Buffalo 11, Indianapolis 6
By Andrew O’Brien
Vinny Rottino mashed three home runs Saturday night, leading the Buffalo Bisons to an 11-6 win over Indianapolis. The Bisons have won four straight games. That has moved them into second place in their division, 0.5 games in back of the division leading Pawtucket Red Sox.
Jeurys Familia started the game for Buffalo, but he was plagued by shoddy defense behind him. Famlia finished with five hits, three earned runs, four walks and three strikeouts over 3.2 innings. Justin Hampson (2-1, 2.38) came on in relief of Familia and earned the victory after pitching 2.1 scoreless innings.
Buffalo (26-17) finished the game with six home runs — Valentino Pascucci, Jordany Valdespin and Matt Tuiasosopo also went deep.
Rottino, who lost his 20-game hit streak Friday night, came back with a vengeance on Saturday, finishing the game 3-for-5 with five RBIs.
In the bottom of the third, Rottino and Pascucci crushed back-to-back home runs off Indians starter Justin Wilson to push the Bisons lead to 4-1.
Then, with the game tied 4-4 going into the bottom of the sixth, Valdespin, who was optioned to Buffalo after a stint with the Mets, launched a solo home run to right to break the tie and give the Herd a 5-4 lead.
Herd Rumblings: Vinny Rottino’s five RBIs Saturday puts him second on the Bisons roster with 25 behind Pascucci (31). Buffalo leads the International League in batting average (.280) and home runs (47). Buffalo continues its four-game set with Indianapolis at 1:05 p.m. Sunday, with 6’5″ righty Rick VandenHurk (1-0, 0.00) making his first start for Indianapolis. Right-hander Jack Egbert (2-2, 2.05) is scheduled to make his first start of the season for Buffalo in place of recently called-up starter, Jeremy Hefner.
Binghamton 6, Portland 5
By Tim Burns
It took an extra frame to do it, but the Binghamton Mets were able to take game two of their series against the Portland Sea Dogs by a score of 6-5 on Saturday afternoon.
All eyes in Metsdom were on the B-Mets on Saturday, as Jenrry Mejia made his third rehab start overall and first in at the Double-A level. Mejia went three innings for the B-Mets, allowing six hits and striking out three. Mejia had a shaky first inning as Portland tagged him for their first run of the game. The Sea Dogs had a single, a double, and were also aided by a Mejia wild pitch which allowed that first run to move into scoring position in the first. Over his next two innings, Mejia kept Portland off of the scoreboard even though they were able to advance runners as far as third base in both frames.
Darin Gorski came on in relief of Mejia in the fourth. Gorski pitched 4.1 innings for the B-Mets, and was doing fairly well until giving up back to back homers in the bottom of the eighth inning. The B-Mets had scored five runs in the top of the inning, but the two dingers allowed by Gorski brought Portland back to within one run.
Gorski, who’s line on the afternoon read three runs on three hits with six strikeouts and four walks, was replaced by Brad Holt in the eighth. Holt got the two batters he faced in the eighth to strikeout and pop out respectively to exit the frame without further damage. Holt looked to be headed to his first save in a B-Mets uniform in 2012, until the first two Sea Dogs to hit in the ninth singled, and the next batter, Jeremy Hazelbaker, hit a sacrifice fly to center fielder Matt den Dekker allowing Derrik Gibson to score and tie the game.
Although Holt would be charged with his first blown save of the season, he was also the pitcher of record in the tenth when the B-Mets took the lead for the final time, thereby earning him his second win of the season as well. Overall, Holt went 1.2 IP, allowing one run on two hits and struck out one Sea Dog.
In the bottom of the tenth, manager Pedro Lopez called upon recent B-Mets addition Adrian Rosario to close out the game for the visiting team. Rosario picked up right where he left off as a St. Lucie Met, a team he had 11 saves for in 2012, by earning his first career Double-A save, facing three batters, getting two of them to ground out to the infield, and the final batter of the game to pop out to third baseman Josh Rodriguez.
It took until the eighth inning for the B-Mets to get a run on the board, but they did so in a big way scoring five in the frame and taking the lead at that point. In a wild inning, the B-Mets batted around the order, with Matt den Dekker as the book ends. Den Dekker walked to open the inning and struck out to end it. In between, the B-Mets had four singles, a double, two walks, and a two run home run by Raul Reyes. When all was said and done, the B-Mets were up on the Sea Dogs 5-1 after eight.
After the Sea Dogs tied it up in the ninth, it would take only a half of an inning for the B-Mets to regain the lead for a final time. Pedro Zapata’s first homerun of 2012, and a timely one at that, would prove to be the game winner for the B-Mets.
Zapata was one of five B-Mets batters with a multi-hit game, a game in which every B-Met recorded at least one hit. Zapata went 2 for 5 with a single to add to his game winning home run. Raul Reyes was 2 for 5 with a single added to his two-run shot as well. Matt den Dekker has not hit safely in the last 14 games that he has appeared in.
B-Mets Buzz: The rubber match on Sunday afternoon will feature RHP Greg Peavey (2-1, 5.45) against Chris Balcom-Miller (2-3, 5.30). After the game, it’s off to Connecticut for the B-Mets as they continue their two city road trip against the New Britain Rock Cats. The four game set begins on Monday evening and will feature a 12:05 game (Wednesday) and a morning start of 10:35 (Thursday).
St.Lucie 7, Lakeland 3
By Pete Shapiro
The St. Lucie Mets put up three runs in the fifth, and three more runs in the sixth inning, which was more than enough to overwhelm the Lakeland Tigers by a score of 7-3 in Saturday’s action. The offensive outburst made a winner of Johan Almonte (3-0, 5.25) who went five innings while giving up three runs on six hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.
