Here's how the Phillies' minor league teams fared on Thursday, July 31:
Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Triple A
An early home run from designated hitter Russ Canzler and a dominant pitching performance from David Buchanan allowed the IronPigs to defeat the Rochester Red Wings, 5-2, at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown.
The IronPigs received some good fortune right from the start, as both second baseman Cesar Hernandez and third baseman Maikel Franco were both walked during the first inning. This set up Canzler to hit a three-run homer to give Lehigh Valley the early advantage. The homer was Canzler’s seventh of the season.
From there, it was all Buchanan, as he held the Red Wings to only one run on one hit during his seven innings on the mound. Buchanan earned the win, which moved him to 6-2 with the IronPigs this season.
With Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee suffering an elbow injury during Thursday’s game against the Nationals, Buchanan is the leading candidate to take his spot in the rotation.
Luis Garcia pitched only 0.1 of an inning, but it was enough for him to earn his 17th save of 2014.
The IronPigs’ recorded only six hits, and after Canzler’s homer in the first inning, were held off the scoreboard until the sixth.
That all changed when first baseman Jim Murphy hit a ball to center field that drove in two runs.
The IronPigs will look for their third victory in a row when they face the Red Wings again at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Jo-Jo Reyes (0-2, 16.43 ERA) is scheduled to start.
Reading Fightin Phils – Double A
A two-run homer from left fielder Aaron Altherr during the top of the eighth propelled the Fightin Phils past the New Hampshire Fisher Cats by a score of 6-5 at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester, New Hampshire.
With the Fightin Phils trailing 5-4 with two outs in the eighth inning, designated hitter Jake Fox stepped to the plate and hit a single to right field.
Altherr was next up and hit his ninth home run of the season to give the Fightin Phils the lead and eventually the win.
After receiving a homer from one promising prospect, the Fightin Phils had the victory secured by another, as Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez continued production from the bullpen with his 10th save since moving up to Double-A.
The Fightin Phils won Thursday despite an overall subpar effort from the pitching staff. Starter Hoby Milner pitched six innings where he allowed three runs on 12 hits.
Nefi Ogando earned his fourth victory of the season despite earning his third blown save at the same time. Ogando allowed two runs on two hits during 1.1 innings.
Altherr led the Fightin Phils offensively by going 2-for-4 with two runs. Catcher KC Serna matched him by going 2-for-4.
The Fightin Phils will take on the Fisher Cats in a doubleheader Friday that begins at 6:05 p.m. Chris Bootcheck (2-2, 5.97 ERA) is slated to start Game 1. The start for Game 2 was not announced as of this writing.
Clearwater Threshers – Class A-Advanced
Pitcher Aaron Nola struck out a career-high eight batters during the Threshers’ 9-3 win over the Fort Myers Miracle at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla.
Nola earned his second victory after tossing five innings where he allowed only one run on two hits.
The Threshers did even more damage offensively, as they recorded 11 hits and did most of the damage during the second and third innings.
The Threshers plated four runs during the second inning thanks to RBI hits from third baseman Harold Martinez, designated hitter Chris Serritella and center fielder Roman Quinn.
They then followed that up with five more runs during the third thanks in part to back-to-back solo homers from Serritella and Quinn. It was the fourth of the year for both players.
Five members of the Clearwater lineup recorded two hits, including catcher Gabriel Lino and Serritella, who both went 2-for-3, Quinn and right fielder Brian Pointer, who both went 2-for-4 and Martinez, who went 2-for-5.
Serritella led the team by driving in three runs. Lino, Martinez and Quinn all drove in two runs as well. That was the result of the Threshers capitalizing on a number of opportunities, as they went 7-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
After taking three out of four from the Miracle, the Threshers open up a four-game series against the St. Lucie Mets at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla. Mark Leiter (2-1, 3.27 ERA) will start for Clearwater.
Lakewood BlueClaws – Class A
Thirteen hits, including four from catcher Andrew Knapp helped the BlueClaws defeat the Delmarva Shorebirds, 6-3, at Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md.
Both the BlueClaws and the Shorebirds put on an offensive display Thursday by combining for 24 hits. The difference was that Lakewood finished 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position while Delmarva went only 1-for-13.
Leading the way for the BlueClaws was Knapp, as he went 4-for-5 with a double. The BlueClaws received two RBI from three different players, including first baseman Willians Astudillo.
Astudillo went 3-for-5 and increased his RBI total to 51 on the season. Right fielder Dylan Cozens drove in two runs as well to bring his total to 50.
Pitcher Yacksel Rios (5-0) remained undefeated with Lakewood after he allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits during five innings of work. Daniel Child closed the door on Delmarva to earn his second save of the season.
The BlueClaws will take on the Shorebirds again at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Ranfi Casimiro (2-9, 5.53 ERA) will take the mound for Lakewood.
Williamsport Crosscutters – Class A-Short Season
The Crosscutters are now in the midst of a three-game losing streak after dropping both games in a doubleheader Thursday with the Connecticut Tigers by scores of 5-0, and 6-5 at Susquehanna Bank Park at Bowman Field in Williamsport.
The Crosscutters were held to only one hit during Game 1, as they were shut down by the Connecticut pitching staff. The lone hit came from center fielder Jiandido Tromp.
The second game was a lot more dramatic as it went 13 innings. After six consecutive innings without a run from either side, the Tigers finally broke through courtesy of a two-run homer from right fielder Michael Gerber.
A single from pinch hitter Rhys Hoskins during the bottom of the 13th allowed first baseman Wilmer Oberto to score, but the Crosscutters fell just short. Second baseman Robinson Torres struck out during the next at-bat to end the game.
Despite 10 hits overall, catcher Wilson Garcia was the only Crosscutter to record multiple hits.
Williamsport used five pitchers during marathon affair, as starter Aleandro Arteaga was shaky during his five innings on the mound. Arteaga allowed four runs on seven hits.
Bryan Sova took the loss after he gave up two runs on four hits in only one inning.
The Crosscutters will wrap up their series with the Tigers at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Ricardo Pinto (0-2, 2.65 ERA) will start for Williamsport.