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The Matt Morris Report: 8/6/14

It was a good day for last year's top draft picks. Meanwhile, Indianapolis and Bristol had the day off.

-- Altoona couldn't hold an early lead and lost to Trenton, 7-3.  Jarek Cunningham hit his seventh HR and Stetson Allie his 16th, both off Yankee prospect Manny Banuelos, but Altoona hitters couldn't touch the Trenton bullpen and fanned a dozen times overall.  Josh Bell and Alen Hanson each went 1-4.  Zack Dodson allowed three runs in six innings.  Joely Rodriguez, who's struggling even more as a reliever than he did as a starter, gave up four runs on six hits in two innings to take the loss.

-- Bradenton beat Jupiter, 6-2.  John Kuchno took the concept of pitching to contact very literally; he gave up two runs on eight hits in seven innings, without walking or striking out a batter.  Justin Howard and Justin Maffei each had two hits.

-- West Virginia beat Hagerstown, 7-3.  After failing to get a single HR or RBI in his first 18 SAL games, Austin Meadows (pictured) has had a HR and three RBIs in two straight games.  He was 2-3 overall.  Coincidentally, Reese McGuire also hit his second HR.  Erich Weiss, Wyatt Mathisen, Kawika Emsley-Pai and Maximo Rivera all went 2-4.  JaCoby Jones was 0-5.  Luis Heredia had an odd start.  He allowed singles, two of them of the infield variety, to the first four hitters he faced.  He got away with only one run allowed, though, because Emsley-Pai threw out two base stealers.  Heredia didn't allow another hit until the 6th.  His final line was six innings, six hits, two runs, one walk and two strikeouts.

-- Jamestown jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the 2nd inning and hung on to beat Connecticut, 5-4.  Elvis Escobar was 4-5 with a double, Carl Anderson 2-4 and Kevin Krause 2-5.  After struggling for most of the last two years, Escobar may be coming around.  He's hitting .375 in his last nine games to raise his average to .295.  Maybe more importantly, he's struck out only three times in his last 32 ABs after fanning over once every four ABs during his stint at West Virginia earlier this year.  Austin Coley made his second appearance after missing time with shoulder problems and got through two and two-thirds innings despite allowing five hits.  He walked none and struck out two.

-- The GCL Pirates lost their eighth straight,* 3-2, to the Braves.  Mitch Keller started and went three and a third without allowing a run, although he walked four.  He gave up two hits and struck out two.  Luis Benitez was 2-5, and Alexis Bastardo and Reggie Cerda each 2-4.  Sam Kennelly was 2-4 with a double.  The 18-year-old Kennelly is now hitting .305 and has struck out just once more than he's walked.

*You may or may not have noticed that I've generally noted long losing streaks.  (I do long winning streaks, too, but there haven't been many.)  I'm not real big on minor league W/L records, but I have trouble believing that extended losing streaks -- of which there have been quite a few, mostly in the lower half of the system -- aren't at least a little harmful.  If you've ever watched minor league baseball, the players care just as much as in the majors about winning, even in rookie ball.

-- The DSL Pirates beat the Braves, 3-2.  Yeudy Garcia continued to pitch well, allowing one run on two hits in five innings.  He walked none and struck out four.  Luis Perez was 2-4.