Washington Nationals minor league report: May 8

From staff and wire reports:

Fresno (AAA Pacific Coast League): Catcher Taylor Gushue extended the longest Fresno Grizzlies hit streak this season to 11 games, going 3-for-4 with a homer on Tuesday afternoon at Raley Field. The Grizzlies (17-16) knocked off the Sacramento River Cats (16-17) for the second time in as many games in the clubs’ first series this season.

Gushue’s sixth inning solo shot was his first of 2019. Four consecutive base hits in the second inning set the tone for the afternoon, capped by an RBI single from Chris Dominguez and an RBI double from Bengie Gonzalez. Gushue singled and scored in the frame to extend his streak, during which he’s batting .383 (18-for-47).

Jacob Wilson added his club-leading 36th RBI on a single in the seventh to round out the scoring. Wilson is on a six-game hit streak of his own, a 12-for-24 stretch.

Right-hander Scott Copeland turned in his finest start of the season thus far for Fresno, allowing only four hits and a run (Mike Gerber solo homer, sixth inning). The right-hander walked three but equaled a season-high with eight strikeouts. Derek Self worked a scoreless ninth with a strikeout, good for his second save.

Top Performers: Fresno Grizzlies (Washington Nationals)

• C Taylor Gushue (3-4, solo HR, 2 R)

• RHP Scott Copeland (7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K)

• SS Bengie Gonzalez (2-4, RBI)

Harrisburg (AA Eastern League): The Senators fell 7-0 to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies Wednesday night at FNB Field. Binghamton pitchers Harol Gonzalez and Ryder Ryan combined to throw a no-hitter and allow just two Senators baserunners in the game. Binghamton scored seven two-out runs on their way to the shutout. The Rumble Ponies pushed across three runs in the fourth inning and added four more in the top half of the fifth inning against Senators starter Tyler Mapes for the only runs of the game. Harrisburg falls to 23-8 while Binghamton improves to 18-10.

Turning Point
The Rumble Ponies scored their first run of the game on an RBI single by Braxton Lee in the fourth inning. Then, following back-to-back walks to load the bases, the turning point in the game came when Binghamton starting pitcher Harol Gonzalez singled to center field with two-outs to score a pair of runs and push the lead to 3-0 Ponies in the fourth. The hit and RBIs were the first for Gonzalez in his career. 

On Capitol Hill
Tyler Mapes started and went five innings allowing seven runs on six hits. Tyler threw 95 pitches, 56 for strikes. He was hurt by five total walks and seven two-out runs scored against him in the outing. Stephen Fuentes, making his Senators debut, pitched one inning while giving up no runs on a hit, walked two and struck out a pair. Logan Ondrusek pitched two shutout innings while Jacob Condra-Bogan recorded the final three outs giving no runs on no hits. 

With the Gavel
Chuck Taylor and Rhett Wiseman were the only Senators batters to reach base in the game, both coming on one-out walks. 

Potomac (High-A Carolina League): The Potomac Nationals (12-19) saw a ninth-inning lead slip away on Wednesday night against the Frederick Keys (14-17), but ambushed the Keys in the tenth inning to win 5-4 and even up their road series.

The 10-inning win marked the first extra inning victory of the season for Potomac, who snapped a two-game losing skid in the process. Back-to-back doubles from SS Osvaldo Abreu and 3BAnderson Franco in the extra frame proved to be the difference as the P-Nats came back from a demoralizing ninth inning Keys rally.

RHP Andrew Lee was brilliant for the P-Nats in his second start of the year, tying a team season high with nine strikeouts over 6.0 solid innings. The righty received a no-decision, but turned in just the fifth quality start for the P-Nats this year in support of some early offense.

Abreu put Potomac ahead in the second inning with a solo home run to left off RHP Mike Baumann, his second homer of the year and just the first allowed by the flamethrowing Keys righty. It marked the only blemish on a dominant start for Baumann in the midst of a seven-strikeout performance.

The P-Nats added a run in the fourth on Jakson Reetz‘s RBI single, but missed an opportunity for more when Abreu struck out and Franco hit into an inning-ending double play to strand a runner at third.

Frederick scored their only run against Lee in the bottom of the fourth as 3B Willy Yahn led off with a double and DH Jomar Reyes followed with an RBI single. But Reyes was caught advancing to second on a pitch in the dirt, and was ejected from the game after disputing the call. It was the third runner thrown out by Reetz, who helped Lee with consistent work behind the plate.

In the sixth, DH KJ Harrison led off with a walk against reliever LHP Cameron Bishop and made his way home after another walk and a pair of hit batsmen. Bishop didn’t allow a hit in the inning, but plunked CF Gage Canning with the bases loaded to give Potomac a 3-1 lead.

Lee fanned the side in order in the bottom of the sixth to end his outing on a high note, and LHPHayden Howard pitched a tidy seventh. RHP Frankie Bartow worked a clean eighth, but ran into trouble in the ninth as he tried to close out the save opportunity.

Yahn led off the ninth with a single, and two batters later 1B JC Escarra singled to put runners at first and second. Bartow fanned the next batter to put the Keys down to their final out, but C Jean Carrillosingled home a run to keep the game alive. Pinch hitter Will Robertson batted next, and lined an RBI single to center field to tie the game 3-3.

Bartow was lifted for RHP Jhon Romero (W, 1-0), who entered with the winning run at second base. He got 2B Yeltsin Gudiño to pop out to first base, sending the game to extras.

With Reetz the designated runner to start the tenth, Abreu bluffed a bunt against new Keys reliever LHP Cameron Ming (L, 1-2). With a 1-0 count, he swung away and lined an RBI double down the first base line to put Potomac ahead 4-3. A batter later, Franco lined a double of his own to the right-center gap for the eventual game-winning hit. Romero allowed his designated runner to score in the bottom of the tenth on a SS Sean Miller sacrifice fly, but got the final three outs to nail down the thrilling victory.

Hagerstown (Low-A South Atlantic): The Suns just could not get the offense going in a 2-1 loss to the Lakewood BlueClaws at Municipal Stadium Wednesday night.

With Ben Pelletier at third, Carlos De La Cruz popped a single into right field to score the go-ahead run in the tenth off Ryan Tapani (L, 2-2).

Despite a single to lead-off the tenth, Hagerstown (14-18) were unable to score on BlueClaw (11-21) pitcher Tyler Carr (W, 1-1). After Trey Vickers bunted in a fielder’s choice to retire the lead runner at third, Cody Wilson struck out looking at a pitch at the knees on the outside corner before Justin Connell flew out to left field to end the game.

Hagerstown (14-18) scored their lone run in the seventh inning to tie the game 1-1 off a Omar Meregildo moonshot, his second homer of the season.

Joan Adon earned his first-career quality start, spinning six, one-run innings and allowing just three hits while on the hill. After that, Tapani did not allow an earned run through his four innings of work and fanned four batters.

Lakewood scored their first run in the second, after Malvin Matos and Matt Kroon led the frame off with back-to-back singles. Next, Adon plunked Pelletier to load the bases with no one out. Adon forced Hunter Stovall to ground into a doubleplay that scored Matos, but then wrung up De La Cruz to end the inning without any further damage.

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