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All Hands on Deck: Openers don’t work in the minors either

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Pittsburgh Pirates v Chicago Cubs
Jose Osuna
Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

The Pirates’ farm system loses three of four as openers fail at both Indy and Altoona.

Triple-A

Indianapolis (26-19) got drubbed 15-9 at Columbus (27-19).

Keone Kela, on the injured list with a sore shoulder, served as the opener in his first appearance of his rehabilitation assignment, and didn’t fare any better than the openers in Pittsburgh, as he allowed three first innings runs on two singles, a walk and a homer.

The Indians managed to come back and take a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the fifth, but Pedro Vasquez, making his first Triple-A appearance, got hammered for eight runs in the bottom of that inning, ballooning his season ERA from 3.32 to 4.63. Sean Keselica, also recently up from Altoona, gave up four runs.

The poor pitching wasted some good hitting performances, as 1B Jose Osuna (253/343/429) had a double and his second home run and drove in six runs; DH Will Craig (259/344/531) also had a double and a homer, his 13th; and SS Kevin Kramer (286/375/516) banged his fifth home run. Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pedro Reyes and Eric Wood each had two hits.

Double-A

Altoona’s (22-25) opener coughed up five runs in the first as they fell 5-3 at Portland (15-31).

Matt Eckelman (6.75 ERA in 16 IP) made his first start and surrendered six hits in the only inning he worked, but unlike Indianapolis, the rest of the Altoona bullpen slammed the door, following with seven shutout innings, including four frames from Beau Sulser (0.61 ERA in 29 12 IP)

Curve batters could only manage five hits off Tanner Houck (4-4, 5.08) CF Ryan Peurifoy had two, including his second home run.

High-A

Bradenton (27-21) downed visiting Tampa (21-27) 2-1 on Lucas Tancas’ walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.

21 year old right-hander Aaron Shortridge (3-1, 3.27) allowed only three hits and no walks in seven innings, with four strikeouts. The only run was on a fifth inning solo homer by Dermis Garcia (248/305/510), his 11th.

Tancas (289/335/447) and C Raul Hernandez (200/238/238) had two hits apiece. Travis Swaggerty and Cal Mitchell were each 0-for-3 with a walk.

Low-A

Greensboro (33-15) saw their winning streak snapped as they fell 10-7 to Hickory (31-17)

The bats did their part in scoring seven times as both 1B Mason Martin (256/350/570) and 2B Rodolfo Castro (284/331/622) slammed their 13th long balls of the season. Martin and SS Ji-hwan bae had two hits each. Martin has a .333 BA and five homers in his last ten games.

After only allowing one run in his last start, Osvaldo Bido (6-3, 3.42) was not nearly as good this time, surrendering seven runs on nine hits in four innings, including three home runs.