August 31, 2015

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 30

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs dropped the second game of the series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 3-1, on Sunday afternoon at NBT Bank Stadium. Lehigh Valley held the Syracuse offense to just two hits on the afternoon. Darin Mastroianni scored the only run for the Chiefs after he stole two bases and took home on a wild pitch.

Trailing 2-1, Syracuse (61-75) cut the lead in half in the bottom of the sixth inning against Lehigh Valley starter Sean O’Sullivan. Mastroianni drew a leadoff walk against the right-hander to start the inning. With Jason Martinson at the plate, Mastroianni stole second base and third base.Two batters later, O’Sullivan threw a wild pitch with Matt Skole batting that allowed Mastroianni to swipe home and cut the deficit to one.

The Chiefs and IronPigs finish this three-game set on Monday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Syracuse sends right-hander Taylor Hill to the mound against left-hander Anthony Vasquez. The game is set to start at 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): In their final road game of the season, the Harrisburg Senators plated four runs in the decisive seventh inning to top the Erie SeaWolves, 4-3. Harrisburg (64-70) overcame a 2-0 deficit despite getting outhit by the SeaWolves.

Erie got to Harrisburg starter Lucas Giolito early as they scored two first-inning runs on four singles and a throwing error by right-fielder Drew Vettleson. But Giolito (3-2) settled down after that as he used three double plays in the next three innings. The right-hander scattered ten hits over six innings, but struck out five for the victory.

Wander Suero threw 1.2 scoreless innings but ran into trouble allowing a walk and single in the eighth inning. Matt Purke relieved Suero and struck out pinch-hitter Connor Harrell to get out of the jam. Erie’s Wade Gaynor led off the ninth frame with a solo home run off Abel De Los Santos to cut the Senators’ lead in half. De Los Santos got the next three batters in order including two strikeouts to pocket his eighth save of the season.

Chris Bostick, Brian Goodwin, and Wilmer Difo led the Senators’ offensive attack. Difo and Goodwin both registered two hits and drove in a run to even the score. Bostick followed with a home run, his sixth at Double-A, to score the go-ahead runs. Isaac Ballou almost remained hot at the dish with two hits on the afternoon.

The Senators begin their final homestand of the season on Monday evening against the Richmond Flying Squirrels with Colin Bates on the mound, starting at 7:00 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): On Sunday afternoon in their 2015 road campaign finale on LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark, the Potomac Nationals (62-70 Overall, 31-38 Road, 29-33 Second Half) took series Game Four from the Salem Red Sox (60-72 Overall, 31-38 Home, 22-40 Second Half) by the final score of 4-1. With their “W,” the P-Nats secured a series split.

Nationals SS David Masters had a big day at the plate going 3-for-4 with two doubles, one run scored, and two RBIs.

P-Nats starter, RHP Tyler Mapes (5-3) clinched his fifth winning decision with a season-long 7.0 inning outing. Mapes allowed one unearned run on eight hits and one hit batter but no walks while striking out a trio.

Mapes is now (4-1) with a 1.29 earned run average in seven starts this season.

The Red, White, and Blue plated the first run of the game in the 3rd inning. Potomac LF Estarlin Martinez ripped a one-out double into the left field corner and the next batter, Masters, also blasted a two-bagger to the same part of the yard to deliver Martinez to the plate.

The P-Nats are now (43-18) in 2015 when the club scores first and inked their 15th win when tied or trailing after six complete innings.

In the top of the 8th with the game tied at one, the Nationals immediately retook the lead on Masters’ leadoff two-sacker that led to a sacrifice bunt by Potomac CF Rafael Bautista moving Masters to third base. P-Nats RF Narciso Mesa flew out to left field and Masters started to come to home plate to draw a throw from Red Sox LF Mike Meyers then stopped halfway to the dish then hit the gas and motored home as the throw sailed over the batters’ circle.

Up 2-1 in the 9th, the Nationals poured on two more runs to take a 4-1 advantage via an RBI double cranked to the left field wall by 2B Khayyan Norfork and a run-scoring single off the stick of Masters.

Potomac RHP Derek Self (2 SV) closed out the game with a two-inning save, his second save in three save opportunities in 2015.

Self pitched a perfect 8th and sidestepped an infield single from Procyshen by getting three 5-3 groundouts in the 9th.

The P-Nats will head home to enjoy an off day on Monday before entertaining the Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Chicago Cubs) for a three-game series.

The Nationals will throw RHP Ian Dickson (3-2, 3.57) in their series opener with Myrtle Beach. The Pelicans’ starter is to-be-determined.

Set Game One will get underway with a 7:05pm first pitch at Pfitzner Stadium.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (29-33, 64-66) coughed up a three-run lead on Sunday afternoon, falling to the Kannapolis Intimidators (27-34, 62-68) by a final of 5-4. The loss drops Hagerstown’s record in one-run games this season to 17-16.

The Suns built their initial three-run lead by plating three runs in the bottom of the second. First baseman Matthew Page drew a walk to begin the inning, and that was followed by back-to-back singles from LF Dale Carey and 3B Conor Keniry. Keniry’s single brought home Page from third to make it 1-0. There was also a fielding error by RF Michael Suiter on Keniry’s single, which allowed Keniry to advance to second and Carey to head to third. Carey scored from third on a sacrifice fly to center field, though on the throw home to get Carey there was another error, allowing Keniry to move to third with just one out. Keniry also scored on a sacrifice fly, making it 3-0 Hagerstown.

Hagerstown knotted the score at 4-4 in the sixth. Catcher Raudy Read led off with a double, and moved to third on a groundout to first. He scored from third on a sacrifice fly to right by Carey, making it three runs on the day brought home by sacrifice flies for the Suns.

David Napoli got tagged with the loss for Hagerstown. In three innings pitched in relief he allowed the one earned run on two hits, two walks, and two wild pitches while striking out four.

These teams will continue their five-game series at Municipal Stadium with game three on Monday, August 31. The Suns will send LHP Connor Bach (6-4) to the mound for his 19th start and 25th appearance this season. He will square off against RHP Jose Brito (1-2) for Kannapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 29

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 2-1, on Saturday night. Syracuse starter Richard Bleier pitched lights-out baseball, only allowing one run and three hits over seven innings. Dan Butler drew a walk to drive in a run and a Kevin Keyes sacrifice fly put the Chiefs ahead for good.

Lehigh Valley (60-75) struck first against Syracuse in the top of the fifth inning.  Syracuse (61-74) answered two innings later in the bottom of the seventh. Jason Martinson singled to left field to start the inning. Matt Skole then doubled off the right-field wall, putting runners on first and second. After a Sizemore groundout that held the runners, IronPigs starter David Buchanan intentionally walked Caleb Ramsey to load the bases. Butler followed the intentional walk with a walk of his own, plating Martinson and tying the game at one. Keyes then came to the plate to pinch-hit for Bleier. Keyes hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, scoring Skole from third to seal the game at 2-1 in favor of Syracuse.

Starting pitchers Bleier and Buchanan were locked in a duel for most of the game. Buchanan lasted seven innings, allowing four hits and two runs while striking out three Syracuse batters. Bleier was even more impressive, only giving up one run while only allowing three hits and no walks. The Syracuse bullpen shut down the IronPigs as well. Matt Grace pitched one perfect inning, striking out one. Rafael Martin came in to pitch the ninth, striking out a batter while earning the save.

The Chiefs and IronPigs will play the second of a three-game home set Sunday afternoon with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m. Right-hander A.J. Cole will take the mound for Syracuse opposite Lehigh Valley right-hander Sean O’Sullivan.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The Senators rallied from a 6-0 deficit to tie the game in the eighth only to lose in walk-off fashion in the last of the ninth, 7-6 to Erie. It was the 11th walk-off loss of the year for the Senators. The Senators fell to 63-70 with the loss while Erie improved to 58-74.

The three-hour game was delayed by rain for 23 minutes in the top of the eighth inning. The game started slowly as Erie sent 12 batters to the plate in the first inning, knocking Senators starter John Simms out after nine batters. Erie scored six runs to take the lead.

The Senators rallied for four runs in the fourth with an RBI double by Chris Bostick being the only run scoring hit in the inning. They drew a run closer in the fifth when a run scored on a balk. They finally tied the game in the eighth when after the rain delay Drew Vettleson walked and then raced home on a double by Adrian Sanchez.

