Sunday, June 11, 2017

Twins Minor League Report (6/11): Playoff Push

Photo Credit: Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (Max Cordy)
The Twins are less than 24 hours from an influx of talent into their farm system. Obviously, some of these players won't sign right away but this time of year can always pull minor league fans in opposite directions. It's great to add new talent but that also means other players could be out of a job as new players take their place.

It's tough to consider but some players might be in their final days in a Twins uniform. With only three affiliates playing on Sunday, who stood out above the crowd? Read on to find out.

Roster Moves
RHP Nik Turley, contract purchased by Minnesota
LHP Matt Tracy was moved from Chattanooga to Rochester
LHP Randy Rosario was optioned from Minnesota to Chattanooga
RHP Drew Rucinski, designated for assignment
LHP Nick Greenwood, released

Rochester 6, Syracuse 5
Box Score

Rochester got their offense moving in the second inning. Niko Goodrum singled to start the frame. ByungHo Park doubled before a J.B. Shuck triple plated a pair of runs. JR Murphy used a sac-fly to push the Rochester lead to 3-0.  In the next inning, Matt Hague walked before a Tommy Field double moved him to third. Park singled and Shuck doubled as each batter drove in a run. 

After Syracuse scored three runs in the top of the fourth, Rochester needed to find someway to answer. Zach Granite started the frame with a double. Mitch Garver moved him to third on a come-backer to the mound. Matt Hague brought him in on a sacrifice fly to extend the lead back to three runs. 

With Nik Turley making his big league debut, Matt Tracy started for Rochester. He went five frames and allowed three runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked two. Trevor Hildenberger ran into some sixth inning trouble as he allowed two runs and the Chiefs were one run away from tying the game. Park, Shuck and Engelb Vielma were all 2-for-4. 

Alan Busenitz and Ryan Pressly pitched two shutout innings to end the game. Busenitz allowed a double, a wild pitch, and a walk before a huge inning ending double play. Pressly struck out the side in the ninth and all three strikeouts were swinging. 

Chattanooga 5, Montgomery 4

Box Score
Chattanooga bounced early on Montgomery's pitching staff. Jonathan Rodriguez and Dan Gamache reached with a walk and a single to start the threat. With two outs, Jose Gonzalez walked to load the bases. A Ryan Walker single brought in the first two runs of the game. Nick Gordon finished the frame with a 2-run triple to put Chattanooga up 4-0. In the next inning, Rodriguez would single and score two batters later on a TJ White single to extend the Lookouts' lead.

Randy LeBlanc had just pitched out of the bullpen three days ago so he was on a short pitch count. He scattered five hits and struck out five through four shutout frames. Raul Fernandez continued posting zeros as he didn't allow a run in two innings while striking out one. From there, things got a little dicey in the bullpen.

Todd Van Steensel allowed a one-out double before a wild pitch moved the runner to third. A sacrifice fly scored Montgomery's first run of the game. Recently returned Randy Rosario ran into some trouble himself. He gave up three singles and a walk but a key strikeout kept the bleeding to one run. 

Jake Reed entered the ninth with a three run lead and he'd need everyone of them. He walked two of the first four batters before a double cut the lead to 5-3. During the next at-bat, Reed uncorked a wild pitch that allowed the runner to scamper in from third. A line out to center would end the threat and the Lookouts came away with the big win.

With the win, the Lookouts move into sole possession of first place in the Southern League North Division. Tennessee lost on Sunday and sits a half a game behind Chattanooga. Montgomery is two games back. 

Cedar Rapids 1, Burlington 4
Box Score
The Kernels got out to a quick start as they used back-to-back doubles from Mitchell Kranson and Jaylin Davis to score the game's first run. Cedar Rapids had three hits in the first frame but they will be held to two more hits the rest of the way. Kranson is in the middle of a career-best seven game hit streak. Travis Blankenhorn went 2-for-4. Hitters five through nine in the Kernel's line-up reached base one time.

Max Cordy made a spot start and had a career-high-tying four shutout innings. He had to get out of a bases loaded jam in the second and then Davis had to throw out a runner at home in the fourth. Evan Sanders took the loss as he allowed three runs on three hits with two walks. Logan Lombana allowed a solo home run in his two innings with two strikeouts. Colton Davis struck out two as part of two scoreless innings.

Even with the loss, the Kernels have their destiny in their own hands. Entering the final week of the first half, Cedar Rapids leads the Midwest League Western Division by one game over Kane County and sits two games above Quad Cities.

Pitcher of the Day – Randy LeBlanc, Chattanooga Lookouts (4 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, BB, 5 H)
Hitter of the Day – JB Shuck, Rochester Red Wings (2-for-4, 2B, 3B, 3 RBI)

Rochester - Scheduled Off Day
Chattanooga @ Montgomery (7:05 CST) - RHP Felix Jorge (6-1, 3.32 ERA)
Fort Myers vs. Charlotte (6:05 CST) - LHP Lewis Thorpe (0-2, 1.38 ERA)

Cedar Rapids vs. Burlington (12:05 CST) - RHP Tyler Wells (3-0, 2.05 ERA)

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

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