrian Sanchez, who is now on a five-game hitting streak, then doubled and Miller got the wheel from third base. The left fielder Peterson threw into Franco allowing Miller to score the tying run. On the play Sanchez got hung up in the base paths and was tagged out by Franco to end the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth Potomac took the lead for good with one out when 1B Jimmy Yezzo doubled and moved to third on CF Narciso Mesa’s single, Mesa then swiped second and SS Stephen Perez on a 3-2 pitch lofted a ball into centerfield that got Yezzo home form third for a 2-1 P-Nats lead. The next batter, 1B John Wooten doubled home Mesa for the insurance run and a 3-1 lead.

RHP Wander Suero entered the game in the seventh and pitched two scoreless frames, giving up one hit and adding two strikeouts.

RHP Justin Jackson pitched the eighth for Carolina allowing a hit and a walk but stranding both P-Nats on the base paths heading to the ninth.

LHP Nick Lee (SV 9) came in for the ninth and faced five men, allowing a hit and a walk but inking his ninth save of the season stranding two on the base paths and securing the 3-1 win.

Potomac will now attempt to win the series tonight against Carolina in Game Two at the Pfitz and improves to 9-3 against Carolina on the season.

Tonight sets RHP John Simms (3-5, 3.79) for Potomac against RHP Max Povse (0-0, 0.00), who’s making his first Carolina League start.

First pitch is set for 7:05 pm

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Grant DeBruin’s RBI triple to right gave Hagerstown the lead in the top of the 12th inning, and the Suns rallied from an 8-3 deficit to stun the Delmarva Shorebirds 11-8 on Sunday night.

With the Suns (36-35, 1-2) on the verge of their third straight loss to start the second half, Matt Reistetter hit a dramatic three-run homer — his first of the year — with two outs in the top of the ninth off Garrett Cortright for an 8-8 tie.  Down to their last out in the ninth, Alec Keller hit an infield single and Osvaldo Abreu reached on third baseman Cameron Kneeland’s fielding error to set up Reistetter.  D.K. Carey led off the 12th with a single and stole second before DeBruin’s three-bagger. Nigel Nootbaar (1-1) uncorked a wild pitch to allow DeBruin to score for a 10-8 lead, and David Masters drove in another run with a single.

Delmarva (35-36, 2-1) scored two in the second, one in the third and two in the fourth to build a 5-1 lead and chase Hagerstown starter Luis Reyes. A three-run fifth gave the Shorebirds an 8-3 advantage. The Suns scored twice in the sixth to get within three.

DeBruin, Keller and Jeff Gardner each had three hits for the Suns, while Masters had two hits and two RBIs.   Jake Walsh (1-0) earned the win, getting out of jams in the ninth and 10th.

Hagerstown and Delmarva will take part in a doubleheader with game one beginning at 4:30 p.m. with game two following shortly after.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 27

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped the second game of a three-game series to the Indianapolis Indians, 4-0, Saturday night at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis. The Indians homered twice on the way to a second straight win to start the series.

Indianapolis (45-31) scored its first three runs on home runs. In the first inning, Jaff Decker doubled against Chiefs spot starter Paolo Espino with two outs. Brent Morel followed with a two-run home run, his third straight game with a home run, to give the Indians a 2-0 lead. Three innings later, John Bowker homered deep to right field, again with two outs, to give Indianapolis a 3-0 edge. In the first two games of the series, 10 of Indianapolis’ first 12 runs came with two outs.

Syracuse (26-50) surrendered a fourth run in the sixth. Espino walked Decker with one out to start the inning. After a Morel single, Steve Lombardozzi singed up the middle, scoring Decker to give the Indians a 4-0 lead.

Syracuse and Indianapolis return to Victory Field for the finale of the three-game series Sunday afternoon. Taylor Hill is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Clayton Richard for the Indians. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Saturday night’s game between the Altoona Curve and the Harrisburg Senators has been postponed due to rain. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday, June 27 beginning at 5:00 p.m. The doubleheader will consist of two seven-inning games with a break of approximately 30 minutes between games.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (33-39 Overall, 15-22 Road, 0-2 2nd Half) and Wilmington Blue Rocks (40-32 Overall, 26-11 Home, 2-0 2nd Half) were washed away of an opportunity to play their series finale of a three-gamer on Saturday at Frawley Stadium due to severe weather that begin around 12:00pm.

