Twins Minor League Report (4/19): Helman Walk Off Caps Fort Myers Comeback
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Michael Helman)TRANSACTIONS
Cedar Rapids activated pitcher Tyler Palm form the seven-day injured list and swapped him out for fellow pitcher Jose Martinez, who hits the IL due to a left groin strain.
RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 4, Lehigh Valley 1
Zack Littell: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 58.5% strikes (55 of 94 pitches)
HR: Zander Wiel (4)
Multi-hit games: Wiel (2-for-4, 2B, HR), Adam Rosales (2-for-4, 2B)
Zack Littell had a rough first start of the season but has recovered in his two outings since. Tonight was his best effort yet, as he threw 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and racked up nine strikeouts.
The Rochester bats did a nice job getting a lead early. Zander Wiel led off the third inning with a double and was later doubled around by Adam Rosales. Wiel came up again the next inning and clubbed a three-run homer. That was plenty enough wiggle room in what turned out to be a rare low-scoring Triple-A game so far this season.
Matt Magill pitched for the second straight night and third overall appearance of his rehab assignment with the Red Wings. He pitched a 1-2-3 innings with a strikeout and a pair of groundouts. With 1 1/3 more scoreless innings tonight, Mike Morin is up to 7 1/3 scoreless, three-hit innings to open the year.
BLUE WAHOO BITES
Game 1: Pensacola 9, Biloxi 1 (7 innings)
Griffin Jax: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 56.4% strikes (53 of 94 pitches)
HR: Brian Navarreto (1), Brian Schales (3)
Multi-hit games: Navarreto (3-for-4, 2B, HR), Mark Contreras (2-for-3, BB)
Brian Schales and Brian Navarreto both hit three-run homers and Griffin Jax was very good once again, giving the Blue Wahoos a very low-stress victory in the first game of this doubleheader. Jax gave up one earned runs on five hits over six innings pitched. He now has a 0.54 ERA and 1.14 WHIP on the season.
Gabriel Moya made the debut appearance of his rehab assignment, pitching the final inning. He gave up a leadoff single, then a one-out double to put runners on second and third. Things were looking a bit sketchy, but Moya struck out both of the next two batters to end the game.
Game 2: Biloxi 4, Pensacola 3
Andro Cutura: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 64.4% strikes (38 of 59 pitches)
HR: Mitchell Kranson (2)
Multi-hit games: None
This was a much different story than the first game, as it was a back-and-forth affair. The Blue Wahoos were able to fight back from early deficits to tie this game twice, but could not generate one last comeback.
Biloxi scored twice in the bottom of the first, but Pensacola tied it up the next half inning thanks to a solo homer from Mitchell Kranson and an RBI groundout from Taylor Grzelakowski. Biloxi took the lead again in the bottom of the third inning, but the Blue Wahoos answered again. The Shuckers carved out another lead in the fourth inning and managed to protect it this time.
Ryan Mason delivered two no-hit innings out of the bullpen. He’s only surrendered three hits and one walk over 7 2/3 scoreless innings so far this season. He’s also struck out eight batters. Brian Schales hit a double in this one. He’s making a very good first impression in the org after being acquired from Miami over the offseason. Schales leads Pensacola with a .908 OPS.
Fort Myers 3, Charlotte 1
Bailey Ober: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 68.0% strikes (51 of 75 pitches)
HR: Michael Helman (1)
Multi-hit games: Trevor Larnach (3-for-4)
WALK OFF, BABY! The Miracle trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but Trevor Larnach drove in Fort Myers’ first run on what was his third single of the night. The first two batters were retired in the bottom of the ninth but Ryan Jeffers hit a single and Michael Helman blasted his first Florida State League homer to walk it off.
Bailey Ober, the reigning FSL Pitcher of the Week, gave up one earned run over six five-hit innings. He has not given up an earned run in 18 innings this season. Ober had six strikeouts and walked a batter, just his third walk issued on the season.
Hector Lujan struck out four batters over 2 2/3 scoreless innings and Michael Quezada picked up his second win by recording the final out of the top of the ninth inning.
Cedar Rapids 4, Beloit 1
Cole Sands: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 62.4% strikes (53 of 85 pitches)
HR: Trey Cabbage (5) Chris Williams (2)
Multi-hit games: Gabriel Maciel (2-for-4, 2B), Williams (2-for-4, 2B, HR)
Trey Cabbage has come out of the gates in absolute beast mode. He homered yet again tonight, giving him five home runs in just 13 games with the Kernels. He had eight homers in 99 games with Cedar Rapids last season. In case you missed it, SD Buhr had a great feature on Cabbage here at the site earlier this week.
Cabbage socked a solo homer in the seventh inning to break what was a scoreless tie at that point. Chris Williams followed with a dinger of his own to make it back-to-back jacks. He also provided a two-run double in the bottom of the eighth.
Cole Sands was dealing again tonight. After five shutout innings his ERA is down to 1.93. With six more strikeouts, Sands has 18 Ks in just 14 innings this season. Austin Schulfer earned the win in relief by throwing three scoreless innings.
STARS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Bailey Ober, Fort Myers
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Michael Helman, Fort Myers
TOP PROSPECT SUMMARY
Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed
1. Royce Lewis (FM): 0-for-4, 3 K, E
4. Trevor Larnach (FM): 3-for-4, RBI
10. Akil Baddoo (FM): 1-for-3, BB
13. Ryan Jeffers (FM): 1-for-3, BB, R
16. Gilberto Celestino (CR): 0-for-4, 2 K
17. Zack Littell (ROC): 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 58.5% strikes
18. LaMonte Wade (ROC): 1-for-3, BB, R)
20. Jose Miranda (FM): 0-for-4
SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester at Lehigh Valley, 5:35 pm CT (Chase De Jong)
Pensacola vs. Mobile, 6:05 pm CT (Sean Poppen)
Fort Myers vs. Charlotte, 5:00 pm CT (Charlie Barnes)
Cedar Rapids vs. Beloit, 2:05 pm CT (Josh Winder)
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.
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