After rainouts in both Omaha and Wilmington, the Royals affiliates split the only games on the docket.
HR Roll Call: Bubba Starling (5), Mike Hill (1)
BP KC Hitter of the Day: Bubba Starling 3-4 HR, 2b, 2R, RBI
BP KC Pitcher of the Day: Matt Strahm 5 IP 5 H 1 ER 0 BB 8 K
NW Arkansas Naturals 7 Tulsa Drillers 5
The Naturals used big-named prospects Raul Mondesi and Bubba Starling, along with Matt Strahm to build a comfortable cushion Sunday on the way to their third straight win. The lefty starter was solid as always at controlling what he can control, which is not walking a single hitter in his five innings. Control wasn’t the only part of his game that he excelled out on this day however as he also missed plenty of bats in piling up a season high eight strikeouts. By the time Strahm had left to start the sixth inning his offense had already given him a 4-1 cushion thanks to Mondesi mostly. In the first inning Mondesi singled, swiped second and came home on a two out single from Hunter Dozier. Two innings later it was Raul’s double that drove in a pair to push the advantage to 3-1. He scored later on an Orlando Calixte sacrifice fly. A 7th inning solo home run from Starling pushed the score to 5-1; then added a one-out double in the 9th. The late scoring mattered as the Naturals bullpen would give up four runs in the final three innings. For Strahm it was his first win of the young season. The Naturals three game winning streak has pushed them into 2nd place just two games back of the Cardinals, who the Naturals will start a four game series with following the conclusion of this Tulsa series on Monday.
Raul Mondesi 3-4, 2b, 2R, 2 RBI, SB (10)
Mauricio Ramos 2-4, R, RBI
Hunter Dozier 1-4, RBI, played left field for third time this season
Hickory Crawdads 4 Lexington Legends 3
The Legends top of the order couldn’t get much going on Sunday while the offense as a whole struggled when given opportunities, going 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position on their way to a second loss in this four-game series. The Legends had taken a 3-2 lead following a two-run home run from Mike Hill in the fourth, but that would be one of the last scoring chances on the day. The Legends moved just one more base runner into scoring position in the following five innings. While the offense was flailing, the pitching of reliever Yunior Marte allowed the second-place Crawdads to tie the game in the fifth when he walked the bases loaded prior to a sac fly. Eventually the reliever would lose the lead after a one-out double turned into a run, thanks in part to Chase Vallot’s seventh passed ball allowed this season. The young catcher with a big bat has been a liability behind the dish early in the season, allowing six stolen bases during this one while also giving extra bases via the passed ball. The running game isn’t entirely his fault, but one would like to see him slow it down a tad, having allowed 35 stolen bases in just fourteen games.
Nolan Watson 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, BB, 3 K
Chase Vallot 1-3, 2b, BB, .980 OPS in 21 games
Cody Jones 1-4, SB, R