In this series, you will find are the scores and highlights of each Twins minor league game throughout the season. We will write about who pitched for the Twins affiliate and how well they did. We’ll mention home runs and multi-hit games by hitters. As the season goes along, we’ll keep you updated on where the team stands in their divisions. We will also be around the take any questions you may have about the teams and players so be sure to review this report each and every day from now until Labor Day (and hopefully beyond that as it would mean a team made the playoffs). Let's get to the Opening Night action...
The minor league schedule was full and all four teams were able to play their games despite chilly temperatures throughout the north. There was even a walk-off win for one of the affiliates.
However, before we get started with the report, the Minnesota Twins recorded their first win of the 2014 season with a 10-9 win over the Chicago White Sox. It was an ugly win, but I think the Twins and their fans would be really happy with any and all ugly wins that the team is able to record. The win was the 999th of manager Ron Gardenhire’s managerial career with the Twins.
RED WINGS REPORT
Rochester 3, Buffalo Bison 6
The Red Wings played the first game of the 2014 minor league season. It began when Blue Jays top pitching prospect Marcus Stroman threw his first pitch to Darin Mastroianni.
Scott Diamond got the start for the Red Wings, and it’s fair to say he didn’t get the results he likely wanted. The southpaw gave up four first innings runs and then another in the second before his day was complete. He gave up five runs (4 earned) on six hits and an uncharacteristic four walks. He struck out just one batter. Diamond continues a run that no Red Wings starting pitcher has completed five innings on Opening Day since Boof Bonser in 2006.
He was replaced by veteran Yohan Pino who struck out one in two perfect innings. Brooks Raley came in for the fifth inning. He went 1.2 innings and gave up only an unearned run despite yielding three hits and walking two. Deolis Guerra got the final out of the sixth inning and pitched a 1, 2, 3 seventh frame. Matt Hoffman pitched a quiet eighth inning.
Mastroianni led the offense. He went 2-5 with two RBI. James Beresford was 2-4 with an RBI. Deibinson Romero went 1-3 with a walk.
The winning pitcher for the Bison was former Red Wings and Twins starter Liam Hendriks who pitched the fifth and sixth innings without allowing a base runner.
ROCK CATS REVIEW
New Britain 10, Richmond 2
The Rock Cats scored ten runs, but it was the pitching that kept them in the game early. Pat Dean made the Opening Day start and went the first 5.1 innings. He gave up just three hits, walked one and struck out seven. He was replaced by AJ Achter who struck out five (and walked one) in 2.2 hitless innings. Cole Johnson got through his first appearance of 2014. He gave up two hits, but no runs to end the game.
The offense started quickly. Corey Wimberly led off the first inning with a double which was followed by a Danny Ortiz single. Nate Hanson came up and drilled a two-run double. The Rock Cats scored single runs in the second and fourth inning. In the sixth inning Kennys Vargas singled. He went to third on a Reynaldo Rodriguez single. Rodriguez advanced to second on the throw to third. That allowed both runs to score on a Tony Thomas single. Matt Koch followed with a double to score Thomas and extend the lead to 7-2. They added another three runs in the 8th inning.
Tony Thomas led the way. He went 3-4 with a double and two RBI. Danny Ortiz went 3-4 with a walk. Reynaldo Rodriguez, playing left field, scored four runs in the game. He was 2-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch.
Ft. Myers 5, Jupiter 1
Jason Wheeler provided an early-season quality start and Max Kepler provided the offense. Wheeler, who went 9-4 with a 3.70 ERA for the Miracle last year, got the nod to start the opener. The lanky lefty went the first 5.2 innings and gave up just one run on five hits and two walks. He struck out four. Lefty Steven Gruver got the final out of the sixth inning and pitched a scoreless seventh as well. Tim Shibuya was perfect over the final two innings, including two strikeouts.
What should be a potent Miracle offense got off to a quick start on Opening Night in Jupiter. Leadoff man Levi Michael led off with a double. It was followed by a single by Jorge Polanco. Dalton Hicks singled off the pitcher which scored Michael from third. Polanco advanced to third and scored on a sacrifice fly by Max Kepler.
However, the Miracle bats were quiet until the 8th inning when Jorge Polanco and Adam Walker singled. They both scored on a triple down the right field line by Max Kepler. Kepler scored later on an infield single by Michael Gonzales.
Eight of the nine Miracle hitters had at least one hit. Jorge Polanco, 2-5, was the only player with more than one hit.
We certainly won’t discuss the lineup or the defensive alignment, but the Opening Night alignment was interesting, especially in the infield. Levi Michael started at second base. Jorge Polanco was at shortstop. Niko Goodrum played at third base. Goodrum made some nice plays at the hot corner. Polanco made one diving play, but he also committed two errors in the game. Travis Harrison started in left field with Max Kepler in center and Adam Walker in right. I’m certain many of these players will be gaining some versatility by playing several positions throughout the season.
Cedar Rapids 4, Clinton 3 (10 innings)
With one out in the bottom of the 10th inning, Bryan Haar stepped to the plate with no one on base. Last year, he led the Appalachian League in extra base hits. He came up with a timely one on this night. Haar hit a long home run to deep left field to give the Kernels a walk-off win on Opening Night.
Aaron Slegers made the Opening Night start for the Kernels. The 6-10 righty gave up two runs on five hits in five innings. He walked none and struck out five. He also hit two batters. Christian Powell came on and threw two scoreless innings. Miguel Sulbaran, who will be starting at the back end of the rotation, got an inning and was charged with an unearned run. Hudson Boyd came in for the ninth inning and worked two scoreless innings to get the win.
Haar’s home run was his first hit of the season. He had earlier walked and driven in a run. Zach Larson went 2-4 with a pair of doubles. Joel Licon went 2-3 with two walks in the game.
If you feel the need to post one negative thing in this game, how about the defense on the left side of the infield. Engelb Vielma had two errors at shortstop. Logan Wade, playing third base, had three errors.
TWINS DAILY PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Twins Daily Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Pat Dean, New Britain Rock Cats
Twins Daily Minor League Hitter of the Day – Bryan Haar, Cedar Rapids Kernels
FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Rochester @ Buffalo (1:05 CST) – Alex Meyer (vs Ricky Romero)
Richmond @ New Britain (10:30 a.m. CST) – DJ Baxendale
Ft. Myers @ Jupiter (5:35 CST) – Tyler Duffey
Clinton @ Cedar Rapids (6:35 CST) – Randy Rosario
Please feel free to ask any questions and discuss the games of Friday night.