Lakeland scored all three runs in the second inning on a single, two doubles, and another single off of Almonte. Other than that, he was very solid for the day. He was followed by Pedro Beato making his first rehab appearance of the year. Beato went two innings with two strikeouts and a walk. Kyle Allen finished off the effort by going the final two, with two strikeouts.
The Mets plated their first run is the second inning on a sacrifice fly by SS Wilfredo Tovar to drive in C Francisco Pena, who had doubled, from third. After falling behind 3-1 the Mets came up in the fifth and took the lead back for good. A walk, a single, and a walk loaded the bases with one out. Then another walk to 1B Richard Lucas forced in a run to make it 3-2. The turning point came when the game’s offensive hero Francisco Pena came to the plate and lashed a single to score two more runs, and give the Mets the lead 4-3.
The next inning the Mets would smack the Tigers for three more runs on a one-out double by CF Alonzo Harris, a two-out walk to RF Cory Vaughn, and back-to-back doubles by 3B Wilmer Flores to score one, and LF Blake Forsythe to bring home two more, and close the scoring at 7-3.
Pena was three-for-four on the day, with a double, a run, and two RBI’s. He has hit .364 in his last ten games, and has his average up to .253 for the season. Harris, Vaughn, and Flores each had two hits on the day.
Lucie Logistics: St. Lucie has a six-game winning streak and has won 19 of their last 23 games. They have a commanding 12.5 game lead in their division and their record now stands at 34-8 for the year. The St. Lucie offense as a team, ranks either first or second in the league, in every major offensive category. The pitching staff as a team is first in the league in: Wins, ERA, fewest losses, shutouts, saves, fewest runs given up, and second in the league in fewest hits, and WHIP. They go for the four-game sweep of the Tigers at 1:00 on Sunday when south-paw Angel Cuan (3-1, 2.84) goes against fellow lefty Brian Flynn (4-1, 3.09) for Lakeland.
Savannah 7, Augusta 4
On a picture perfect evening for baseball at Historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah, the Sand Gnats (25-16) defeated the Augusta Green Jackets 7-4, snapping a mini three-game losing streak Saturday night.
As Augusta did the previous two nights, they quickly jumped all over Gnats starter Michael Fulmer for four runs in the top of the first. Kelby Tomlinson led off the the first with a walk, promptly stole second and eventually scored on an error by Fulmer, throwing away a Carlos Willoughby comebacker. Ben Thomas singled putting runners on the corners for Mark Minicozzi who immediately crushed a Fulmer offering over the left-field wall for a three-run bomb, Minicozzi’s first hit as a GreenJacket. That put the Jackets up 4-0 before Fulmer could record an out.
Unlike the previous two nights, Savannah quickly struck back for three runs off Kyle Crick in the bottom half of the first. Luis Nieves led off with a walk, Brandon Brown fanned in front of a Cam Maron walk putting two runners aboard for Travis Taijeron. Travis was retired for the second out on a fly ball to right-field, advancng Nieves to third. With two outs and runners on the corners, the Gnats like their parent Mets, collected two-out hits from first Aderlin Rodriguez who doubled in Nieves and moved Maron to third. Then the equally hot Brian Harrison followed with a two-out knock, chasing home two more to cut the deficit to 4-3 at the end of one inning.
The score would remain the same until the fourth when Harrison opened up the frame with his second hit, a single up the middle. Charley Thurber walked to put two runners on for Alberto Cordero who dropped down a sacrifice bunt pushing both runners into scoring position. After a Greg Pron swinging strikeout, Luis Nieves added another two-out body blow, hitting a triple to right-field, plating two and giving the Sand Gnats a lead they would never relinquish.
The Gnats would add on two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh. Slumping Travis Taijeron and red hot Aderlin Rodriguez each walked to open the the bottom of the inning before Harrison collected his third hit of the night, a two-run double over the center fielder’s head, to end the scoring for the night.
The battle of the two 2011 late first round picks did not live up to it’s billing. Michael Fulmer lasted only two innings, giving up four runs, three earned, all in the first inning. He walked three, struck out one, and gave up a long HR.
Augusta’s Kyle Crick faired worse, going 4.2 innings yielding five earned runs on five hits, six walks and six punchouts.
Carlos Vazquez came on in relief of Fulmer to start the third, and was absolutely brilliant retiring 12 of 13 batters to face him over four innings, allowing one hit, did not walk a batter and struck out four. Chasen Bradford followed Vazquez with two scoreless frames of his own and did not yield a hit, walked two, and struck out four as well. TJ Chism pitched a clean ninth inning for his fourth save of the year.
Gnats Gnotes: Sunday afternoon the Sand Gnats look for the split in sending Rafael Montero (2-2, 3.05) to the hill to square off against Augusta’s Kevin Couture (2-1, 1.50). On Monday night Yankee affiliate the Charelston Riverdogs and Tyler Austin come to Savannah for a three-game set. Austin is tearing up the Sally League with 13 HR’s and 36 RBI’s. Who’s hot for Savannah? Brian Harrison is hitting .432 over his last 10 games, and Aderlin Rodriguez is hitting .500 over his last 7. Who’s not? Brandon Brown is hittng .243 over his last 10, and has yet to leave the yard this season. Travis Taijeron who’s carried the Sand Gnats offense for most of the season has slumped to a .222 clip over his last 10, with one HR and four RBI’s, after killing Sally League Pitching all year.