The Miracle scored five times in the first against RHP Yohan Almonte and were never threatened in this one. Almonte's line: 2.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.
RF Cory Vaughn was 2-for-5 and lifted his 13th home run of the year. He hits for power (24 XBH, .217 isolated slugging), walks (32), and strikes out (60) times in 62 games, but has not hit for average as part of a .226/.331/.443 line as a 23 year old in advanced-A.
With infield regulars 3B Wilmer Flores and SS Wilfredo Tovar graduated to AA, St. Lucie lined up Robbie Shields at third, TJ Rivera at shortstop, Rylan Sandoval at second and Richard Lucas at first. In related news, the AA box scores are a little more interesting all of a sudden.
DH Alan Dykstra who's been out since April 16 with a left forearm fracture was activated and placed on St. Lucie. I suspect this is a quasi rehab assignment. Dykstra, who's now 25, was 3-for-4 with a double and a walk Thursday. He hit .267/.389/.474 with 22 doubles and 19 home runs in 121 games in AA last year. The Binghamton infield is now crowded, but did he do enough to earn a ticket to Buffalo? If he's in St. Lucie in three weeks, something has gone wrong.
This one started as as pitchers' duel and mutated into a mess of an entertaining a-ball game with four four-run innings. In both of the GreenJackets' four-run frames, the Gnats committed two errors. By my count, the Gnats had three opportunities to turn doubleplays on groundballs with a runner at first and turned none. Only four of the nine runs the Gnats allowed were earned.
On the hill, Savannah's Logan Verrett (pictured) and Augusta's Clayton Blackburn were dealing. Blackburn was perfect through four innings, while Verrett struck out six in the first three innings while allowing nothing but two soft singles. An error, a walk, three singles, a sacrifice fly, and an error turned into three runs against Verrett, the Mets' third round pick in 2011, in the fourth inning. When he was shoving in the first three, he was keeping his fastball down and mixing in his slider and his changeup extensively. The slider was sharp and the changeup deceptive. In the first three innings, he looked like he was pitching for a promotion to St. Lucie. In the fourth, although he was not hit terribly hard, his fastball moved from the knees up just a bit, which turned into some hits.
At the plate, CF Gilbert Gomez was 2-for-4 with a double, and good bunt for a sacrifice. Both of his hits were towards right field, including a double down the line by the right-handed hitter. The 20-year old is hitting .293/.359/.345 in 17 games in Savannah. He can really run, and is a better fit in centerfield than Travis Taijeron. I'm looking forward to watching Gomez the whole second half.
Then there's Aderlin Rodriguez. He ripped a clean RBI double into the leftfield corner, scorched a one-hop RBI single past the shortstop in the ninth, made a nice play moving to his left defensively, and hurt his team twice with the glove. In the fourth inning, he could not get a chopper out of his glove so the Gnats picked up one out instead of turning two behind Verrett. In the top of the eighth, with runners at the corners, he let a double-play ball roll right through his legs for his 13th error of the season. In the fifth, on a slow chopper to his left, he moved over and in nicely, played the ball on the big hop right before it hit the dirt, gathered his body and threw a bullet across the diamond to nail a quick runner. The 20-year old is hitting .257/.327/.462 with the bat with 16 doubles and 11 homers in 65 games, so there's plenty to like about the bat. He's not hopeless at third, but has plenty of work to do if he's going to stick over there.