St. Paul 3, Iowa 1
Some nights, great pitching and Jose Miranda is all you need to secure a win. Tonight was one of those nights.
Charlie Barnes got the start on the mound for St. Paul tonight and he was excellent in a shortened outing. He went four innings and allowed only one run, while accumulating four strikeouts. Barnes threw 70 pitches in this one and wasn’t showing signs of slowing down, so his removal from the game is likely to keep him fresh for potential major league service in the future.
The one Cubs run came in the top of the third on an Abiatal Avelino RBI single off Barnes. Fortunately, though, the Saints struck in the bottom of the inning when Jose Miranda belted a no-doubter three-run shot. That blast proved to be all the Saints would need.
After Barnes was removed, Beau Burrows entered the game in the fifth, charged with getting the fifteen-out save (not a thing). Burrows was even more fantastic, though, as he didn’t allow a hit until the ninth inning and struck out six Cubs. He did allow two hits in the ninth, but did not allow a run over all five of his innings, and the Saints took the game 3-1. St. Paul improves to 2-1 in the Triple-A Final Stretch.
WIND SURGE WISDOM
Double-A Central Championship Series Game 3: NW Arkansas 6, Wichita 2 (NW Arkansas wins series 3-0)
Needing a win after their top two arms got roughed up in games one and two, the Wind Surge put the ball in the capable right hand of Austin Schulfer tonight in Riverfront Stadium’s playoff debut. However, a fourth inning grand slam ruined the night for Schulfer and the Surge, and their comeback hopes in this game and in the series never got started.
The packed home crowd was amped up early and Jermaine Palacios gave them something to cheer about in the second when he stroked a ball 400 feet the left and bat-flipped the Surge to a 1-0 lead.
The Naturals grabbed that run back in the third with a sac fly scoring Blake Perkins, who advanced two bases on an errant Schulfer pickoff attempt.
After a close out call at the plate kept Wichita from retaking the lead, Brewer Hicklen, who made a game-saving catch in Game 1, pumped a grand slam over the left field wall to take the air out of the Wichita crowd and give NW Arkansas a 5-1 lead.
Spencer Steer doubled and later scored on an Andrew Bechtold groundout in the fourth, but the offense couldn’t build on that and the next run of the game came in the seventh in favor of the Naturals, making it 6-2.
In fact, the Surge didn’t put together a meaningful threat the rest of the game and that 6-2 scoreline was enough to earn the Naturals a dog-pile on the infield grass.
Schulfer ended up pitching four innings, allowing five runs (four earned) while striking out four. He gave way to Kody Funderburk, who allowed just one run in three innings. Jordan Gore finished the game with two innings of scoreless work. On offense, the Surge grabbed seven hits but, as they have for much of the stretch run, they struggled to bring runs in. Jermaine Palacios and Austin Martin had multi-hit games.
High-A Central Championship Series Game 3: Cedar Rapids 8, Quad Cities 4 (Cedar Rapids leads series 2-1)
After splitting the first two games, the Kernels endured a lengthy delay and turned to the long ball, bopping 4 homers en route to a crucial 8-4 Game 3 victory.
Quad Cities opened their account in the first inning with a Logan Porter RBI single, but DaShawn Kiersey Jr. had an answer in the form of a two-run homer that gave the Kernels a 2-1 second-inning lead.
In the third inning, the Kernels loaded the bases but their threat was interrupted by a rain delay. Well over an hour later, the game picked up again and Kiersey flew out to end the threat, permanently this time.
In the fourth, though, Edouard Julien doubled the Cedar Rapids lead with a solo homer, and a few batters later, Alex Isola followed suit. Isola’s blast was worth three though, and the Kernels took a 6-1 lead.
Quad Cities got a run back in the fifth, but Julien was back at it again in the sixth, with another solo bomb. And, Michael Helman added on another when he doubled and later scored on a Matt Wallner sac fly.
Quad Cities got two runs back in the seventh to cut the lead to 8-4 that was as close as their comeback attempts would get and the Cedar Rapids Kernels are one win away from the title.
Casey Legumina got the start for Cedar Rapids and allowed one run in two innings but after the lengthy delay, this one became a bullpen game. Adam Rozek matched Legumina, allowing one run over the third and fourth innings. Derek Molina took over and pitched 2 1/3 innings and allowed two runs, though only one was earned. Carlos Suniaga allowed a few hits, but finished the game with two scoreless innings.
TWINS DAILY MINOR LEAGUE PLAYERS OF THE DAY
Pitcher of the Day - Beau Burrows (St. Paul) - 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, BB, 6 K
Hitter of the Day - Edouard Julien (Cedar Rapids) - 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR, BB, K
#2 - Austin Martin (Wichita) - 2-for-3, BB
#6 - Jose Miranda (St. Paul) - 1-for-3, BB, HR (16), 3 RBI
#12 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) - 1-for-3, RBI, 2 K
#13 - Gilberto Celestino (St. Paul) - 0-for-3, BB
#16 - Brent Rooker (Minnesota) - 1-for-3, K
#20 - Spencer Steer (Wichita) - 1-for-4, 2B, R, 2 K
SATURDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Iowa @ St. Paul (6:05 PM CST) - RHP Drew Strotman (9-4, 5.13 ERA)
Cedar Rapids @ Quad Cities (6:30 PM CST) - RHP Sawyer Gipson-Long (3-3, 4.55 ERA in regular season)
Please feel free to ask questions and discuss Friday’s games!