Twins Minor League Report (7/29): Long Night In Chattanooga
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Clark Beeker)Find out everything and more that happened happened in the Twins system on Saturday.
On a fun note, Chattanooga starting pitcher Dereck Rodriguez told me the other day that he will be in Cooperstown on Sunday when his father officially enters the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Let’s start with the transactions of the day:
- As we mentioned a couple of days ago, the Twins signed outfielder Jimmy Kerrigan, a 23-year-old from the independent Frontier League. At the time, they announced that he would report on Saturday. The corresponding move is that infielder Andre Jernigan, a 2016 draft pick out of Xavier who joined the Kernels about a month ago from extended spring training, was released.
- Miracle RHP Henry Centeno began a rehab appearance in the GCL on Saturday. Kernels RHP Tyler Wells also began a rehab stint.
- Expect some more moves on Sunday.
Rochester 5, Toledo 6
The Red Wings jumped out to an early lead. They once led 5-1. However, the bullpen’s most reliable arm was unable to hold the lead. The game went to extra innings, and former (albeit brief) Red Wings hitter John Hicks knocked in the game-winning run for Toledo.
Hector Santiago made his second rehab start (on this stint) with the Red Wings. He gave up a run on three walks and a hit in the first inning, but he settled down after that. In three innings, he gave up just the one run on two hits. He walked three and struck out four. David Hurlbut came on. The lefty gave up one run on four hits and a walk over four innings. He struck out five. 40 of his 55 pitches were strikes.
Byron Buxton played again. He struck out in his first two at-bats before singling in his final two at bats before being removed from the game.
Byungho Park went 2-6 with his 21st double and eighth home run. Daniel Palka was 2-5 with his second triple. Niko Goodrum and JB Shuck were 2-6. Anthony Recker made his Twins and Red Wings debut. He hit a double.
With a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, Drew Rucinski came on. He gave up three runs on three hits and a walk and got just the first two outs (both strikeouts). Jake Reed came on and allowed the third run to score on a hit before getting the third out. Nik Turley came on and went the next three innings. He gave up the 12th-inning run. He gave up a total of three hits and three walks while striking out just one.
Chattanooga 2, Birmingham 1 (21 innings)
It was a long night in Chattanooga. These two teams essentially played two games though it only counted as one in the overall standings. There were a lot of pitchers, a lot of men left on base, and there were even pitchers hitting, well, getting at-bats. It came down to position players pitching, for both teams.
Felix Jorge started and was fantastic. The right-hander went the first nine innings. He gave up just one run on four hits. He struck out eight batters without walking any. Randy Rosario was next. The southpaw gave up three hits, but no runs, over two innings. Ryan Eades was next. He walked two and struck out two over two scoreless innings. Then Raul Fernandez came on and struck out six over three scoreless innings.
So, how did pitchers start hitting? Why was that a thing in this game? Well, the Lookouts were down 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs, Jonathan Rodriguez, the DH, got on base. Jake Mauer decided to pinch run Alex Perez for him. The move worked as Perez came around to score on an Andy Wilkens hit. The game went to extra innings. Carlos Paulino pinch hit for Randy Rosario, but due to other moves throughout the earlier inning, there were no more hitters on Mauer’s bench. Ryan Eades struck out in his at-bat. Raul Fernandez grounded out in his lone at-bat.
Luke Bard came on for the 17th inning. He struck out two in a scoreless inning. He struck out another in a quick, 1-2-3 18th inning. Bard struck out to end the 18th inning.
So, in the 19th inning, Jake Mauer put infielder Alex Perez in to pitch. Pitcher Randy LeBlanc went out to right field. Max Murphy moved to centerfield while Levi Michael replaced Perez at second base. Alex Perez was the pinch runner who replaced the DH in the ninth inning. He walked one, but got three outs without allowing a run.
But the Lookouts didn’t score in their half of 19th either. Perez pitched a one-two-three 20th inning, including a fly out to LeBlanc in right field.
Perez enjoyed his time on the mound. "It was fun to get on the mound again. Been like two years since my senior year of college."
In the 21st inning, Alex Perez shifted back to second base, and Max Murphy went to the mound. He walked the first batter. The next guy bunted him to second. A grounder advanced the runner to third, but Murphy got a strikeout to end the threat!
Birmingham finally went to a position player in the bottom of the 21st inning. With two outs, he walked the bases loaded before Levi Michael walked to end the marathon!!
Along with his first win, Max Murphy went 3-8. Alex Perez was 2-5. Levi Michael was 2-8 with the game-winning walk... It was a long night for several others at the plate.
Perez was called up to the Lookouts about a month ago, and Chattanooga has just continued to roll. He notes, "This team just doesn't stop fighting. We never count ourselves out of any game. The atmosphere every time we take the field is unlike any team I've been a part of. I have enjoyed my time here that's for sure."
Ft. Myers 0, Clearwater 3
JoJo Romero is the #18 ranked prospect of the Philadelphia Phillies. On Saturday, he was terrific. In fact, the only hit he gave up to the Miracle was a single to Jermaine Palacios in the sixth inning. And that remained the only hit the Miracle had for the whole game. Tanner English walked twice.
Lewis Thorpe was on the mound to start for the Miracle. The left-hander gave up two runs on four hits over the first six innings. He struck out five without a walk.
