Sunday, April 16, 2017

Twins Minor League Report (4/16): Palka Power, Dueling Shutouts

Photo Credit: Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (Randy LeBlanc)
As Easter weekend comes to a close, many of the Twins minor league affiliates are starting to settle into an early season groove. With the weather continuing to warm up, pitchers and batters can be more comfortable and play up to their full potential.

Even though there were only three affiliates playing on Easter Sunday, there was still plenty of action. Big name players hit home run. There were also some strong pitching performances. Who stood out above the crowd? Read on to find out.

RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 10, Syracuse 6 (Game 1- 7 Innings)
Box Score

Rochester exploded for multiple runs in three of the first four innings to out pace Syracuse in game one of the double-header. The Red Wings got things off to a good start by plating four runs in the first frame. Ben Paulsen had the big hit in the inning as his two-out double drove in three runs. Tommy Field cracked a two-run home run in the second inning to push the lead to 6-1. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Kennys Vargas helped to extend the lead by knocking a three-run shot, his second of the year. Every batter in the Red Wings line-up reached base and Matt Hague was the lone hitter not to record a hit but he drew a walk and scored a run. 

Jason Wheeler started and allowed three earned runs over five innings of work. He gave up seven hits while striking out four and walking two. Alan Busenitz walked three batters in the sixth frame as he allowed three earned runs to make the game closer than it needed to be. Trevor Hildenberger closed out the game with a perfect ninth including two strikeouts.

Rochester 6, Syracuse 7 (Game 2- 7 Innings)
Box Score

Syracuse got revenge in the second game as they jumped early on Aaron Slegers for four runs in the first inning. Slegers wouldn't make it out of the fourth inning as he allowed five runs on 11 hits. He struck out six batters and only gave up one walk. Buddy Boshers finished off the fourth for Slegers but the damage had already been done. 

Rochester did their best to claw back into the game. Daniel Palka drove in a run with a second inning double. Niko Goodrum continued the scoring with a sacrifice fly. Palka would add to the scoring with as he lead-off the fourth inning with a his third home run of the year. Palka finished the game 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double, three RBI, and four runs. 

Raul Fernandez run into some late inning trouble as he surrendered two home runs in his 1.2 innings of work. Alex Wimmers collected the last four outs without allowing a runner and striking out one. Former Twins closer Joe Nathan earned his second save even though he allowed Palka's second home run. 

CHATTANOOGA CHATTER
Chattanooga 1, Jacksonville 0

Box Score
In a tightly contested pitchers duel, the Lookouts were able to find a way to scratch out a win. Paul Clemens started for Chattanooga and pitched into the sixth frame. He scattered five hits and struck out four while walking one. After pitching 1.2 scoreless frames, Todd Van Steensel earned his first victory of the year. Mason Melotakis picked up his first save after tossing two perfect frames.

The hits were few and far between for both clubs. Jonathan Rodriguez picked up the games biggest hit as he smashed a solo home run with one out in the seventh. Engelb Vielma finished 1-for-4. Ryan Walker and Jose Gonzalez each picked up a hit. Levi Michael and Nick Gordon were the only Lookouts hitters that didn't strikeout in the game. 

With the win, Chattanooga won the rubber game of the three-game set with Jacksonville.  The Lookouts moved to 5-5 on the season. 

MIRACLE MATTERS 
Fort Myers 5, Daytona 0
Box Score
Randy LeBlanc was the story of this game. He tossed seven scoreless innings for the second straight start. He limited the Tortugas to three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Nick Anderson completed the shutout with two innings of work. He allowed two base runners and struck out a pair of batters.

Daytona went on an error spree in this game to help Fort Myers separate themselves. The Tortugas combined for four errors which lead to three unearned runs. Zander Wiel drove in a pair of runs with his first home run of the year. Chris Paul and Brian Navarreto each knocked a double and Navarreto drove in a run.

After losing five straight games by one run, the Miracle have one two of their last three including a pair of shutouts. Fort Myers now sits with a 3-8 record on the season.

TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Pitcher of the Day – Randy LeBlanc, Fort Myers Miracle
Hitter of the Day – Daniel Palka, Rochester Red Wings


WEDNESDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester- Scheduled Off Day
Chattanooga vs. Biloxi (6:15 CST) - TBD
Fort Myers vs. Florida (5:35 CST) - LHP Lachlan Wells (0-1, 1.29 ERA) 

Cedar Rapids @ Peoria (6:30 CST) - RHP Clark Beeker

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

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