Blue Jays MiLB recap – Diamond shines and Vlad Jr. homers

Jun 13, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Scott Diamond (32) throws a pitch against Philadelphia Phillies at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 13, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Scott Diamond (32) throws a pitch against Philadelphia Phillies at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

Jays Journal takes a look around the Toronto Blue Jays Minor League organization for Friday, June 24th

Buffalo Bisons (41-34) – 1
Indianapolis Indians (40-34) – 0

Scott Diamond outlasted the Indians Friday evening in a one run game.  Diamond threw seven innings of four-hit ball and did not allow a run.  Diamond’s shutout innings allowed the Bisons to claw a run in during the 3rd.  Joe Mier led off the inning with a walk and advanced on a well placed bunt by Alexi Casilla.  Jesus Montero stepped into the box with two out and come through with a big RBI single.  The hard hit line drive allowed Mier to score what would be the only run of the game.  Ryan Tepera took over and pick up the two inning save.

Junior Lake was picked up by the Blue Jays prior to the game and Darrell Ceciliani was optioned back to Buffalo in return.  Lake has been hitting the ball hard lately and was fresh off a 3-for-5 game with a pair of doubles, a triple, a stolen base, two runs and an RBI.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (32-40) – 3
Harrisburg Senators (39-33) – 2

A low scoring game led to some 9th inning drama for the Cats.  The Senators led nearly the entire game but in the Cats last at-bat they pounced and took the win.  Derrick Loveless started off the rally with a solo bomb with one out.  The pitch was destroyed over the right field wall for his second of the season as Loveless hopefully settles into double-A.  With the bases loaded after a single and a pair of walks Jason Leblebijian cracked a double to centre and drove in the winning runs.

The walk-off victory was set up by an excellent start by Luis Santos.  Santos only pitched five innings but just four hits.  The only blemish on the start was a two-run homer to Senators DH Kevin Keyes.  The combined efforts of the bullpen kept the game close through the remainder and allowed just three base runners over the last four innings.

Dunedin Blue Jays (1-1) – 3

Tampa Yankees (1-1) – 5

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A little bit of thunder on offence was not enough to keep the Yankees from a win Friday.  An average start from Francisco Rios, a rough inning for Adonys Cardona, plus three runs of support spelled a loss in this one.  Rios pitched six innings but allowed three earned runs which included a solo home run to Abiatal Avelino.  In the 8th, Cardona came on and allowed a pair of runs while recording just one out.

On offence, the D-Jays tried to come back late in the game after having issues hitting Ian Clarkin early on.  They were able to tie the game in the top of the 8th but were matched by the Yanks the second half of the inning.  Emilio Guerrero provided a clutch solo home run in the 8th to tie up the game.  Earlier in the game, Gunnar Heidt knocked in a pair of runs on a double.  The big issue for the D-Jays Friday was the amount of strikeouts.  The D-Jays hitters were struck out 15 times.

Lansing Lugnuts (38-34) – 12
West Michigan Whitecaps (39-30) -7

A rough night for all pitchers led to a battle of sluggers.  The WhiteCaps starter was knocked out of the game after just 1.2 innings of work.  He allowed four earned runs in that time as the Lugnuts offence jumped into the game early.  On the other side, the Lugnuts starter did not fair much better but allowed four unearned runs.

Jordan Romano only lasted 2.2 innings and the game became a match of bullpens and hitting.  The Lugnuts supplied plenty of pop during the game as Max Pentecost and Connor Panas each hit solo homers.  Pentecost collected two RBIs during a 2-4 performance.  Panas and Josh Almonte each scored three times and had a pair of hits.  Justin Atkinson supplied most of the offence as he drove in a remarkable five RBIs on one hit and a pair of sac flies.  He finished the game 1-for-2 with a run scored along with the five RBI.  The high scoring slugfest tipped in favour of the Lugnuts.

Vancouver Canadians (4-4) – 2
Hillsboro Hops (3-5) – 12

The Hillsboro team hopped all over the C’s to start this game as four runs were scored in the first.  Errors caused more runs in this one as the C’s collected three of them before the game was over.  The defense has led to plenty of runs to start the season and hopefully will improve to keep them in games.  Jacob Anderson collected his 4th RBI of the young season and went 2-3 with a double and a run scored.  Bryan Lizardo collected the other RBI on a single.  A long rough afternoon for the C’s.

Bluefield Blue Jays (1-1) 
Bristol Pirates (1-1)

Game 1 Win 9-4
The continuation of the night before started up in the 4th inning with a 0-0 game and the Jays struck first.  A solo homer by Edward Olivares kicked off a trend of home runs for the Jays as the hit three before the game was over.  Earl Burl III hit a solo home run and Bradley Jones added a 2-run shot in the following innings.  The Jays scored seven in the 7th to secure the win. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. collected his first pro hit and run scored in this game.

Next: Contract talk - Could Saunders get paid?

Game 2 Loss 2-4
Some tough errors and a few earned runs set the tone for this one.  Osman Gutierrez got the start and pitched five innings while allowing a pair of runs on two solo homers.  He was on the mound for all four Pirates runs but only two were earned.  He did strike out an impressive six batters during the start. The offence was supplied by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as he hit a two-run home run in the 3rd inning.  His first pro home run was not enough to keep the Jays in this one.