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Keider Montero strikes out nine as Erie downs Richmond

Scores, news, and notes, from the Detroit Tigers’ farm system for Thursday, June 1, 2023.

Toledo Mud Hens 4, Indianapolis Indians 1 (box)

With Reese Olson called away to start for the Tigers on Friday, the Hens had to piece together a bullpen game on Thursday. They managed it quite well, and the offense came alive late to break a four-game skid.

Garrett Hill got the call as the “starter” and he was up to the task, allowing a run over three innings of work while striking out six. With circumstances as they are, the Tigers would no doubt love to see Hill get it going again, if only as depth. Billy Lescher and Chavez Fernander, called up from Erie and West Michigan respectively on Thursday, combined for eleven outs without a run scored.

The Hens offense put together a minor threat in the first, but didn’t break through until the second when Jermaine Palacios singled in Andrew Knapp. Indy tied things up and there was a long lull until the Hens broke out again in the top of the seventh. Palacios doubled with two outs and Justyn-Henry Malloy singled him in to make it 2-1. In the eighth, Andre Lipcius walked to start the inning, and Grant Witherspoon was hit by a pitch with one out. A wild pitch advanced them each a base, and after Knapp struck out, Michael Papierski doubled them both home.

Aneurys Zabala allowed a walk in the ninth but otherwise had no trouble earning his first save of the season.

Palacios: 2-4, R, RBI, 2B, CS

Papierski: 1-3, 2 RBI, 2B, BB

Malloy: 2-4, RBI, BB, 2 SO

Carpenter: 1-5, SO

Hill: 3.0 IP, ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 6 SO

Coming Up Next: Indy has a 2-1 lead in the series heading into Friday night’s 7:05 p.m. ET matchup at Victory Field. RHP Quinn Priester (5-3, 4.96 ERA) was originally scheduled for Thursday night. Instead he’ll go for Indy on Friday while the Tigers promoted left-hander Jack O’Loughlin (3-3, 2.17 ERA) up from West Michigan to start this one.

The Aussie southpaw has been in the system for over five years now and is still just 23. His velocity has jumped in recent weeks and he’s put together a streak of 20 scoreless innings. He also has allowed a home run yet in 37 13 innings of work at High-A. It’ll be interesting to see how he does, and whether he sticks in the upper minors or if this is a one-off.

Erie SeaWolves 9, Richmond Flying Squirrels 1 (box)

Right-hander Keider Montero was the story in this one. After a shaky start to his move to Erie, we’ve seen better control lately. But in this one Montero really shoved. He allowed just a single, a double, two walks, and no runs over six innings of work, striking out nine. The center field camera in Richmond was horrific as usual, but from what I could tell, Montero really commanded his fastball well, moving it around the edges of the zone and mixing in his strong slider-curveball combination without wasting many at all.

The offense got things started off right when Trei Cruz led off the game with a solo shot, his eighth home run on the year as his power surge continues. Diego Rincones singled in Jake Holton in the second inning, and in the third, the SeaWolves broke the game open.

Seriously, can we fix this CF camera finally? Please?

With one out, Wenceel Perez drew a walk and Dillon Dingler doubled him to third. Jake Holton followed with an RBI single and Andrew Navigato doubled in Dingler. Richmond went to their bullpen, but an error on a Rincones fly ball to left allowed Holton and Navigato to score. Luis Santana singled in Rincones, and it was 7-0 Erie. They’d add two more in the top of the ninth when Holton singled in Cruz and Perez with the final runs of the game.

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

Holton: 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, BB

Navigato: 3-5, R, RBI, 2B

Montero (W, 3-1): 6.0 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 9 SO

Coming Up Next: RHP Ty Madden (0-1, 3.38 ERA) takes on RHP Mason Black (0-4, 5.79 ERA) on Friday night at 6:35 p.m. ET.

West Michigan Whitecaps 6, Dayton Dragons 5 (box)

Troy Melton’s second start for West Michigan went much better and the offense seized the game late and held on to win on Thursday.

Melton’s first outing was ok, but a very long second inning knocked him out early. In this one he spun four innings of one run ball with no walks and three punchouts. His fastball touched 98 as usual, but most importantly his control was significantly improved.

After Melton allowed his lone run in the first inning, the ‘Caps came back in the top of the second. With one out, Eliezer Alfonzo and Dillon Paulson both walked. Austin Murr reached on an error on Dayton’s shortstop as Alfonzo scored. Roberto Campos then drew a walk and a sac fly from Jace Jung allowed Paulson to tag and score from third to make it 2-1 West Michigan. Jung would double home Austin Murr in the fourth to make it 3-1.

Reliever Aaron Haase, no relation, allowed a two-run shot in the seventh that tied the game, but the Whitecaps came right back with three more in the eighth. Alfonzo’s third home run of the season opened the inning and reclaimed the lead. Paulson followed with a single and Esney Chacon pinch-ran for him as Murr doubled to right, moving Chacon to third. Jung singled them both in to collect his third and fourth RBIs on the night.

Angel Reyes got in trouble in the bottom of the ninth, allowing two runs, but Jack Anderson came on to close it out for his first save with the Whitecaps. A diving snag from first baseman Chris Meyers ended it.

Jung: 3-3, 4 RBI, 2B, BB

Alfonzo: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, HR, BB

Murr: 1-4, 2 R, 2B, BB

Melton: 4.0 IP, ER, 4 H, 0 BB, 3 SO

Coming Up Next: With Jack O’Loughlin promoted to Toledo to start for them on Friday, the Whitecaps will have to piece something together on Friday night for their 7:05 p.m. ET matchup with Dayton.

Lakeland Flying Tigers 4, Jupiter Hammerheads 3 (Gm 1)(F/8)(box)

Jupiter Hammerheads 9, Lakeland Flying Tigers 8 (Gm 2)(F/7)(box)

After being rained out on Wednesday, Lakeland and Jupiter split a doubleheader on Thursday.

Jake Miller got the start in game one, and he allowed just a run over 3 23 innings, striking out four. Max Green allowed two runs in the fifth, but the Flying Tigers’ offense finally broke through to tie the game in the sixth. Jose De La Cruz and Abel Bastidas singled and with one out, Dom Johnson cracked his third homer of the year to make it 3-3.

Reliever Cameron Brown managed to tiptoe through a shaky eighth inning under extra innings rules, and in the bottom half, Johnson came through again with a walkoff single to score De La Cruz.

Johnson: 2-4, R, 4 RBI, HR

De La Cruz: 1-2, 2 R, BB

Miller: 3.2 IP, ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 SO.

In game two, Garrett Apker was knocked out in the third with five runs, four earned, scored by Jupiter. In the fifth, Lakeland fought back with four runs of their own as Jupiter walked the bases loaded with no outs. Flying Tigers’ reliever Hendry Nunez allowed four run in the sixth, and their four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh fell just short of a comeback.

Alvaro Gonzalez and Cristian Santana walked to open the bottom of the seventh and then J.D. McLaughlin was walked as well, loading the bases with no outs. De La Cruz struck out, but once again it was Dom Johnson coming through, drilling a two-run single back up the middle. Luke Gold doubled in McLaughlin and Johnson to pull them within a run, but Moises Valero struck out to end it.

Johnson: 2-3, R, 2 RBI, BB

Gold: 1-4, 2 RBI, 2B, 2 SO

Apker: 2.1 IP, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO

Coming Up Next: They’ll meet up at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday night.