Rochester Red Wings: Runs were at a premium during the Syracuse-Rochester game on Sunday, at it was the Red Wings who came away with a 1-0 victory. The win, which came on the heels of a 4-1 loss on Saturday, was just what the Wings needed before heading to play Pawtucket in a four game series starting on Monday. Pete Munro (1-0), who won ten games for the Columbus Clippers last season, was masterful in his first start for the Wings this year, tossing scoreless ball over five innings. He allowed four hits, walked none, and struck out five. He gave way to Beau Kemp, who pitched a flawless sixth inning. Kemp, who also pitched in Saturday’s game, is off to a good start in 2006, as he has retired all seven batters he has faced, picking up three strikeouts along the way. Next up was Ricky Barrett, who in his two innings of relief, struck out five batters. It was a good sight for Rochester fans, as Barrett was lit up in his last appearance, allowing three earned in 0.1 innings of work against Syracuse on April 6. Patrick Neshek picked up his second save in as many chances, striking out the side in the ninth. He has struck out at least two batters in both of his two appearances.
Luis Maza drove in the only run of the contest in the third inning, when his solo home run gave the Wings a 1-0 lead. Maza has gotten off to a decent start, posting a .333 batting average, but has gone 1-8 during the last two contests. Josh Rabe broke out of a 0-7 slump on Sunday, picking up two hits in two at-bats. The move up to sixth in the order seemed to do him well, as he was hitless in two games batting seventh. Jason Hart picked up his first hit of the season, smacking a double in his second game of the season. Terry Tiffee posted the dreaded hat trick on Sunday, whiffing three times, and he has now struck out at least once in every game this season. The Wings face Pawtucket on the road on Monday, with J.D. Durbin, who was originally scheduled to pitch on Sunday, taking the ball in his first start of the season.
New Britain Rock Cats: The Rock Cats picked up their first win of the season on Sunday, as Justin Jones (1-0) made his Double-A debut a good one. The young left-hander went five innings, allowing two earned runs, and struck out seven. He left with a 3-2 lead, and the bullpen nearly blew the win for him. Levale Speigner took the ball to open the sixth inning, and he was solid once again, as he threw two innings of shutout ball. In two appearances this season, Speigner has allowed only one earned run in four innings of work, and has held lefties to a .143 batting average. Jay Sawatski followed Speigner, and got the first out of the eighth inning. Robert Korecky nearly lost the game for the Cats on Sunday, as he entered the game with one out in the eighth. He would go on to allow two earned runs in the ninth, as four of the eight batters he faced registered a hit. However, he did pick up the save, as he sealed win #1 for the Rock Cats.
Two familiar faces led the Cats offense in this one, as Denard Span and Matthew Moses showed why they are two of the top prospects in the Twins’ organization. Span went 3-4 from his leadoff spot, and has now registered two multi-hit games this season. He also scored twice, and picked up his first of many stolen bases. Moses went 2-2 on the day, and extended his hit streak to three games. Sunday was also the young third baseman’s second straight multi-hit game, as he upped his batting average to .500. He has also driven in at least one run in the last two games. Danny Matienzo drove in his first two runs of the season, as he was 0-8 coming into Sunday’s game. Trent Oeltjen proved once again that you don’t need to get a base hit to make a difference, as he walked twice for the second straight game. He also stole two bases, giving him three on the year, and scored three times. He is proving to be very valuable from the number two spot in the order. The Cats open up a three-game home set against Portland on Monday, as they try to get their record to .500.
Fort Myers Miracle: The Miracle beat the Sarasota Reds 8-4 on Sunday, as they ran their record to 4-0 on the young season. Kyle Aselton got the start for Fort Myers, and looked good in a very short outing. In four innings, Aselton struck out four batters, and allowed two runs (one earned). Aselton was one of the best overall pitchers in the Midwest League in 2005, as he posted a 2.49 ERA in 40+ appearances. Timothy Lahey (1-0) took the ball in relief, and picked up the win, despite a sub-par showing. He has now allowed at least one earned run in his two appearances in 2006, and has looked shaky with runners on base. He has a 13.50 ERA in these situations, and batters are hitting .429 against him. Julio DePaula was the final Miracle pitcher of the game, and he was stellar in his two innings of scoreless relief. He picked up the save in this one, and has now picked up two multi-inning saves this season. He has been devastating to right-handed hitters, as they are batting only .111 against him in nine at-bats.
There were plenty of offensive stars in this one for the Miracle, as four starters posted multi-hit games. After posting an 0-4 effort in the first game of the season, David Winfree has regained his stroke, and now has three straight multi-hit games. He went 3-5 on Sunday, scored a run for the third straight game, drove in two for the second time in his last three starts, and raised his batting average to .389. Alexi Casilla ran his hit streak to four games, as he posted his third multi-hit game of the season. He is now batting .444 from his leadoff spot after Sunday’s three-hit performance, and is looking like the Twins may have found a gem in the J.C. Romero trade. Jeremy Pickrel registered a multi-hit game as well in this one, as he ran his hit streak to three games, while picking up his first extra-base hit of the year (triple). Luke Hughes drove in two runs in the game, as he registered his first hits in the last three games. He now trails only Erold Andrus in the runs batted in department, as he ran his total to six on Sunday. The Miracle travel to Tampa on Monday, as they face their first opponent of the 2006 season that isn’t the Sarasota Reds.
Beloit Snappers: The Snappers enacted a little bit of payback on Sunday, as they scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Cedar Rapid Kernels 3-2. Ryan Mullins got the start for Beloit, and pitched great, allowing only two earned runs in six innings of work. He also showed good control, striking out seven, while walking none. He was one of the main reasons why Elizabethton was so good in 2005, and should have a good year in the Midwest League this season. Once again, Daniel Powers was lights out for the Snappers, as he threw scoreless baseball in two innings of relief. In two appearances this season, he has allowed only one hit in 4.2 innings of work, and has struck out six along the way. Eduardo Morlan (1-0) finished his second game of the week, and this time came away with a victory. It was his second one inning appearance of the year, and he has now struck out the side both times. He has six strikeouts against one walk this season, and batters are hitting .143 against him.
They waited until the ninth inning, but the Snapper bats woke up at the right time, as Erik Lis, Paul Kelly, and Eli Tintor all drove in runs. Tintor’s RBI was the game-winner, as he continues to smash the ball this season. In his three starts, he has three multi-hit games, and is currently batting .538, including .600 with runners on. Lis tied the game at 2-2 with his RBI single, as the young slugger picked up his first two hits of the season. He was 0-7 in his first two starts as the team’s left fielder, but moved back to first base on Sunday, and the change seemed to do him good. Kelly got the Snappers on the board in this one, and he has now hit safely in four straight games to open the season. On the season, Kelly has four runs batted in, which is good enough for first on the team. The Snappers open up a three-game home set against Wisconsin on Monday.