Toronto’s minor league affiliates went 3-1 on the night, thanks to timely hits in New Hampshire, Dunedin and Lansing. Here’s your Blue Jays complete prospect report for games played on Thursday, May 24:
Wins/Losses: 24-23 | Streak: L2 | 3rd in PCL Pacific South division (8.0 GB)
Nashville Sounds 7, Las Vegas 51s 6 – F/10 – LP: Hoey (0-2, 4.66)
After blowing an early 4-0 lead and clawing back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, the Las Vegas 51s ultimately fell to the Nashville Sounds, 7-6 in 10 innings on Thursday night.
Slugging catcher Travis d’Arnaud led the 51s’ offense with two solo home runs, and now has seven homers in his last 10 games to go along with a .310 average and 1.055 OPS over that span. Adam Lind also got in on the party, belting a two-run shot in the first inning for his third home run in five games with the 51s since being optioned to Triple-A over the weekend.
Leadoff hitter Anthony Gose went 3-for-5 with a double and stole his Pacific Coast League-leading 17th base of the season. He extended his hitting streak to eight games, hitting .437 (14-for-32) over that span.
51s starter Aaron Laffey lasted seven innings for the second time in as many starts and allowed five runs (three earned) on seven hits. It was also Laffey’s second consecutive start without issuing a walk and recording five strikeouts. His main mistake came in the third inning, when he surrendered a two-out, three-run home run to Sounds left fielder Brooks Conrad, who later shifted to first base when 2011 Blue Jay Corey Patterson made a pinch hit appearance with the game on the line (he flied out).
Jerry Gil gave up a go-ahead run on two hits in the top of the eighth and closer Chad Beck loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth but managed to keep the game tied. Jim Hoey was tagged with the loss after giving up the game-winning run in the top of the tenth via a RBI groundout.
Wins/Losses: 18-27 | Streak: W1 | 5th in EAS Eastern division (9.5 GB)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 8, Portland Sea Dogs 2 – WP: Pino (4-1, 3.18)
After breaking a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the second inning, the Fisher Cats erupted for five runs in the fourth to go on to top the Sea Dogs 8-2 on Thursday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium. After losing both games of a doubleheader on Wednesday, the win gave New Hampshire a split in their four-game series against Portland.
New Hampshire’s newest members, second baseman Brian Bocock and catcher Sean Ochinko, were influential in the win. Bocock, playing in only his fourth game with the Fisher Cats after being on the 7-day disabled list since Opening Day, doubled his hit total on the season with a 3-for-5 night that included a double and three RBI. Bocock has certainly made the most of his four games since being activated from the DL, as he’s drawn three walks and stolen a base as well. Ochinko, called up from High-A Dunedin after it was announced that A.J. Jimenez would undergo Tommy John surgery, had a season-high three hits, including his first two doubles in a Double-A uniform.
Leadoff hitter Ryan Goins continued his hot May, going 3-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to six games. Goins, 24, has hit safely in nine of his last 10 contests and is currently hitting .379 (33-for-87) with an .882 OPS in 21 games this month. Switch-hitting left fielder John Tolisano went 1-for-4 with a walk and two RBI.
Overall, the Fisher Cats pounded out eight runs on 13 hits, 10 of which were singles, and had more walks (6) than strikeouts (5).
After giving up a season-high seven runs (six earned) in his last outing on May 18, Fisher Cats starter Yohan Pino rebounded nicely, allowing only a pair of earned runs on seven hits across solid strong innings. After back-to-back two-out doubles plated a run in the first inning, Pino did not have an opposing runner advance past second base until the sixth, when he served up a solo home run to Sea Dogs’ first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez. Home runs have been a problem for Pino, as he’s given up at least one in five of his eight starts this season. Even though the Venezuela native only struck out three over seven innings on Thursday, it was only the second time this season where he hasn’t issued a walk.
Fernando Hernandez tossed two scoreless innings of relief, allowing only an eighth-inning single while striking out two. The single was the first hit he allowed since May 9, and he has now tossed 8 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings since then.
Wins/Losses: 30-17 | Streak: W1 | 1st in FSL North division (5.0 GM Lead)
Dunedin Blue Jays 4, Jupiter Hammerheads 3 – WP: Marek (1-0, 9.00) S: Barnes (15)
After Jupiter tied things up at 3 in the top of the eighth, the D-Jays answered with the go-ahead run in the bottom half of the inning, topping the Hammerheads 4-3 at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium on Thursday. With the win, Dunedin halted their season-high losing streak at two games, and, just like the Fisher Cats, the win earned them a split of their four-game series with Jupiter.