Glen Perkins came in to start the seventh innings. He gave up one run on two hits in 0.2 innings. Both outs came on strikeouts. Alex Robinson got the final four outs, three on strikeouts.
Cedar Rapids 2, Clinton 0
Let’s start with the Kernels offense, and save the best part of this game story for last. There wasn’t a lot of offense. The team had eight hits in the game, but were only able to string together enough for two runs. In the third inning, Joe Cronin singled in Christian Cavaness to give the team a 1-0 lead. Then in the fifth frame, it was Cronin again. He knocked in Gorge Munoz, who went 2-3, with a sacrifice fly.
But on this night, that was just an insurance run because Clark Beeker threw a tremendous game. Beeker completed nine shutout innings and needed just 100 pitches. 73 of them were strikes. He gave up just five hits, walked none and struck out seven. A quality changeup and a strategy that has proven successful for Beeker.
Beeker told Twins Daily moments after the game’s completion, “I was able to get a good feel for my changeup in the early innings and was able to keep their hitters off balance. That allowed me to use my fastball to put away guys the second and third times through the lineup.
His pitching coach agreed. J.P. Martinez said, “The changeup was the difference-maker tonight. (It had) good tumble, and he spotted it low all night. He had them out front and made them late to the fastball.”
Beeker now has thrown 17 straight scoreless innings for the Kernels and is 10-3 with a 2.31 ERA for the season.
For Beeker, it was just nice to be able to finish what he started. “It was a great feeling to finish the game; I hadn’t done so since college, so it was nice to get deep in the game and save our bullpen. I was fortunate enough to get some early-count outs and keep my pitch count low enough to finish the game.”
Game 1 - Elizabethton 6, Princeton 0
These teams completed two full innings of work on Friday night before rains caused a delay and an eventual suspension of the game. Before that time, the Twins held a 3-0 lead. With two outs in the first inning, Jose Miranda hit his seventh home run, and it was followed by the fifth E-Twins homer of the season by Shane Carrier. Edwar Colina threw two scoreless innings and struck out four.
When the game resumed, Bailey Ober was on the mound. The 2017 draft pick struck out three over four scoreless, hitless innings to earn his first pro win. Blair Lakso threw a scoreless seventh inning.
Andrew Bechtold went 2-3 with his first triple. Mark Contreras was 2-3, and he had the big hit. His second home run of the season drove in three runs in the sixth inning and put the game out of reach.
Game 2 - Elizabethton 13, Princeton 3
Make that 20-2… In fact, in this, the regularly-scheduled game, the E-Twins scored seven runs in the first inning. Obviously there were a few big hits, but the final one was a two-run home run by Carson Crites out of the nine-spot in the lineup. It was his second home. Jordan Gore led off the second inning with his first professional home run.
Of the home run, Gore, who went 3-4 in the game, told Twins Daily, “It was a great feeling hitting the first one. I had a pretty good feeling it was going to get out.”
Matt Albanese added his second home run as well. Crites went 2-3. Colton Waltner went 3-4. Andrew Bechtold went 2-4 with his fourth double.
The E-Twins have a lot of really solid hitters. Gore said, “It's a thrill being a part of the offense. We have a guys that really know how to hit. It's fun being on an offensive team.”
Brusdar Graterol made his first start for the E-Twins on Saturday. The hard-throwing right-hander went the first four innings. He gave up two runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out six. Jared Finkel recorded the final nine outs. He was charged with an unearned run on four hits. He struck out six without issuing a walk.
GCL TWINS TAKES
GCL Twins 6, GCL Red Sox 5
The Twins traveled down Daniels Parkway this morning to take on the GCL Red Sox. It was an early start time, but the Twins got their bats going early, in large part due to Royce Lewis. In his first at bat, he singled in the Twins first run of the day. In the Twins four-run, third inning, Lewis knocked in two runs with another single.
Emmanuel Morel led off and went 2-4 with a walk. Jean Carlos Arias went 2-5 with his second triple. Victor Tademo went 2-4 with his second stolen base.
A couple of minor leaguers made rehab appearances in the GCL game. Right-hander Henry Centeno, who has been on the Miracle disabled list with an elbow injury since the beginning of the season, went the first inning. He walked a batter, hit a batter and struck out a batter in a scoreless inning.
Tyler Wells, who is in his second DL stint with the Kernels due to biceps tendinitis, threw the next two innings. He gave up an unearned run on two hits and a walk. He struck out four. Shortly after the game, he told Twins Daily, “It’s been going and feeling really good. Really been working on a few mechanical things, and they’ve been going really well. Now it’s just a matter of getting everything dialed in.”
TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Clark Beeker, Cedar Rapids Kernels
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Jordan Gore, Elizabethton Twins
SUNDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Toledo (5:05 CST) - RHP Aaron Slegers
Chattanooga @ Montgomery (5:35 CST) - LHP Stephen Gonsalves
Ft. Myers @ Clearwater (DH @ 12:00 CST) - RHP Sean Poppen, LHP Anthony McIver
Clinton @ Cedar Rapids (2:05 CST) - LHP Anthony Marzi
Kingsport @ Elizabethton (5:00 CST) - TBD
GCL Twins - No Game Scheduled
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss Sunday’s games.