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Twins Minor League Report (9/8): Miracle Coast to Victory, Kernels Fall Late

The Fort Myers Miracle scored eight runs in the first inning Saturday night, the most runs they’ve scored in an inning all season, and won Game 2 of the Florida State League Championship Series in convincing fashion.

Unfortunately, the Cedar Rapids Kernels dropped the first game of their Midwest League semifinal series. Keep reading for more details on what happened in these two postseason games from the Twins’ minor league system Saturday night.
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins Daily (photo of Travis Blankenhorn)
Fort Myers 12, Daytona 2 (Game 2 of the FSL Championship Series)
Box Score

W: Griffin Jax (6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)
HR: Royce Lewis
Multi-hit games: Travis Blankenhorn (3-for-4, 2B, BB), Alex Kirilloff (2-for-5, 2B), Jose Miranda (2-for-5, 2B), Taylor Grzelakowski (2-for-5, 2B), Ryan Costello (2-for-4, BB)

The Miracle lineup took all the suspense out of this one. They hung an eight-spot on the board in the first inning, followed that up with two more runs in the second and cruised to victory in Game 2 of the Florida State League Championship Series.

Fort Myers had four runs and knocked out the opposing starting pitcher before they even recorded an out. Royce Lewis led things off by reaching on an error. He would come around to score. The Miracle batted around, and in his second at-bat of the inning Lewis hit a three-run homer.

Griffin Jax set the tone in the top of the first by striking out the side, but he switched over into cruise control from there. He gave the Miracle 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball, giving up six hits while issuing just one walk. He finished with six strikeouts.

Kevin Marnon took over from there and shut out the Tortugas over the final 2 1/3 innings. Marnon did exactly what you’d want from a pitcher in that situation. He threw 22 of his 29 pitches for strikes (75.9 percent).

Lewis had the big blow, but this blowout was a great team effort. Five Miracle hitters had multi-hit games and Travis Blankenhorn reached safely in four of his five plate appearances. Fort Myers also combined to go 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position.

Fort Myers now leads the series 2-0, meaning they’re just one victory away from winning the FSL title. Brusdar Graterol gets the start for the Miracle.

Peoria 5, Cedar Rapids 3 (Game 1 of the MWL Semifinals)
Box Score

SP: Bryan Sammons (6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)
HR: None
Multi-hit games: David Banuelos (3-for-4, 2 2B), Michael Helman (2-for-5)

Bryan Sammons was outstanding and the Cedar Rapids lineup built an early lead, but Peoria just wouldn’t go away. Sammons held the Chiefs to two hits over six shutout innings and struck out six batters. He exited with the Kernels up 2-0.

Zach Neff took over in the seventh and pitched a clean inning. He went back out for the eighth but things didn’t go so well, as Peoria scored three runs in the top of the eighth to go up 3-2. Cedar Rapids managed to tie the game up in the bottom of the inning, but the Chiefs responded with two more runs off Jose Martinez in the ninth.

The Kernels had plenty of opportunities to score more runs, as they tallied 12 hits and drew five walks on the night. They left the bases loaded in both the first and third innings. The sixth ended with runners on second and third base. They got a lead-off walk from Gabriel Maciel in the eighth, but he made the first out of the inning at home plate, trying to score on a double. They left the bases loaded up again that inning.

Tough way to lose a ballgame, tough way to open up a series. The Kernels now face elimination tomorrow night at Peoria. If they survive, a decisive Game 3 will be played at Peoria Monday.

Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day: Bryan Sammons, Cedar Rapids
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day: Travis Blankenhorn, Fort Myers

Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed

1. Royce Lewis (FM): 1-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
2. Alex Kirilloff (FM): 2-for-5, 2B, 2 R
6. Trevor Larnach (CR): 1-for-5, K
8. Akil Baddoo (CR): 0-for-2, 3 BB
13. Travis Blankenhorn (FM): 3-for-4, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, 3 R
18. Ryan Jeffers (CR): 1-for-5, RBI, 2 K
19. Jacob Pearson (CR): 1-for-1, RBI (as a pinch hitter)

Fort Myers at Daytona, 4:35 pm CT: Brusdar Graterol
Cedar Rapids at Peoria, 4:00 pm CT: Blayne Enlow

Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games.

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Sep 09 2018 12:52 AM

Only 2 hits?Come on, Alex...

    • MN_ExPat likes this
Sep 09 2018 06:36 AM
Today could be the last day of excellent seasons for Lewis, Kiriloff and Graterol.
    • glunn likes this

I see that Caleb Hamilton has started 3 straight games for the Miracle. Is Rortvedt dinged up, or is the manager going with who he sees as the hot bat?

    • glunn likes this

Is 2018 11th round pick Michael Helman a legitimate prospect?

    • glunn likes this
Sep 09 2018 10:25 AM


Is 2018 11th round pick Michael Helman a legitimate prospect?

I say yes

    • glunn likes this


Is 2018 11th round pick Michael Helman a legitimate prospect?


Yes... I mean, borderline top 30 type... maybe a little higher

    • glunn likes this


Today could be the last day of excellent seasons for Lewis, Kiriloff and Graterol.


1.) that would mean a Florida State League championship, which would be awesome.


2.) Kinda sad to think about... 

    • glunn, MN_ExPat and rdehring like this

I'll second that thought, Seth.Will be sad not having baseball to read about every morning.And that ends when these two teams end their run, sure isn't much fun reading/talking/thinking bout the Twins.


I may be sounding like a broken record, but another great game from Miranda.2019 could be real special for that kid.And wasn't it great seeing Jax suck it up and pitch so well?That AFA training to be a leader of men in combat probably gives him an added something to fall back on.Win one of three and they are in, why not today behind Graterol?


12 hits and 5 walks and the Kernels scored only 3 runs?They just couldn't get enough key hits to support a great start by Sammons, who has had a nice year.Now they need to win today.Didn't OSU face several elimination games on their way to the college world series championship?Larnach came up big for them, maybe he will do it again today?

    • glunn and RaymondLuxuryYacht like this

The leaving guys on base all night was frustrating enough in Cedar Rapids, but that 3 run 8th inning for Peoria started with a high pop fly that got misjudged and landed right next to the mound on the 3B side for what was credited as a single. That pop up gets caught and Peoria likely does not score a run in the 8th.


Terrible way to lose a game.


Have to like Ft. Myers' chances for a ring today with Graterol on the bump!

    • ashbury, glunn and MN_ExPat like this
Man what's wrong with Kiriloff? only two hits

Haven't thought about/looked at Travis Blankenhorn much this season; would the consensus be this was a bit of a step back for him? Nice to see him have a good night, but overall he looks to have struggled at the plate. or is this the FSL effect that gets most guys not named Kirilloff?


A little easy to lose track of Blackenhorn in Ft. Myers this year with Lewis, Kirilloff, and Graterol moving up there mid season (and having success), and Rortvedt having a nice season.

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