Compiled from team press releases:
SYRACUSE (AAA International League): The Syracuse Chiefs lost a heartbreaker to the Norfolk Tides, 6-5, Thursday afternoon at Harbor Park, sweeping the four-game set. Syracuse held a 5-0 lead after four-and-a-half innings, but Norfolk scored six unanswered runs, and Henry Urrutia hit a walkoff home run to win the game for the Tides. Bruce Billings threw another quality outing in an outstanding month of starting pitching for Syracuse, the club’s 19th quality start in 26 games. Dariel Alvarez hit two home runs for Norfolk in the win.
Syracuse (17-30) put the leadoff man on for the third game in a row as Darin Mastroianni singled to start the game. But on this day, the Chiefs rallied for a big inning. After a fielder’s choice and a walk, Mark Minicozzi singled, which put runners on first and third. Matt den Dekker followed with a single to score Tony Gwynn, Jr. to give the Chiefs their second 1-0 lead of the series. A batter later, Jason Martinson doubled in two more runs to extend the lead to three after one inning.
The Chiefs added two more runs in the fifth. Gwynn, Jr. started the rally with a single. Emmanuel Burriss then tripled to left-center field, scoring Gwynn to make the score 4-0. Two batters later, den Dekker picked up his second RBI of the game, doubling to right to score Burriss and take the lead to 5-0.
After a fly out, Michael Almanzar doubled to end Billings’ day in the seventh. The right-hander hurled six and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Billings struck out two and did not walk a batter. The third run charged to Billings came in as an inherited runner, as Almanzar scored on a single by Julio Borbon off Chiefs reliever Manny Delcarmen to make the score 5-3 going to the eighth.
Norfolk completed the comeback in the ninth. Almanzar walked with one out and scored on a Borbon double to cut the lead to one. Norfolk pinch-hit Nolan Reimold, and Martin got him to strike out. However, Urrutia launched an opposite-field, two-run, walkoff home run to end the game and give the Tides the sweep.
Syracuse hits the road and opens a three-game set Friday night in Durham. A.J. Cole is scheduled to start for the Chiefs opposite Matt Buschmann for the Bulls. First pitch from Durham Bulls Athletic Park is slated for 7:05 p.m.
HARRISBURG (AA Eastern): Despite a solid combined effort by the Harrisburg Senators bullpen, an eighth blown save in 18 opportunities led to a 3-2 loss in 10 innings to the Richmond Flying Squirrels Thursday at The Diamond. Richmond swept the three-game series over Harrisburg (20-26).
Thursday’s game lasted roughly seven minutes before going into a rain delay. However, in those seven minutes, Harrisburg loaded the bases with a Derrick Robinson single, a Tony Renda single and a Mario Lisson walk. The delay lasted 1:29, and when the two teams returned to action, Shawn Pleffner laced a two-run single to put the Senators on top, 2-0. Pleffner was the lone Senator with multiple hits in the game, finishing 2-for-4.
The Senators scheduled starter, Joe Ross, did not throw a pitch in the game, and was scratched after the lengthy delay. James Simmons instead began Tuesday’s game and held Richmond to one run on three hits in four innings. Simmons walked none and struck out three. Paul Demny followed with more impressive work as he threw three scoreless innings. Demny has now thrown 14 consecutive innings, allowing just three hits and striking out 13 in that time frame.
Brian Dupra pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning to secure a hold, but once again, the ninth inning was problematic for the Senators. Hector Ambriz walked the first two batters before the Senators were able to secure a force out at second base. Richmond tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center field by Ricky Oropesa. In the 10th, Ambriz allowed a leadoff single, but recorded two outs on a lineout and a sacrifice bunt. However, Richmond’s Kelby Tomlinson came through with a game-winning RBI single to right field.
Harrisburg continues its six-game road trip in Bowie tonight, beginning at 6:35 p.m.
POTOMAC (High-A Carolina): The Nationals (20-27-Overall, 11-12-Home) offense plated eight runs on 11 hits and six walks to overtake the Wilmington Blue Rocks (27-19-Overall, 8-10-Road) 8-3 on Thursday night at Pfitzner Stadium in Game Three of the Four-Game series.
RHP John Simms (2-4, 4.60) made his sixth start of the season and was looking to continue his stretch of three consecutive quality starts facing Wilmington for the first time in 2015.
