Another rough one for the Empire State Yankees, who can’t seem to come through with the big plays when they need them. The Yankees got 9 total hits in this game, but only Francisco Cervelli had more than one, going 3-5 on the night (Doug Bernier did draw two walks on top of his 1-2 night). That translated to just two runs for the team, and that wasn’t good enough to top the Red Wings. Michael O’Connor had an okay outing in the start, holding Rochester scoreless while allowing one hit and two walks with three strikeouts, but he pitched just 3.2 innings. Chase Whitley entered in relief of him, and allowed three runs in 2.2 innings.
The Thunder continued their recent winning streak tonight, beating Erie for the second time in as many days and taking their third victory in a row to move them back to .500 at 6-6. Brett Marshall got the start for the Thunder in this one and pitched pretty well, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk with three strikeouts in six innings pitched. The two runs were charged to Marshall after he left the game, but he did leave them on the corners for Francisco Rondon after Marshall allowed a double and a single to start the seventh. On offense, the night was all about Abraham Almonte. The Thunder leadoff hitter went 3-3 with two walks, a double, and a home run while scoring three runs in total. Yeah, that will get it done. The Thunder hit four doubles as a team in this one, with the other three coming from Zoilo Almonte, Melky Mesa, and Walter Ibarra.
This one was looking pretty ugly for most of the game, as the Yankees’ bats that had been so hot of late were virtually non-existent tonight. The Yankees had just two hits and no runs through seven innings, but J.R. Murphy led off the bottom of the 8th with a single, moved to second on a bunt, and then advanced to third on a ground out. Garrison Lassiter and Jose Toussen walked to load the bases, and Eduardo Sosa was able to bring Murphy home with a ground out to tie the game. Mark Montgomery would come in to pitch the 9th, retiring the side with two ground outs and a strikeout while allowing a runner to get to second via a single and a stolen base, giving the Yankees a chance to win the game with a run in the bottom of the frame. Ramon Flores and Rob Segedin struck out to lead off the inning, but Neil Medchill hit a two out triple to keep the inning alive, and then Murphy brought him home with a single to complete the late comeback.
Murphy was definitely the hero in this one, collecting three of the Yankees’ five hits in his four at bats and picking up the game winning RBI. Starter Shane Greene allowed Clearwater’s lone run on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched.
Rounding out the minor league action on this night, Charleston capped the evening off with an extra inning victory in an exciting game in Augusta. The Riverdogs got on the board first thanks to a two out double from Ben Gamel in the top of the 3rd, but Augusta roared back to score three runs off of Wilton Rodriguez in the seventh, taking the lead in the process. That wouldn’t last long, however, as Mason Williams singled to lead off the top of the 8th and moved to second on a missed catch. After a strikeout by Gamel, Dante Bichette ripped a one out single up the middle, bring Williams around to score the tying run. Tyler Austin then singled to move Bichette to third, putting runners on the corners with one out for Gary Sanchez, but Sanchez would ground into a double play to end the threat.
The Riverdogs almost had the game slip away from them in the bottom of the ninth, as two walks and a wild pitch gave Augusta runners at second and third with two outs, but Cito Culver made a nice play at shortstop to convert the third out and send the game to extra innings. The Riverdogs went relatively quietly in the 10th, and then retired the Green Jackets in order in the bottom of the inning. The top of the 11th pretty much sealed the deal, however, as the Riverdogs batted around scoring four runs in the process.
Performance wise, Tyler Austin continues to rake, going 2-4 with a couple of singles and a walk. Gary Sanchez went 1-5, but he reached on a throwing error in the 11th that really sparked the Riverogs’ onslaught in that inning, Anderson Feliz went 2-5 and picked up a couple of RBI on a single in the 11th, Gamel was 2-6 with the RBI double and the 10th inning single, and Angelo Gumbs went 0-3 with two walks. Starting pitcher Caleb Cotham allowed four hits and no walks while striking out five in 4.0 innings pitched.