Bostick had three hits and scored twice in the game. He was the only Senator player with more than one hit. The bullpen was fantastic for Harrisburg with Dakota Bacus (3.0 IP), Nick Lee (1.1 IP), and Erik Davis (2.0 IP) combining to go 6.1 innings without allowing a run. Losing pitcher, Paul Demny, pitched a perfect eighth before giving up the winning run in the ninth.

The final game of the four game series is Sunday afternoon with RH Lucas Giolito on the hill for the Senators. Game time on Sunday is at 1:35 p.m. It’s also the final road game for the Senators in the 2015 season.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Potomac (61-70-Overall, 30-38-Road, 27-33-Second Half) scored two runs in the top of the first and never trailed, adding runs in the seventh and eighth in the 5-1 win in Game Three over the Salem Red Sox (60-71-Overall, 31-37-Home, 22-39-Second Half) at LewisGale Field on Saturday night.

Potomac jumped on Salem’s RHP Ty Buttrey (8-9, 3.98) in the top of the first inning to plate two runs and take a lead they would not relinquish in the ballgame. CF Rafael Bautista tripled to begin the game and then RF Narciso Mesa reached on a fielder’s choice ball that saw Bautista, who broke for home on contact, put out at home plate for the first out. Mesa swiped second base and 1B Grant DeBruin was then issued a free pass. After a DH Brenden Webb groundout moved both runners up a bag, 3B Drew Ward knocked in both Mesa and DeBruin to give the Nationals that 2-0 lead.

For the Nationals, the knuckle baller RHP Jeff Howell (1-1, 2.45) made his second start of the 2015 season with Potomac, still looking for his first Carolina League win. Howell allowed at least one base runner in every inning he was on the mound and only faced three batters once in the contest, the bottom of the third. Salem had two runners on in the bottom of the first after Howell issued two free passes. A nice defensive play by LF Estarlin Martinez kept Salem off the board.

Salem received a one out walk in the second inning and nothing else before picking up a lead-off single in the third that was erased when 2B Wendell Rijo hit into a 6-4-3 double play.

In the fifth Howell again issued two walks, for a total of six in the ballgame, but stranded both runners on the base paths in what proved to be his final frame. The six free passes are a new season high for Howell.

Howell left in line for the win, pitching five innings and he allowed three hits and one run (earned) on six walks and he struck out one, earning his first Carolina League win.

Against Buttrey, Potomac scored the two runs in the first and then were held off the scoreboard until the top of the seventh, Buttrey’s last inning. 2B Khayyan Norfork, snapped a long stretch of futility at the plate with a one-out double before coming home on the Martinez RBI single that extended his hitting streak to five consecutive ballgames and push the lead to 3-1 Nationals.

Buttrey logged seven innings and was responsible for three runs (all earned) on six hits, three walks and he struck out five in the loss.

LHP Justin Thomas entered the game in relief of Howell in the sixth inning and faced three men in the frame courtesy of a double play ball to keep the 3-1 lead. Thomas then retired the Red Sox one, two, three in the seventh and allowed two runners to reach base on singles in the eighth before recording two strikeouts and a groundout to dance out of the jam in the eighth.

Ward, in his third game back from the disabled list, hammered a pitch from RHP Chandler Shephard over the right field wall for a two-run home run, bringing home DeBruin, who reached on an infield single. The two-run homer was the sixth of the season for Ward and it gave the Nationals a 5-1 lead in the top of the eighth. Ward finished the ballgame two-for-four with four RBIs, a season high in runners driven in.

Shephard pitched two innings and allowed the two runs on the Ward home run on two hits and a strikeout.

Thomas logged three innings and allowed only three hits and no runs, while not issuing a walk and striking out three in his outing.

RHP Phillips Valdez entered for the bottom of the ninth and hit 3B Deiner Lopez with two outs before recording the final out a ground ball that DeBruin fielded and flipped to Valdez covering the base to end the ballgame.

Lynchburg won again, their fifth win in a row, and eliminated the Nationals from the postseason contention.

The series finale this afternoon will see RHP Tyler Mapes (4-3, 2.70) for Potomac against LHP Trey Ball (8-13, 4.85) for the Red Sox.

First pitch is set for 4:05 pm from LewisGale Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (29-32, 64-65) surrendered four runs in the top of the sixth inning to the Kannapolis Intimidators (26-34, 61-68) on Saturday night, resulting in a three-run deficit and eventually a 9-4 loss in front of 2,168 at Municipal Stadium. It was the first time this season the Suns have played in front of more than 2,000 fans at Municipal Stadium.

Trailing 4-3 entering the sixth, CF Louie Lechich and 1B Alexander Simon began the frame with back-to-back singles for the Intimidators. Shortstop Toby Thomas followed with a double to left, bringing home both base runners to wind up giving Kannapolis the lead for good. Thomas had moved to third following his double on a throw to the plate to try and gun down Simon, and Thomas was able to score from third when DH Mason Robbins reached on a fielding error by Suns 2B Dan Uggla. The former National League All-Star was making his second rehab start this season with the Suns. Robbins not only reached base, but also advanced to second on Uggla’s error. Robbins then advanced one base each on back-to-back groundouts to make it 7-4.

Uggla also committed an error in the third, which helped the Intimidators plate their first three runs of the game. With two on and one out in the inning, Uggla threw wide of second after cleanly scooping up a ground ball. That allowed catcher Daniel Gonzalez to score and two runners to wind up in scoring position. A wild pitch by Suns starting RHP Luis Reyes then allowed 2B Ethan Gross to score from third and RF Michael Suiter to advance to third. Suiter scored the third run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to put the Intimidators up 3-0.

However, Uggla made up for his error and the Suns stormed back to take the lead in the bottom of the third. Uggla came to the plate with two runners in scoring position and none out, and he smacked a fly ball off the left field wall, bringing both runners in with a double to make it 3-2. Later in the inning, Uggla scored on a double to right by LF Matthew Page to even the score at 3-3. Catcher Raudy Read scored the go-ahead run before the inning came to an end on a fielder’s choice, giving the Suns their only lead of the night.

Kannapolis added a run each in the eighth and ninth to salt the game away. In the eighth Gonzalez hit a two-out RBI line drive single to left. Gonzalez was making his Intimidators debut and that was his first hit of the night. In the ninth Lechich hit an RBI double to right to set the final score.

RHP Kevin Perez (0-3) suffered the loss for Hagerstown. After taking over for Reyes, who left the game due to injury in the third, Perez went 2.1 innings, surrendering four runs (three earned) on four hits while striking out three.

These teams will continue their five-game series at Municipal Stadium with game two on Sunday, August 30. The Suns will send RHP Justin Amlung (3-3) to the mound for his seventh start and 18th appearance this season. He will square off against RHP Luis Martinez (4-13) for Kannapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05pm.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 28

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Rochester Red Wings, 9-2, Friday night at Frontier Field. Tyler Moore, playing his first Syracuse game of the year on Major-League rehab, homered and drove in three runs as the Chiefs took the final meeting of the year between the clubs.

Syracuse (60-74) started the scoring in the first. Emmanuel Burriss reached on a bunt single with one out. Moore followed with his first RBI of the game, a double to left field, to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead.

Kevin Keyes continued the scoring in the second. Keyes launched his seventh home run of the season off starter Taylor Rogers to extend the lead to 2-0.

The Chiefs put the game out of reach in the third. Burriss led off with a single. Moore then stuck again, launching a two-run homer into the bullpen in left field to push the lead to 4-0. Syracuse didn’t stop there. Jason Martinson reached on an error on shortstop Danny Santana. After a groundout, Kevin Keyes singled to put runners on the corners. Caleb Ramsey followed with an RBI single to give the Chiefs a 5-0 lead. The Red Wings went to the bullpen and Tim Shibuya came in to pitch. Shibuya allowed a triple to Scott Sizemore, scoring Keyes and Ramsey to break open the game at 7-0. Dan Butler followed with a double to finish off a six-run third inning and give Syracuse an 8-0 lead.

The Chiefs added a ninth run in the eighth inning. Three straight hits from Sizemore, Butler and Darin Mastroianni loaded the bases with no one out. After Alex Meyer retired two straight batters, Sizemore scored on a passed ball by catcher Eric Fryer to score the Chiefs’ ninth run.

