While the big league club showed some life, almost completing a comeback victory over the Boston Red Sox, all four minor league clubs won and the Lansing Lugnuts managed to get some of magic that has eluded the Blue Jays thus far.
Buffalo Bisons 6, Louisville Bats 2
The Buffalo Bisons pulled out another win to run their record to 11-9 in their first meeting of the season with the Louisville Bats. Sean Nolin struggled with his control, walking four batters but still managed to throw more than 65% of his pitches for strikes (65 strikes in 98 pitches) and only gave up one hit (and no runs) with three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. Darin Mastroianni had a very good game, going 2/4 with two doubles while Jared Goedert had a single and a double and drove him a run. Erik Kratz launched his first home run of the season for the Bisons, a solo shot in the sixth inning.
Player of the Game: Sean Nolin
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 5, Reading Fightin’ Phils 0
The Fisher Cats evened their record at 10-0 with the big shutout victory over the Phillies’ Double-A affiliate. Scott Copeland was excellent, limiting the Fightin’ Phils to just four hits and a walk with five strikeouts over seven innings. Randy Boone threw a perfect inning in his first appearance after being activated from the DL. Mike Crouse had his best game of the season, going 3/4 with two doubles and a stolen base (he was also picked off) and scored two of the club’s five runs. Mike McDade, also in his first game since being activated off the DL, hit a home run in his first plate appearance of the season, giving him his first home run as a Fisher Cat since 2012 (and his 32nd career Fisher Cat HR).
Player of the Game: Scott Copeland and Mike Crouse
Dunedin Blue Jays 2, Clearwater Threshers 1
In a close game, the Blue Jays pulled out another victory (their 17th of the year) by getting some production from their two best hitters in the top of the eighth. Dwight Smith led off the inning with a double and Dalton Pompey followed him with a single to score him. Smith went 2/3 with a double, a walk and an RBI of his own to bring his season’s batting average to .341 while Pompey’s average slid to .353 thanks to a 1/4 day. Catcher Michael Reeves also had a pair of hits. Taylor Cole got the start for Dunedin and was outstanding yet again, going six innings and surrendering just one run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts to recapture the team lead with 40. Justin Jackson, Blake McFarland and Arik Sikula pitched a perfect inning each with Jackson earning the win and Sikula the save.
Player of the Game: Taylor Cole and Dwight Smith
Lansing Lugnuts 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 4
The Lansing Lugnuts pulled out a walk-off victory thanks to a single by Derrick Loveless that drove Matthew Dean across the plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth. That capped a four-run ninth that had two RBI from Jason Leblebijian and an RBI single from Dawel Lugo. The Lugnuts made their timely hitting count, scoring five runs on only six hits, all by a different player. Jairo Labourt started and was, amazingly, able to escape jam after jam, walking five and allowing four hits in four innings but without surrendering a run. Alberto Tirado followed with four innings of his own, giving up two runs on four hits and four walks while Scott Silverstein surrendered two runs in his inning on three hits.
Player of the Game: Derrick Loveless
April 27 Preview
Buffalo Bisons (11-9)
The Bisons continue their series against the Louisville Bats and Sunday should mark the return of Chien-Ming Wang to Buffalo. Pitching for the Bats, Wang is 1-3 so far with a 6.16 ERA and 13 walks in 19 innings. He hasn’t been particularly good and it could provide the Bisons to tee off a bit. The Bisons send Ricky Romero to the hill for the 1:05 pm game (on MiLB TV) and he’s been simply ok, amassing a 4.80 ERA in his three starts without a decision. His last outing wasn’t great, giving up five runs (four earned) on nine hits in just five innings, but at least he didn’t walk anyone.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (10-10)
The Fisher Cats send Casey Lawrence and his nifty 1.93 ERA to the hill against the Reading Fightin’ Phils and Perci Garner. Garner, 25, has a solid 2-0 record with a 2.65 ERA and just a 1.00 WHIP in 17 innings over four starts. Lawrence, 26, has really been outstanding in his first first extended look in Double-A over his career. He’s only allowed 23 hits and three walks over his 23 1/3 innings and has struck out 17 batters. Catch the game on the (internet) radio at 1:35 pm ET.
Dunedin Blue Jays (17-5)
The Dunedin Blue Jays’ juggernaut rolls on, hosting the Clearwater Threshers on Sunday at 1:00 PM (catch Tyler Murry and Al Hernandez online or on the radio). Ben White (1-0, 2.70 ERA) goes for the Blue Jays while 21-year-old righty Miguel Nunez goes for the Threshers. He’s been hit hard, with 31 hits against in 21 1/3 innings and he’s got a fairly undesirable ground-out to air-out ratio (GO/AO) of 0.59, meaning that teams have been getting the ball in the air a good deal of the time.
Lansing Lugnuts (9-12)
The Lugnuts are on for a 2:05 ET start against the visiting Bowling Green Hot Rods and they send righty Jeremy Gabryszwski to the hill. Gaby is coming off his best start of the season in which he went eight innings, giving up just one run on six hits with six strikeouts to give him his first win of the year. The Lugnuts will face German Marquez, a 19-year-old Venezuelan righty who has been very good this year, getting a lot of ground balls and has posted a 1.88 ERA in his three appearances this season.
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