Constant rainfall and the projected threat of continued severe thunderstorms later this evening forced the postponement of set Game Three after Wilmington captured a series triumph with two wins over Potomac yesterday to usher in the second half of the 2015 Carolina League campaign.  A makeup date for this June 27th clash is to be determined.

Tonight at Pfitzner Stadium, the Red, White, and Blue open up a three-game homestand against the invading Carolina Mudcats (Atlanta Braves) with first pitch for the series opener slated for 6:05pm with gates opening at 5:00pm.

Nationals RHP Phillips Valdez (1-2, 6.35) will gun against Carolina RHP Seth Webster (3-3, 2.79) in Game One on Sunday.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Last night’s game got postponed due to rain.  Hagerstown and Delmarva’s series resumes today at 5:05 p.m at Delmarva.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 26

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Indianapolis Indians, 9-1, Friday night at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis. The Indians put together six runs on five straight first-inning singles to take a 6-0 lead after one.

Indianapolis (44-31) started its first inning with a Jaff Decker walk off Scott McGregor. After a sacrifice bunt and pop out, McGregor walked Brent Morel to put runners on the corners. The Indians then started their singles attack, with Steve Lombardozzi, John Bowker, Wilkin Castillo and Gorkys Hernandez each singling in a run to make the score 4-0. Indians starter Radhames Liz then helped his own cause with a two-run single to increase the first-inning lead to six. P.J. Walter then came in to relieve McGregor and after another single, got Gustavo Nunez to ground out to end the inning.

The Indians scored a seventh run in the second. Brent Morel homered off Walters to extend the lead to 7-0.

Syracuse (26-49) got on the board in the sixth. Trea Turner reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on an throwing error by Lombardozzi trying to turn a double play from second base. He scored two batters later on a single by Kevin Keyes to make the score 7-1.

The Indians finished off the scoring in the seventh. Lombardozzi singled with one out, followed by a two-out hit by pitch and walk loading the bases. Pinch hitter Kelson Brown doubled home two more runs to finish the scoring at 9-1. Eight of Indianapolis’ nine runs were scored with two outs.

The Chiefs and Indians return to Victory Field Saturday for game two of the three-game set. Taylor Jordan is scheduled to start for Syracuse opposite Wilfredo Boscan for Indianapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The Harrisburg Senators won their third consecutive game by beating the Binghamton Mets, 7-3, Friday night at NYSEG Stadium. With the win, Harrisburg (33-41) secured its first winning road trip of the season.

For the third time in the series, Harrisburg scored multiple runs in the first inning as the Senators loaded the bases with one out. Drew Vettleson followed with a sacrifice fly, and Pedro Severino drove in a run with a two-out base hit. The Senators added a run in the second inning when Derrick Robinson singled home Jose Lozada to make it 3-0, Senators. However, the B-Mets responded with one in the second and two in the third to tie the game at 3-3. The score remained that way until the eighth inning, when Harrisburg loaded the bases with nobody out on a walk and two bunt base hits. Lozada continued his outstanding night with a go-ahead, two-run double to right-center field. Later in the inning, Robinson beat out a double play attempt by the Mets, and the heads up baserunning of Chris Bostick and Lozada allowed two runs to score on the play, and open the Senators’ lead to four.

The three RBI for Robinson tied a season-high, while Lozada notched his first three-hit game with the Senators this season. Bostick extended his hit streak to five games with a 2-for-4 night that included his second triple with Harrisburg. Severino also had two hits, and now has a hit in 14 of his last 17 games.

