Phillies Minor League Report: Mark Leiter struggles during Clearwater loss

Mark Leiter Jr. of the Lakewood BlueClaws. (Photo courtesy of the Lakewood BlueClaws.)

Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Triple A

The IronPigs coughed up a four-run lead on their way to falling behind in their series with the Louisville Bats after a 7-4 loss Saturday at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Ky.

The IronPigs came out of the gates firing on all cylinders, as they started the game with three consecutive singles. The third one came from left fielder Darin Ruf, who drove in center fielder Leandro Castro for the game’s first run.

Lehigh Valley eventually extended its lead to 4-0 before things took a sharp turn in the wrong direction.


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Lehigh Valley starting pitcher Greg Smith was in the midst of a strong start by tossing five scoreless innings, but ran into a ton of trouble during the sixth.

Smith gave up five hits during the frame, which amounted to four runs to tie the game. Smith’s strong start turned into a no decision after allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits during 5.2 innings. He also struck out six batters.

Cesar Jimenez relieved Smith for only one out before giving way to Tyler Knigge. Things didn’t go so well for Knigge either, as the Bats took the lead and eventually pulled away from the IronPigs at his expense.

Knigge suffered the loss, which dropped his record to 1-2.

The IronPigs will attempt to earn a split with the Bats at 2:05 p.m. Sunday. Veteran pitcher Jason Marquis (0-0, 0.50 ERA) is scheduled to start for Lehigh Valley.

Reading Fightin Phils – Double A

The IronPigs weren’t alone in squandering a four-run lead, as the Fightin Phils did so as well during a 6-5 loss to the New Britain Rock Cats Friday in New Britain, Conn.

Like the IronPigs, the Fightin Phils started off the game on a good note with the help of three runs during the second inning.

The Rock Cats recovered nicely by making it a one-run game by the end of the fourth. Although starter Hoby Milner allowed New Britain’s three runs during his five innings of work, the Rock Cats weren’t done with their surge ahead of the Fightin Phils, including putting up three more runs on pitcher Kyle Simon.

Simon lasted only 0.2 of an inning where he allowed three runs on two hits. As a result, Simon was dealt his second blown save and loss of the season.

It wasn’t very difficult for the Fightin Phils to get on base, as the team recorded 11 hits. The only problem was driving them home for runs as they went 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

Third baseman Matt Tolbert led the Fightin Phis by going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Left fielder Albert Cartwright and right fielder Kelly Dugan both finished 2-for-5.

The Fightin Phils will get another chance to face the Rock Cats at 1:35 p.m. Sunday. Ryan O’Sullivan (2-5, 3.77 ERA) will start for Reading.

Clearwater Threshers – Class A-Advanced

The Threshers have now lost three in a row after falling to the Palm Beach Cardinals, 8-2, Friday at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla.

Clearwater fell behind early due to the Cardinals jumping on starting pitcher Mark Leiter. Leiter lasted five innings, but allowed five runs on six hits. Leiter was handed his first loss with the Threshers as a result.

The Clearwater offense never got into a groove either Saturday, as the team mustered a mere five hits and was kept off the scoreboard until the sixth inning.

Two of Clearwater’s five hits came from third baseman Harold Martinez (2-for-4), who also hit his third homer in four games during the sixth inning.

After dropping two in a row to the Cardinals, the BlueClaws will get another shot at them at 1 p.m. Sunday. Aaron Nola (1-1, 3.18 ERA), the Phillies’ first-round draft pick this year, will start.

Lakewood BlueClaws – Class A

A six-run fifth inning doomed the BlueClaws, as they were handed a 9-2 defeat by the Delmarva Shorebirds Saturday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Lakewood Township, N.J.

The six runs came at the expense of Lakewood pitchers Ranfi Casimiro and Scott Harris. Casimiro tossed 4.1 innings where he was charged with giving up five runs on four hits while striking out five batters.

Casimiro was handed the loss, which dropped him to 2-9 on the season. His ERA is now up to 5.72.

The BlueClaws recorded nine hits Saturday with a third of them coming from center fielder Carlos Tocci. Tocci finished 3-for-4 with an RBI and two doubles.

Third baseman Mitch Walding posted a productive outing as well by going 2-for-4.

The BlueClaws will try to avoid being swept by the Shorebirds at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. Tyler Viza (3-12, 5.06 ERA) will get the start for Lakewood.

Williamsport Crosscutters – Class A-Short Season

The Williamsport pitching staff allowed 17 hits during a 9-5 loss to the Tri-City ValleyCats Saturday at Susquehanna Bank Park at Bowman Field in Williamsport.

Tri-City’s hit parade began on Williamsport starter Alejandro Arteaga, who allowed five runs on nine hits in only three innings of work. Arteaga took the loss, which dropped him to 1-3 on the year.

After he was yanked from the mound, Bryan Sova surrendered five more hits, but only allowed one run. Jesen Therrien wasn’t safe either, as the ValleyCats plated three runs on three hits.

While the ValleyCats were hitting anything that came their way, the Crosscutters failed to get any real momentum going on offense. The Crosscutters recorded only six hits during the contest.

Center fielder Aaron Brown (1-for-4) hit a solo homer during the eighth, which was his second of the campaign. Emmanuel Marrero also went 1-for-4, but drove in two runs.

After dropping the series opener to the ValleyCats, the Crosscutters will play them again at 5:05 p.m. Sunday. Matt Imhof (0-0, 1.29 ERA) is expected to start for Williamsport.

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