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Orioles minor league recap 6/26: A big day on the mound for two less known pitchers

Meanwhile, Creed Willems and Max Wagner went yard while Jackson Holliday had another multi-hit game.

Atlanta Braves v Baltimore Orioles minor leaguers
Alex Pham had a strong debut at Double-A on Sunday.
Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Triple-A: Nashville Sounds (MIL) 3, Norfolk Tides 2

This game had some drama, but not much scoring. The benches cleared in the bottom of the sixth when Darwinzon Hernández hit not one, but two Sounds hitters, including former Orioles farmhand Patrick Dorrian. The second HBP scored Nashville’s third run, so you have to believe Hernández wasn’t trying anything funny. Either way, he and two Sounds players were ejected after the scuffle. Down 3-1 in the ninth, the Tides had a comeback rally brewing, scoring one, but César Prieto grounded into a game-ending double play.

The Tides’ Garrett Stallings took the loss, but it wasn’t a bad outing: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 HR. One of those runs scored after Stallings exited in the aforementioned rowdy sixth.

A Jordan Westburg-/Colton Cowser-less offense managed nine hits but just the two runs: freshly optioned Josh Lester had two of those hits, Ramón Rodriguez had three and Maverick Handley chipped in with two more.

Box Score

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

Alex Pham’s brilliant Double-A debut was overshadowed by a five-run implosion by the relief corps after he’d exited. But let’s focus on Pham for a second. The 23-year-old right hander made his first start for Bowie after posting a 2.45 ERA in High-A this season, and it was a doozy. Pham threw five innings with just two hits and one walk allowed, and he struck out three.

The Baysox had jumped out to a 4-0 lead on a John Rhodes RBI single, a Zach Watson home run, and a two-run single by TT Bowens. But Jean Pinto’s sixth-inning implosion proved decisive, with five runs scoring (though just one earned, as Pinto and Anthony Servideo both made fielding errors). Kade Strowd allowed a two-out three-run home run in the eighth.

It was a mixed bag on offense: Bowie managed 14 hits but just three RBIs. On the plus side, Coby Mayo is standing heads above his Baysox colleagues, and he reached base three more times on Sunday, with a double and two walks.

Box Score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 5, Wilmington Blue Rocks 2

Aberdeen took this one with a pair of homers from Max Wagner and Creed Willems and the best start of Kyle Virbitsky’s pro career. Virbitsky (2-1, 4.91 ERA) had a perfect game through five innings, and he’d exit after six having allowed just one hit, a soft ground ball to third base. He also struck out eight. After him, Ryan Hennen allowed two Wilmington runs on a walk, double and sac fly and Dylan Heid threw a clean 1.1 innings.

Max Wagner (#16)’s eighth home run of the year was a beaut, a clean assault on the second pitch of the game.

Creed Willems added his own long ball in the fifth off a high fastball. And Jackson Holliday (#3) walked, singled, and hit a beautiful deep double, his 18th extra-base hit in just 49 games at High-A. Dylan Beavers and Frederick Bencosme had two hits apiece.

Box Score

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 15, August GreenJackets (ATL) 3

The Shorebirds blasted off against the GreenJackets middle relievers, scoring one run or more in the second through the sixth innings, and 11 runs from the fifth on. Trendon Craig had a monster game, racking up four hits and driving in three. Samuel Basallo (#14) reached base six times, with three singles and three walks. The young catcher is averaging .301 and OPS’ing .845. Anderson de los Santos hit a big three-run bomb in the sixth. Carter Young doubled and scored three runs. Noelberth Romero singled and walked, and also kicked off the scoring with a daring steal of home.

Albert Vega, a 2022 waiver pickup from the Yankees, has been trending upward as a starter. He allowed 14 runs in May, but just four in four starts in June. On Saturday, Vega threw four scoreless innings with five hits allowed and five strikeouts. Moises Chacé had a messy day in relief of Vega, walking an eye-popping eight batters in 2.1 innings. Darlin Alcántara closed out the game with 2.2 scoreless and four strikeouts.

Box Score

Tuesday’s Schedule

• Aberdeen vs Winston Salem, 7:05. Starter: TBD

Norfolk, Bowie and Delmarva have off on Monday and Tuesday and resume action on Wednesday.