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Jace Jung and Trei Cruz brought the thump in weekend action

Scores, news, and notes, from the Detroit Tigers’ farm system for the weekend of April 28-30, 2023.

Syracuse Mets 2, Toledo Mud Hens 0 (Friday)(box)

Toledo Mud Hens 6, Syracuse Mets 5 (Saturday)(box)

Toledo Mud Hens 12, Syracuse Mets 2 (Sunday)(box)

The Mud Hens fell behind 3-1 in this six-game series, but rallied with victories on Saturday and Sunday to split the series.

The Hens pitched really well on Friday, and just couldn’t get the offense going against similarly tough pitching on the Mets side. Lefty Zach Logue tossed five innings of two run ball for the Hens. He struck out six, but did walk three in his outing. The bullpen kept up the strong southpaw work, as relief prospect Andrew Magno and veteran minor leaguer Miguel Del Pozo each tossed two scoreless innings with three strikeouts, each allowing just a hit and a walk. It wasn’t enough as singles from Jonathan and Brendon Davis were the club’s only hits.

On Saturday evening, more strong work from the bullpen allowed the Hens to make a late comeback. Starter Brenan Hanifee was knocked around for five runs in four innings of work. However, Justyn-Henry Malloy launched a first inning solo shot, his fourth, to left field to get the Hens on the board. A two-run shot in the second inning from Jonathan Davis with Andrew Knapp aboard after a triple helped close the gap.

Malloy doubled and later scored in the third, but it wasn’t until the sixth and seventh that the Hens would pull ahead. Jonathan Davis tripled to leadoff the sixth and scored on a Jermaine Palacios single. Catcher Donny Sands doubled home Andre Lipcius in the seventh for the eventual game winning run.

Garrett Hill and Miguel Diaz were good in relief, with Diaz earning his fifth save, while Matt Wisler’s two innings of one-hit ball with four strikeouts was the standout performance. Wisler’s minor league deal most likely has an opt-out coming up in May, so you can probably expect to see him in Detroit sooner rather than later.

Malloy: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, HR, 2B

Jonathan Davis: 2-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, HR, 3B

On Sunday, Alex Faedo put together a great outing and the offense went off in a big way. Faedo’s project to re-shape his mechanics is starting to bear some fruit. He no-hit the Mets for four innings in this one, walking a batter and striking out five.

Faedo was staked to a five-run lead in the bottom of the first. Three walks and a hit batter forced in the first run, and Jermaine Palacios then crushed a grand slam to left center field. Singles for Parker Meadows and Andre Lipcius earned another run in the second. Justyn-Henry Malloy singled in Brendon Davis in the fourth, and it was 7-0. The Hens weren’t nearly done however. They racked up four more runs in the bottom of the fifth, with RBI doubles from Jonathan Davis and Parker Meadows as the key at-bats in the inning. Brendon Davis launched a solo shot in the seventh to make it 12-1. The Mets got a run in the eighth, but this was long over with by then.

Palacios: 1-4, R, 5 RBI, HR, SO

Brendon Davis: 2-4, 3 R, RBI, HR, BB

Meadows: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B, BB, SO

Faedo: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, BB, 5 SO

Coming Up Next: The Hens will stay home again next week, welcoming the Indianapolis Indians for six on Tuesday evening.

Portland Sea Dogs 12, Erie SeaWolves 3 (Friday)(box)

Portland Sea Dogs 11, Erie SeaWolves 10 (F/10)(Saturday)(box)

Portland Sea Dogs 6, Erie SeaWolves 2 (F/10)(Sunday)(box)

This series went pretty poorly for the SeaWolves. After taking the first of six from Portland, the Sea Dogs turned the tide, running the table the rest of the series to take it five games to one.

On Friday, the SeaWolves staked starter Sawyer Gipson-Long to a lead in the second inning, only to watch their pitching staff collapse entirely. Trei Cruz and Colt Keith had RBI hits as Erie scored three runs in the second inning to make it 3-1 SeaWolves. Unfortunately, Gipson-Long was knocked out in the third inning having allowed five runs. Reliever Bryce Tassin allowed six more, four earned in his 2 23 innings of work, and the offense couldn’t get much else going.

Keith: 2-4, RBI, 2B, BB, SO

Cruz: 3-4, R, RBI, 2B

Malgeri: 2-4, R

Gipson-Long (L, 2-3): 3.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 0 BB, 6 SO

Saturday’s matchup went 10 innings before it was decided. Wilmer Flores was better this time out, allowing a pair of runs over four innings of work, with no walks and five strikeouts to his credit. Portland got a pair of runs in the first inning, but the SeaWolves came back in the bottom of the first.

A two-out single from Wenceel Perez was followed by a Jake Holton triple and a Daniel Cabrera single, tying things up at two apiece. Grant Witherspoon gave them the lead when he blasted a three-run shot in the bottom of the second to make it 5-2 Erie.