Syracuse returns home to open a three-game series with Lehigh Valley. Richard Bleier is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite David Buchanan for the IronPigs. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Behind 18 hits, the Harrisburg Senators blitzed the Erie SeaWolves in a 14-1 drubbing on Friday night at Jerry Uht Park. Harrisburg (63-69) jumped out to a 10-run lead after three innings and cruised the rest of the way to win the second game of their four-game series.

Each Harrisburg starter except second baseman Reegie Corona had at least two hits in the offensive explosion. Seven of the original nine in the lineup scored at least one run with Chris Bostick leading the way with three scores. Isaac Ballou kept the hot bat going as the outfielder drove in four runs on a double and triple. Adrian Sanchez went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Brian Goodwin chipped in three hits as well.

Harrisburg starter Brian Rauh threw seven strong innings allowing only one run on three hits and one walk while striking out six. Staked to the early lead, Rauh (2-4) was efficient and attacked Erie hitters as he threw only 86 pitches. Matt Purke, just activated off the disabled list, and Abel De Los Santos each worked a scoreless inning in relief.

The Senators square off against the SeaWolves in the third game of their four-game set on Saturday evening with John Simms on the mound, starting at 7:05 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): On Friday evening at Salem Memorial Ballpark in front of a sellout crowd (6,324) overlooking LewisGale Field, the Potomac Nationals (60-70 Overall, 29-38 Road, 27-33 Second Half) were thumped by the Salem Red Sox (60-70 Overall, 31-36 Home, 22-38 Second Half) in an 8-1 one-sided clash.

A series Game Two victory for Salem assured the Red Sox of at least a series split in the four-game set.

Nationals starter, LHP Matthew Spann (2-7) was hit with his seventh loss of the 2015 journey after allowing four runs (two earned runs) on just three hits in 4.0 frames. Spann walked three, fanned four, hit a batter with the bases loaded, and unleashed one wild pitch.

Meanwhile, Salem LHP Daniel McGrath (3-6) earned his third win with 6.0 innings of one-run hurling. McGrath allowed just two base hits, a single off the bat of Potomac 3B David Masters and a double socked by C Zach Wright while walking a pair and striking out a quartet.

Potomac arms walked a total of eight Red Sox hitters and tossed three wild pitches in the contest as Nationals reliever, LHP Jake Walsh was hit hard and could not find the strike zone consistently. Walsh pitched 3.0 innings and served up four earned runs on four hits, five walks, and two wild offerings.

The Nationals’ lone run scored in the 5th inning as Potomac SS Stephen Perez earned a leadoff free pass to first base and later in the frame scored on a sac fly lofted by Masters to right field.

P-Nats RHP Derek Self turned in the only one-two-three inning for the Nationals’ defense on the night in the 8th with one strikeout to his line.

The Red, White, and Blue have now committed six errors in their last two games after making three errors in their set opener with Salem and three more defensive miscues on Friday night.

Potomac left nine men on base and went hitless (0-for-5) with runners in scoring position.

The P-Nats’ elimination number in the second half playoff race is now one with their loss.

Nationals RHP Jeff Howell (0-1, 3.00) looks for his first career Carolina League win in a standoff with Red Sox RHP Ty Buttrey (8-8, 3.99) on Saturday night in series Game Two.

Howell, a former professional catcher, converted to a mound worker just this season.  First pitch is at 6:05 p.m.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (29-31, 64-64) could not score after the second inning on Friday night, falling to the Lakewood BlueClaws (33-27, 66-62) by a final of 4-1. The win secured the series win and the season series win for the BlueClaws, while the three losses for Hagerstown in the series officially eliminated the Suns from postseason contention.

Starting RHP Erick Fedde (0-2) suffered the loss for the Suns. He threw five innings, surrendering three earned runs on three hits and two walks while striking out four.

In the third game of the series on Thursday night the Suns held Lakewood scoreless for the first eight innings en route to a 3-1 win. Starting RHP Andrew Lee (3-0) set the tone for Hagerstown by giving up just two hits and no walks while striking out five over five innings to earn the win. LHP David Napoli followed, going 2.2 innings without allowing a run and striking out four. RHP Koda Glover earned his fourth save of the year, despite surrendering one run in the ninth. In 1.1 innings he gave up the one earned run on three hits while striking out three. Suns pitching totaled 12 strikeouts in the game, one shy of the team’s high for a game this season.

In game two of the series on Wednesday night 1B Damek Tomscha broke a 6-6 tie with a solo homerun over the left field wall in the bottom of the eighth to give Lakewood the 7-6 win. Hagerstown had two homeruns of its own in the game, including a grand slam by RF Jeff Gardner in the second inning. It was RHP Ryan Brinley (1-2) who gave up the game-winning homerun to Tomscha, and thus he got tagged with the loss. In one inning in relief that was the only hit he allowed.

In the first game of the series on Tuesday night the Suns fell behind 6-0 after three innings and could never recover, dropping the game by a final of 6-3. All six Lakewood runs were charged to Suns starting RHP Justin Amlung (3-3), who got tagged with the loss. Despite his early struggles Amlung wound up pitching seven innings for a second consecutive start. He allowed nine hits, walked one, struck out two, and five of the six runs charged against him were earned.

In total Lakewood out-scored Hagerstown 18-13 in the series, and the BlueClaws outhit the Suns 31-25. The Suns next head back home to Hagerstown to take on the Kannapolis Intimidators (24-34, 59-68) in a five-game series beginning on Saturday, August 29. The Suns will send RHP Luis Reyes (6-7) to the mound on Saturday for his 24th start and appearance this season. He will square off against RHP Kelvis Valerio (1-2) for Kannapolis. First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 7:05pm.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 27

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Rochester Red Wings, 6-0, Thursday night as the five game home-and-home series shifted to Frontier Field. The Red Wings strung together six runs in their first seven batters to take an early lead off Chiefs starter Taylor Jordan en route to the win.

Syracuse (59-74) allowed just four hits the rest of the game after the six run first, thanks to four and one-third scoreless innings of relief by Bruce Billings. Offensively, the Chiefs could not solve Michael Bowden, who held Syracuse scoreless in seven innings of work. Matt Skole did pick up two hits for the second straight night.

Syracuse and Rochester play the finale of this five-game series Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Paolo Espino is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Taylor Rogers for the Red Wings.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Isaac Ballou went four-for-four with a home run and two doubles, but it wasn’t enough for the Senators as they fell to Erie 5-4. With the loss the Senators drop 62-69 while Erie improved to 57-73.

The Senators took a 1-0 lead in the first on a single by Wilmer Difo and a run scoring double by Reggie Corona. Trailing 2-1 into the 2nd, Isaac Ballou homered and Derrick Robinson drove in Adrian Sanchez with a single to give the Sens a 3-2 lead. They extended the lead when Corona scored on a wild pitch in the fifth.

Austin Voth started and took the loss, going five innings and allowing all five runs. Wander Suero and Gilbert Mendez pitched the final three scoreless innings for the Senators.

Along with Ballou’s four hits, Corona had three in the game drove in a run and scored a run.

Game two of the four-game series is Friday night at 7:05 p.m. with RH Brian Rauh on the mound for the Senators.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Salem (59-70-Overall, 30-36-Home, 21-38-Second Half) broke a 1-1 tie with two runs in the bottom of the seventh before adding two more in the eighth and cruising to the 5-2 win over the Potomac Nationals (60-69-Overall, 29-37-Road, 27-32-Second Half) in the series opener at LewisGale Field on Thursday night.

The bottom of the seventh, where Salem broke the tie was a wild one with RHP Jake Johansen (1-7, 5.84) on the mound in relief of the Starter RHP Austen Williams, who logged six innings and allowed three hits, one run (earned), four walks and he struck out four. RF Franklin Guzman laced a triple high off the left-centerfield wall but was then called out on appeal at second base for the first out. 1B Jordan Betts then reached on the third error charged to 3B Drew Ward and after a fielder’s choice ball allowed 3B Deiner Lopez to reach safely, an infield single by SS Mauricio Ramos loaded the bases. 2B Wendell Rijo laced a two-run single into left field to break the tie and give Salem a 3-1 lead. On the play, Rijo was caught in a rundown between first and second base after LF Estarlin Martinez’s throw came to the plate. Ultimately Ramos tried to score from third and the putout went 7-2-4-3-2 with Ramos being tagged out at the plate by C Craig Manuel. CF Forrestt Allday then grounded out to end the inning but the damage was done.

