It was a busy weekend across the Royals system, with the wildest game on Sunday in Omaha.
Saturday – New Orleans Baby Cakes 12, Omaha Storm Chasers 4 – Boxscore – HR: Raul Mondesi (6), Terrance Gore (1)
Sunday – Omaha Storm Chasers 15, New Orleans Baby Cakes 11 – Boxscore – HR: Jorge Soler 2(9), Dean Anna (2), Cam Gallagher (2)
The Chasers, facing a short bullpen with multiple players transferred to the big leagues, had to endure a rough start by their starting pitcher Saturday night.
Starter Yender Caramo gave up 12 hits and eight runs in just 3.1 innings to drop to 0-5 on the year. Reliever Onelki Garcia followed, allowing four runs over three innings as Omaha gave up 19 hits on the night.
One of the bright spots on the night was outfielder Terrance Gore hitting the first home run of his pro career after 1,947 plate appearances. The diminutive speedster ambushed a fastball, hitting it 401 feet out to left. In addition, Raul Mondesi hit his fifth home run of the year, but the offensive output by the Marlins Triple-A squad was too much to overcome.
The 24 MPH wind was the story in the finale between the two clubs. That wind led to eight home runs in the game with four coming off Omaha starter Josh Staumont, two more via the Baby Cakes lefty and the final two in the last two innings
The Marlins Triple-A affiliate took a 7-0 lead after their half of the second, but a five-run home half pulled them within a pair of runs. After the two teams exchanged runs, Omaha put a three-run frame on the board in the sixth, getting a steal of home by Terrance Gore and an RBI double from Bubba Starling to take a 9-7 lead.
That lead remained until the eighth when a catcher’s interference call opened the door to a three-run inning by New Orleans to take an 11-9 lead. On a crazy day like this, though, one had an idea that lead wouldn’t hold up and it didn’t. With a runner on first in the ninth, Jorge Soler would enter the run column with a two-run blow to tie the game up and send it to extras.
A perfect tenth by the Chasers helped open the door for the offense who would load the bases after a single by Garin Cecchini, a bunt single by Terrance Gore and an intentional walk to Mondesi. After Bubba Starling nearly walked off the game with a liner that was snagged by the shortstop it was Soler hitting a mammoth 427 foot home run to center to walk it off with an Omaha grand slam.
Saturday – Arkansas Travelers 10, NW Arkansas Naturals 1 – Boxscore
Sunday – NW Arkansas 10, Arkansas Travelers 9 – Boxscore – HR: Alfredo Escalera 2 (3)
Not much was going well for the Naturals on Saturday; their first two pitchers in the game got knocked around and their bats were quiet.
Starter Ashton Goudeau gave up 10 hits and seven runs in just five innings before Luis Rico gave up three runs in three frames. The bats produced just one run on six hits, with Luis Villegas providing the only run on a double.
The Sunday game looked like more of the same until the Naturals bats woke up in the third frame. Trailing 8-2 after starter Zach Lovvorn was knocked around, outfielder Alfredo Escalera unloaded on a grand slam to left to pull NW Arkansas within two runs. For Escalera, it was his second home run of the game after a solo homer in the second.
An RBI single by Donnie Dewees pulled the Naturals within a run in the fourth while their relief corps of Jake Kalish, Tim Hill, and Jake Newberry limited the Travelers to just one run the rest of the game.
Still down 9-7 into the eighth, Samir Duenez started the NW Arkansas winning rally with a one-out double. After a single by Logan Moon pushed Duenez to third a Dewees force out brought the Naturals within a run. An Escalera single extended the inning and catcher Nick Dini took advantage, hitting a double to center that scored both Dewees and Escalera to give NW Arkansas the lead and the eventual win after Newberry locked things down in the ninth.
Saturday – Wilmington Blue Rocks 8, Buies Creek Astros 7 – Boxscore – HR: Chase Vallot (7)
Sunday – Buies Creek Astros 4, Wilmington Blue Rocks 0 – Boxscore
Wilmington built a 4-0 lead on a grand slam only to give up the advantage before coming from behind for the win.
Catcher Chase Vallot hit the grand slam in the first inning as part of his big three hit and five RBI night. Lefty Cristian Castillo struggled, giving up nine hits and six runs (3 ER) in just 3.1 innings, despite six strikeouts.
Trailing 7-5 after five, the Rocks would manufacture single tallies in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. The lead run came off the bat of Travis Maezes with two outs in the ninth, doubling home D.J. Burt from third base.
After struggling in his last outing just two nights ago against Buies Creek, reliever Jacob Bodner worked an 1.2 innings of perfect ball to earn the win.
On Sunday, the Rocks ran into Baseball Prospectus #4 Houston Astros prospect, Franklin Perez, and couldn’t get much accomplished in his five innings in the mound. The Venezuelan righty shut them out while striking out six and limiting them Rocks to two singles.
Wilmington’s starter Scott Blewett kept pace for four innings, but struggled in the fifth, leaving with runners on second and third base. Reliever Jared Ruxer couldn’t escape the damage, allowing both runners to score and a third run on Ryne Birk’s home run.
Those were enough runs to take home a win with the Rocks going 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position in the loss, splitting the four-game series.
Saturday – Hickory Crawdads 7, Lexington Legends 5 – Boxscore - HR: Emmanuel Rivera (5)
Sunday – Hickory Crawdads 7, Lexington Legends 5 – Boxscore – HR: Khalil Lee (10)
The Legends starter and South Atlantic League All-Star Jace Vines had a no-hitter through five innings on Saturday, but couldn’t navigate the sixth in the Legends loss.
A 1-0 Lexington lead was turned into a 4-1 deficit after a pair of singles and a walk were scored on a grand slam off the bat of Rangers prospect Leody Taveras in that sixth inning. The Legends answered back with their own grand slam in the top of the seventh when Emmanuel Rivera connected on his fifth home run of the year, giving Lexington the lead back at 5-4.
Reliever Matt Wynne couldn’t hold the lead, giving up a run in the seventh and eighth frame to drop the game for the Legends.
In the second game of the weekend, Ofreidy Gomez failed to build on his strong starts the last two times out, surrendering five runs in five innings to give up a lead that his offense had built for him.
After a three-run fourth inning, the Legends offense went scoreless until a ninth inning solo home run by Khalil Lee to drop the game after Hickory had tacked on a pair in the eighth with a two-run home run.
Saturday – DSL Royals 3, DSL Braves 2 F/10 – Boxscore
The Royals tied the game late before walking it off in extras against the Braves on Saturday.
Starting pitcher Delvin Capellan tossed five scoreless innings with just one hit and one walk allowed while striking out six. The Royals had given him a 1-0 lead after one inning with a walk by Warling Vicente, a stolen base and a RBI single by Felix Familia.
That lead held up until the seventh when reliever Brian Abreu gave up two walks and a pair of two out singles, letting the Braves take a 2-1 lead. The Royals would even the game in the eighth, scoring on a wild pitch after back-to-back singles by Rafael Romero and Vicente.
In extras, the Royals navigated around the runner on second base situation while in the field, before sandwiching a single around an intentional walk to walk the game off. Second baseman Rubendy Jacquez drove in the winning run with a ground ball single to left.