Washington Nationals Minor League Report: April 30

From staff and wire reports:

Fresno (AAA Pacific Coast League): The El Paso Chihuahuas (18-7) took a bite out of the Fresno Tacos (11-14) 7-5 Tuesday night. El Paso lengthened their winning streak to 11 games (a franchise record) while Fresno dropped their sixth in a row. Collin Cowgill and Yadiel Hernandez powered the Taco offense. Cowgill pummeled two solo shots, one in the first and the other in the ninth. Yadiel Hernandez also homered in the first, his seventh of the year. He extended the current team-high hit streak to seven games and added his third big fly in the last two evenings. Jose Marmolejos notched two hits while Andrew Stevenson and Henderson Alvarez recorded RBI.

Jason Vosler provided the Chihuahuas with some pop of his own. Vosler whacked two longballs, giving him five on the season. Michael Gettys also went deep in the contest. His clout highlighted a three-run fifth. The 4-5-6 part of the El Paso lineup all plated one run as well. Carlos Torres (1-1) earned the win after two innings of relief while Fernando Rodriguez secured his third save.

Henderson Alvarez (0-2) suffered the decision despite hurling six innings. He punched out five, a season-high.Jordan Mills and Tanner Rainey fanned four over two innings of bullpen action after Alvarez. Rainey struck out the side, all swinging.

Top Performers: Fresno Tacos (Washington Nationals)

• CF Collin Cowgill (2-5, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)

• RF Yadiel Hernandez (1-5, HR, RBI, 2 R)

• 1B Jose Marmolejos (2-4, R)

Top Performers: El Paso Chihuahuas (San Diego Padres)

• 1B Jason Vosler (2-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 R)

• CF Michael Gettys (2-5, HR, RBI, R, SB)

• LF Alex Dickerson (4-5, 2B, RBI, R)

ON THAT FRES-NOTE: Fresno has had a player hit two home runs in five of their last six games; Brandon Snyder(4/25 at Reno), Jose Marmolejos (4/26 at Reno), Jacob Wilson (4/27 at Reno), Yadiel Hernandez (4/29 vs. El Paso) and Collin Cowgill (4/30 vs. El Paso).  

The “Tacos” have won nine of their last 12 games, including their first this year, a 16-9 victory over Salt Lake on April 16. In 2018, after dropping the first two Tuesday home games, the Fresno Tacos reeled off eight consecutive wins through the end of the season. They swept their final seven Tuesday home games, and an 8-7 win over Sacramento on Thursday, July 19, on the opening night of Taco Truck Throwdown 8.

Harrisburg (AA Eastern League): Sterling Sharp was terrific Tuesday night leading the Senators to a 3-1 win over Reading. Sharp received all the offense he would need when the Sens scored in the first inning and Rhett Wiseman homered in the second. Sharp pitched seven innings for the win. Jacob Condra-Bogan earned his first save with the Senators pitching the final two innings. The Sens have won four straight and go for a series sweep Wednesday against Reading. The Senators improved to 21-4 on the season while Reading falls to 11-10.

Turning Point
Harrisburg scored a run in the first, but Reading came right back in the second to score a run to tie the game. Rhett Wiseman leadoff the second inning and homered, immediately regaining the momentum for the Senators providing the turning point the Sens needed. Sterling Sharp took the momentum and at one point retired eleven straight batters. 

On Capitol Hill
Sterling Sharp was outstanding Tuesday night. He faced 26 batters, struck out six of them and induced 14 ground outs. He allowed just four hits and one run. Only one out was hit off the ground, a line drive out. Jacob Condra-Bogan relieved Sharp and allowed a leadoff single in the eighth before retiring the final six batters. 

With the Gavel
No Senators batter had two hits in the game, but they produced just enough hits to win. Luis Garcia singled in the first and scored on an RBI by Chuck Taylor. Rhett Wiseman hit his league leading eighth home run leading off the second inning. The Senators did walk a season-high seven times.

•   With the win Tuesday night, the Senators have guaranteed a series win and are now 8-0 in series this season.
•   The Sens are 4-0 against Reading this season.
•   The 21-4 record is the best record after 25 games in modern franchise history. 
•   Coming in to play tonight, the Senators and Reading were the top two teams in team ERA. 
•   The Senators have won 29 of 34 games dating back to last season. 
•   Wiseman’s home run was his first since April 15. 
•   It was the 15th time in 25 games the Senators have allowed three runs or fewer.