Salem took an early 1-0 lead against Nationals the starter Williams, who was making his ninth start of the season with Potomac. In the bottom of the second after a scoreless first frame, Williams issued a one out walk to C Jordan Procyshen. Guzman singled and then Betts took a free pass to load the bases. Lopez then worked an RBI walk, pushing home Procyshen for the 1-0 Salem lead.

Potomac, against RHP Kevin McAvoy (10-9, 3.93), was held off the scoreboard through the first six frames. The Nationals offense generated only four hits in those six innings and had their best chance to score in the fifth. They got back-to-back singles from 3B Drew Ward and SS Stephen Perez to begin the frame. Ward was retired on a fielder’s choice ball by 2B Khayyan Norfork and then a double play ball from Manuel ended the inning.

Williams, after walking in the run in the second, faced only two hitters over the minimum from the third through the sixth. Williams finished with six innings, allowing three hits and one run (earned) with four walks and he struck out four. He didn’t factor into the decision.

Potomac scored the equalizer in the top of the seventh in McAvoy’s final frame. A one-out walk to RF Brenden Webb, who then stole second base, began the rally. Two batters later, with two out, Perez came up and laced an RBI single in left-centerfield to tie the ballgame at 1-1.

McAvoy earned the win for his seven innings of work. He allowed one run (earned) on five hits, he walked two and struck out five.

Salem broke the tie against Johansen, who took the loss, in the seventh before adding two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. DH Kevin Heller walked against J.J. LF Yoilan Cerse dropped down a sacrifice bunt to push Heller to third after he swiped the second base bag and Procyshen brought him home with a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead. Guzman then hit a ball that might still be going over the left field wall for a solo home run, his fifth of the year, to push the lead to 5-1 Salem.

Johansen pitched two innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on four hits, a walk and he did not record a strikeout in the outing.

RHP Kyle Kaminska (SV 3) came in and pitched a scoreless eighth inning before Salem added to their lead and then closed out the 5-2 win. Potomac did push across a run in the ninth after 1B Grant DeBruin extended his hitting streak to three games with a lead-off triple. Webb brought him home for his third RBI with the Nationals by lofting a ball out to right field and the score was 5-2.

Kaminiska pitched two innings, giving up one run (earned) on two hits and he struck out one.

That was final in the opener from Salem. Lynchburg picked up another come-from-behind win over Carolina so the elimination number for the Nationals is now at 3 with 10 games to play and Potomac falls to 6-9 against the Red Sox in 2015.

Game Two tonight at 7:05 will see LHP Matthew Spann (2-6, 4.67) against LHP Daniel McGrath (2-6, 4.05) for the Red Sox.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): As an 11th-round draft choice out of Tennessee this June, Andrew Lee was hardly considered a hotshot major league prospect.  But the Hagerstown Suns right-hander has been brilliant in his first few months of professional baseball.

On Thursday night, Lee pitched five dominant innings, getting the Suns off to a good start in a 3-1 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws.  In his third minor league start, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Lee allowed two hits — both singles — didn’t walk a batter and fanned five.  Lee retired the final 13 he faced and didn’t allow a runner past first base.

In his hop, skip and jump through three Single A stops this summer, Lee has pitched 36 1/3 innings, allowed just 14 hits and six walks while fanning 38. He hasn’t allowed a home run and his ERA (0.28) and WHIP (.066) are microscopic.  After working in relief in his first 11 minor league appearances, Lee has taken over a spot in the starting rotation for Hagerstown. In his three starts — each lasting one inning longer than the previous — Lee has allowed only three hits, two walks and one run in 12 frames.

On Thursday, Hagerstown (64-63, 29-30 second half) got all the runs it needed in the third and fourth innings.  Jeff Gardner led off the third with a single, moved to second base on Conor Keniry’s walk, to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a sacrifice fly by Osvaldo Abreu.  In the fourth inning, Bryan Mejia had a two-out RBI triple and scored on the play as Lakewood right fielder Herlis Rodriguez committed a throwing error to put the Suns up 3-0.

Lee wasn’t the only Suns pitcher who excelled.  David Napoli fanned four in 2 2/3 relief innings and Koda Glover earned his fifth save, escaping jams in the final two innings.  Entering in the eighth with two out and runners on second and third base, Glover fanned Drew Stankiewicz with a 96 mph fastball.  In the ninth inning, when Glover surrendered three hits and a run, he induced a pop out from Deivi Gruilon with two out and runners at the corners.  Lakewood (65-62, 32-27) can win the series tonight when it hosts Hagerstown in the finale of the four-game set.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 26

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs were shut out 6-0 by the Rochester Red Wings on Wednesday night at NBT Bank Stadium. Jose Berrios struck out 12 Chiefs and allowed only three hits in seven shutout innings of work. Matt Skole had two hits against the Red Wings in the loss.

The Chiefs and Red Wings continue their five-game home-and-home series on Thursday night at Frontier Field in Rochester. Syracuse sends right-hander Taylor Jordan to the mound against right-hander Michael Bowden. The game is set to start at 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): The Harrisburg Senators got shutout at Richmond 3-0.  The Senators will travel to Erie for a four game series beginning tonight at 7:05

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): On Wednesday night at Pfitzner Stadium, the Potomac Nationals (60-68 Overall, 31-32 Home, 27-31 Second Half) rocked the Frederick Keys (61-68 Overall, 28-38 Road, 29-30 Second Half) 10-0 in their rubber match series finale.

The Nationals’ triumph represented their 15th shutout victory this season (most in the Carolina League).

This was the final meeting between the Northern Division “Battle of the Beltway” rivals in 2015.

Potomac pounded out 11 base hits and scored in each of the first four innings of the game while Frederick scattered just six base knocks in the clash.

The Nationals jumped out to a 4-0 lead against Keys starter, LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-11), the losing pitcher, in the opening inning as Potomac 1B Grant DeBruin smacked an RBI double down the left field line that scored the leadoff single of CF Rafael Bautista. P-Nats RF Narciso Mesa, who collected four RBIs in the affair, cranked his second home run of the season, a three-run shot off the very top of the left field foul pole. Rehabbing Washington Nationals 2B Dan Uggla (back spasms), who ripped a first-pitch single into left field, and DeBruin were both summoned home on the blast.

Uggla went 1-for-4 with one run scored and one strikeout. Washington Nationals LF Tyler Moore, who like Uggla was down with Potomac on rehab (left ankle sprain), walked twice while going 0-for-2 with one run scored.

Potomac plated three runs in the 2nd inning to make it a 7-0 game courtesy of a throwing error committed by Frederick 1B Yaisel Mederos, a DeBruin RBI walk, and a sacrifice fly from Mesa.

The home club added one run in the 3rd on a run-scoring double raked by Bautista before the Nationals brought home two runs in the 4th on a pair of wild pitches hurled by Frederick RHP Dylan Rheault. Moore, who walked, came around to score along with DeBruin, who doubled.

Gonzalez lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up eight runs (six earned runs) on eight hits, two walks, and a wild pitch in suffering his 11th loss in ‘15.

Washington Nationals RHP Tanner Roark, who was optioned yesterday to Potomac, was stellar through 4.0 scoreless frames in his first career start for the P-Nats. Roark allowed three singles, walked no one, and struck out five batters.

Roark did not go the minimum 5.0 innings to qualify for the win. P-Nats RHP Brian Dupra (3-0) came out of the bullpen to capture his third win and stay undefeated in the circuit. Dupra tossed 4.0 scoreless innings and turned in a near-identical line to Roark’s performance. Like Roark, Dupra fanned five and allowed three hits. Dupra walked only one.

Keys LHP Matt Taylor, RHP Stefan Crichton, LHP Donnie Hart, and LHP Cody Wheeler each dealt 1.0 innings of relief per arm and did not allow a run.

Nationals RHP Derek Self worked a perfect 9th inning to finish the game.

This evening in Salem, VA, the Potomac Nationals begin their final road series of the 2015 regular season, a four-gamer against the Salem Red Sox (Boston) at Salem Memorial Ballpark.

The set opener begins with a 7:05pm first pitch on LewisGale Field.

Nationals RHP Austen Williams (4-4, 2.62) opposes Red Sox RHP Kevin McAvoy (9-9, 4.08) in series Game One.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic):  After making the South Atlantic League playoffs for three straight seasons, 2015 has been an uncharacteristic waltz around the .500 mark for the Hagerstown Suns.  Never this year has the team been better than four games over the break-even mark or worse than four games under.