Another night, another quality start for the Senators as Austin Voth allowed three runs in six innings of work. He allowed a solo homer and a two-run homer, but struck out seven in his outing. Abel De Los Santos picked up the win – his second – as he pitched a scoreless seventh before Harrisburg’s four-run eighth inning. Paul Demny pitched a scoreless eighth, working around a pair of walks and striking out two. Erik Davis allowed a single, but breezed otherwise in a scoreless ninth inning.

The Senators returned home but tonight’s game will be postponed due to inclement weather.  It will be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow beginning at 5 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Nationals (33-39-Overall, 0-2-Second Half, 15-22-Road) were downed by the Wilmington Blue Rocks (40-32-Overall, 2-0-Second Half, 22-15-Home) in both ends of their suspended game double header at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium 6-4 in the resumed game and 5-1 in the nightcap on Friday night.

RHP Yender Caramo made the start for the Blue Rocks against RHP Lucas Giolito for the Nationals in the game that was ultimately suspended.

The game was scoreless when suspended heading to the bottom of the third but for Caramo he was perfect through his three innings of work, retiring all nine P-Nats that came to the plate with six of the nine going down on ground balls.

Giolito committed an error in the bottom of the first that put runners on second and third for Wilmington with nobody out. The righty then dispatched 3B Mauricio Ramos on a ground out before striking out both DH Cody Stubbs and 1B Frank Schwindel to dance out of the jam. In the bottom of the second, his final inning of work, Giolito once again pitched through a miscue. With one out RF Dex Kjerstad reached on an error charged to 1B John Wooten. Then with LF Logan Moon at the plate Kjerstad broke for second base on a steal attempt. The ball snuck past C Craig Manuel and went to the backstop. Kjerstad seemed to think it was a foul ball and headed back to first base as Manuel fired to Wooten who then relayed to SS Stephen Perez, who applied the tag to a sliding Kjerstad at second base. Moon then popped out to end the inning before the rain became too much.

Giolito went two scoreless innings without allowing a hit and pitching through the two miscues while issuing one walk and striking out two.

When play resumed at 5:03 pm from Wilmington on Friday evening RHP Tyler Mapes (1-1, 2.84) took the mound, lasting four innings and giving up four runs (all earned) on seven hits with no walks and he set a new season high with five strikeouts in his outing but unfortunately took the loss in the ball game.

Mapes continued the scoreless streak for the P-Nats in his first 2.1 innings on the mound but it came to an end after 25.0 innings going back to Friday June 19th against Carolina and set a new season standard.

The rally for Wilmington against Mapes began in the bottom of the fifth when Kjerstad began the frame with a single. Two batters later CF Dominique Taylor singled moving Kjerstad to second base. 2B Carlos Garcia, who had a fantastic evening began it with a two-run triple scoring both Kjerstad and Taylor and giving Wilmington a 2-0 lead. SS Jack Lopez was hit by a pitch and then back-to-back to singles ensued from 3B Mauricio Ramos and DH Cody Stubbs for a 4-0 Blue Rocks advantage.

LHP Justin Thomas came out of the bullpen for Potomac and gave up two runs in the eighth inning. With one out 1B Frank Schwindel doubled and scored on C Cam Gallagher’s RBI single for a 5-0 lead. Gallagher moved to second on Kjerstad’s single and then to third on Moon’s fielder’s choice ball before coming home to score on Garcia’s RBI single. Garcia had three hits on the evening including the three-bagger and knocked in four across both games. The single gave Wilmington a 6-0 lead.

RHP Ashton Goudeau began the resumed portion of the ballgame and was great out of the bullpen, pitching five scoreless innings allowing six hits, no walks and he added two strikeouts. He gave way to RHP Robinson Yambati in the ninth and Potomac beat him up.

