Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday's Trip through the Minors

After an offensive explosion on Monday night, the Twins made things a little bit more interesting on Tuesday when they didn't take their first lead in the game until the seventh inning. This comeback was spurred on by four two out hits with Ben Revere and Joe Mauer knocking in the runs to make the difference in the 6-4 final score.

It seemed like a showcase game for Joe Mauer as he went 3-for-4 in the game including an RBI and one walk. He also made a tremendous diving catch on a bunt attempt where he had to sprawl out in foul territory to snag the pop up. Mauer is making an attempt to catch Mike Trout for the league lead in batting average but Trout continues to have monster games as he went 4-for-6 on Tuesday. There is plenty of time left for Mauer to catch Trout so it will be interesting to see if the 20-year old rookie ever cools down.

Mauer wasn't the only member of the Twins organization to impress on Tuesday night because there were plenty of good games in the farm system. Make sure to check out all the details below in this edition of "Tuesday's Trip through the Minors."

After a loss on Monday, the Red Wings got back to their recent winning ways by topping the Norfolk Tide on Tuesday night. During the month of July, the Red Wings have the most wins in the International League with 11 wins to their credit. Rochester is one victory away from the .500 mark and it would be the first time the team has seen that point since the end of April. The 2010 and 2011 seasons were a little rough for Rochester but the victory tonight has the Red Wings off to their best 97-game start since 2007.

Jeff Manship pitched strong for the Red Wings by spreading out eight hits over six innings with both runs being charged to him. It was his first start since returning from the DL and he got his first victory since May 21 to improve to 5-1 on the season. Luis Perdomo got the untraditional three inning save, his sixth save for the year, by tossing three scoreless frames and striking out two. The one man to get to the Red Wings pitching staff was former Twins player Lew Ford who went 3-for-4 with a home run to raise his average to .340 with 10 long balls.

Rene Rivera didn't start the game for the Red Wings but an early exit by JR Towles meant that Rivera would get some at-bats in the game. He went 2-for-3 with sixth home run of the year. Clete Thomas and Evan Bigley matched the two hits from Rivera with each hitter managing an extra-base hit in the game. Sean Burroughs lead the team with two runs batted in and he's up to 18 RBI for the season. The Red Wings have scored four or more runs in a season high six straight games and it's the first time they have done this since July of 2010 when they put together a seven game streak.

The Rock Cats took an early 2-1 lead in the first inning and proceeded to fall behind for the next few innings. A big rally in the 8th inning brought the team back into the game with Aaron Hicks scoring the game tying run on a wild pitch with two outs in the frame. The lead wouldn't last long as the Fisher Cats posted back-to-back hits in the top of the ninth to reclaim the lead. In the bottom of the ninth, the Rock Cats would do their best to tie the game with two men reaching base in the inning. Unfortunately, the tying run was left in scoring position when Estarlin De Los Santos popped out to shortstop.

Joe Benson was the only member of the Rock Cats to have more than one hit in the game. The lone extra-base hit came off of the bat of Chris Colabello, his team leading 27th double of the season. In the last ten games, Colabello is hitting .389/.421/.500 with five extra-base hits and seven RBI. Aaron Thompson tossed eight innings for the Rock Cats and gave up five runs on 10 hits including two home runs. By giving up the run in the top of the ninth, Edgar Ibarra was tagged with his first loss since being promoted from Fort Myers at the end of June.

FORT MYERS 2, DUNEDIN 1 (GAME 1, 7 innings)
The Miracle scored two runs in the first inning of this game and that is all they would need to hold on for their 39th victory of the season. Cole Nelson started the game for the Miracle and didn't give up a single earned run during his time on the mound. Over the course of five innings, he surrendered four hits while striking out four and lowering his ERA to 4.03 on the season. It was his fifth victory of the season and his second win in the month of July. AJ Achter earned his third save of the year by throwing two scoreless innings with four strikeouts. 