Wednesday night at Lakewood, Hagerstown’s gravitational pull toward .500 continued with a 7-6 loss to the BlueClaws.  After 126 games, Hagerstown (63-63, 28-30 second half) is right where it has been for much of the season — stuck in neutral and unable to put together any kind of definitive streak, positive or negative.

Hagerstown got all of the runs back in the top of the second inning, scoring them with one swing of the bat.  After Raudy Read and Matthew Page singled and Bryan Mejia reached on an error, Jeff Gardner ripped a grand slam home run to right off Lakewood starter Elniery Garcia.

The Suns obliged with a Mejia solo home run in the fourth inning and a run-scoring single an inning later from SAL RBI leader Jose Marmolejos which tied it 6-6.  Hagerstown will try to salvage the final two games of the series, playing tonight and Friday in New Jersey.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 25

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Rochester Red Wings, 4-1, on Tuesday night. Syracuse starter A.J. Cole pitched a gem for the Chiefs, striking out seven and only giving up three hits. The win improved Syracuse to an International-League-best 17-6 in August.

Syracuse (59-72) scored first against Rochester after being shut out in Monday’s game. Second baseman Scott Sizemore led off the bottom of the third with a double to deep right-center field, his second hit in as many Chiefs at-bats. The next batter, Steve Lerud, flied out to center, deep enough to advance Sizemore to third. With one out, Darin Mastroianni singled in Sizemore to give the Chiefs an early 1-0 lead.

The Chiefs continued the scoring in the bottom of the fourth off of Rochester starter Pat Dean. With one out, Jason Martinson singled. Following Martinson, Matt Skole singled to center and advanced Martinson to third. Ricky Hague continued the rally with an RBI single to left that scored Martinson and pushed Skole to third. Mario Lisson then stepped to the plate, grounding into a fielder’s choice that scored Skole to bring the Chiefs’ lead to 3-0. With two outs, Sizemore walked to put runners on first and second, and then Lerud lined a single to right field that scored Lisson.

Rochester (67-64) ran into myriad trouble against Cole. The right-hander pitched six and two-thirds innings, allowing one run and striking out seven while only allowing three hits and one walk. This was Cole’s fifth straight start in which he left the game with a lead.

Syracuse and Rochester will play the final game between the two teams at NBT Bank Stadium on Wednesday night before the series shifts to Rochester for two games. Right-hander Taylor Hill will be on the hill for the Chiefs to face right-hander Jose Berrios with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): For the second night in a row, the Senators entered the ninth inning trailing and for the second night in a row, they put two runners on with no outs but on Tuesday they couldn’t move the runners around the bases and lost 2-1. Richmond evened the series with the win, improved to 63-64 on the season while the Sens dropped to 62-67.

Lucas Giolito started for the Senators and went 6.2 innings allowing two runs, both earned, while striking out eight. He was bettered by Kelvin Marte of the Flying Squirrels who went eight innings and struck out a career high in moving to 10-5 on the season. Brian Harper retired the only batter he faced and Wander Suero pitched a scoreless eighth for Harrisburg.

Trailing 1-0 in the fourth, the Senators scored their lone run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Reegie Corona, scoring Chris Bostic which tied the game. Richmond came right back with a run in the bottom of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead and from there, the pitchers really took over. The Senators went oh-for-six with runners in scoring position while Richmond was one-for-eight. Both teams stranded six on the bases and both teams stranded three runners in scoring position. The Senators managed just four hits, all singles.

The rubber game of the three-game series is Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. at the Diamond in Richmond. RH Colin Bates is on the hill for the Senators against LH Matt Lujan for Richmond.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Nationals (59-68-Overall, 30-32-Home, 26-31-Second Half) and the Keys (61-67-Overall, 28-37-Road, 29-29-Second Half) traded shutout victories in the twin bill with Frederick picking up a Game One 4-0 win and Potomac coming back with a Game Two 7-0 win on Tuesday night at Pfitzner Stadium.

RHP Taylor Mapes (4-3, 2.70) made the start in Game One that featured Washington Nationals 2B Dan Uggla and OF Tyler Moore in the lineup behind him.

Uggla made three trips to the plate, finishing 0-for-3 with a strikeout but did make three defensive plays in the field at second base. Moore started at first base and finished 0-for-2, reaching on an error and then flying out to left field.

RHP David Hess (9-3, 3.58) was brilliant for the Keys, logging the first complete game victory in his professional career in the 4-0 shutout win for Frederick. Hess gave up just one hit in his seven innings of work while issuing one walk and striking out five Nationals and improving his second half record to 7-0 with an ERA of 1.34.

The game was scoreless until the top of the third when Frederick scored three times when SS Adrian Marin walked to kick off the rally. 1B Yaisel Mederos singled, putting men on first and second. After a DH Conor Bierfeldt comebacker, 3B Derek Peterson lined a two-run single into centerfield for a 2-0 Keys advantage. LF Josh Hart then put a double into the left-centerfield gap bringing home Peterson for a 3-0 lead.

Frederick added an unearned run in the top of the third when C Wynston Sawyer struck out against Mapes but was able to reach base on a passed ball charged to C Craig Manuel. A RF Tad Gold groundout moved Sawyer to second base and Mederos reached on an error charged to 3B David Masters that brought home Sawyer from second base, an unearned run, that gave Frederick a 4-0 advantage.

Mapes lasted five innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits, two walks and he struck out three. Mapes hurled 85 pitches with 55 hitting the zone in the loss.

LHP Justin Thomas came out of the bullpen and was exceptional for Potomac. Thomas pitched two perfect innings and of the six men he retired he struck out five of them.

Potomac mustered only one hit against Hess and he issued one free pass. The Nationals also had two men reach on errors in the ballgame but both were erased on the base paths.

Game Two saw RHP Ian Dickson (3-2, 3.57) make the start against RHP Mikey O’Brien (3-5, 1.94), who was coming off a seven inning no-hit effort against the Lynchburg Hillcats.

Potomac cracked the scoreboard first in the bottom of the third when LF Estarlin Martinez reached on an error charged to 3B Anthony Caronia and then scooted to second base on a CF Rafael Bautista groundout. After a wild pitch from O’Brien moved Martinez to third, DH Alec Keller brought home Martinez with an RBI infield single for a 1-0 advantage.

The Nationals added two runs in the bottom of fifth, which proved to be O’Brien’s last inning, when 2B Khayyan Norfork walked. Two batters later Martinez hit an RBI double into the left-centerfield gap that scored Norfork from first base and pushed the National advantage to 2-0. Martinez moved to third on a Bautista infield single and then scored on a wild pitch, the second of the ballgame, by O’Brien for 3-0 lead.

O’Brien didn’t last the fifth inning, pitching 4.2 frames and three runs (two earned) scored against him on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts in the loss.

Dickson danced through five innings of work just allowing one hit but walking four and setting a new season high with six strikeouts, throwing 85 pitches with 44 in the strike zone.

LHP R.C Orlan pitched a scoreless sixth inning, issuing two, two-out walks but ultimately ending the inning.

RHP Garrett Cortright entered the game and the Nationals, in the bottom of the sixth, blew the game open with four runs in the inning. With two outs and a runner, RF Brendon Webb, on second base after doubling, SS Stephen Perez snuck a ball through the right side for an RBI single to make it 4-0 Nats’. Norfork then walked and C Zach Wright lined an RBI single into left field for a 5-0 lead. Martinez hit a little comebacker and Cortright air-mailed the ball over the first baseman allowing both Norfork and Wright to score for a 7-0 lead for the Nationals.

That was the final as RHP Phillips Valdez entered in the top of the seventh and faced four men closing out the 7-0 nightcap victory for the Nationals.

Potomac is now 14-9 in shutout ballgames and 8-8 in double header games in 2015. The Nationals are now 8-13 against the Frederick Keys and their elimination number is down to 6.

The rubber match series finale tonight will see the newest member of the Potomac Nationals, RHP Tanner Roark (0-0, 0.00) make his first start in the Carolina League this season against LHP Luis Gonzalez (5-10, 6.79) for the Keys.

First pitch is set for 7:05 pm from Pfitzner Stadium.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns are on the verge of elimination from the postseason in the South Atlantic League.  On Tuesday night they showed why as they were out-hit, out-pitched and out-fielded by the Lakewood BlueClaws in a 6-3 loss.

Lakewood got nine hits to five for Hagerstown and played flawlessly in the field while the Suns made two errors, both coming in run-scoring frames for the BlueClaws.

