It's a good thing that the Frederick Keys were able to win their game tonight because the other four Orioles affiliates lost. The Keys scored seven runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Salem Avalanche.
The Norfolk Tides scored four runs in the top of the first inning, but they weren't able to hold off the Charlotte Knights. Bowie's 11-game winning streak in road games was snapped, Delmarva's late comeback was halted and the IronBirds couldn't win with an All-Star pitcher on the mound.
As I stated in my game previews earlier today, I attended the game at Ripken Stadium between the Aberdeen IronBirds and the Tri-City ValleyCats. Although the IronBirds started New York-Penn League All-Star Cole McCurry, they were unable to complete the sweep against the ValleyCats, losing 7-3. There are some more detailed observations at the bottom of this entry, including thoughts on new IronBirds shortstop Greg Miclat.
Score: Charlotte Knights 9, Norfolk Tides 5
Recap: Tides starting pitcher Brian Burres was scratched from tonight's start, which seems to indicate that he'll be returning to the Orioles in the near future. The Tides split up the game between six different pitchers, but the strategy didn't work very well as they lost to the Knights, 9-5.
Bob McCrory started the game and allowed two runs in two innings. Cory Doyne gave up three runs and five hits in three innings. Gary Knotts (2-6) suffered the loss after giving up a run in his second appearance since joining the Tides from the Phillies. Ryan Bukvich was the only Tides pitcher not to allow any runs. He pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts and a walk.
Mike Costanzo and Eider Torres both had three hits for the Tides. Left fielder Tike Redman remained hot with two more hits tonight. First baseman Oscar Salazar had a single in his first at-bat, but Brandon Fahey pinch-hit for him in the third inning. I'm not sure why he left the game early, but I've asked for an explanation and will pass along any information that I receive.
Score: Binghamton Mets 6, Bowie Baysox 2
Recap: Baysox starting pitcher Brad Bergesen lost for the second consecutive start after allowing three runs and five hits in four innings pitched. The 22-year-old starting pitcher had three strikeouts and he walked two in the 6-2 loss at Binghamton. It was Bowie's first road loss in their past 12 games away from Prince George's Stadium.
Right fielder Nolan Reimold hit a solo home run to lead off the ninth inning for the Baysox. It was Reimold's 20th home run of the season and he finished 3-for-4 in the game. Third baseman Jeff Nettles also had three hits for the Baysox.
The Akron Aeros lost also lost tonight, so the Baysox maintain their four-game lead in the Southern Division of the Eastern League.
Score: Frederick Keys 9, Salem Avalanche 2
Recap: It was a big offensive night for several Frederick players in a 9-2 rout over Salem. The Keys scored seven runs in the top of the seventh inning to break open a 2-2 tie. Right fielder Paul Winterling was 3-for-5 with four RBIs and he was a home run short of hitting for the cycle. Left fielder Todd Davison was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Brandon Snyder, Chris Amador and Billy Rowell all had two hits for Frederick.
Keys starting pitcher Timothy Bascom (6-5) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings pitched to earn the victory. He had four strikeouts and didn't walk anyone. Relievers Jeff Moore and Mick Mattaliano combined for three shutout innings to wrap up the win.
Score: Hagerstown Suns 4, Delmarva Shorebirds 3
Recap: The Shorebirds scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning to close within one run, but they were unable to complete their comeback in a 4-3 loss to Hagerstown. Designated hitter Paco Figueroa had two hits for Delmarva, including an RBI double in the three-run eighth.
Left fielder Robbie Widlansky and second baseman Ryan Adams were both 2-for-4 in the game. Third baseman Jedidiah Stephen was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. He is now 0-for-9 with eight strikeouts in two games at Delmarva.
Score: Tri-City ValleyCats 7, Aberdeen IronBirds 3
Recap: I can provide a detailed analysis of the IronBirds' 7-3 loss tonight since I was in attendance for the game against Tri-City. The IronBirds used two hits and a walk to score a run in the first inning against ValleyCats starting pitcher Ashton Mowdy. However, they stranded two runners in the inning. The IronBirds left the bases loaded in the second and it was pretty obvious that a losing tone was set for the evening.
For the first three innings, McCurry (7-2) looked much like he did when he won seven straight games in July. He retired the first nine Tri-City hitters that he faced, but ran into trouble in the fourth inning. After he threw a slow curveball for a strike to ValleyCats center fielder Jack Shuck, he tried to throw the same pitch again and Shuck crushed it into the Ironbirds' bullpen in right field. McCurry gave up back-to-back singles, hit a batter and then walked in a run before retiring the final three batters to escape with the bases loaded.
After allowing a lead-off single to Tri-City's Reinaldo Pestana in the next inning, McCurry surrendered another home run to Shuck. Amazingly, it was on the exact same pitch that he threw in the previous at-bat. The IronBirds must have been under the impression that Shuck couldn't hit curveballs. Shuck only had two home runs coming into the game, but he doubled that total tonight.
In the sixth inning, the ValleyCats scored two runs against reliever Oliver Drake, who was making his first appearance for Aberdeen. A throwing error by IronBirds second baseman Tom Edwards – by the way, I thought the error should have been charged to first baseman Paul Chmiel because he simply missed the throw from Edwards – allowed another run to score in the eighth inning.
I was able to get my first look at Miclat in tonight's game and I was very impressed. At first glance, the switch-hitting shortstop reminds me of Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts. Miclat is approximately the same size and build as Roberts and looks like he has the ability to spread the ball around the entire field when hitting. He had two opposite-field singles and a double in the game. In the ninth inning, Miclat reached on an error. It was a slow grounder to the shortstop and I think it could have been ruled a hit. Overall, Miclat was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.