Levi Michael and Rene Tosoni were the lone Miracle hitters with an extra-base hit as each man had a double to his name for the game. Daniel Santana and Josmil Pinto each had two hits with Pinto knocking in one of the two runs in the game for the Miracle. Pinto has 34 RBI on the season and this ranks third for Fort Myers behind Lance Ray and the aforementioned Daniel Santana. It was the second victory in a row for the Miracle and they would try and complete the sweep of Dunedin in the second game of the double header.

FORT MYERS 0, DUNEDIN 6 (GAME 2, 7 innings)
After winning the first half of the double header, the Miracle struggled to get runners across the plate in the night cap. Fort Myers piled up nine hits over the course of the game but the team went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Levi Michael and Daniel Santana had two hits apiece to lead the club. For the most part, Casey Lawrence, the starter for Dunedin, shut down the rest of the line-up for the Miracle as he tossed six scoreless innings for his sixth victory of the year. Koby Clemens, the son of Roger Clemens, hit a home run in the second inning to give the Blue Jays an early lead in the second inning.

Madison Boer was roughed up for six earned runs off of eight hits in only 2.2 innings on the mound. With the rough outing, Boer saw his ERA rise to 7.47 over the course of his 13 starts with the Miracle. Miguel Munoz and Nelvin Fuentes cleaned up the rest of the game for the Miracle by throwing over four innings of shutout baseball but the hole was already dug for Fort Myers. Even with the rough loss, the Miracle can go for the series victory tomorrow in the finale of the four-game set.

After three straight losses, the Snappers enjoyed a much needed off day on Tuesday. The team will start a six game home stand on Wednesday as they try to sneak closer to the .500 mark in the second half standings. The Snappers have already clinched a playoff spot with their record in the first half but it would still be nice to see the team continue to succeed in the second half. Miguel Sano hit his 19th home run of the year on Monday and it was only his second home run of the month. In the last ten games, he is hitting .300 with eight RBI and four extra-base hits.

One big inning at the plate was all that it took for the E-Twins to take command of their game against the Johnson City Cardinals. The first three batters of the inning got singles to load the bases before the first out was recorded on a force out at home. Kelvin Mention strode to the plate with the bases loaded and he connected for his first professional home run and it just happened to be a grand slam. A couple of batters later Max Kepler would hit a two-run home run, his second of the year, to cap off a seven run inning. Five members of the E-Twins had multiple hits as the team compiled 12 hits in the game.

Hein Robb started the game for the E-Twins and threw 3.1 innings with Johnson City getting seven hits off of him and three earned runs. Kaleb Merck earned his first professional win by throwing 2.2 innings and giving up one earned run on a single hit with three strikeouts. DJ Baxendale and Christian Powell combined for three scoreless innings to close out the victory for the E-Twins. For Powell, it was his first save on the season and four of the six outs he recorded were on strikeouts.

Today's double header between the GCL Twins and GCL Orioles was postponed because of the wet weather in Florida. The GCL Twins are in first place in their division and sit two games ahead of the GCL Red Sox. The team has won their last five games and nine of their last 11 contests. First round pick Byron Buxton hasn't played in a game since July 9 when he suffered a hamstring injury. Hopefully he will be able to get back into action whenever the weather decides to cooperate in Florida.

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Pitcher of the Day- Cole Nelson (5 IP, 0 ER)

Hitter of the Day- Kelvin Mention (1st Professional HR, 4 RBI)


A Look Ahead- Wednesday, July 18th Schedule

Rochester @ Norfolk: LHP Liam Hendriks
New Britain vs. New Hampshire: RHP Shairon Martis
Fort Myers vs. Dunedin: LHP Pat Dean
Beloit vs. Lansing: LHP Jason Wheeler
Elizabethton vs. Johnson City: TBD
GCL Twins vs. GCL Rays: TBD


If you have any question or comments on the Twins minor league system, leave them in the comments section and I will try to answer them.

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