Lakewood (64-61, 31-26 second half) got all the runs it needed in the second inning when its first five hitters reached via base hits off Suns’ starter Will Amlung (3-3).  Lakewood starter Austin Davis (4-5) got the win, giving up four hits in five innings and surviving a momentary fitof wildness in the fifth when he surrendered all of the Suns’ runs.

On consecutive at-bats, Davis hit Austin Davidson and Stevenson with pitches and then issued a bases-loaded walk to Osvaldo Abreu. Jose Marmolejos followed with a two-run single, expanding his RBI lead in the SAL.

Entering the evening, the first baseman had driven in 77 runs, seven more than any player in the league.   In the final four innings, Hagerstown (63-61, 28-29) went quietly getting only two men on base against Jairo Munoz, who fanned four in three innings, and Matt Hockenberry, who pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.  The series continues tonight at 7:05 p.m.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 24

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs fell to the Rochester Red Wings, 9-0, on Monday night.

Syracuse (57-72) could not solve Rochester starting Logan Darnell who pitched a complete game shutout. The left-hander pitched a gem for Rochester, throwing a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Emmanuel Burriss broke up the no-hitter on an infield single in the seventh.

Syracuse and Rochester play the second of five consecutive games on Tuesday at NBT Bank Stadium with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Right hander A.J. Cole will get the start for Syracuse against left-hander Pat Dean of Rochester.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): For just the fourth time this season the Senators won a game when trailing after eight innings, rallying for three in the ninth at Richmond to beat the Flying Squirrels 4-3. With the win the Senators improve to 62-66 while Richmond falls to 62-64.

Trailing 3-1 into the ninth inning, Brian Jeroloman singled with one out. Isaac Ballou and pinch-hitter Adrian Sanchez followed with walks to load the bases off of Richmond closer Derek Law. After the walk to Sanchez, Richmond summoned Tyler Mizenko in to pitch. Wilmer Difo reached on an infield single, scoring Jeroloman, and trimming the Richmond lead to 3-2. Brian Goodwin followed with a two-run single driving in the tying and go ahead runs for the Senators. On the play Difo was thrown out trying to advance to third.

Paul Demny pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth, pitching around a leadoff single, to record his fifth save on the season. Nick Lee pitched a perfect eighth inning to earn the win and move to 2-0 with the Senators.

Harrisburg scored their first run in the second inning when Ballou hit into a bases-loaded fielder’s choice, scoring Shawn Pleffner. Chris Bostick was the only Senator with two hits in the game.

John Simms started for Harrisburg and pitched six shutout innings allowing five hits while striking out nine but took a no-decision when Richmond scored three times off Erik Davis in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Game two of the three game series is Tuesday night with RH Lucas Giolito on the hill for the Senators against LH Kelvin Marte for Richmond.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Tonight’s series opener between the Potomac Nationals (58-66-Overall, 29-31-Home, 25-30-Second Half) and the Frederick Keys (60-66-Overall, 27-36-Road, 28-28-Second Half) was postponed at Pfitzner Stadium due to weather and has been rescheduled for tonight as part of a double header.

A late blooming storm came in about an hour before first pitch was scheduled and rained consistently for over an hour creating an unplayable baseball field.

First pitch in Game One of the twin bill is set for 5:00 pm with the gates opening at 4:30 pm. Game Two will follow 30-40 minutes following the conclusion of Game One and both games will consist of seven innings.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): OFF.  The Suns will travel to Lakewood to begin a four game set tonight at 7:05

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 23

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bisons, 3-0, Sunday afternoon at Coca-Cola Field. Paolo Espino allowed just one hit in seven shutout innings to lift the Chiefs to their first series win of the season against the Bisons.

Syracuse (58-71) started the scoring in the first inning. Matt den Dekker hit his eighth home run of the season to give the Chiefs an early 1-0 lead.

The Chiefs scratched across a second run in the second inning. Caleb Ramsey tripled to lead off the frame, giving him a season-high six game hit streak. He scored a batter later on Mario Lisson‘s groundout to short to push the lead to 2-0.

Syracuse finished off the scoring in the seventh. Ricky Hague led off with a double, and scored two batters later on den Dekker’s single to push the lead to 3-0.

Buffalo (65-64) couldn’t solve Espino, managing just a Ty Kelly fifth-inning single in seven innings. After picking up 18 hits Friday night, the Bisons managed just eight in the final two games of the series.

Syracuse returns home Monday and opens a five-game home-and-home series against Rochester at 7:05 p.m. Richard Bleier is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Logan Darnell for the Red Wings.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern) via pennlive.com: The Portland Sea Dogs gave the Harrisburg Senators a taste of their own medicine with an 8-run fourth inning to win going away, 9-0. Harrisburg (60-66), which scored nine runs in the first inning on Saturday night, was shutout for the tenth time this season.

Senators starter Brian Rauh cruised through three innings before running into trouble in the decisive fourth. Rauh (1-4) allowed six runs on seven hits while striking out two as he made his first start with Harrisburg since May 13.

“For the first three innings I thought he did a pretty good job keeping the ball down in the zone and also getting the ball in on some guys,” pitching coach Chris Michalak said. “In that fourth inning, it didn’t seem like that there were that many pitches going in. And then the fact that the pitches away were elevated, those are easy balls to put in play especially with two strikes because you’re looking for pitches out over there.”

Nationals’ reliever David Carpenter, in Harrisburg on a Major League rehab assignment, worked a scoreless 2/3 of an inning before his outing was cut short by sprinkler system malfunction that forced the right-hander to stand around longer than Michalak thought was in his best interests.

The Senators were only able to scratch out three singles off Portland starter Aaron Wilkerson and reliever Williams Jerez. Denard Span, Adrian Sanchez, and Wilmer Difo got the base knocks for Harrisburg which only batted once with a runner in scoring position.

The Senators head out for their final road trip of the 2015 season as they begin a series in Richmond on Monday evening with John Simms on the mound, starting at 7:05 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): Lynchburg (65-61-Overall, 34-28-Home, 32-24-Second Half) plated two runs in the bottom of the first and three pitchers combined to shutout the Nationals (58-67-Overall, 29-36-Road, 25-30-Second Half) 2-0 in the rubber match at Calvin Falwell Field to win the series.

RHP Michael Peoples (10-3, 3.55) made his 21st start of the season for the Hillcats and he did not disappoint the first place ball club. Peoples shutout the Nationals through seven innings and relinquished only four hits, two walks and he struck out one, earning his tenth win of the season.

RHP Justin Brantley entered in the eighth and fired a scoreless frame allowing one hit and striking out one batter and RHP Trevor Frank (SV 1) was summoned to close out the 2-0 win, which he did by retiring all three men he faced in the ninth, sealing the 2-0 series winning victory.

Against newly promoted RHP Jeff Howell (0-1, 3.00), the Hillcats scored two runs in the home half of the first inning and that proved to be enough. DH Levon Washington walked against Howell to begin the ballgame for the ‘Cats. 2B Claudio Bautista followed with a double that pushed Washington to third. CF Clint Frazier knocked in Washington with an RBI groundout to the left side and the score was 1-0. After a walk to 1B Joe Sever, LF Dorssys Paulino doubled home Bautista for a 2-0 advantage.

Howell pitched six-plus innings and allowed only five hits and the two runs (both earned) on four walks and he struck out two, taking the loss in his Carolina League debut, despite a quality start.

After the two run first, the knuckleballer settled in nicely for Potomac, facing only one man over the minimum of 15 from innings two through six and never allowed a Hillcats runner to reach second base during that stretch.

Peoples faced only three men in four of his six innings and only allowed a man to reach second base three times in the entire game. Potomac had rallies cut down in the second inning due to a caught stealing, the fourth inning due to a 5-4-3 twin killing and in the fifth inning courtesy of a 4-6-3 twin killing. Potomac’s last real rally was in the sixth when they picked up an infield single by RF Narciso Mesa and then DH Alec Keller extended his hitting streak to four games with a single to push Mesa to second, but with two outs. 1B Grant DeBruin lined out hard to left field to end the threat.

RHP Jake Johansen came in from the bullpen when Howell ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh. Paulino reached on an infield single that saw 3B John Wooten make an incredible diving stop in foul territory behind the third base bag but the throw was late and then RF Mike Papi singled him to third base. Johansen entered struck out C Eric Haase and 3B Paul Hendrix before he got SS Ivan Castillo to pop out to end the inning. Johansen came back out for the bottom of the eighth and faced only four men, giving up a two-out single but that was it. Johansen logged two scoreless innings giving up one hit and striking out three.

