It was up to the lower minor league teams to get the Blue Jays’ minor league system’s record to 5-4 on a day that I spent catching a double header in Buffalo.
Buffalo Bisons 0, Rochester Red Wings 3
Jeff Francis almost went the distance for the Bisons in the opener of the double header against the Rochester Red Wings but one bad pitch made a 3-0 lead for the Red Wings insurmountable for a light-hitting Buffalo offense. Francis went six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits and one walk striking out four. His curveball was very effective but a fastball gifted to Xavier Avery was hit out of the ballpark for a two-run home run, effectively putting a nail in any hopes the Bisons had for a comeback in the seven-inning game. Greg Infante threw the seventh, allowing a hit and a walk but nothing more.
Roster Note: Chris Heisey was activated by the Bisons and Luke Scott was placed on the DL.
Player of the Game: None
Buffalo Bisons 2, Rochester Red Wings 1
Game 2 of the double header saw the Bisons walk off with a win as Chris Heisey, in his first day as a Bison, launched a game-winning home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. On a day where Phillippe Aumont was, in turns, dominating and frustrating, the Bisons offense also struggled before Dalton Pompey manufactured the tying run and Heisey hit the big shot to win it.
Aumont was dominant in the first two innings, striking out five Red Wings but struggled with his command afterwards, ending up walking four batters and giving up one run despite giving up only three hits (with uber-prospect Byron Buxton getting two of them). Aumont visibly tired after the fifth inning, but still finished six with eight strikeouts. Ryan Tepera allowed two hits over his one inning but kept the Red Wings off the board, striking out two and picking up the win.
The offense was extremely quiet, with Pompey’s single up the middle and Heisey’s home run the only two hits for The Herd. Pompey got on base in the fourth and stole second and third and Matt Hague brought him home with a fly ball to medium center field that became a close play at the plate thanks to Buxton’s strong arm. Heisey, who had a single in the first game, came up to the plate looking for a pitch he could drive in the bottom of the seventh, and after a long foul ball down the left field line, got a pitch he could keep between the while lines, driving it into the wind and over the left field fence for the win.
Player of the Game: Phillippe Aumont and Chris Heisey
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 1, Akron RubberDucks 0
Youngster Conner Greene, just 20 years old, has become the Blue Jays’ fast-moving prospect of 2015, making his debut at his third level of the season in Double-A New Hampshire on Thursday night. Greene started in Lansing, pitching well in Dunedin and had an excellent Double-A debut, going six innings and holding the Akron RubberDucks to just three hits and three walks with one strikeout but, most importantly, no runs. Cory Burns threw two hitless innings, striking out a pair and Blake McFarland picked up his 12th save with a perfect ninth.
Jorge Flores drove in the only run of the game for the Fisher Cats, going 1/3 while Derrick Chung scored the run after hitting a double. Roemon Fields took a walk and stole three bases in his return to the Fisher Cats.
Roster Notes: RHP Conner Greene was promoted to New Hampshire and Mike Lee was placed on the DL.
Player of the Game: Conner Greene
Dunedin Blue Jays 3, Brevard County Manatees 4
Alonzo Gonzalez got the start for the Blue Jays, going four innings and allowing all four runs despite not walking anyone and striking out four. The bullpen kept the Brevard County Manatees off the board for the remaining four innings with Arik Sikula striking out three in his two innings and Chris Smith striking out two batters in his two innings. The Dunedin offense only came to life in the top of the ninth inning, scoring three runs but ultimately failing to tie the game. Mitch Nay was 2/4 with a double and an RBI while Matt Dean was 1/3 with a walk. Jason Leblebijian walked twice and Dickie Joe Thon hit a double.
