Blake Johnson had a strong outing on Sunday
The minor league playoff races are coming down to the wire, with three Royals affiliates vying to join NW Arkansas in the postseason. While Omaha and Wilmington lost close contests, the Burlington Royals are one win away from clinching a berth. Meanwhile, the AZL Royals fell one win shy of a postseason appearance despite winning their final game of the season. Click inside for the report.
AAA: Iowa 8, Omaha 7
L: Tim Collins (2-1, 1.50)
HR: Mike Moustakas (10), Scott Thorman (21)
Scott Thorman hit for the cycle on Sunday, but the O-Royals allowed four runs in the top of the ninth and suffered an 8-7 loss in a crucial game against the Iowa Cubs. Starter Luis Mendoza allowed four runs on nine hits over seven innings before being lifted for Brian Anderson, who tossed a scoreless eighth. Anderson then allowed two runs in the ninth without recording an out before Tim Collins relieved him and gave up two more runs before closing out the inning. On offense, Thorman had his amazing day, and Mike Moustakas went yard again for the O-Royals. Cody Clark and Ed Lucas both had two hits, while Irving Falu went 2-for-5 with a triple.
Omaha continues its homestand on Monday when the club starts a series against the Round Rock Express. The club now trails first place Iowa by 3.5 games with eight games left to play.
AA: NW Arkansas 3, Tulsa 1
W: Blake Johnson (4-3, 4.00)
Blake Johnson tossed seven strong innings, allowing one run on four hits while fanning six batters in the Naturals’ 3-1 victory over the Drillers. Patrick Keating threw two shutout innings in relief. At the plate, Eric Hosmer was 2-for-4, and Josh Fields collected a hit and drove in two runs. Derrick Robinson stole his league-leading 50th base on the season.
NW Arkansas finishes its series against Tulsa Monday night.
High-A: Lynchburg 4, Wilmington 3 (F10)
L: Kevin Chapman (1-1, 6.19)
Kevin Chapman allowed a run to cross in the top of the tenth as the Blue Rocks fell to the Hillcats on Sunday, 4-3. Wil Smith threw the first eight innings, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out five batters. Chapman then threw a scoreless ninth before allowing the winning run in the tenth. On offense, Christian Colon collected three hits, while Wil Myers and Salvador Perez cracked doubles.
Wilmington returns home Monday to face the Myrtle Beach Pelicans for a three-game series. The Blue Rocks trail first place Potomac by 1.5 games with seven games remaining on their schedule.
Low- A: Beloit 11, Burlington 5
L: Dusty Odenbach (8-10, 5.20)
The Bees’ pitching staff was hit hard, allowing 19 hits in an 11-5 loss to the Snappers. Dusty Odenbach gave up six runs and 11 hits in four innings of work before Rodolfo Encarnacion replaced him and allowed five runs on six hits in one inning. Starling De La Rosa held the Snappers scoreless over the final three frames. At the plate, Carlo Testa and Jake Kuebler both had two hits, including a double, while Alex McClure turned in a multi-hit game.
Burlington plays the third-game of its four-game series against Beloit Monday.
Rookie: Helena 9, Idaho Falls 2
L: Brian Peacock (0-5, 6.86)
Brian Peacock remains winless after allowing four runs on four hits in just two innings as the Chukars lost the Brewers, 9-2. Nick Graffeo followed Peacock with by giving up one run on two hits while ringing up seven batters in three innings. Scott Alexander then threw two more scoreless innings of relief before Edwin Carl gave up two runs over the final two innings. On offense, Justin Trapp and Juan Polonia both collected a hit and an RBI, but the team failed to record an extra-base hit.
Idaho Falls wraps up its series against Helena Monday night.
Rookie: Burlington 4, Danville 3
W: Jake Ramsey (1-0, 6.75)
HR: Luis Piterson (6)
The Royals came from behind Monday to defeat the Braves and now are one win away from clinching a spot in the playoffs. Luis Piterson led the offense with two hits, smashing a home run and a double. Edul Escobar legged out a triple, while Ryan Jenkins went 1-for-2 with two walks. Jonathon Dooley started the game, allowing three runs on seven hits over 6.1 innings. Jake Ramsey and Claudio Bavera held the Braves scoreless over the final 2.2 innings to close out the win.
Burlington plays the second-to-last game of the regular season Monday against Danville, with Crawford Simmons on the mound for the Royals.
Rookie: AZL Royals 5, AZL Dodgers 4
W: Gary Cuevas (1-1, 12.91)
The AZL Royals won their final game of the season, beating the AZL Dodgers, 5-4. Unfortunately, they fell just one win shy of clinching a spot in the playoffs. Mike Antonio paced the Royals offense with two doubles, and Daniel Mateo also had a multi-hit game with a double. Darian Sandford and Jorge Bonifacio each had two hits. The Royals used a plethora of pitchers, with Yordano Ventura giving up an unearned run and two hits for the first three frames. Julio Pimentel then allowed a run and two hits over the next 1.2 innings before Gary Cuevas and Dylan Lindsay shut out the Dodgers for the next 2.1 innings. Parker Bangs gave up two runs on four hits in his one inning of relief and Tyler Gatrell struck out the side in the ninth to earn the save.