I hope everyone reading this had a safe and happy Fourth of July.
After being lit up on Sunday in a start for Double-A NW Arkansas(and apparently leaving that outing after two innings due to shoulder discomfort), Edgar Osuna was placed on the DL. Blaine Hardy, who had been struggling mightily at Triple-A Omaha, was optioned to replace him.Â Sean O’Sullivan, who had been rehabbing with Omaha, was activated by the Royals and optioned to Omaha to take Hardy’s place. Wilmington Blue Rocks reliever Glenn Gibson, who spent the first month of the season on the “DL” retired. He was lit up on Saturday night and saw his ERA rise above 13.00. His decision leaves the Blue Rocks with just 11 pitchers.
It was a busy day for the Royals minor league affiliates:
Most of the scoring between the Storm Chasers and the host New Orleans Zephyrs was done late in the game. Omaha held a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 7th inning. The Zephyrs scored three runs in that inning, however Omaha came right back to score three runs of their own in the top of the 8th. The Zephyrs scored two more in the 8th to tie the game at 5-5, only to see Omaha retake the lead at 6-5 in the top of the 9th. It all lead to the 9th inning heroics of “Super” Joe Thurston. The Zephyrs tied the game at 6-6 on an error by Omaha (the next batter also reached on an error). With two outs, Thurston ripped an RBI double for the walk-off win.
The Storm Chasers wasted a solid start from Luis Mendoza. Mendoza allowed three runs (two earned) over 6.2 innings. He didn’t walk a batter while striking out three. Omaha made four errors (as did New Orleans). David Lough went 3-for-5, while Kila Ka’aihue and Lorenzo Cain each had two hits in the loss.
The Naturals and Corpus Christi Hooks went back-and-forth, but the Naturals scored the game’s final two runs to win 5-3. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Naturals scored two runs to take the lead for good (after the Hooks had tied the game in the top of the inning). With two outs, Jeff Bianchi singled in two runs (he had two hits). Henry Barrera earned his first save as he pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief.
Remember how the Blue Rocks were leading 4-2 when Sunday’s game was suspended in the 5th inning? Well when the game was restarted on Monday, they fell apart in the bottom of the 8th inning and lost 7-4. The host Potomac Nationals scored five runs in that inning, capped by two 2-run homeruns. The Blue Rocks are now tied for most losses in the league when leading entering the 8th inning. The Blue Rocks had just three hits over the final four innings.
In the second game (a seven inning affair), the Blue Rocks received excellent pitching from starter Noel Arguelles and reliever Bryan Paukovits. Arguelles allowed one run on six hits over five innings. Arguelles won for the first time on the road. Paukovits pitched two perfect innings of relief to earn the save. The Blue Rocks scored three runs in the 5th inning as they won 4-1. Gerard Hall drove in two runs with a double.
Whit Merrifield may be coming out of his slump, as he went 4-for-7 in the two games (after being in a 1-for-28 slump). John Whittleman homered in both games.
After being stifled for seven innings by Quad Cities starter Boone Whiting (he allowed an unearned run on five hits while striking out seven), the Kane County Cougars scored a run in the bottom of the 9th inning on Alex Llanos’ two-out RBI double to tie the game up at 2-2. The game would stay tied until the bottom of the 11th when Llanos would strike again. After two walks to lead off the inning, Orlando Calixte went to sacrifice the runners to second and third, but the pitcher threw it away, loading the bases with nobody out. Llanos followed with an RBI single for the walk-off win. Nick Rogers earned the win for the Cougars with three shutout innings of relief. Kolten Wong hit his first professional homerun for the River Bandits, a solo shot in the 5th inning off Cougars starter Yordano Ventura.