Roster Notes: Conner Greene was promoted to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
Player of the Game: Mitch Nay
Lansing Lugnuts 3, Clinton LumberKings 6
The Lansing Lugnuts dropped their second straight game to the Clinton LumberKings despite a home run from the club’s leading hitter. Ryan McBroom was 2/4 with a home run and two RBI and D.J. Davis was 2/4 with a run. Lane Thomas got his first hit in the Midwest League, a double, for the Lugnuts but otherwise, the offense wasn’t able to put much together.
Tom Robson was hit hard in his outing, going 4 1/3 innings and allowing six runs (five earned) on seven hits and four walks with just one strikeout. Justin Shafer finished the game with 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball, allowing three hits and striking out three and getting eight ground ball outs to no fly ball outs.
Player of the Game: Ryan McBroom
Vancouver Canadians 0, Hillsboro Hops 1
The Vancouver Canadians couldn’t muster any offense, letting Francisco Rios and the pitching staff down in a 1-0 loss to Hillsboro. Rios went six innings, allowing just three hits and no walks, giving up the one run but striking out seven batters. Bob Wheatley and Josh DeGraaf combined to pitch the seventh inning and Andrew Case struck out two in the eighth to finish the game. The offense had two hits: one by Ryan Metzler and one by Gunnar Heidt.
Roster Notes: Angel Perdomo was promoted to Vancouver.
Player of the Game: Francisco Rios
Bluefield Blue Jays 11, Princeton Rays 3
After the Princeton Rays scored three early runs off starter Luis Sanchez, the offense went to work, pounding out 11 runs on 15 hits and getting contributions from everyone in the lineup. Gabe Clark was 3/5 with a home run and two RBI, scoring twice while Deiferson Barreto also had three hits including a double, scoring once and driving in four runs. Yeltsin Gudino hit his first professional home run and took a walk while Rodrigo Orozco was also 1/4 with an RBI and two runs. Juan Tejada was 2/4 with a walk, an RBI, a run and an outfield assist while Matt Morgan was 2/4.
Sanchez struggled in his start, giving up seven hits (including a home run) and four walks over five innings, striking out three before Zach Rodgers pitched three scoreless innings, allowing a hit and striking out three and Daniel Lietz threw a scoreless ninth to finish the game.
Roster Notes: Angel Perdomo was promoted to Vancouver.
Player of the Game: Gabe Clark
GCL Blue Jays 6, GCL Yankees1 4
The GCL Blue Jays beat the GCL Yankees despite getting out-hit but they couldn’t complete a makeup game that was suspended in the second inning (with the Blue Jays out in front 4-1). In the completed seven-inning game, the Blue Jays got 4 1/3 innings from Yennsy Diaz who allowed all four Yankees runs on nine hits with four strikeouts. Mike Estevez got the win for pitching 2 2/3 innings with three hits and a walk against and four strikeouts.
Cliff Brantley was 2/4 with two RBI while Dan Jansen also had two hits as he continues to come back from injury. Nash Knight was 1/2 with two walks and Reggie Pruitt added two RBI despite not getting a hit.
Roster Notes: Gustavo Pierre, recently reacquired by the Blue Jays in order to turn him into a pitcher, was assigned to the GCL.
Player of the Game: Cliff Brantley and Mike Estevez
DSL Blue Jays 6, DSL White Sox 2
The DSL won their 40th game of the year (to go with just 24 losses) thanks to a come-from-behind effort that saw the Jays score five times in the eighth inning. With only six hits (but seven walks), the DSL Jays took advantage of some rough fielding by the White Sox and only had RBI for two of the six runs. Yorman Rodriguez had one RBI, going 0/2 with two walks while Antony Fuentes hit a sac fly for the other run, adding a double. Sterling Guzman was 1/2 with two walks and two runs.
Jonathan Torres allowed both runs (one earned) for the Blue Jays, going four innings with four hits and four walks against. Recently signed 19-year-old Orlando Pascual earned the win, throwing five innings and giving up just three hits with three strikeouts and has yet to give up a run (and has walked only one batter) in 11 innings thus far.
Player of the Game: Orlando Pascual
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