On Deck
The Senators and Reading Fightin Phils play the final game of their three-game series Wednesday morning at 11:35 a.m. Harrisburg sends RH Tyler Mapes to the hill opposed by LH Bailey Falter.

Potomac (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (9-17) came tantalizingly close to a thrilling comeback victory in Tuesday night in Winston-Salem, but saw their late rallies come up a run short in an 11-10 loss to the Dash.

Potomac scored 10 runs on only six hits, drawing a season-high 13 walks as the Dash (15-11) struggled to find command from their relief corps. SS David Masters hit a three-run home run with the P-Nats down to their final out in the ninth to make it a one-run game, but CF Cole Freeman saw his opposite-field drive hauled in shy of the warning track one batter later to end the game.

For the second straight night, the P-Nats scored first with three straight singles and 3BAnderson Franco‘s RBI fielder’s choice. Winston-Salem starter RHP Zach Lewis settled down after escaping the jam, ultimately going 4.2 innings while striking out six.

Winston-Salem took the lead back in the bottom of the second off RHP Andrew Lee (L, 1-1), who was making his first start of the season after five relief outings. The three-run frame was capped by a two-run double from 3B Yeyson Yrizarri to put the Dash ahead 3-1.

DH Tate Blackman added another pair of Winston-Salem runs in the fourth with an RBI double and subsequent Lee wild pitch to extend the lead to 5-1. Lee departed after 4.1 innings, with LHP Carson Teel stranding a pair in the fifth to keep the game within reach.

Teel walked the first man he faced in the sixth, and doubles from RF Tyler Frost and 1BJameson Fisher both brought home runs to put the Dash ahead 8-1. RHP Jake Elliott (W, 3-0) pitched 1.1 innings of effective relief for the Dash through the middle innings, and Potomac’s deficit looked insurmountable until the seventh when control issues from the Winston-Salem bullpen pulled them back in the game.

The P-Nats sent 11 batters to the plate in the six-run seventh, but managed only one hit with six walks and an error by Fisher at first base. 1B Aldrem Corredor started a two-out rally with a two-run single to left field, Jakson Reetz and 2B Osvaldo Abreu each drew bases-loaded walks, and Franco drove in a pair on a hot smash to Fisher that would have been the third out. RHP Alec Hansen, RHP Austin Conway and LHP Kevin Escorciapatched together the inning for the Dash, with each pitcher struggling to find the strike zone.

Another rally started in the eighth inning, as Freeman and LF Telmito Agustin drew free passes to start the inning. But Escorcia was relieved by RHP Luis Ledo (S, 5), who worked out of the jam to keep Winston-Salem ahead by a run.

Three crucial insurance runs scored in the bottom of the eighth against LHP Hayden Howard, who allowed an RBI triple to 2B Nick Madrigal and safety squeeze single to SSZach Remillard. One run was unearned after Corredor mishandled the bunt and made an errant throw to first base. Masters got the three runs back in the ninth off Ledo with his team-leading fifth home run of the year, but Freeman’s high drive to right field came up just short of completing the elusive comeback.

Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic League): Francys Peguero twirled six innings allowing just three runs against the Asheville Tourists, but it was Willie MacIver who played hero, with a walk-off single to win the game 5-4 for Asheville at McCormick Field Tuesday evening.

With no outs and Grant Lavigne on second, MacIver poked a single in front of Cody Wilson in center to bring in the game-winning run off Angel Guillen (L, 0-1, BS). The righty finished the night allowing two runs in as many innings of work.

Peguero became the sixth Suns (10-15) pitcher to spin six innings in a single game this season, but the offense has just a 1-5 record when Suns starters go deep into games.

The offense was going early Tuesday. Hagerstown knocked in the first three against Asheville (9-15). It started with a second inning double to center from Justin Connell to score Omar Meregildo After that, Gilbert Lara laced a double down the left field line to plate Kyle Marinconz in the third. Following that, Jacob Rhinesmith tapped a single to score the Suns shortstop. Rhinesmith finished the night 4-for-5 at the dish, scoring and driving in a run on the night.

Lara’s double kept his hitting streak intact. The Dominican-native has now hit safely in 15-consecutive games, which is tied with Jarred Kelenic for the longest streak in Class-A baseball.

Then the Tourists came back. Jake Bird and Ian Kennedy (3-0) combined to keep Hagerstown scoreless in the final three frames. Meanwhile, Coco Montes tied the game 4-4, smashing a double to right to score Daniel Montano in the eighth inning.

Photo: @DatDude_Ster42

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