Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Twins Minor League Report (7/19): Polanco Parks One

Photo Credit: Linwood Ferguson, Captive Photons (LaMonte Wade)
It's getting to that point in the season where minor league team's need to decide if they are contenders or pretenders. Players get promoted and demoted but each team has the goal of reaching the playoffs and finding success in the post-season tournament.

Twins minor league squads have fared well in recent years. Can this year's crop of teams live up to those that have come before them? Read on to see which teams are trending in the right direction.

Rochester 6, Durham 7 (10 Innings)
Box Score

It was Christmas in July night in Rochester but the Red Wings took awhile to open their gifts to their fans. Darin Mastroianni lead off the first inning with a triple and was driven in by a James Beresford sacrifice fly to put Rochester up 1-0 before the offense went into a Christmas freeze.

Things picked up again in the eighth inning with Rochester trailing 6-1. After Wildfredo Tovar reached on a single and Logan Schafter walked, Darin Mastroianni was hit by a pitch to load the bases. James Beresford, who is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak, drove in another pair of runs with a single. Jorge Polanco cleared the bases with his ninth home run.

Pat Dean started for Rochester and allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings of work. Marcus Walden took over for Dean and gave up a pair of runs (one earned) in two frames. J.T. Chargois took the loss as he was asked to come out for a second inning of work and he couldn't make it out of the tenth. After getting the first batter to fly out, the next two men reached and he exited. Sean Burnett was on the mound when the go-ahead run was scored but it was charged to Chargois.

Rochester remains 4.5 games behind first place Scranton/WB, who also lost on Tuesday night. It was the second straight extra innings affair between these two teams with Durham winning both contests.

Fort Myers 3, Lakeland 5
Box Score
Keaton Steele got off to a rough start in this one as the Flying Tigers pounced on him for two first inning runs. He would recover for a few innings before surrendering three more runs in the fifth inning. Steele went five frames and scattered seven hits while striking out six and walking three. His nine losses are tied for the second most in the Florida State League. 

The bullpen did well to keep the Miracle in striking distance. John Curtiss, Michael Theofanopoulos, and Nick Anderson combined to toss four shutout innings on three hits. None of the relief arms allowed a batter to get further than second base. 

It took awhile for the Fort Myers offense to wake up in this one but the team tried to mount a comeback in the late innings. Alex Perez lead off the inning with a single in front of a TJ White walk. Following a ground out and a pop out, the runners were still in scoring position. LaMonte Wade brought them home with a three-run home run. 

It was the second straight loss for the Miracle after winning three straight over the weekend. The club currently sits at three games over .500 for the entire season. In the second half standings, they are 15-11 and are near the top of the Florida State League South.

Elizabethton 9, Kingsport 8
Box Score
If you are a fan of offense, there were plenty of fireworks in Elizabethton on Tuesday night. The E-Twins pounded out 13 hits but it took quite multiple comebacks to for the squad to end up the victors. 

Elizabethton entered the sixth frame trailing 7-2 as starter Tyler Beardsley couldn't make it out of the fifth frame. He was charged with five earned runs (seven total runs) in 4.2 innings while striking out three and walking one. Quin Grogan and Johan Quezada allowed one unearned run the rest of the way to set the stage for what was to come. 

The E-Twins scored three runs in the sixth inning but only managed one hit in the frame, an RBI single from Alex Kirilloff. Before Kirilloff's hit, the first two batters reached with walks. Then a force attempt coaxed a throwing error by the second baseman to load the bases. A wild pitch and a ground out scored two runs before Kirilloff drove in the third run of the frame. 

In the next inning, the club would continue to mount their comeback. Mitchell Kranson singled and moved to second on a Caleb Hamilton walk. Andre Jernigan cracked his third double to drive in both runners and the score was now tied at 7-7. 

After allowing an unearned run in the top of the ninth, the E-Twins needed to find one more comeback. With one out, Jernigan reached on a fielding error to put some pressure on the pitcher. Luis Martinez flew out for the second out of the inning but Ariel Montesino walked to put the winning runner on base. After a pitching change, Shane Carrier ripped a double to score both runners and to send the fans home happy. 

GCL Twins 4, GCL Rays 2

Box Score
After giving up a first inning run, Bo Hellquist settled in nicely for the GCL Twins. He scattered six hits over five innings while striking out seven and walking none. His season ERA dropped to 2.08 and this was his first professional victory. Hellquist, a Minnesota-Duluth product, set career highs in innings pitched and strikeouts. 

Garret Kelly picked up his second hold in relief of Hellquist by limiting the Rays to one base runner in two shutout innings. Callan Pearce got in a little trouble in the later innings but not enough to surrender the lead. He allowed one run, an unearned run, while striking out three and walking two in two innings. It was his second save and he has yet to allow an earned run this season. 

Jean Carlos Arias came up with the first big hit for the Twins. He drove in a pair of runs after Jhon Alvarez walked, Gorge Munoz was hit by a pitch, and Heiker Meneses singled. This put the GCL Twins up 2-1 in the third frame. 

Things got a little wild in the sixth frame. Joe Cronin was hit by a pitch with one out in the inning. This was followed by a pair of wild pitches that allowed Cronin to move all the way around to third. Zach Featherstone drove him in with a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 3-1. Tyree Davis didn't want the scoring to end there. He singled and stole second before advance to third on a throwing error by the catcher. He would come in to score on a wild pitch to cap the GCL Twins scoring for the day. 

Pitcher of the Day – Bo Hellquist, GCL Twins (5 IP, 1 ER, 7 K, first professional win)
Hitter of the Day – Tyree Davis, GCL Twins (3-for-4, 2 doubles)

Durham @ Rochester (10:05 AM CST) – TBD
Chattanooga @ Jackson (7:05 PM CST) – RHP Kohl Stewart (3-4, 3.78 ERA)
Lakeland @ Fort Myers (6:05 PM CST) – LHP Randy Rosario (5-6, 3.73 ERA)
Bowling Green @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 PM CST) – LHP Lachlan Wells (2-1, 1.27 ERA)
Kingsport @ Elizabethton (6:00 PM CST) – LHP Domenick Carlini (1-3, 4.71 ERA)
GCL Twins @ GCL Rays (11:00 AM CST) – TBD

Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Tuesday’s games.

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