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Orioles minor league recap 5/9: Aberdeen remains perfect, Westburg hits slam

One of the Orioles’ top infield prospects sparked a Delmarva offensive explosion, Yusniel Diaz hit a clutch homer for Norfolk, and the Ironbirds improved to 5-0.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles-Media Day USA TODAY NETWORK

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 5, Jacksonville (Marlins) Jumbo Shrimp 4 (10 innings)

The Tides used some last at-bat heroics to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Trailing 4-2 in the ninth, Yusniel Diaz picked a most opportune time for his first home run of the season.

In the 10th, Richie Martin led off with a single to plate the free baserunner, Mason McCoy, and Marcos Diplan worked a scoreless bottom half to make the 5-4 lead stand up.

Catcher Brett Cumberland hit his first Triple-A home run as part of a two-hit day. On the mound, Bruce Zimmermann, recently demoted by the Orioles, made the start and worked three innings. He gave up two runs, including a homer by Marlins prospect Lewin Diaz, who has torched Norfolk with three homers in the series. Knuckleballer Mickey Jannis ate up five innings of relief, giving up two runs and four hits.

Double-A: Altoona (Pirates) Curve 8, Bowie Baysox 4

This was a tie game until the bottom of the sixth, when the Curve scored three runs off Baysox reliever Tyler Erwin to cruise to victory. Starter Cody Sedlock struggled badly in his 2021 debut, recording just one out while surrendering three hits, two walks, and three runs.

It was an unspectacular night on offense for the offense, too, as no Bowie batter had more than one hit and the club was a woeful 0-for-11 with men in scoring position, stranding 11 runners on base. Adley Rutschman went 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.

High-A: Aberdeen Ironbirds 3, Wilmington (Nationals) Blue Rocks 0

Everything is coming up Ironbirds, who improved to 5-0 to start the season and will try for the six-game sweep of the Blue Rocks this afternoon. Pitching led the way for Aberdeen, as Blaine Knight — coming off a terrible 2019 campaign at then High-A Frederick — spun four shutout innings in his season debut. He allowed just three baserunners and struck out two. Three relievers combined to finish the shutout, with Jonathan Villar trade acquisition Easton Lucas nailing down the save in the ninth.

On offense, the Ironbirds did all their damage in a three-run second inning that featured an Andrew Martinez RBI double as well as a bases-loaded walk and bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. It’s nice that the Blue Rocks essentially handed two runs to the Ironbirds, who otherwise went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 11, Salem Red Sox 1 (Game 1 — 7 innings)

The Shorebirds’ offense erupted in the first game of a twin bill, plating eight runs in the fourth inning on their way to a rout. Eleven batters came to the plate in that glorious fourth, with #6 prospect Jordan Westburg sparking the rally with a walk and capping it with an emphatic grand slam. Westburg’s blast was the third home run of the inning for Delmarva, following shots by J.D. Mundy and JC Encarnacion. Darrel Hernaiz added a two-run homer in the sixth.

Six-foot-seven right-hander Adam Stauffer got the win in relief with 2.2 scoreless innings and five strikeouts, following a three-inning start by Shane Davis.

Salem 6, Delmarva 1 (Game 2 — 7 innings)

As hot as the Delmarva offense was in Game 1, it went just as cold in the nightcap in the makeup of Friday’s postponed game. The Shorebirds managed just three hits, all singles, though Anthony Servideo reached base three times on a hit and two walks, also stealing a base.

Starter Noah Denoyer worked two scoreless, but three Shorebirds relievers combined to allow six runs, three by righty Xavier Moore. The Red Sox ran wild against the battery of Moore and Ramon Rodriguez, swiping four bases in the two innings Moore was in the game.

Complete box scores from Saturday’s games can be found here.

Sunday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: at Jacksonville, 3:05 PM. Starter: Alexander Wells (season debut)
  • Bowie: at Altoona, 2:00 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen: at Wilmington, 1:05 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva: vs. Salem, 2:05 PM. Starter: Zach Peek (0-0, 13.50)