Simms gutted out a five inning performance, allowing three runs (all earned) on seven hits and five walks while adding four strikeouts. The hits, walks and strikeouts were season highs for the righty.
RHP Yender Caramo (2-3, 2.84) faced the P-Nats for the third time, while making his sixth start and tenth appearance overall.
2B Ramon Torres homered to begin the ball game for Wilmington. The long ball was the first of the season for the switch hitter and gave Wilmington a 1-0 lead.
Potomac answered in the bottom of the first. With one out SS Stephen Perez singled. He moved to second on a wild pitch and a throwing error charged to the C Santiago Nessy followed to move Perez to third base. DH Isaac Ballou knocked in his 19th RBI of the season with an RBI ground out to tie the game at 1-1.
Simms danced in and out of trouble all night throughout his five innings of work. He issued a walk and relinquished a single in the second but danced out of the jam.
Potomac took the lead for good in the bottom of the second on four straight singles, all with two outs. CF Narciso Mesa singled in 1B Jimmy Yezzo and 2B Christopher Bostick singled home LF Estarlin Martinez for the 3-1 lead.
With one out in the top of the third, Simms walked two and gave up two singles and DH Carlos Garcia banged in 3B Mauricio Ramos to cut the lead to 3-2.
The back and forth affair continued in the bottom of the third for Potomac. Three singles to begin the inning netted a run when 3B Drew Ward knocked in Ballou for his team-leading 22nd RBI of the season and a 4-2 Potomac lead.
Simms had his best inning in the fourth striking out two and issuing a walk to Torres. Simms picked off Torres to only face three batters in the inning.
In Simms final inning he allowed a single to Ramos with one out. Ramos scooted up to second base on Simms first and only wild pitch of the evening and came home to score when 1B Robert Pehl knocked him in for his eighth RBI of the year and made 4-3 Potomac.
Against both LHP Estarlin Cordero and RHP Andrew Edwards Potomac put up a four spot to blow the game open in the fifth. Ward walked to begin the inning and after a ground out Yezzo singled. Wilmington’s skipper Brian Buchanan went the bullpen and brought in Edwards. Martinez hit a bleeder towards second base and reached safely being credited with a fielder’s choice ball and a sacrifice bunt with an RBI to make it 5-3. After a Mesa lineout, Bostick was hit by a pitch and Perez knocked in two for a 7-3 lead and Bostick scored on a wild pitch for the eighth and final Potomac run.
RHP Wander Suero (SV 1) pitched four shutout innings to wrap up the 8-3 contest and earn his first save of the season, giving Simms his second win of the season. Suero, in five appearances out of the bullpen, has not allowed a single run, earned or otherwise in 12.1 innings. The active streak is the longest such streak by a P-Nats reliever this season.
Eight of the nine starters for Potomac had at least one hit and three members (Perez, Kieboom and Yezzo) had two hits apiece while Yezzo and Martinez both scored two runs apiece. Perez, who reached base four times on two hits and two walks, knocked in two in the win.
Tonight’s series finale pits RHP Phillips Valdez (0-0, 0.00), just called up from Hagerstown, against LHP Eric Skoglund 3-1, 2.12) for Wilmington. Potomac will go for the series split before the first place Myrtle Beach Pelicans come to town.
The P-Nats Baseball Network will carry live coverage of the finale starting at 6:50 pm with The P-Nats Lead-Off Show with first pitch set for 7:05 pm from Pfitzner Stadium.
HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic): Home was not so sweet for the Hagerstown Suns (24-23) on Thursday night, as the Suns got shutout by the Kannapolis Intimidators (22-25) by a final score of 4-0 in the first meeting between the two teams this season. It was the sixth time this season the Suns have failed to score a run in a game.
LHP Matt Purke (0-1) wound up suffering the loss for the Suns. In his first start in over a year due to having to undergo Tommy John surgery, Purke was able to complete four innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits while striking out three. Two other lefties, R.C. Orlan and David Napoli, also pitched in the game for the Suns. Both Orlan and Napoli were each charged with allowing a run as combined they walked a total of seven hitters.
These teams will continue their four-game series at Municipal Stadium on Friday May 29. The Suns will send RHP Jefry Rodriguez (1-3) to the mound for his seventh start and appearance this season. He will square off against RHP Luis Martinez (1-4) for Kannapolis. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.