Portland tied things up with a three-run fifth against reliever Billy Lescher, but a Trei Cruz solo shot in the bottom half of that inning re-captured a one-run lead for the SeaWolves. Lescher allowed three more runs in the sixth, but Erie tied things up at eight apiece in the seventh inning when Josh Crouch singled, and Cruz launched his second home run on the day.

Portland took the lead 10-8 with two runs off of Yaya Chentouf in the eighth. but RBI singles from who else, Trei Cruz, as well as Ben Malgeri, tied the game at 10-10. The SeaWolves got a one-out walk from Witherspoon in the bottom of the ninth, but Colt Keith lined into an unassisted double play at first base to send this to extras. Angel De Jesus couldn’t keep the runner on second from scoring on a double in the top of the tenth, and the SeaWolves went quietly in the bottom half of the inning.

Cruz: 4-5, 3 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR, SO

Witherspoon: 3-5, R, 3 RBI, HR, BB, SB, CS

Perez: 2-5, 2 R, BB

Flores: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 5 SO

The two clubs needed 10 innings to decide the matter on Sunday as well. Austin Bergner got the start and he blanked Portland for four innings despite issuing five walks. Reliever Jake Higginbotham took over for three more scoreless innings, and it was 2-0 Erie through seven.

Colt Keith doubled and scored on a Diego Rincones single in the bottom of the first. Trei Cruz hit his third homer in two games in the fourth inning to make it 2-0 Erie.

However, Michael Bienlien allowed the Sea Dogs to tie things up with a two-run eighth inning. Reliever Dario Gardea escaped a shaky ninth inning, but was wild in the tenth, allowing two runs. The SeaWolves offense, including 23-year-old second baseman Luis Santana, who was signed to a minor league free agent deal on Saturday after being released by the Astros, went quietly in the bottom half of the tenth.

Perez: 2-4, 3B, SB, CS

Keith: 1-5, R, 2B

Cruz: 1-3, R, RBI, HR, BB, SO

Bergner: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, H, 5 BB, 3 SO

Coming Up Next: The SeaWolves travel to Bowie, Maryland to take on the Bowie Baysox for six games starting Tuesday at 11:05 a.m. ET. Right-hander Keider Montero, fresh off a very hot start for the West Michigan Whitecaps, was promoted to Erie over the weekend. His progress will be worth following as he joins the SeaWolves’ rotation.

Cedar Rapids Kernels 7, West Michigan Whitecaps 5 (Friday)(box)

West Michigan Whitecaps 4, Cedar Rapids Kernels 0(Saturday(box)

West Michigan Whitecaps 13, Cedar Rapids Kernels 1 (Sunday)(box)

After losing on Friday, the West Michigan Whitecaps stormed back with victories on Saturday and Sunday to split the series. They hold a 10-9 record in the early going.

Friday’s game was undone by the bullpen after the Whitecaps took an early lead. Jace Jung launched home run number two to right field for a solo shot in the top of the first. Roberto Campos followed with a double and later scored from third on a balk. Starter Jack O’Loughlin allowed a run in the second inning, but Jung came back with another solo shot in the third to make it 3-1 at that point.

The teams traded runs in the fifth and sixth inning. Jace Jung walked with two outs in the fifth, and Campos singled him to second base. Carlos Mendoza came in to pinch run for Jung after the second baseman was plunked in the back of the head by a pickoff throw and left the game. Mendoza scored on a Steele Walker single, while Campos was thrown out at home on the play. Justice Bigbie added a solo shot, his first of the year, in the sixth and when the smoke cleared, the Whitecaps led 5-4 heading into the late innings.

Unfortunately, the offense didn’t have any more runs left in the tank. Aaron Haase walked the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the eighth, and then a throwing error on Mendoza at second base in place of Jung put runners at first and second with no outs. A double and a pair of sacrifice flies brought three runs in, and the Kernels held on to win.

Jung: 2-2, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 HR, BB

Campos: 2-4, R, 2B

O’Loughlin: 3.2 IP, ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 5 SO

Credit goes to starter Wilkel Hernandez and the ‘Caps bullpen on Saturday as they blanked the Kernels, allowing just four singles on the day. Hernandez looked good as he tries to get his act in gear following Tommy John surgery. The right-hander spun four scoreless, allowing two singles and two walks, with six strikeouts.

Izaac Pacheco got the scoring started, singling home Carlos Mendoza in the first after he’d led off the game with a double. Justice Bigbie singled in the second and later scored on a wild pitch. Another run came in courtesy of two walks and a wild pitch in the seventh. Chris Meyes added a solo home run in the top of the ninth for a little emphasis.

Bigbie: 2-3, 2 R, HR, BB

Mendoza: 1-2, R, 2B, 2 BB

Hernandez: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 SO

On Sunday, the start of the show was again left-hander Carlos Pena, who has dominated Midwest League hitters so far this season. Another four scoreless innings with a single and two walks allowed, with six strikeouts on the day for Pena. In 19 13 innings to open the season Pena has allowed just one earned run, and has 26 strikeouts to six walks. He remains quite underpowered, rarely topping 90 mph with the fastball, but good command and a quality slider/changeup combination are too much for A-ball hitters to handle.

