Durham Bulls (Rays) 7, Norfolk Tides 6 — 10 innings
In a thoroughly ridiculous game, the Tides blew an eighth-inning lead, then tied the game with a dramatic ninth-inning comeback, then took the lead again in the 10th, only to blow it one last time by serving up a walkoff three-run homer. Oy.
Let’s start at the beginning, where starter Luis Ysla delivered five shutout innings and notched eight strikeouts, his third straight eight-strikeout performance. The Tides bullpen, though, couldn’t hold the slim 1-0 lead. Chris Lee, after cruising through the sixth and seventh, melted down in the eighth, allowing back-to-back home runs — the first one a three-run shot — that put Durham up, 4-1.
The Tides scored three in the ninth, punctuated by Ryan Mountcastle’s game-tying, two-out, two-run single. But after Norfolk plated a pair in extras, including a Mason Williams RBI single, the Rays’ Nate Lowe clubbed a three-run homer off Jimmy Yacabonis to ice a walkoff decision. The Tides dropped to 24-32 on the season. Mark Trumbo, continuing his rehab assignment in Norfolk, was 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays) 3, Bowie Baysox 0
If anyone has seen Bowie’s offense, please call the courtesy phone. The Baysox managed just four hits in their scoreless effort, including a Rylan Bannon double and singles by Mason McCoy and Ryan McKenna. Austin Hays went 0-for-4. The club as a whole was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Starting pitcher Dean Kremer turned in a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance. He coughed up hits to seven of the first 11 batters he faced — four singles, two doubles, and a triple — that gave New Hampshire a quick 3-0 lead. But then something clicked, and Kremer kept the Fisher Cats out of the hit column for the remainder of his six-inning effort. He struck out five, walked two, and plunked a batter. Kremer is 0-3 with a 6.89 ERA in his three starts for Bowie this year.
Carolina Mudcats (Brewers) 10, Frederick Keys 3
Despite the lopsided final score, this was actually a tie game in the sixth inning before things got completely out of hand. Starter Cameron Bishop (now 0-4 with a 4.36 ERA) and reliever Luis Perez each gave up five runs, including two homers apiece. Tristen Lutz, the Brewers’ No. 4 prospect on MLB Pipeline, hit two dingers for Carolina.
The Keys’ offense squandered numerous scoring opportunities, going 1-for-12 with RISP. Yeltsin Gudino was the only Frederick batter to actually drive in a run (courtesy of an RBI single); the other two runs scored on Mudcats errors. Gudino was one of three Keys hitters with multiple hits, along with Jake Ring and J.C. Escarra.
Kannapolis Intimidators (White Sox) 9, Delmarva Shorebirds 0
Even the best team in minor league baseball will occasionally have a clunker, and boy, did the Shorebirds absorb a beating in this one. The offense was nonexistent, with one exception; Adam Hall went 3-for-3, while the rest of the lineup was a combined 1-for-27. Hall, the Orioles’ No. 14 prospect, is now batting .332 with an .852 OPS.
Meanwhile, I regret to inform you that Grayson Rodriguez is mortal after all. The No. 4 prospect, who’s been making mincemeat of South Atlantic league hitters all season, suffered the worst outing of his professional career. Rodriguez, who had allowed only seven earned runs all season in his first eight starts, was torched for that same total in this game. It was the first time in his young career he’d allowed more than two earned runs in a start. His ERA rose more than a full run, from 1.47 to 2.63.
And yet, even in an outing where he got hit hard, Rodriguez still showed impeccable control. He racked up five strikeouts and no walks, and threw 53 of his 76 pitches for strikes. I have a feeling he’s going to be okay.
This game aside, the Shorebirds continue to run laps around their competition this season, and they were rewarded with a whopping eight selections to the South Atlantic League All-Star team. Rodriguez and Hall were joined by the Orioles’ No. 27 prospect, lefty Drew Rom, as well as southpaw Zach Matson, righty Ofelky Peralta, catcher Daniel Fajardo, outfielder Doran Turchin, and first baseman Seamus Curran. Congratulations all around!