Well, the 2014 season is officially underway down on the farm, with all four full season Yankees affiliates taking their first hacks of the season. On the whole, it was a good start to the season for most of the Yankees' minor league counterparts, as Trenton was the lone loss of the day. Scranton/WB beat Syracuse 4-1: The RailRiders got the season started on the right foot, as Jose Pirela singled to center. Scott Sizemore drove the ball to left, putting runners on the corners. A double-play ball by Zoilo Almonte brought home Pirela and the RailRiders took the early lead. Russ Canzler lead off the fourth with a double, moving to third on an error. With two outs, Ramon Flores drove a triple to right, doubling the Scranton score. The RailRiders added some insurance in the fifth. Zelous Wheeler singled, as did Sizemore. An error on the Chiefs' first baseman allowed Almonte to reach and Wheeler to score before Canzler connected with another double, plating Sizemore and putting the RailRiders ahead 4-0. Syracuse finally got on the board with a run in the bottom of the inning, started by a single from former Yankee farmhand Brandon Laird, who scored on a single by Eury Perez, but Scranton held on for the 4-1 victory.
Sizemore had a great start to the season, going 3-3 with a run scored and a walk. Canzler was 2-4 with a pair of doubles, a RBI and a run scored. Flores also went 2-4, tripling and getting a RBI. Austin Romine, John Ryan Murphy, Adonis Garcia and Almonte all went 0-4. Bruce Billings picked up the win, throwing five innings and allowing one run on seven hits. He walked one and struck out three. Preston Claiborne, Danny Burawa, Mark Montgomery and Matt Daley each threw a scoreless inning of relief with Claiborne giving up the lone hit. Daley struck out the side and Burawa picked up a pair of Ks.
Trenton lost to New Hampshire 6-0: One big inning was more than enough for the Fisher Cats to take the first game of the season from Trenton, who ended the 2013 season with a Championship trophy and an impressive streak of wins. Bryan Mitchell took the start and after pitching a 1-2-3 first inning, found himself struggling in the second. Brad Glen lead off with a single and Ryan Schimpf doubled with one out. A single by Kevin Nolan plated Glenn and Mike Crouse drew a walk before Kenny Wilson nailed a two-out triple to right, clearing the bases and giving New Hampshire a 4-0 lead. Meanwhile, Trenton struggled to get on base. Taylor Dugas drew a walk in the third and Mason Williams singled, but Robert Refsnyder struck out to end the inning. New Hampshire picked up a run in the fifth and in the ninth, but Trenton only managed three hits on the night and took the 6-0 loss.
Williams, Rob Segedin and Zach Wilson each picked up a hit. Gary Sanchez and Dugas both drew walks. Meanwhile, Refsnyder, Segedin, Sanchez, Ben Gamel and Dan Fiorito each struck out twice. Mitchell threw four innings and gave up four runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out four. Jairo Heredia allowed one run on three hits and a walk over two innings. Manny Barreda threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out four. Cole Kimball gave up the final run in his innign of work, allowing two hits and striking out one.
Tampa beat Lakeland 4-0: Like Scranton, the Yankees got started early on Thursday. Cito Culver, who started the 2013 season surprisingly hot at the plate, drove a double to center in the first, scoring on an error by Tyler Hanover that allowed Peter O'Brien to reach. Dante Bichette, Jr. drove in O'Brien with a double of his own for the 2-0 lead. The game stayed like that, as both teams got the occasional base runner but wasn't able to capitalize on the opportunity. A single by Culver in the ninth was followed by a homer from O'Brien and the Yankees took the 4-0 win.
Culver went 2-4 with a double and two runs scored. O'Brien went 1-4 with two runs scored, a homer and two RBIs. Bichette and Jake both went 1-4, while Yeicok Claderon went 1-3. Angelo Gumbs and Eric Jagielo both struggled at the plate, going 0-4 and both striking out three times. Manny Banuelos made the start, as he works his way back from Tommy John surgery. He threw three hitless innings with a walk and three Ks. Dietrich Enns threw four innings, allowing the lone hit of the day and four walks, though he struck out five. Tyler Webb finished off the game with two perfect innings and three Ks.
Charleston beat Augusta 5-1: After four scoreless innings, Charleston broke through in the top of the fifth. Luis Torrens lined a single to left and Gosuke Katoh drew a walk. Michael O'Neill flew a single to right, loading the bases. A fly ball to left scored Torrens and a wild pitch allowed Katoh to come home. Abiatal Avelino doubled to right, scoring O'Neill before Avelino got tagged out at third and Aaron Judge lined out to end the rally. Still the RiverDogs held a 3-0 lead. A walk, hit by pitch, balk and wild pitch by Augusta pitcher Raymond Black gave Charleston another run in the top of the sixth.Christian Arroyo tripled in the bottom of the inning, scoring on an error by Katoh to give Augusta their lone run of the day. In the eighth, Charleston picked up another run when Miguel Andujar tripled in Mike Ford for the 5-1 victory.
Ford went 3-3 with a pair of runs and a walk. Katoh went 1-2 with a run scored and two walks. O'Neill, Torrens, Andujar and Avelino each had one hit for the RiverDogs. Rooke Davis made the start, throwing five strong innings. He allowed two hits and a walk, striking out five. Cesar Vargas came in from the pen to pitch three innings. He allowed one unearned run on three hits. He struck out four. Philip Walby struck out the side in the ninth, capping off the RiverDogs win.