Blue Jays MiLB Recap: Lugnuts Break Out Late!

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It was an interesting night in the Blue Jays minor league system. 6 teams were in action. They were 4-2 on the night. We saw some tight ball games, an offesnive explosion from the Lugnuts and a marathon from the Fisher Cats. Here’s how it all went down.

*Featured photo via MLBProspectPortal.com

Buffalo Bisons- 3  vs  Syracuse Chiefs- 2

The Bisons used a 3 run inning to give Jeff Francis his 4th victory of the season. For his part, Francis looked really good. He went 6 innings and gave up 6 hits, but struck out 10 Chiefs. He did not issue a walk in his 105 pitch outing. The lone damage came in the 3rd inning. After his team spotted him 3 runs, Francis gave up a 2 run double to shrink his lead to 1. But, he buckled down after that. In fact, you could say that that 3rd inning was an anomaly since for the previous 18 innings, he’d not allowed a run. And then after the 3rd, he did not allow a single base runner to start a new streak. His ERA now sits at 1.88 

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

It is interesting how Francis has been doing so well in AAA and then when called upon by the big league club, the Canadian has a 6.75 ERA. Now, it is only 12 innings of work, but I guess it highlights th edifference between AAA and The Show.

The offense didn’t need to be strong Thursday with an outing like that from Francis. And, they weren’t really. They collected 8 hits and just 2 walks. But, they only needed the 3-run home run by Caleb Gindl to win this contest. If it weren’t for that big fly, the score might have been a lot different since the Herd only had 4 runners in scoring position all night.  They also struck out 9 times. Jonathan Diaz and Matt Hague had two hits apiece to contribute to the cause.

The Bisons will wrap up their series with Syracuse on Friday and send Felix Doubront (1-3, 2.44) to the hill.

New Hampshire FisherCats- 5  vs Portland Sea Dogs- 6

The Fisher Cats had themselves a lead. They were up 3-0 heading into the 4th. Then, 12 innings later, they left the field with a loss. The Sea Dogs scored a run in the 16th (!) inning to walk off with the win. What’s worse? Oh, the winning run came on a wild pitch from Cory Burns. The winning run was scored by Sea Dogs Cole Sturgeon. He started the game in LF, but came in to throw 3 innings of relief.

The game was started by Austin Bibens- Dirkx who went 5.2 innings and gave up 2 earned runs on 5 hits, a walk and 5 Ks. Then, it was up to 6 other pitchers to close out the game. In less than an inning of work, Luis Perez had surrendered the lead having given up 4 hits and 3 earned runs. The rest of the way, the bullpen pitched nearly 8 scoreless innings. 

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Dalton Pompey had himself a great night at the plate. He hit a home run in the 3rd as part of his 4 for 8 night that netted him 3 RBI. His night at the plate, which included his 6th HR brings his average up to .389. This presents an interesting proposal for the Blue Jays system. Do they keep him in AA to build confidence, etc or promote him to reward his performance and to challenge him? I don’t think it’ll be the latter. The Blue Jays will want to be sure he’s ready to move up this time. Roemon Fields collected 3 hits in 7 at bats as did Dwight Smith Jr. The offense managed 16 hits over 16 innings, but went just 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position. Yikes.

The FisherCats wrap up the road trip that saw them play lots of extra baseball by sending Casey Lawrence (6-8, 5.18) to the mound. They’ll return home for the July 4th celebrations.

Dunedin Blue Jays- 6  vs  Brevard County Manatees- 1

The Blue Jays were the recipients of a strong Jeff Hoffman start. He went 5.2 innings, 2 hits, an earned run, 2 walks and 3 K. Hoffman nows stands at 2-2 with a 3.45 ERA. Whatever the numbers say about Hoffman’s performance, these months will be more about gettign him starting on a regular basis and makin gsure his arm is fully healed, etc. So, we shouldn’t be too enamoured one way or another with the numbers he puts up. Arik Sikula came on to bail him out but allowed the run to score, which was credited to Hoffman. Sikula did pick up the hold, though. Miguel Castro threw 2 beautiful innings picking up 4 strike outs.

The offense was provided by Anthony Alford who went 1 for 3 with a triple, a walk, 2 runs scored and 3 RBI. The triple was Alford’s 2nd on the season. He’s hitting .310 on the season. Rowdy Tellez picked up an RBI as did Emilio Guerrero who notched his 6th double. Tellez now has 9 RBI since his promotion to Dunedin.

Lansing Lugnuts- 11  vs  Lake County Captains- 3

It didn’t look like the Lugnuts would pull out a victory on this night. They were down 3-0 at the end of the 5th. But, you know how baseball is. The Lugnuts exploded in the late innings to bring their record to 47-31, which is good for a 3-way tie for first place in the Midwest League Eastern Division.

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The top of the order that featured Chris Carlson, Alex Maldonado and Jason Leblebijian combined to score 9 runs (3 apiece), 8 hits and 3 doubles. Carlson hit his 3rd HR in the 7th inning. Leblebijian added his first triple too. When all was said and done, Leblebijian finished with 4 RBI, which is tied for his pro ball best. He was a home run shy of the cycle. D.J. Davis had a big night at the plate too going 3 for 5 with 2 RBI.

Starter, Shane Dawson, looked to be walking away without a victory. But, he hang on with a gutsy 7 inning performance to pick up his 11th win of the season. His line wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done: 8 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks and 4 K. He was relieved by Mark Biggs who threw 2 shut out innings with 2 K.

Vancouver Canadians- 2  vs Spokane Indians- 17

The Canadians (6-9) were humbled at home Thursday night. As if being down 10-2 by the end of the 5th wasn’t enough, they’d also give up 7 more in the 8th. It was not a good night to be a pitcher.

Daniel Lietz and Bob Wheatley each gave up 5 earned runs. Lietz worked 3 innings and gave up 4 hits, 4 walks and 2 K. Wheatley went 2 innings, giving up 4 hits, 2 walks, 2 K and 2 HR. Turner Lee also gave up 4 earned runs, while Joey Aquino gave up 3. Lost in all of that is Joe Claver who went 2 innings and only surrendered one hit while striking out 2. Sean Ratcliffe didn’t give up any runs either as he went 1.1 innings with 2 hits and walk to his credit.

The offense only managed 5 hits in total. They struck out 9 times. First baseman, Connor Panas accounted for 3 of his team’s 5 hits. Right fielder, Sean Hurley drove in the only runs on a two- run home run in the 4th inning.

Bluefield Blue Jays- 4  vs Pulaski Yankees- 0

The Blue Jays capitalized on 4 errors form the Yankees on their way to a shut out and evening their record at 5-5.

Juliandry Higuera started the game for the Blue Jays and went 5 innings, giving up 3 hits, 2 BB and striking out 3 to pick up the win. He was followed by Tayler Saucedo‘s 3 shut out innings. Zach Rodgers chipped his own shut out inning too.

The offense didn’t need much on this night, but they got a home run from Andrew Guillotte as part of his 2 hit, 3 run night. The team went just 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

Next: Rowdy Tellez Making Noise in Dunedin