With one out Yambati drilled Wooten and then two batters later with two outs he walked DH Brandon Miller. 2B Adrian Sanchez followed with a single that brought home Wooten to break up the shutout and make it 6-1 Blue Rocks. C Craig Manuel was then hit by a pitch, the second of the inning to load the bases and RF Estarlin Martinez drew an RBI walk to cut the lead to 6-2 when Miller scored. Wilmington skipper Brian Buchanan had seen enough and he went to the bullpen bringing in RHP Kevin McCarthy (SV 3). Yambati pitched .2 of an inning and on one hit, two walks and two hit batters gave up four runs while striking out two. McCarthy came in and faced CF Narciso Mesa in the ninth and Mesa slapped a two-run single scoring both Sanchez and Manuel and cut the lead to 6-4 Wilmington. The Next batter, Perez, then hit a hard comebacker that went off the leg of McCarthy but he was able to recover and throw Perez out to end the ballgame and seal the 6-4 win.

Game Two saw the P-Nats send RHP Reynaldo Lopez (4-4, 4.88) to the hill to take on LHP Matthew Strahm 1-0, 1.50) for the Rocks. Strahm, who was making his first start of 2015 after being recently promoted from Class-A Lexington pitched 5.0 innings with nine strikeouts, while only giving up two hits and a walk and one run (earned) on Sanchez’s first blast of the season that gave Potomac a 1-0 lead in the third.

Lopez ran into trouble in the bottom of the third when C Santiago Nessy led-off the frame with a single. Moon then was issued a free pass and Taylor, on a bunt attempt, reached on a fielder’s choice ball when Lopez fielded the ball and fired to third to retire the lead runner. SS Ramon Torres, who has hit P-Nats pitching well all season came up and stroked a two-out, two-run single and reclaimed the lead for Wilmington at 2-1. Ramos then doubled home Torres for a 3-1 lead after three frames. Of the nine hits Lopez gave up in his complete game loss seven of them were singles, he walked one batter and struck out one batter while allowing five runs (all earned).

LF Afredo Escalara began the fourth with an infield single followed by a 3B Robert Pehl single. In between the two singles a wild pitch by Lopez moved Escalara to second base and then he moved to third on the one-bagger. Nessy hit into a twin killing but with nobody out Escalara came home from third for a 4-1 advantage.

The final run of the ballgame came against Lopez in the bottom of the fifth frame after Taylor began the inning with a triple. He scored one batter later when Garcia knocked him in for the 5-1 Wilmington Lead.

That was your final in the nightcap as RHP Andrew Edwards entered in relief of Strahm in the sixth and gave up three hits, all singles, to Potomac over the final two frames and sealing the 5-1 win in the backend ballgame and sealing the defacto double header sweep for the Blue Rocks.

Potomac is now 5-9-7 in series in 2015 and looks to salvage one win in the opening three-gamer against their Northern Division Rival Blue Rocks

Tonight features RHP Phillips Valdez (1-2, 6.35) for Potomac vs. LHP Eric Skoglund (6-2, 2.74) for the Blue Rocks, who look for the series sweep.  First pitch set from Daniel S. Frawley Stadium is at 7:05 pm

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Big innings played a part in Thursday’s game and another big inning for Delmarva was just what the Shorebirds needed to post a 5-2 win over Hagerstown on Friday, leaving the Suns with their second straight loss to open the second half of the South Atlantic League season.

Delmarva (35-35, 2-0) hit the Suns for a five-run first inning and made it stand, collecting two hits the remainder of the game.  Matt Purke (1-3) started for the Suns (35-35, 2-0) and made it through just two-thirds of inning, allowing four earned runs, four hits and three walks. Derek Peterson and Elier Leyva each had a two-run single in the inning for Delmarva.

Connor Bach slammed the door with 5 1/3 innings of hitless relief, walking only one and striking out six, trying to keep the Suns in the game.  But Hagerstown could only muster two runs, despite a nine-hit attack.
In the sixth, Alec Keller singled, went to second on an error and moved to third on a single by Osvaldo Abreu. He then scored on a flyout that Randy Read hit to right that was turned into a double play by the Shorebirds.  Hagerstown put a second run on the board in the eighth on singles by Austin Davidson, Keller and Brennan Middleton, but scored only on a sacrifice fly by Read.The teams square off tonight at 7:05 in the third game of a five-game set.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 25

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs split a four-game series with the Charlotte Knights with a 4-2 loss on Thursday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Syracuse brought the game within one in the seventh, but Charlotte scored in the eighth to beat Syracuse by two. Joe Ross allowed three runs in five innings in his Triple-A debut for the Chiefs.

