Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday Night Minor League Lights

The Twins won both ends of a double header against Kansas City on Saturday but there was plenty of exciting action across the minor leagues. Let's check out how the Twins farm system fared as their seasons are coming to a close.


In what looks like it will be a great Appalachian League Championship Series, the E-Twins lost an important first game to the Burlington Royals by a score of 3-2 in extra-innings. Angel Matta started the game for the Twins and pitched five strong innings while allowing one run on six hits with six strikeouts. His only trouble came in the bottom of the second when he allowed the first three batters to reach on singles. He got out of the jam by allowing a single run so it was a good job of sidestepping danger.

There were a lot of zeros put on the board until the top of the sixth when the E-Twins were finally able to get on the board. Adam Walker started the inning by belting a solo-home run to tie the game. The next batter was DJ Hicks and he decided back-to-back home runs were in order. For the first time in the series, Elizabethton had a lead at 2-1. Unfortunately, it wouldn't last for the rest of the game.

Tyler Herr was called on to relieve Mata on the mound and he was doing fine for the first couple of innings. Even the start of the eighth inning looked to be going well as Herr struck out the first two batters that he faced. Mark Threlkeld was the third batter of the inning for Burlington and he sent one over the fence to tie the game in the late innings, a devastating shot for the young E-Twins.

In extra-innings, the E-Twins had their chance to take the lead in the top of the 10th when Romy Jimenez doubled with one out in the frame. There was a wild pitch with Travis Harrison batting to advance Jimenez to third. Harrison would walk but the next two batters would fail to knock in the runner. In the 11th inning, Byron Buxton would reach third with two outs but he was left there. A couple of golden opportunities missed by Elizabethton.

The bottom of the 12th saw Burlington lead off with a single by Terrance Gore. He would make it to third on a sacrifice bunt to Travis Harrison at third base. The next batter was Bubba Starling and last year's first round pick for the Royals knocked a sacrifice fly to end the game.


A back and forth contest between the Red Wings and the Chiefs saw Rochester get back to the .500 mark for the season at 71-71. The Red Wings took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning and the offense went cold for a few frames. Syracuse scored a couple in the third and added another in the fifth to push their lead to 3-1. A big 3-run seventh inning put the Red Wings on top but it would only last until the eighth.

Jeff Manship started for Rochester pitched 5.2 innings by allowing one run on five hits. Caleb Thielbar was moving along at a decent clip before running into some trouble in the bottom of the eighth. With a runner on base, the Red Wings turned to closer Anthony Slama who gave up a triple and saw the lead disappear.

Brian Dozier had a big night by going 3-for-5 with an RBI. Wilkin Ramirez was able to knock in a couple of runs with his single in the seventh inning. Clete Thomas went 3-for-5 and he knocked in a couple runs of his own. Thomas even scored on his triple after a bad play by the center fielder. Brian Dinkelman and Rene Rivera added doubles in the ninth to push the lead for Rochester.


New Britain got down early in this game but had some big at-bats in the later innings to put them on top for good. A four-run sixth inning and a three-run seventh inning were more than enough to cover up the two early runs given up by Luke French. For the second outing in a row, French would be strong on the mound by tossing 7.2 innings and allowing two runs on four hits.

The top of the order did a lot of damage for the Rock Cats. Aaron Hicks and Chris Herrmann put up big numbers out of the one and two spots in the batting order. Hicks had two triples and a couple runs scored as the lead-off hitter. He also set the team record for runs scored in a season (97) and triples in a season (11). Chris Colabello tied the Rock Cats season record with 97 RBI. Josmil Pinto, Deibinson Romero, and Herrmann all had multiple RBI performances to help push the Rock Cats to the victory.


The Miracle had a tough time getting on the board in this contest against the Stone Crabs. Charlotte starting pitcher Eliazer Suero threw seven innings of two hit ball to keep the damage to a minimum for the Miracle. Fort Myers pieced together a game by having three pitchers throw three innings apiece. Miguel Munoz started the game and only gave up a hit before Ryan O'Rourke took over. O'Rourke allowed two runs but only one of them was earned. Ricky Bowen allowed a couple runs on four hits during his three innings of work.

When a team gets handled by the opposing pitcher, there isn't much to talk about on the offensive side of the ball. Angel Morales had the only extra-base hit of the night for the Miracle. It was his fifth triple of the year. Daniel Santana went 1-for-4 with an RBI and Levi Michael was 1-for-3 with a walk. Michael also added his 16th error of the season and this one came on a throw at second base.


With Miguel Sano out of the line-up, Eddie Rosario reminded fans why he should be considered among the best prospects in the organization. In the middle of the batting order, Rosario had a big night with his 31st and 32nd doubles of the season. Kennys Vargas knocked in a couple runs batting behind Rosario. Matthew Koch added a couple hits of his own at the bottom of the order.

This was more than enough for Tyler Jones as he threw seven innings by allowing a single run on four hits with nine strikeouts. Jones seems to be ending the year on a strong note as he has tossed seven innings or more in each of his last two appearances. During that time, he has only allowed three earned runs.

Quad City made things interesting by scoring four in the ninth but it wasn't enough.

Players of the Day for September 1, 2012

Hitter of the Day- Aaron Hicks

Pitcher of the Day- Tyler Jones

A Look Ahead- Sunday, September 2nd Schedule

Game 2 of the Appalachian League Championship Series
Elizabethton vs. Burlington- LHP Hein Robb

Rochester @ Syracuse- TBA
New Britain vs. New Hampshire- RHP Steve Hirschfeld
Fort Myers @ Charlotte- LHP Pat Dean
Beloit vs. Quad City- LHP Matt Tomshaw

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