Rochester Red Wings: The Red Wings were shut out on Thursday, losing a 5-0 contest to the Pawtucket Red Sox. Mike Smith (0-1) got the start for the Wings and he was ineffective, tossing four innings, while allowing four runs (three earned). He struck out one, walked three, and allowed five hits along the way. It was his first start of the season, after pitching one inning of shut out ball in relief on April 8 against Syracuse. Jason Miller took the ball in relief, and allowed his first earned run of the season. Miller has appeared in three games out of the bullpen for the Wings this season, and it was the second straight game he has finished. On the year, he has posted a 1.50 earned run average, and is holding batters to a .143 batting average. Coming into the game, the 23-year old left-hander had allowed only one hit on the season, and is currently holding right-handed batters to a .077 batting average.
The Wings did not post a run in this game, although Terry Tiffee and Josh Rabe had three-hit performances. Tiffee is now four for his last seven, and he has lifted his average from a measly .095, to a .214 mark. Rabe is in the beginning of a great season in Rochester, as he has posted five hits in the last two games combined. He is batting .385 in seven games this season, and has put together four multi-hit games. Alexander Romero posted a hit in four at-bats in this one, as he is in the middle of a three-game hitting streak. Jason Tyner had the only other hit for the Wings, and has hit safely in four of his five starts this season. The Red Wings open a four-game home set against Richmond on Friday, as they send Pete Munro (1-0) to the hill for the series opener.
New Britain Rock Cats: The Cats lost the series opener against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 5-3 on Thursday, as they fell back into the losing column after winning on Wednesday. Nick Blackburn (0-2, 8.68) took the loss for the Cats, as he allowed four earned runs in five innings of work. It was his second subpar outing of the season, as he allowed five earned against these same Fisher Cats on April 7 at home. He cannot seem to get out of the fifth inning this season, as the opposition is hitting .500 against him in the inning, to go along with a 33.00+ earned run average. Chris Schutt took the ball in relief, and allowed and earned run in two innings of work. He has now allowed at least one earned run in all three of his relief appearances in 2006. The final pitcher of the night for the Cats was Tristan Crawford, who was the only New Britain pitcher to not allow a run in this one. He struck out two batters in his one inning of relief, held the opposition scoreless for the first time in his last three appearances. The righty has been dominant on lefty batters in 2006, holding them to a .182 batting average, as opposed to a .286 mark for righties.
Only two Rock Cats batters recorded multi-hit efforts in Thursday’s game, with J.R. Taylor leading the way. The shortstop had a great night at the dish, recording two hits in two official at-bats, and walking twice in his other two plate appearances. He also doubled twice, as he was one of only two Rock Cats to record extra-base hits. The two hits were his first in his last four appearances, after recording a two-hit game against New Hampshire on April 7. Second baseman Matt Tolbert also recorded two hits in the game, as he joined Taylor as the only Cats with an extra-base hit. Tolbert had now recorded three hits in his last eight at-bats, and his double was his first extra-base hit of the season. Felix Molina blasted his first home run of the season in the eighth inning, as he has now hit safely in four of his first five appearances. Denard Span and Jose Morales also picked up RBIs, with Morales’ being his first of the season, and Span’s being his first since opening day.
Fort Myers Miracle: In the longest game in Fort Myers Miracle history, the Miracle dropped a 20-inning affair to the Clearwater Threshers 4-3. Kevin Slowey got the start for the Miracle, and was again stellar, as he struck out eight in 6.1 innings of work. It was his second straight start in which he has struck out eight, and is now holding the opposition to a .167 batting average. Angel Garcia took the blown save in this one, but did not pitch all that bad. He allowed an earned run in 1.2 innings of relief, before handing the ball off to Tim Lahey. Lahey, Jonathan Martinez, and Ryan Callahan combined for ten innings of shutout ball, and struck out three. For Lahey, it was his first appearance without allowing an earned run, as he struck out two for the second straight time. Martinez ran his ERA to 1.13, as he struck out at least one batter for the third time this season. Callahan has been almost unhittable this season, as he has yet to yield an earned run. The opposition is batting .143 against him, and during his four innings on Thursday, he allowed only one hit. Joshua Hill (0-1) took the loss in this one, as he allowed an unearned run in his two innings of relief.
Brock Peterson was the only Miracle to record a multi-hit game in this one, as he now has a five-game hitting streak. His two hits gave him his five multi-hit game of the season, and his two-RBI were his first since April 10. Ruben Sierra made his 2006 debut in this one as well, as he stroked a base hit in four at-bats. Kyle Geiger had a double in the game, and Trevor Plouffe extended his hitting streak to six games. Alexi Casilla went 1-5 in the game, but has now hit safely in all eight of the Miracle’s games this season. On a down note, David Winfree was placed on the seven-day disabled list, after being hit by a pitch in Tuesday’s game. The Miracle send Kyle Aselton (0-0, 2.25) to the hill on Friday, for the second game of this three-game set.
Beloit Snappers: The Snappers dropped a 5-2 game against Burlington on Thursday, as they got this three-game road series off on the wrong foot. Starter Adam Hawes (0-1) was staked to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but then went on to allow five earned runs in the bottom of the first, and top of the second combined. He finished the game after pitching four innings, and the five earned were all he surrendered. This effort was a far cry from his first start of the season, when he allowed only two hits to Cedar Rapids over six innings of work. Jose Lugo took the ball in relief and was good, as he did not allow an earned run for the first time in his last three appearances. In two innings of relief, he faced the minimum, and struck out two along the way. The last Snappers pitcher of the night was David Shinskie, who also was stellar in his two innings of work. Shinskie has now not allowed a run in three of his four appearances in 2006, and has looked like a new pitcher since allowing two earned runs to Wisconsin on April 10.
Paul Kelly hit a solo home run in the top of the first inning, but that was really the only fireworks for the Snappers on this night. Kelly, who has now hit safely in all eight of the Snappers game this season, is batting .306, and has really settled into the number three spot in the batting order. Dwayne White had the only other extra-base hit for the Snappers, as he hit a double in this one. He has now hit doubles in back-to-back games, and has hit safely in four of his last five starts. Henry Sanchez went 1-3 with a run in this game, as he broke out of a 0-12 slump. However, he is batting only .143 on the season, and has struck out in all seven of his appearances this year. The Snappers face Burlington on the road again on Friday.