Charlotte (42-31) scored first in the top of the second inning against Syracuse starter Joe Ross. Tyler Colvin led off the inning with a double down the right-field line. The next batter, Trayce Thompson, drew a five-pitch walk. With Chris Curley at the plate two batters later, Ross threw a wild pitch to allow the runners to move up to second and third with two outs. Curley proceeded to tap an infield single to the second baseman Ricky Hague, who bounced a throw to first base. One run scored on the hit and another came across the plate on the throwing error to give the Knights an early 2-0 lead.

George Kottaras added to the Knights’ lead in the top of the fourth inning with one swing of the bat. With two outs in the frame, Kottaras blasted a solo home run over the right-field fence. The catcher’s fifth home run of the season gave Charlotte a 3-0 lead.

Syracuse (26-48) scratched back in the bottom half of the fourth inning against Kyle Drabek. Jason Martinson began the frame with a single to center field. After Kevin Keyes grounded into a fielder’s choice to the shortstop Tyler Saladino, Hague lined a single to left field to advance Keyes to third and put runners on the corners with one out. Tony Gwynn Jr. stepped in next and grounded into a fielder’s choice to the third baseman Drew Garcia, who threw out Keyes at home plate for the second out. Then, Mario Lisson lined a single up the middle to plate Hague to decrease the Chiefs deficit to 3-1.

The Chiefs cut the lead to one in the bottom of the seventh inning against Dan Jennings. Lisson led off the seventh with a double down the left-field line. Caleb Ramsey followed with a bloop single to left field to put runners on the corners with no outs. Two batters later, Darin Mastroianni grounded out to third, allowing Lisson to score. Syracuse trailed 3-2 after seven innings.

The Knights answered in the top of the eighth inning against Bruce Billings. Micah Johnson started off with a single and stole second base with Saladino batting. With Saladino still at the plate, Billings threw a wild pitch to allow Johnson to move to third. Saladino battled against Billings and drew a walk. The next batter, Jason Coats, lined a double into the left-field corner to plate Johnson. Saladino tried to score from first but was thrown out at the plate on a relay throw from Lisson.

Syracuse hits the road for eight consecutive games. The Chiefs open up the road trip against the Indianapolis Indians at 7:05 p.m. on Friday night at Victory Field. Syracuse sends right-hander Scott McGregor to the mound against right-hander Radhames Liz.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Two first-inning runs were enough for the Harrisburg Senators Thursday night in a 2-1 victory over the Binghamton Mets at NYSEG Stadium. The Senators (32-41) have taken two of the first three games in the series.

Dakota Bacus was fantastic again, lasting a season-high 7.2 innings in which he scattered five hits and four walks, but allowed only one run. Bacus struck out six as well, and exited with runners on first and second with two outs in the eighth inning. Bryan Harper entered and allowed a single to right field, but Drew Vettleson notched his fifth outfield assist of the year by cutting down the potential game-tying run at home. Catcher Pedro Severino also ended the bottom of the seventh inning by picking a runner off first while there were two men on base. Gilberto Mendez allowed a single in the 9th inning, but stranded the runner at first while striking out a pair of batters in a scoreless ninth inning. The save was the sixth of the season for Mendez.

Harrisburg started quickly as Cutter Dykstra walked and Brian Goodwin singled with one out in the first inning. Matt Skole then singled Dykstra home with a single, and two batters later, Pedro Severino hit an RBI single to score Goodwin. Shawn Pleffner followed with a single of his own, but Skole was thrown out at the plate by Binghamton LF Michael Conforto. Chris Bostick was the only Senator to have multiple hits in the game, as he went 2-for-3 with his third double with the Senators.