Left fielder Marcus Knecht continued to show that he’s turning the corner, going 2-for-2 with a triple, a pair of walks and a RBI. Over his last 10 games, the Canadian is now 11-for-37 (.297) with three home runs, 10 RBI, five walks, and a 1.008 OPS. Leadoff hitter Gabe Jacobo has been on an even bigger tear as of late, as his 2-for-4 performance brought his average up to .295 on the year and he now has a .349/.370/.651 slash line over his last 10 games, including seven doubles and his first two home runs of the season.
Dunedin first baseman Jon Talley quietly went 2-for-3 with a walk, and Ryan Schimpf went 1-for-4, tying a season-high with two RBI while setting a new season-high with three strikeouts.
Dunedin starter Sean Nolin lasted only 5 1/3 innings in his shortest outing since May 3, but allowed only one earned run on three hits while striking out four. While the three hits were the second-fewest that he’s allowed in a start this season, Nolin issued a season-high four walks; one each in the game’s first four innings. After giving up a one-out single to Jupiter first baseman Mark Canha in the sixth, Nolin was pulled in favor of Dayton Marze, who induced a ground out but gave up a two-out double that scored Canha and charged the run to Nolin.
28-year-old reliever Stephen Marek, making his first outing of the season after being transferred from Triple-A Las Vegas without appearing in a single game, picked up the blown-save win after a successful double steal from the Hammerheads scored the game-tying run in the eighth inning.
D-Jays closer Danny Barnes pitched around a Schimpf fielding error and a double in a scoreless ninth to record his Florida State League-leading 15th save of the season. The game’s final out was recorded in dramatic fashion at home plate via an outfield assist, Dunedin right fielder Kenen Bailli to third baseman Kevin Ahrens to catcher Jack Murphy.
Wins/Losses: 33-13 | Streak: W2 | 1st in MID Eastern division (8.5 GM Lead)
Lansing Lugnuts 5, Dayton Dragons 2 – WP: Rollins (4-0, 2.64) S: Meyer (16)
Thanks to some timely hits and a few gifts from Dayton’s pitching staff, the Lansing Lugnuts were able to beat the Dragons 5-2 on Thursday night. The win was Lansing’s ninth-straight over Dayton this season.
Though the Lugnuts’ five runs were enough to give them the victory, they had countless opportunities to add more. In addition to drawing 12 walks, Lugnuts hitters left 16 runners on base and went just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Leading the charge was cleanup-hitting shortstop (wait, what?) Andy Burns, who went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk and a RBI. I was thoroughly impressed with Burns on both sides of the ball when I was down in Lansing in early May, and all the 21-year-old has managed to do in the 10 games since then is hit .294 (10-for-34) with four doubles, one triple, two home runs, seven RBI, seven walks and a 1.092 OPS. After dabbling at second and third base earlier in the season, an injury to Opening Day shortstop Chino Vega has given Burns the chance to play almost everyday at short, and he has certainly made the most of it.
Chris Hawkins, hitting third, went 3-for-5 to bring his average up to a team-high .321, K.C. Hobson went 1-for-2 with a RBI and three walks, and Kenny Wilson hit a single and drew a pair of walks.
Speaking of walks, Lugnuts leadoff hitter and second baseman Jonathon Berti went 0-for-3 but drew a pair of free passes, and went on to steal his league-leading 21st base of the season. He’s been caught six times in 27 tries as well, for a very respectable 77% success rate.
Lugnuts starter David Rollins bounced back from his shortest outing of the season against Fort Wayne on May 18 to scatter three hits in five strong innings. He allowed one earned run and one walk while striking out four, in an outing similar to his April 27 start against Kane County. Lugnuts catcher Carlos Perez erased Rollins’ leadoff walk in the first with a great inning-ending throw to third base, and three singles in the third plated Dayton’s only run of the game, but Rollins was dialed in apart from those few small miscues. He retired the final seven batters he faced, including three strikeouts in the fourth inning.
Aleson Escalante earned his first hold since being shipped to the Lugnuts from extended spring training on May 11, Javier Avendano registered his seventh hold of the season with a scoreless eighth around a hit and two walks, and Ajay Meyer got the save with two strikeouts in a perfect ninth. The save was Meyer’s 16th of the season, seven more than the next closest pitcher for the Midwest League lead.