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O’s prospects 8/30: Strong starts from Baumann, Hess, Alvarado

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The O’s affiliates actually got some quality pitching from their starters on Wednesday.

Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Gwinnett Braves 8, Norfolk Tides 2 (7 innings)

Game one of the doubleheader was pretty much over after two innings, with Alec Asher getting shelled to the tune of seven runs over 1.2 innings pitched. He was replaced by Jason Wheeler, who pitched effectively through the end of the sixth, but the damage was already done.

The Tides managed only three hits, and scored both of their runs in the fifth on a two-run homer by Mike Yastrzemski. Yaz was demoted to Bowie earlier in the year but since his return to Norfolk he’s been hitting better, with an OPS close to .800.

Norfolk Tides 4, Gwinnett Braves 3 (7 innings)

After getting obliterated by triple-A offenses for much of the earlier part of the season, Gabriel Ynoa has strung together four quality starts in a row. Last night he went six strong innings and allowed just two runs in the top of the second.

That two-run lead didn’t last long, because Joey Rickard hit a grand slam in the bottom of the frame. That was all she wrote; Richard Rodriguez gave up a run in the seventh but was able to hang on for the save.

Trenton Thunder 2, Bowie Baysox 1

This was a tough loss for David Hess, who had an excellent start. Hess went seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits and no walks, while striking out seven. Paul Fry and Scott McGough each pitched an inning of hitless relief once Hess left the game.

For Hess, this was a nice follow-up to his eight inning, shutout performance on Friday. He finished out the month of August with six quality starts in six appearances, with a 2.25 ERA over that time. His ERA for the season has dropped by nearly a full run since the end of July.

The Baysox outhit the Thunder 7-3, but all seven hits were singles. They were able to push a run across in the seventh when Aderlin Rodriguez scored on an Erick Salcedo single, but otherwise they were kept off the board.

Frederick Keys 2, Salem Red Sox 1 (10 innings)

After Cristian Alvarado gave up a solo homer in the top of the first, Yermin Mercedes knotted it right back up with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning. From there, it was a pitcher’s duel, as both starters went through the seventh without allowing any more runs.

Like Hess, Alvarado is starting to get hot. He’s given up two or less runs in five straight starts, and has given up just the one run over 14 innings in his last two outings. His 5.00 ERA for the year is still ugly, but it looks a hell of a lot better than it did two months ago.

Luis Gonzalez followed Alvarado with two dominant innings, facing the minimum six batters and striking out five of them. In the bottom of the tenth, Glynn Davis reached on an error to lead off the inning. Mercedes singled him over to third, and Armando Araiza lined a base hit into center for the walk-off win.

Delmarva Shorebirds 6, Hagerstown Suns 4

Delmarva took an early lead on a two-run single from Gerrion Grim in the top of the first, but Lucas Humpal gave it right back in the bottom of the inning on three hits and a hit by pitch. He settled down from there, and pitched through the fifth without allowing any more damage.

Francisco Jimenez entered the game in the sixth with a 3-2 lead, gave up a run in that inning, and then pitched two hitless innings after that. Naturally, he was credited with a blown save, which is a good example of why that statistic is stupid.

He also got the win, though, because the Shorebirds scored three in the top of the seventh. After Milton Ramos and Stuart Levy singled, Ramos scored on an error. Cole Billingsley singled home Levy, and another run scored on a Ryan McKenna GIDP.

Jake Bray entered for the ninth and gave up a run, but still was able to record the save. The Shorebirds finished with ten hits; Billingsley, Grim, and Levy had two apiece.

Aberdeen IronBirds 2, Connecticut Tigers 0 (7 innings)

Michael Baumann, this year’s third-round pick out of Jacksonville University, nearly went the distance in this one. William Reed Hayes came in to strike out the last batter of the game, but otherwise, it was all Baumann.

Yet again, he was excellent. After 6.2 more shutout innings (3 H, 5 K, 2 BB), Baumann is sporting a 1.14 ERA through his first ten professional appearances. Along with catcher Ben Breazeale, Baumann has been the star for the Ironbirds so far.

The Ironbirds did all their damage in the bottom of the second. After Mason McCoy singled and Luke Ringhofer walked, Tristan Graham singled to load the bases. Kirvin Moesquit followed him with a two-run single to left field, and that hit provided all the scoring in the game.

Connecticut Tigers 3, Aberdeen IronBirds 2 (7 innings)

Speaking of Ben Breazeale, he hit a solo homer in the third inning of game two after sitting in the first game. He ended up going 2-3 on the night and is now hitting .330/.439/.489 on the season. Not bad for a catcher.

Aberdeen’s only other run came on a Mason McCoy single in the first. That wasn’t quite enough for starter Nick Vespi, who was effective overall but fell victim to the longball.

Vespi gave up only three hits in 5.2 innings while striking out eight, but two of the hits were homers. One of them was a two-run bomb in the sixth from Colby Bortles (Blake’s brother) that chased Vespi from the game and gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead that would ultimately hold up.

Today’s matchups and probable starters

Gwinnett @ Norfolk, 7:05 PM (Jayson Aquino)

Trenton @ Bowie, 7:05 PM (John Means)

Salem @ Frederick, 7:00 PM (Ofelky Peralta)

Delmarva @ Hagerstown, 7:05 PM (Travis Seabrooke)

Aberdeen @ Tri-City, 7:00 PM (TBD)