The finale of the four-game series – and Harrisburg’s nine-game, eight-day roadtrip – will begin in Binghamton Friday night at 7:05 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (33-37-Overall, 15-20-Road, 0-0 Second Half) and the Wilmington Blue Rocks (38-32-Overall, 24-11-Home, 0-0 Second Half) were scoreless heading to the bottom of the third inning when the game was put into a weather delay and ultimately suspended to be resumed this evening.

The resumed game will be finished as a nine inning contest with first pitch set for 5:05 pm and then the regularly scheduled game will follow as a seven inning contest.

RHP Yender Caramo (3-6, 3.41) made the start for the Blue Rocks against RHP Lucas Giolito (2-4, 3.71) for the Nationals.

The game was scoreless when suspended heading to the bottom of the third but for Caramo he was perfect through his three innings of work, retiring all nine P-Nats that came to the plate with six of the nine going down on ground balls.

Giolito committed an error in the bottom of the first that put runners on second and third for Wilmington with nobody out. The righty then dispatched 3B Mauricio Ramos on a ground out before striking out both DH Cody Stubbs and 1B Frank Schwindel to dance out of the jam. In the bottom of the second, his final inning of work, Giolito once again pitched through a miscue. With one out RF Dex Kjerstad reached on an error charged to 1B John Wooten. Then with LF Logan Moon at the plate Kjerstad broke for second base on a steal attempt. The ball snuck past C Craig Manuel and went to the backstop. Kjerstad seemed to think it was a foul ball and headed back to first base as Manuel fired to Wooten who then relayed to SS Stephen Perez, who applied the tag to a sliding Kjerstad at second base. Moon then popped out to end the inning before the rain became too much.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): A seven-run lead was not enough for the Hagerstown Suns in their opening game of the South Atlantic League’s second half.  Taking advantage of seven walks and getting timely hitting in the clutch, the Delmarva Shorebirds rallied for a 9-7 victory on Thursday night.

Hagerstown (35-34, 0-1) collected as many hits as Delmarva (11), getting a two-run home run from D.K. Carey and six doubles, including four in the third inning when the Suns scored all of their runs.  Austin Davidson led off the inning with a double and closed the scoring in the frame with an RBI single. In between, Osvaldo Abreu, Jose Marmolejos and Grant DeBruin also had doubles.

Hagerstown did all of its scoring off starter Josh Walker. But its bats went silent the rest of the way as Delmarva relievers Mike Burke, Nigel Nootbaar (1-0) and Stefan Chrichton (three saves) combined to set down 17 of the last 18 Hagerstown batters. Crichton was especially effective, fanning five in his 2 2/3 perfect innings.

Hagerstown starter Drew Van Orden, a representative of the team in Tuesday’s SAL All-Star Game, blew a 7-0 lead, giving up six hits and as many runs. Reliever Deion Williams (0-1) took the loss, departing after giving up two walks to start the ill-fated sixth inning. Robert Orlan surrendered singles to three of the next four batters, accounting for the three Delmarva runs.

The teams resume their five-game set tonight at 7:05, with Hagerstown lefty Matt Purke (1-2, 2.45) opposing right-hander Matthew Grimes (5-4, 4.59).

 

Washington Nationals Game 73 Review: Fister Excels Against the Braves for a Series Sweep

Starting pitcher Doug Fister shut out the Atlanta Braves on Thursday afternoon leading the Washington Nationals to a 7-0 win at Nationals Park. Fister threw 111 pitches and 72 strikes in seven innings pitched. He gave up four hits, one walk, and struck out four batters while the Nats offense did their best to hit Braves starting pitcher Matt Wisler. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 24

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs lost to the Charlotte Knights, 2-0, in ten innings on Wednesday night. Syracuse pitching combined for nine shutout innings in regulation. Jason Martinson had two doubles and Dan Butler had three singles in the game.

Starting pitchers A.J. Cole and Terance Marin were locked in a pitchers’ duel through their outings. Cole pitched six shutout innings for Syracuse (26-47), allowing only three hits while striking out four. Marin was just as dominant for Charlotte (41-31), throwing seven scoreless innings and totaling three strikeouts and five hits. Marin has yet to give up an earned run this season over 22 innings with the Knights.

