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Orioles minor league recap 8/4: Rio Ruiz powers Norfolk to a win

Most of the Orioles affiliates lost on Saturday. Rio Ruiz, who probably wants to be back in Baltimore, homered to help Norfolk win.

Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Norfolk Tides 3, Durham (Rays) 2

Mike Elias was in the house to see this one. They played a good one with the boss watching, as Tides pitchers holding the Bulls to just two hits on the game. Much more concerning is that Norfolk pitchers issued nine walks in the game, but it’s probably not much impact on either the short- or long-term success of the Orioles if starter Luis Ysla walks six guys in 3.2 innings.

Rio Ruiz, recently bumped back up from Bowie to Norfolk and surely hoping for a Baltimore return, delivered a two-run homer in the first inning that put the Tides up for good, though it took a third Norfolk run, driven in by Austin Wynns later in the first inning, to give them enough runs to hold on the rest of the way. Prospect Ryan Mountcastle was in left field and at the plate went 1-3 with a walk.

The guy who might get a call-up if the Orioles get tired of using Stevie Wilkerson and Anthony Santander in center field, former Yankees farmhand Mason Williams, was 3-4. Williams is now batting .305/.363/.469 against those Triple-A juiced balls this season.

Hunter Harvey pitched a perfect inning of relief, racking up two strikeouts. He’s struck out 13 batters in 11.2 innings since joining Norfolk. Just don’t look at his ERA.

Portland (Red Sox) 4, Bowie Baysox 1

Not a night to remember for Orioles 2016 top pick Cody Sedlock, who entered in the seventh inning with a 1-0 lead and gave up all four runs in 2.2 innings, including three runs in the ninth to really put the game away for Portland.

Bowie’s batters had just six hits, none for extra bases. Cedric Mullins, Rylan Bannon, and Ryan McKenna all went hitless. So did shortstop Mason McCoy, though McCoy at least drew a pair of walks, which will still help the ol’ OBP. McCoy’s batting line through 76 games: .288/.348/.372. I’d like to see the 24-year-old get a chance in Norfolk to see what he’s got.

Down East (Rangers) 6, Frederick Keys 5

It’s always an uphill battle when the starting pitcher, in this case Brenan Hanifee, goes for the full Tommy Hunter (five runs, all earned). Hanifee allowed his five runs on seven hits and a walk - which, considering none of them were home runs, is its own kind of impressive.

Still, it was reliever Reed Hayes, a 13th round pick from the 2017 draft, who took the loss, giving up the first run of his Carolina League career (I know it’s only his fourth outing) over a two inning appearance where he still struck out five batters.

NASCAR scion Zach Jarrett racked up three of the Keys’s nine hits, scoring two runs. He drew a walk and stole his sixth base of the season, too. Robert Neustrom, the fifth round pick last year, added another couple of hits and drove in two of Frederick’s runs. In ten games since getting bumped up to Frederick, Neustrom is batting .302/.333/.442. On the other end, Cadyn Grenier, the competitive balance pick last year, went 0-3 and is OPSing just .554 through 13 Keys games.

Charleston (Yankees) 6, Delmarva Shorebirds 5

There’ve been a lot of Shorebirds games this year where you could look at how a young pitcher did and pump your first and say, “Hell yeah!” This wasn’t one of them. Last year’s top Orioles pick, Grayson Rodriguez, tossed just three innings after throwing 71 pitches. He “only” gave up two runs and was done in by walking five of the 16 batters he faced more than anything. He’s walked 15 batters over his last four starts. Hopefully it’s just a bump in the road.

Delmarva actually out-hit Charleston in this one by a 10-6 margin. They just couldn’t buy a clutch hit, going 0-4 with runners in scoring position. JC Encarnacion, part of last year’s Kevin Gausman deal, was 3-4 with a triple. He could use some more games like that, as he’s only batting .242/.296/.372 on the year. Adam Hall took a rare 0-for in the contest.

Vermont (Athletics) 7, Aberdeen IronBirds 1

Looking on the bright side here, 2019 29th rounder Houston Roth and 13th rounder Dan Hammer combined to give up just a run over the first seven innings of the game. Roth struck out five in three innings and Hammer struck out five in four innings. Those guys have both had good results over their first handful of professional games.

IronBirds hitters mustered just four hits in the game, though 2019 competitive balance pick Kyle Stowers picked up three walks and stole his fourth base. Adley Rutschman was 0-4. Sorry.

Bonus Gulf Coast League Orioles note

The GCL Orioles wiped out the GCL Pirates in an 11-0 affair, with six pitchers combining for the shutout. This improved their record to 20-11. O’s 2019 second rounder Gunnar Henderson was on base three times with a single and two walks. He’s got hits in four straight games.

Complete box scores from Saturday’s games, also including the adventures of both DSL Orioles teams, can be found here.

Sunday’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk: vs. Durham, 4:05. Starter: Jay Flaa
  • Bowie: vs. Portland, 1:35. Starter: Dean Kremer
  • Frederick: at Down East, 1:00. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva: at Charleston, 5:05. Starter: Ryan Wilson
  • Aberdeen: vs. Vermont, 4:05. Starter: A different TBD