Washington Nationals Minor League Report: April 22

From staff and wire reports:

Fresno (AAA Pacific Coast League): The Fresno Grizzlies (10-8) split their first series of the 2019 season after falling to the Las Vegas Aviators (15-4) 9-7 Monday night. Yadiel Hernandez clobbered his fourth homer of the year and Carter Kieboom added a pair of hits and RBI in the loss.Taylor Gushue recorded the other multi-hit game for Fresno.

Skye Bolt continued his strong set with a 4-for-4 game, driving in two runs. Tyler Ramirez notched his second longball of the season and Jorge Mateo laced three hits (two doubles) while plating a pair for Las Vegas.

Joel Seddon (1-0) relished the victory after three innings of one-run ball. Brady Dragmire (0-3) suffered the loss after relieving Vidal Nuno III. Brian Schlitter grabbed his third save of the year after two frames of work. Both teams will enjoy an off day on Tuesday before returning to action on Wednesday.

Top Performers: Fresno Grizzlies (Washington Nationals)

• LF Yadiel Hernandez (1-4, HR, 2 RBI, R)

• SS Carter Kieboom (2-3, 2 RBI, R, 2 BB)

• C Taylor Gushue (2-4, RBI)

Top Performers: Las Vegas Aviators (Oakland Athletics)

• CF Skye Bolt (4-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI, R, BB)

• SS Jorge Mateo (3-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI, SB)

• RF Tyler Ramirez (1-5, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)

ON THAT FRES-NOTE: Despite the Grizzlies’ loss to Las Vegas Monday, they stayed one game ahead of Sacramento in the PCL Pacific Northern Division; Fresno has been in first place or tied for first at the end of each of their 18 games this season. Last season while affiliated with the Houston Astros, the Grizzlies were either in first place or tied for first after their final 135 games (of 139, one cancelled) and were alone in first place after the final 132 games through the end of the season (won division by 10.5 games). In all, Fresno has been in either first place or tied for first after 153 consecutive games between the Astros and Nationals, whose spring training complexes sit side-by-side in West Palm Beach, Florida. Fresno was most recently in second place (tied) 380 days ago on April 8, following a 9-4 win at Reno, which improved them to 2-2 on the season.

Harrisburg (AA Eastern League): The Senators continued their torrid start with a 1-0 win over the Altoona Curve Monday night at FNB Field. Chuck Taylor provided the only offense with a solo home run leading off the eighth inning, his third on the season. Wil Crowe started and pitched seven outstanding innings but took the no decision. Joan Baez earned the win with a perfect eighth and Aaron Barrett stranded a runner at first in the ninth to notch his fourth save. The Senators have won six straight and improve to 15-2, continuing their best start in franchise history, while Altoona falls to 8-9. 

Turning Point
Chuck Taylor provided the only offense of the night that produced a run. After Dario Agrazal was relieved to start the eighth, Taylor battled reliever Vicente Campos falling behind 0-2 before running the count to 2-2 on nine pitches. On the tenth pitch, Taylor homered into the right field stands for the only run of the game.

On Capitol Hill
Wil Crowe pitched seven shutout innings, facing 23 batters and tossing 81 pitches, 61 strikes. Altoona put a runner to third base just once and it came with two outs in the seventh inning. Crowe struck out seven and tossed a double play. It’s Wil’s second quality start in four outings. Joan Baez pitched a perfect eighth inning, throwing just ten pitches to retire the side in order and earn the win. Aaron Barrett earned the save, facing four batters, and ending the game with a strikeout. It was Barrett’s fourth save this season.

With the Gavel
Chuck Taylor homered, the second straight game with the Senators game winning hit. Ian Sagdaland Tyler Goeddel both doubled, and Drew Ward tacked on a single. 

Filibusters

  • Harrisburg has shut out Altoona in two straight games and 22 consecutive innings and counting.
  • The Senators are a perfect 15-0 on any day but Sunday.
  • After 17 games, this is the best start in modern Sens history (since 1987). 
  • The game was the shortest game since 7/26/2016 when the Senators played a game in 1:53 (a 1-0 loss to New Hampshire at FNB Field)
  • The Senators have won six straight games twice this season (currently on a six-game winning streak).

On Deck
The Senators and Altoona play game two of their three-game series Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. at FNB Field. The Sens send RH Erick Fedde to the hill against LH Cam Vieaux for Altoona. 

Potomac (High-A Carolina League): OFF.

Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic League):Tim Cate rolled out his second consecutive quality start in Hagerstown’s 6-2 win over the Greenville Drive at Municipal Stadium Monday night.

Cate (W, 1-1) spun six scoreless innings, while fanning seven Drive (7-10) hitters and just allowing a handful to reach base safely against him.

The story for the Connecticut-native this season has been good pitching, he owned a 1.76 ERA coming into today’s game, but no run support from the Suns (9-9), through 15.1 innings of work, the offense had scored just three runs in as many outings while the lefty was on the bump. The script was flipped Monday evening as the offense erupted for six runs in the first three innings behind domineering performances from both KJ Harrison  and Gilbert Lara.  

Cody Wilson started the first, reaching on an error and was ushered home from a Jacob Rhinesmith base hit to left. With Rhinesmith and Lara on the basepaths, Harrison roped a double in the right-center gap to score the pair and push Hagerstown ahead 3-0 after just one inning of play.

The Suns bats kept pushing in the third inning. Israel Pineda started the frame with a base knock, then Rhinesmith walked to push the backstop to second for Lara to lace a triple down the right field line to score the pair. Those two runs gave Lara his 18th RBI of the season, good for most on the team and second in the South Atlantic League.

The pen did not give up an earned run in the contest either. Jhonatan German shut the door in the ninth with a pair of strikeouts without allowing a hit. So far this season, the righty has not allowed the first batter he has faced to get a hit against him.

While two runs scored during Aaron Fletcher‘s two innings of work, they were not earned and resulted from three errors, one from Kyle Marinconz, one from Fletcher and one from Justin Connell. Despite being thrown into a bases loaded scenario with no one out, the University of Houston-product was able to work out of it only surrendering two runs.

Thad Ward (L, 0-1) was saddled with the loss. He went through five innings of work, allowing all six of the Suns’ runs, but only three were earned.

Hagerstown is back in action against the Drive tonight at 6:05 p.m. at Municipal Stadium. RHP Jake Irvin (0-1, 2.87 ERA) gets the nod and Greenville throws LHP Angel Padron (0-0, 1.74 ERA). 

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