Despite the final score, the ‘Caps didn’t really get going offensively until Pena had departed. A three-run homer from Roberto Campos, going the opposite way for his second long ball of the season, gave West Michigan a 3-0 lead after four innings. In the fifth, they came back for seven runs and busted this one wide open.

The big blow in the inning was a Justice Bigbie grand slam, his second home run in three games. Luis Garcia also hit a solo shot, while Izaac Pacheco added a double to a long inning for the Kernels. Steele Walker’s two-run triple in the sixth made it 12-0, and Pacheco singled in Bigbie in the seventh for the final Whitecaps’ run.

Good to see Jung flash the home run power in this series. Izaac Pacheco and Roberto Campos, two of the highest potential hitters in the system, also seem to be getting their feet under them after a sluggish start.

Bigbie: 2-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, HR, BB, SO

Pacheco: 4-5, 2 R, RBI, 2B

Campos: 3-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B, HR, SO

Pena: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, H, 2 BB, 6 SO

Coming Up Next: The Whitecaps now head to Wisconsin to tackle the Beloit Sky Carp. Game one is set for 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.

Palm Beach Cardinals 13, Lakeland Flying Tigers 5 (Friday)(box)

Lakeland Flying Tigers 6, Palm Beach Cardinals 5 (Saturday)(box)

Palm Beach Cardinals 15, Lakeland Flying Tigers 4 (Sunday)(box)

The Flying Tigers pitching staff got blown up a bit in this series, but they managed to split it and still hold a 10-10 record at this point.

On Friday, starter Marco Jimenez’s outing fell apart after three scoreless frames when he allowed a five-run fourth inning. His relievers did even worse.

The offense seized a slim early lead in the second inning when Moises Valero tripled home Lazaro Benitez, who had doubled with two outs. Dillon Dingler, on an extended rehab trip and no doubt enjoying Low-A pitching (hopefully taking some time to work on his swing as well) mashed a solo shot, his third homer of the year, in the third inning.

The game was totally out of hand by the time they scored again in the sixth. Peyton Graham was hit by a pitch and Dingler walked. Both would advance on a Dom Johnson singled, later scoring on a walk and a sacrifice fly, respectively. That made it 11-4 Palm Beach. Andrew Navigato led off the seventh with a double and advanced on a wild pitch, scoring on a passed ball for the Flygers final run.

Dinger: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, HR, 2B, BB, SO

Benitez: 2-3, R, RBI, 2 2B

Valero: 2-3, RBI, 3B, BB

Jimenez (L, 0-1): 3.1 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 SO

Even Saturday’s victory was a hard fought one for the Flying Tigers. They had to walk this one off after blowing the lead in the top of the ninth inning, but they pulled it off.

Right-hander Ulices Campos got the start and he was decent, allowing a run in the first and one in the fourth, while striking out five Cardinals.

Peyton Graham got Lakeland on the board in the bottom of the third when he lifted a sacrifice fly to score Seth Stephenson. Feeling frisky, Dingler launched another solo shot to right center field, and it was 2-1 Lakeland. After Palm Beach tied things up at 2-2 in the fourth, Manuel Sequera re-opened the lead with a two-run homer, his first of the year, to make it 4-2. An Andrew Navigato RBI triple in the seventh made it 5-3 Lakeland, but reliever Max Alba allowed a two-run ninth as the Cardinals tied things up.

Cristian Santana led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk and advanced to third on a Mike Rothenberg ground-rule double. Sequera came through again, knocking a single to left field to walk this one off as Santana trotted in from third.

Sequera: 3-4, R, 3 RBI, HR

Santana: 0-2, R, 2 BB, CS

Dingler: 2-2, R, RBI, HR

Campos: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 SO

Sunday’s loss was just kind of a mess. Starter Carlos Marcano allowed four runs in the top of the first, and another run in the third. The bullpen then went thermonuclear for the rest of the game.

The Flying Tigers were still in it early. Andrew Jenkins led off the bottom of the second with a double and Cristian Santana walked. After Luke Gold struck out, Sequera singled in Jenkins, and Moises Valero followed with a two-run triple. They got one more run in the third when Peyton Graham led off with a walk and then stole second base, advancing to third on a throwing error. Santana drove him in with a ground rule double to left center field, but that was it for Lakeland’s scoring on the day.

Valero: 1-4, 2 RBI, 3B, SO

Santana: 1-3, R, RBI, 2B, BB, SO

Sequera: 1-4, R, RBI, 3 SO

Marcano (L, 0-2): 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 3 SO

Coming Up Next: The Flying Tigers travel to Clearwater to tangle with the Threshers this week. First pitch Tuesday night is set for 6:30 p.m. ET from BayCare Ballpark.