The game was scoreless through nine innings of baseball, though the Chiefs threatened in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, left fielder Ricky Hague reached on a single to right field. In the next at-bat, Caleb Ramsey reached first on a fielder’s choice with two outs. During Josh Johnson’s at-bat, Ramsey stole his fourth base of the season. On the next pitch, Johnson hit a hard ground ball down the third-base line that Matt Davidson could not field cleanly, allowing Johnson to reach first and Ramsey to reach third on the error. Butler struck out swinging, sending the game to extras.

The Knights finally opened up the game in the top of the tenth inning. Tyler Colvin led off the inning with a double to right-center field. With Tyler Saladino batting, Colvin advanced to third after a wild pitch from Syracuse reliever Rafael Martin. Saladino walked, bringing up Jason Coats with one out and runners on the corners. Coats smacked a double down the left-field line, plating both runners and securing the 2-0 win for Charlotte.

The Chiefs and Knights play the final game of the four-game series Thursday night with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Syracuse will send newcomer Joe Ross to the mound to face Charlotte’s Kyle Drabek.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Wilmer Difo hit a go-ahead two-run single in the top of the eighth inning as the Harrisburg Senators’ beat the Binghamton Mets, 4-1, Wednesday at NYSEG Stadium. Harrisburg (31-41) and Binghamton have split the first two games of the four-game series.

Pedro Severino started the top of the eighth inning with a single, and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Chris Bostick. Cutter Dykstra then walked, and the runners moved to second and third on a Jose Lozada ground out. Difo’s single back up the middle with two outs put the Senators on top and Trea Turner (3-for-4) followed with an RBI triple to extend the Senators lead to two. An inning later, the Senators added insurance when Severino was hit by a pitch, then moved to second on a wild pitch before being driven in by a Bostick single.

Harrisburg’s starting pitcher, Richard Bleier, continued his outstanding season with seven strong innings, in which he allowed six hits, and one run on a solo homer. Bleier walked none and struck out five while lowering his season ERA to 3.13. Sam Runion preserved Bleier’s victory by securing a six-out save. The right-handed reliever retired the side in order in the eighth and worked around a pair of baserunners in the ninth. The save for Runion is his fourth in as many tries this season.

The third game of the four-game series in Binghamton will begin tonight at 6:35 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): OFF.  The PNats return to action tonight at 6:35 p.m. at Wilmington.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): OFF. The Suns return to action tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Delmarva.

Washington Nationals Game 72 Review: Desmond’s Sacrifice Beats the Braves

A sacrifice fly hit to left field by Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond off reliever David Ardsma in the eleventh inning with one out and the bases loaded led Washington to a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves in D.C. after a solid eight-inning performance from starting pitcher Jordan Zimmermann on Wednesday night. [Read more…]

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for June 23

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs defeated the Charlotte Knights, 4-3, for the second straight night on Tuesday at NBT Bank Stadium. Chiefs starter Taylor Hill threw a strong five and two-thirds innings in his first start back since being optioned to Syracuse. The Chiefs came back for the second straight night against the Knights to give Syracuse a third consecutive victory.

Charlotte (40-31) got on the board first in the top of the first inning against Hill. The leadoff hitter, Micah Johnson, lined a single to left field to open up the game. With Jason Coats at the plate, Johnson stole second to put himself in scoring position with one man out. Coats proceeded to hit an RBI single to left to drive in Johnson for the first run of the game.

Syracuse (26-46) answered right back in the bottom of the first inning against Shawn Haviland. After Haviland retired the first two batters, Jason Martinson reached on an error by the shortstop Drew Garcia. International League Batter of the Week Kevin Keyes followed with a single to left field. With runners on first and second and two outs, Chris Nelson lined a double down the right-field line in his first at-bat as a Chief to tie the score at one after one.

The Knights retook the lead in the top of the second inning. Matt Tuiasosopo led off the frame with a walk. Trayce Thompson blooped a double off of the glove of a diving Darin Mastroianni to put two runners in scoring position with no outs. The next two batters, Tyler Colvin and Kevan Smith, each had an RBI groundout to the shortstop to give Charlotte a 3-1 advantage.