Frank entered for the top of the ninth and inked his first save of the 2015 season with the perfect ninth inning.

Potomac falls, once again, to 6.5 games back of Lynchburg with only 14 games remaining on the schedule and their elimination number is now down to eight. The Nationals were shutout for the eighth time in 2015 and will end the season 12-12 against the Hillcats, their Northern Division rival.

Tonight from Pfitzner Stadium Potomac will send RHP Tyler Mapes (4-2, 2.51) to the mound against the Frederick Keys RHP David Hess (8-4, 2.78).

First pitch from the friendly confines is set for 7:05 pm.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (28-28, 63-61) put up four runs in the bottom of the third inning on Sunday afternoon and cruised to a 7-4 win over the Lexington Legends (21-33, 52-72), salvaging a split of the four-game series. The season series between the two clubs is now split at four wins apiece, and Hagerstown improved its record on Sundays this season to 14-6.
Going into the bottom of the third on Sunday Hagerstown held a slim 1-0 lead, but that quickly changed. Center fielder Andrew Stevenson led off the inning with a fly ball single to left. The next batter, SS Osvaldo Abreu, was hit by a pitch. First baseman Jose Marmolejos then brought both runners home with a double to left, making it 3-0 Suns. Catcher Raudy Read followed with a double of his own to plate Marmolejos and put Hagerstown up by four. Two batters later, Read moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored from third on a sacrifice fly by RF Dale Carey to make it 5-0 Suns.

Lexington responded by scoring its first run in the fourth. Second baseman Austin Bailey hit a one-out double to left, giving the Legends their first hit and base runner of the game. Bailey went to third on a single by catcher Chad Johnson. He scored from third on a passed ball by Read, making it a 5-1 game.

Hagerstown then took its largest lead in the fifth. Read hit a one-out line drive single up the middle. Two batters later Carey stroked a single to right, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Second baseman Bryan Mejia then stepped to the plate, and he delivered with a line dive double to right, driving in both Read and Carey to make it 7-1.

In the seventh Lexington closed the gap by plating three. Center fielder Anderson Miller led off with a double to center field. Following a pop out by RF Brandon Downes, DH Chase Vallot and LF Samir Duenez drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. First baseman Mike Hill then hit a line drive single to right, driving in Miller and Vallot to make it 7-3. Duenez scored the final run of the inning on a groundout to first by SS Luis Valenzuela.

Starting RHP Luis Reyes (6-7) limited Lexington to one unearned run on two hits and one walk over six innings while striking out four to earn the win for Hagerstown. Starting RHP Yunior Marte (4-3) suffered the loss for the Legends. He lasted just three innings, giving up five earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out one. RHP Ryan Brinley pitched the last 1.1 innings for the Suns to earn his first save of the season in his second attempt.

After a day off tomorrow, the Suns next head to Lakewood, New Jersey to begin a four-game series against the Lakewood BlueClaws (30-26, 63-61) starting on Tuesday, August 25. The Suns will send RHP Justin Amlung (3-2) to the mound on Tuesday for his sixth start and 17th appearance for the Suns this season. He will square off against LHP Austin Davis (3-5) for Lakewood. First pitch on Tuesday is scheduled for 7:05pm.

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 20

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): OFF.  The Chiefs travel to Buffalo tonight at 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Behind home runs from Drew Vettleson and Isaac Ballou, the Harrisburg Senators won the rubber game, 5-3, over the Akron RubberDucks Thursday at Canal Park. The Senators (59-65) have won back-to-back games for the first time since July 7-8.

Senators starter Lucas Giolito threw 87 pitches in five innings of work to pick up his second with Harrisburg. The tall right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and three walks while striking out five. The Senators scored in the top of the first inning when Wilmer Difo and Brian Goodwin both singled before completing a successful double steal. Shawn Pleffner drove in Difo with a sacrifice fly. Akron responded with a run in the first and third off Giolito to take a 2-1 lead, but Harrisburg shot back in the fourth.

Vettleson led off the fourth with his fifth home run of the year and was followed by Pedro Severino’s 13th double. Severino moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac fly by Ballou. Giolito gave way to Gilberto Mendez after five, and again the Senators’ bullpen was solid. Mendez fired a scoreless sixth after Harrisburg added a run on Ballou’s solo shot in the top half. Cutter Dykstra then led the seventh inning off with a triple and scored on a Pleffner RBI single. Mendez, however, ran into trouble in the seventh and left the game with two on and two out. Bryan Harper entered and struck out Akron’s Bradley Zimmer to end the threat.

Harper allowed Akron to come a run closer as the RubberDucks’ Nellie Rodriguez hit a solo home run to lead off the eighth inning. Harper bounced back, though, and struck out the next three batters in order. Paul Demny allowed two runners to reach in the ninth, but shut the door with a strikeout of Zimmer for his fourth save in five tries with Harrisburg.

The Senators now return home for a weekend series with the Portland Sea Dogs. Tonight’s series opener will begin at 7:00 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Nationals (57-65-Overall, 28-34-Road, 24-27-Second Half) and Blue Rocks (56-66-Overall, 34-25-Home, 18-34-Second Half) were washed away at Frawley Stadium on Thursday night in the series finale and the game will not be made up.

After a steady rain pelted the Wilmington, DE area all afternoon and into the evening the tarp was never pulled and game was canceled. Due to the fact that Potomac and Wilmington do not play again throughout the remaining 2015 Carolina League season the game will be lost to both squads. The wash out marks the first time this season Potomac has lost a game completely.

The Nationals now jump on the bus and head to the home of the first place Lynchburg Hillcats, Calvin Falwell Field to open up a three game series starting tomorrow night from Lynchburg with a 6:30 pm scheduled first pitch.

The Nationals will send LHP Matthew Spann (1-6, 4.92) to the mound against the Hillcats RHP Mitch Brown (8-11, 4.99).
HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (26-26, 61-59) game against the Lexington Legends (19-31, 50-70) scheduled for Thursday (August 20) has been postponed. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader at Municipal Stadium on Friday August 21. The first game of the doubleheader will begin at 4:35pm. The second game of the doubleheader will begin no earlier than 7:05pm. In the South Atlantic League doubleheaders consist of two seven-inning games. Gates tomorrow will open at 3:30pm.

 

Washington Nationals Minor League Report for August 18

Compiled from team press releases:

SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs beat the Pawtucket Red Sox, 6-2, Tuesday night at McCoy Stadium. The Chiefs scored three runs in the third inning to snap a three-game losing streak. Richard Bleier turned in another tremendous start, allowing just one earned run in seven innings of work.

Pawtucket (48-77) started the scoring for the second straight night. Deven Marrero singled to start the game, and reached second when Emmanuel Burriss dropped the throw from the outfield after the single. Marrero reached third on a groundout and scored on another groundout, hit by Carlos Rivero, to give the PawSox a 1-0 lead on the unearned run.

Syracuse (55-70) grabbed the lead for good in the third. Josh Johnson tripled off Shawn Haviland with one out, and scored on Burriss’ double to tie the score. After a fly out, Jason Martinson drew a two-out walk to extend the inning. Haviland then hit Kevin Keyes to load the bases. Matt Skole followed with a two-run single to center field to push the Chiefs’ lead to 3-1.

Pawtucket answered with a run in the bottom of the inning. Jemile Weeks singled to lead off the frame. After Marco Hernandez singled with one out, Rivero drove in his second run of the game with a single to cut the lead to 3-2.

The Chiefs grabbed a fourth run in the fourth. Caleb Ramsey reached on a leadoff single. He moved to second on Dan Butler‘s walk. Johnson sacrificed Ramsey to third, and Ramsey scored on a groundout by Burriss to make the score 4-2.

Syracuse finished off the scoring in the eighth. Kevin Keyes started the inning with a fly ball to shallow left-center field, which Weeks dropped for an error. Skole followed with a walk. Keyes advanced to third on a flyout and scored on Ramsey’s single to extend the lead to 5-2. Butler followed with a double to score Skole and cap the lead at 6-2.

