May 22, 2018

Washington Nationals Minor League Scoreboard for May 21

Comprised of press releases from the Washington Nationals minor league affiliates

Syracuse Chiefs, AAA International League (21-24)

The Syracuse Chiefs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Washington Nationals, recovered from a walkoff loss with a 3-1 win over the Toledo Mud Hens on Monday afternoon. Corey Brown’s first-pitch home run gave the Chiefs an immediate lead, and five Syracuse pitchers combined to hold Toledo to just one run on four hits.For the second straight day, Brown opened the scoring for Syracuse (21-24) with a leadoff home run. The center fielder drilled Thad Weber’s first pitch over the right-center field wall, staking the Chiefs to an early 1-0 lead. Brown extended his team-leading total to nine home runs on the season.

The teams then traded zeroes through the end of the fifth inning, with Syracuse right-hander Tanner Roark matching Weber pitch for pitch. Roark tossed five scoreless innings to earn his third win of the season and extend a stellar streak. Over his last three appearances, the right-hander has thrown 14 consecutive scoreless innings, lowering his ERA from 5.70 to 3.89 over the span.

In the sixth inning, the Chiefs added a pair of huge insurance runs. Josh Johnson laid down a bunt single on the first pitch of the frame, with Brown following with a bunt down the third base line. Third baseman Audy Ciriaco fielded the ball cleanly, but his throw sailed into the stands for a two-base error, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Jarrett Hoffpauir then lined a sacrifice fly to center field, with Johnson scoring to extend the Syracuse lead to 2-0. Two batters later, Xavier Paul slammed a double into right field, scoring Brown for a third Chiefs run.

Toledo (23-22) scored its lone run in the seventh without the benefit of a hit. Ciriaco reached first base on a strikeout and dropped third strike against right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who departed after a Bryan Holaday groundout. Atahualpa Severino then entered and walked Quintin Berry to put runners on first and second, and a double steal moved runners to second and third. Justin Henry’s groundout to first base then scored Ciriaco, but Severino struck out Ryan Strieby to end the inning with no further damage.

Right-hander Rafael Martin tossed a scoreless eighth inning in just his second appearance in 12 games, and right-hander Hassan Pena cut down the Mud Hens in the ninth for his first save of the season.

Syracuse and Toledo will close out their series on Tuesday morning with another 10:30 start. The Chiefs will send right-hander Mitch Atkins to the mound against Mud Hens left-hander Andrew Oliver.

Harrisburg Senators, AA Eastern League (23-20)
Monday night in Altoona the Senators offense struggled again in falling to Altoona 4-2. The Senators outhit Altoona, but couldn’t come up with the one big hit needed in the ballgame. Both teams committed costly errors in the game, with the Sens error directly costing them one, possibly two runs.

Altoona got on the board first, scoring a run in the second inning off Sens’ starter Jeff Mandel. Harrisburg tied the game in the second with Altoona committing two errors which allowed Tim Pahuta to score the tying run.

The game stayed 1-1 into the bottom of the sixth when the Curve loaded the bases with one out. Tony Sanchez hit a potential double-play ball to Manny Mayorson but the ball went through his legs for an error and allowed two runs to score giving Altoona a 3-1 lead.

They stretched the lead to 4-1 in the eighth when Matt Curry doubled in Jarek Cunningham off Hector Nelo. Harrisburg scored a run in the ninth when Jose Lozada tripled to start the inning then scored on a two-out single by Eury Perez. Lozada had three hits in the game.

The Senators had an opportunity to get back in the game in the seventh inning when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Jeff Kobernus bounced into an inning ending fielder’s choice.

Harrisburg falls to 23-20 with the loss while Altoona wins for the seventh straight game and improves to 20-22. Tuesday night LH Danny Rosenbaum is on the mound for the Senators against RH Phil Irwin for Altoona.

Potomac Nationals, High A Carolina League (18-23)

Behind a stellar start from Greg Billo, the Wilmington Blue Rocks shut out the Potomac Nationals 7-0 at Frawley Stadium on Monday Night. The Blue Rocks held the Nationals to just two-hits in their first meeting of the season in Delaware.

Against P-Nats starter Matt Swynenberg, Wilmington opened the scoring in the third inning. Juan Graterol led off the inning with a double and scored on a Whit Merrifield double to give the Rocks a 1-0 lead. Brian Fletcher knocked in Merrifield to increase the lead to 2-0 for Wilmington.

In the fifth, Wilmington blew the game open with four runs. With one out, Randolph Oduber misplayed a Merrfild line drive into a two-base error and the flood gates opened. Angel Franco hit a triple down the first base line scoring Merrifield increasing the lead to 3-0. Fletcher, Brett Eibner and Cheslor Cuthbert followed with hits and the Blue Rocks opened the lead to 6-0. Swynenberg (3-2) left the game after a double from Cuthbert giving up six runs over four and a third innings. He tied his season high with six strikeouts.

The Blue Rocks added another run in the sixth on a Graterol solo home run to lead off the inning. The first homer of the season for Graterol increased the Wilmington advantage to 7-0.

Blue Rocks starter Greg Billo was dominant from the start. He gave up just three base runners: two hits — one to Ricky Hague and one to Michael Taylor while also walking Taylor. Just two times, Taylor in the second and also in the fifth, Potomac was able to advance a player to second. Billo (4-3) got his second win of the year against Potomac in two starts. Billo along with reliever Leondy Perez were able to retire the final 15 Nationals.

Tuesday is game two of the series as Potomac will send LHP Robbie Ray (1-1, 11.25) to the hill for a 6:35 start. The P-Nats return home Monday to face the Myrtle Beach Pelicans.

Hagerstown Suns, Low-A South Atlantic League (23-17)

The Hagerstown Suns (23-17) and the Greensboro Grasshoppers (30-12) game on Monday evening at Municipal Stadium has been suspended due to inclement weather. The game was halted by the umpires in the top of the second inning with Greensboro leading, 1-0.

The Suns and Grasshoppers will complete the nine-inning suspended game as part of a doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday, May 22, at 5:05 p.m. Game two, the originally scheduled game for Tuesday, will begin approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of game one and will be played as a seven-inning game.

Tickets for Monday night’s suspended game will be honored for both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader, or may be exchanged for any future Suns’ regular season home game.

About Dave Nichols

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Capitals, Wizards and Mystics. Dave also covers national college football and basketball and Major League Soccer for Associated Press and is a copy editor for the Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, WA. He spent four years in radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams. Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP

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