The Chiefs squared the score in the bottom of the sixth inning. Emmanuel Burriss dropped a bunt single down the third-base line to start the sixth. Then, Martinson lined a double into the left-field corner to plate Burriss for the second Syracuse run. With Keyes at the plate, Haviland threw a wild pitch, which allowed Martinson to move to third. Two batters later, Nelson drove in his second run of the game with an RBI groundout to the shortstop.

Syracuse took the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning against Blake Smith. With one out, Caleb Ramsey hit an infield single off of the third baseman Matt Davidson’s glove. With Dan Butler at the plate, Smith threw a wild pitch that allowed Ramsey to move to second. Later in the at-bat, Butler drew a walk. Smith threw his second wild pitch of the inning with Mastroianni at the plate, which allowed Butler and Ramsey to move up to second and third respectively. Mastroianni proceeded to work a walk. Then, with Burriss batting, Kevan Smith surrendered a passed ball, which allowed Ramsey to race home and give Syracuse a 4-3 lead after seven.

Syracuse plays the third game of a four-game set against Charlotte on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. The Chiefs throw right-hander A.J. Cole against Knights right-hander Terance Marin.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The Harrisburg Senators suffered their 23rd one-run loss of the season in a 6-5 loss to the Binghamton Mets Tuesday night at NYSEG Stadium. The 23 one-run losses for Harrisburg (30-41) are the most in the Eastern League. The next closest is Erie with 15.

The Senators held a 3-0 lead after the top of the first as Matt Skole hit a two-run single followed by a Chris Bostick RBI single. After falling behind 4-3, Harrisburg responded with two runs in the fifth inning as Bostick tripled home Pedro Severino. The next batter, Shawn Pleffner, singled to score Bostick and put Harrisburg up by a run. However, the Senators again fell behind and could not scratch across a game-tying run. The Senators had a runner reach second in the eighth inning when Wilmer Difo reached on a fielder’s choice and then stole second, but he was stranded. Drew Vettleson doubled in the ninth but left there as well. Harrisburg, which had five hits in the first inning, outhit Binghamton 12-11. Difo, Trea Turner, Vettleson (two doubles), Skole and Bostick all had two hits in the loss.

Senators’ starter Matthew Spann allowed a pair of runs in each of the first two innings, but settled in to throw five innings in which he allowed nine hits. Spann walked the leadoff batter of the sixth and was lifted for Sammy Solis, who allowed an RBI double that tied the game, followed by a go-ahead sacrifice fly. Overall, Solis pitched two innings, allowing a run on a hit and a walk. Erik Davis pitched a scoreless eighth inning in his third appearance with the Senators this season.

Game two of the four-game series in Binghamton will begin tonight at 6:35 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Spencer Kieboom and Nick Pivetta represented the PNats in the Carolina League vs. California League All Star Game in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Kieboom was 0 for 2 at the plate.  Pivetta got the loss as he went one inning allowing two hits, two runs that were earned, and two walks.  He got the loss as the California League got the 9-2 victory.

Potomac has the night off but returns tomorrow night at 6:35 p.m. at Wilmington.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Austen Williams, Drew Van Orden and Grant DeBruin represented the Suns for the South Atlantic All Star game in Asheville, North Carolina.

They represent the North division and got the win over the South 7-5.  Grant DeBruin started and went 0 for 2 with a walk.  Williams pitched one inning allowing one hit and two strikeouts.  Van Orden didn’t play.

Hagerstown is off today but plays at Delmarva tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m.

 

Washington Nationals Game 71 Review: Strasburg gives Nats solid five innings in win over Braves

Stephen Strasburg pitched five shutout innings and the Washington Nationals defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-1 on Tuesday at Nationals Park.

Strasburg, making his first start since being activated from the disabled list with an assortment of ailments, hit 97-98 on the radar gun most of the night and allowed just four hits and one walk. [Read more…]

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