Syracuse and Pawtucket play the rubber game of the three-game set Wednesday, the final game between the two clubs this year. A.J. Cole is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Zeke Spruill for the PawSox. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Alex Lavisky’s walk-off RBI double lifted the Akron RubberDucks to a 4-3 win over the Harrisburg Senators Tuesday at Canal Park. The walk-off loss was the 10th of its kind for the Senators (57-65) in 2015.

Senators’ starter Matt Purke struggled greatly with his control early on, but battled well. Akron loaded the bases against him in the first inning with a walk, a single and a hit by pitch, but scored just one run on a passed ball by Pedro Severino. After recording the first out of the second inning, Purke walked the bases loaded. Again, Akron managed just one run on a fielder’s choice. However, on the fielder’s choice, Purke injured himself running off the mound, and he was forced to leave the game.

Dakota Bacus entered for Purke, and stranded two runners in the second before allowing a run by hitting a batter with the bases loaded. But once again, that was the only run Akron could muster despite loading the bases. Nick Lee followed Bacus with two scoreless innings of his own in which he struck out two. Erik Davis allowed a single and two baserunners in the ensuing two innings, but he also had a scoreless outing.

Harrisburg scored its first run in the second inning when Drew Vettleson singled, stole second, stole third and scored when the throw to third went into left field. Isaac Ballou’s solo home run in the top of the fifth inning cut Akron’s lead to 3-2. Three straight singles in the seventh inning by Ballou, Reegie Corona and Adrian Sanchez, who picked up the RBI, tied the game 3-3.

Paul Demny came on in the ninth inning and allowed Akron to place runners on first and third with two out, but Demny struck out Ronny Rodriguez with a high fastball to send the game to extras. Brian Goodwin reached second base with one out in the top of the 10th but was stranded there after a pair of strikeouts. In the bottom of the 10th, Demny allowed the leadoff man, Jordan Smith, to reach. Smith moved to second on a wild pitch, but Demny recorded back-to-back outs to keep Smith at second. However, Akron’s Lavisky came through with a deep drive to center field to win the game.

The Senators outhit Akron 11-6, but the RubberDucks drew nine walks – a season-most issued by Senators pitching. The two teams combined to strand 20 runners and go 2-for-26 with runners in scoring position.

Game two of the three-game series will begin Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m.

POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (57-64-Overall, 28-33-Road, 24-27-Second Half) blanked the Wilmington Blue Rocks (55-66-Overall, 33-25-Home, 17-34-Second Half) 5-0 in Game One of the scheduled twin bill tonight and then followed up with a sweep 4-2 in the nightcap on Tuesday night from Frawley Stadium.

RHP Reynaldo Lopez got the nod for Game One against the Rocks and he only pitched three innings but he allowed just one hit and it was an infield single by DH Carlos Garcia. On the play Lopez appeared to tweak something and despite throwing some practice pitches to make sure it wasn’t anything serious he remained in the game to finish out the bottom of the third but he did not come back out for the fourth. Lopez recorded five strikeouts before departing.

Potomac, against LHP Matthew Strahm (1-4, 3.25) took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the third of the seven inning contest. Washington Nationals LF Reed Johnson, continuing his rehab appearance with Potomac, hit a solo home run off Strahm to give the P-Nats the advantage.

The Nationals added a run in the top of the fifth inning against Strahm when C Zach Wright led-off the inning with a walk. 3B David Masters grounded out, moving Wright to second base and CF Rafael Bautista moved him to third with an infield single. RF Narciso Mesa picked up the RBI with a sacrifice bunt bringing home Wright for a 2-0 lead.

Strahm logged five innings for Wilmington, taking the loss and giving up two runs (earned) on four hits, a walk and he struck out five.

RHP Robinson Yambati entered in relief of Strahm in the sixth.

RHP Brian Dupra (2-0, 3.27) came in for Lopez in the fourth and continued the scoreless stretch for the Nationals, logging four scoreless frames to close out the eventual 5-0 win, Dupra gave up only one hit and walked one and struck out four.

The Nationals in the top of the seventh hit Yambati around, scoring three times to put the game away. 2B Khayyan Norfork reached on an error to begin the inning. Wright laced a ground ruled double that bounced over the left field wall that pushed Norfork to third base and then Masters hit a sacrifice fly to left field to make it a 3-0 lead. Mesa followed with an RBI triple and then scored himself on a wild pitch by Yambati for the 5-0 score.

Game Two saw RHP Tyler Mapes (4-2, 2.51) make a spot to start, his fifth of the year for Potomac. Mapes earned the win, pitching six innings. Wilmington scored one run against Mapes on five hits, a walk and Mapes struck out five in the win.

In the backend ballgame the Blue Rocks sent RHP Jakob Junis (4-10, 3.70) to the hill. Potomac took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Bautista began the game with a single. A Junis wild pitch moved him to second base and he scored on 1B Grant DeBruin’s RBI single.

C Craig Manuel doubled with one out for Potomac in the second inning and he scored on Masters RBI single for a 2-0 lead.

Wilmington plated a run against Mapes in the bottom of the third. CF Dominique Taylor singled with one out and then Garcia doubled. SS Humberto Arteaga knocked in Taylor with an RBI ground out to cut the lead in half at 2-1 Nationals.

The last two runs for Potomac came in the top of the fourth when Norfork blasted a home run over the left field wall to 4-1 Nats’. For Norfork, it was his second long ball of the season. RHP Derek Self (SV 1) inked his first save of the season, pitching the ninth inning and giving up one run. A lead-off walk to LF Alfredo Escalera began it and Self then fired back-to-back wild pitches to moved Escalera all the way to third. It was the C Santiago Nessy who brought home Escalera with another RBI ground out to make it 4-2 Nationals. That was as close as Wilmington got, falling in both games of the twin bill to Potomac.

The series continues tomorrow night from Frawley Stadium with a 635 pm first pitch and RHP Ian Dickson (2-2, 3.81) will make the start for the Nationals against RHP Pedro Fernandez (0-3, 8.78) for Wilmington.

HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): The Hagerstown Suns (26-25, 61-58) erased a six-run deficit on Tuesday night and walked off with a 9-8 win over the Hickory Crawdads (28-23, 72-47) in the bottom of the ninth. The six-run hole that Hagerstown faced is the largest deficit it has come back from to win a game this season.

Hagerstown entered the bottom of the ninth with the score knotted at 8-8. Right fielder Matthew Page led off the inning by drawing a walk. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by 2B Bryan Mejia. Designated hitter Matt Reistetter then drew another walk, putting runners on first and second with one out. Up stepped LF Jeff Gardner to the plate, and he lined a single into left, brining home Page from second for the win.

The Suns had trailed 6-0 after three and a half innings, but they scored eight runs over the next three and a half frames to take a two-run lead. In the bottom of the fourth Hagerstown plated its first run on an RBI triple by Mejia. Then in the fifth, the Suns plated four more runs to cut their deficit to just one run. Hagerstown sent eight men to the plate during that fifth inning, with the biggest hit coming from Page. He ripped a two-out, two-run double to center field. All four runs in the inning scored with two outs.

The seventh inning was when Hagerstown finally completed its comeback and took its first lead of the night. First baseman Jose Marmolejos began the frame with a line drive double to left. A throwing error by SS Michael De Leon allowed the next hitter, catcher Raudy Read, to reach second and Marmolejos to advance to third with no outs. Page then brought Marmolejos home from third with a sacrifice fly. Mejia followed with a single up the middle to plate Read and make it 7-6 Suns. The final run of the inning scored on a triple by Gardner.

That initial lead by the Suns did not last long, as in the top of the eighth Hickory tied the game with two runs of its own. Both runs came home on a two-run double by De Leon, making up for his error the inning before. That set the stage for Gardner’s ninth inning heroics.

The Crawdads built their initial 6-0 lead with one run in the second, two in the third, and three in the fourth. All six runs were charged to Suns starting RHP Luis Reyes, who because of the comeback did not factor into the decision. Instead it was RHP Koda Glover (1-1) who wound up with the win for Hagerstown despite blowing the save. In two innings he allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits while striking out two. RHP Chris Dula (1-1) suffered the loss for Hickory. He pitched 1.2 innings and gave up one earned run on two hits and two walks while striking out one.

These teams will conclude their three-game series at Municipal Stadium with a rubber game on Wednesday August 19. The Suns will send RHP Justin Amlung (3-1) to the mound for his fifth start and 16th appearance with the Suns this season. He will square off against RHP Collin Wiles (10-3) for Hickory. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.

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