Phillies Minor League Report: Aaron Nola has nother good start for Clearwater

Phillies newly-drafted pitcher Aaron Nola. (Matt Slocum/AP)

Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Triple A

The IronPigs’ rally fell short, as their losing streak moved to six games Friday after suffering a defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bisons, 9-7, at Coca-Cola Field in Buffalo, N.Y.

The IronPigs went into the eighth inning trailing the Bisons, 9-4. They cut the deficit to 9-5 after designated hitter Russ Canzler scored after a groundout from catcher Cameron Rupp.

The IronPigs crept closer to the Bisons during the ninth thanks to an RBI-triple from third baseman Nate Spears and a groundout from second baseman Cesar Hernandez that allowed Spears to cross the plate.

Unfortunately for Lehigh Valley, its rally was halted after shortstop Freddy Galvis grounded out and first baseman Maikel Franco struck out swinging to end the game.

Lehigh Valley recorded 11 hits Thursday, including three from Hernandez, who also added two RBI. Center fielder Leandro Castro and Franco both had productive nights, as they went 2-for-3 and 2-for-5 respectively. Franco also drove in two runs to move his total to 48 on the season. Castro drove in one, which brought him up to 40.

All but two members of the Lehigh Valley lineup recorded at least one hit against the Bisons.

Part of the reason why the IronPigs trailed by three runs heading into the eighth was due to the rough start from pitcher Greg Smith.

Smith allowed six runs on nine hits during five innings on the mound. He also walked three batters, which landed him with the loss and dropped him to 7-8.

Tyler Knigge took the mound in relief of Smith and coughed up three more runs on three hits in only two innings of work.

The IronPigs will look to end their current slump when they face the Bisons again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. David Buchanan (5-1, 3.86 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Lehigh Valley.

Reading Fightin Phils – Double A

The Fightin Phils celebrated Christmas in July Friday, but got nothing but coal in their stockings, as they were shutout by the Akron RubberDucks, 5-0, at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading.

The Fightin Phils were held to just three hits due in large part to a masterful outing from Akron starter Duke von Schamann. Von Schamann allowed only three hits in seven innings and did not allow a walk.

Meanwhile, Reading starter Adam Loewen was handed his fourth loss of the season after he gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits in six innings.

Reading’s hits came from shortstop Edgar Duran, catcher Logan Moore and right fielder Kelly Dugan. The Fightin Phils went a combined 3-for-29 from the plate.

After splitting the first two games in the series, the Fightin Phils will take on the RubberDucks again at 6:35 p.m. Saturday. Left-hander Hoby Milner (5-5, 4.79 ERA) will start for Reading.

Clearwater Threshers – Class A-Advanced

Despite another solid start from pitcher Aaron Nola, the Threshers fell to the Jupiter Hammerheads, 3-2, at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla. Friday.

Nola tossed five innings where he surrendered only one run on five hits. He also struck out four batters and left the game with a 2-1 lead.

While most of his other outings ended in a loss, Friday ended in a no decision after the Hammerheads plated two runs off Kevin Walter during the sixth inning.

Walter was dealt his first blown save of the season along with his third loss as a result.

Clearwater’s runs came courtesy of a solo home run from designated hitter Art Charles during the first inning and an RBI hit from shortstop J.P. Crawford during the fourth. Charles’ homer was his 11th of the year while Crawford’s RBI was his 11th as well.

The Threshers mustered a mere four hits against the Hammerheads.

The Threshers will try to bounce back when they face the Hammerheads again at 6:35 p.m. Saturday. Mark Leiter (2-1, 3.46 ERA) will take the mound for Clearwater.

Lakewood BlueClaws – Class A

The BlueClaws were able to take two of three from the Greenville Drive after a 5-2 victory Friday at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood Township, N.J.

Lakewood boasted four members of its lineup that recorded two hits. Catcher Willians Astudillo and left fielder Larry Greene led the way, as they both went 2-for-3. Center fielder Carlos Tocci and first baseman Zach Green weren’t far behind, as they both went 2-for-4.

The pitching staff held up its end of the bargain, as starter Yacksel Rios improved his record to 4-0 after allowing only two runs on six hits during 5.2 innings. However, he did walked five batters.

Aaron Baker earned his second save of the season after he tossed two scoreless innings where he struck out four batters.

After taking the series from the Drive, the BlueClaws will continue their homestand with five consecutive games against the Kannapolis Intimidators, starting at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

Ranfi Casimiro (2-9, 5.80 ERA) will start for Lakewood.

Williamsport Crosscutters – Class A-Short Season

A bullpen collapse cost the Crosscutters a chance at a fourth-straight win, as the fell to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 7-0, at Susquehanna Bank Park at Bowman Field in Williamsport.

Starter Alejandro Arteaga allowed allowed only one run on seven hits in six strong innings for the Crosscutters. But Mark Meadors and Richard Bielski let up six runs during the frame.

With the Williamsport offense only mustering two hits, the game was all but out of reach at that point.

Arteaga was handed the loss, which dropped him to 1-5 on the season. Williamsport’s two hits came from shortstop Drew Stankiewicz and designated hitter Wilmer Oberto.

The Crosscutters earned their third victory in a row by way of a 5-1 win over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at Susquehanna Bank Park at Bowman Field in Williamsport Thursday.

After having their winning streak halted, the Crosscutters will play the Scrappers again at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Ricardo Pinto (0-2, 3.09 ERA) is scheduled to start.

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