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Braves Minor League Recap: Rio Ruiz Homers, Gwinnett turns a triple play

Friday was a quirky day for the Minor League system. A 2 home run game, a guy with a .050 ISO hitting a home run, and a run of the mill 5-4-3 triple play. Carolina, Mississippi and Gwinnett continued their push for the playoffs, but Rome continued their miserable stretch

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(60-52) Gwinnett Braves 5, (52-54) Buffalo Bisons 3

Box Score

Mallex Smith, CF: 1-5, SB, .230/.270/.295
Cedric Hunter, LF: 1-5, HR(10), 3 RBI, 1 R, .269/.312/.391
Christian Bethancourt, C: 2-2, 2B, RBI,2 R, .299/.317/.448
Greg Smith, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2.31 ERA

Peter Moylan, RP: 1 IP, 0H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 3.12 ERA

Another day, another Gwinnett Braves win. Greg Smith pitched another good game, and Cedric Hunter hit his 10th home run and 4th in his past 8 games. The former top prospect in the Padres system has always been a bit streaky, and he is currently in the midst of his hottest span on the season. Christian Bethancourt has also been hot of late, and pushed his average back over .300 after going through a slump. Since being sent down to the minors he has only allowed 1 passed ball (first game) and has thrown out 46% of potential base stealers. That would put him at a career high CS% and fielding percentage. Mallex Smith seems to be shaking off his post call up struggles, though I wouldn't call a 1-5 game good. The important thing has been his improved consistency, and he has now hit in 16 of his last 19 games, stealing 11 bases in that span and bumping his slash from .195/.222/.273 to .239/.279/.303. Peter Moylan extended his scoreless streak to 8 games since giving up 4 earned runs on July 18. Gwinnett has gone 12-2 over their past 14 games, vaulting themselves into the playoff race (2.5 GB of a wild card spot), and posting the highest winning percentage of any of our affiliates.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention that they turned a FREAKING TRIPLE PLAY

I have to admit I'm extremely jealous of the fans at that game, especially since I'm going to the game tomorrow (seriously 1 day late, ugh) and the last time they turned a triple play was August 25th of 2010. I'll be waiting patiently for my next opportunity

(57-52) Mississippi Braves 7 vs. (62-46) Montgomery Biscuits 0

Box Score

Rio Ruiz, 3B: 2-4, HR(2), RBI, 2 R, .220/.332/.279

Kevin Ahrens, 1B: 3-3, BB, HR(6), 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R, .238/.317/.346
Greg Ross, SP: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 4.15 ERA

Bryton Trepagnier, RP: 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 4.53 ERA

Greg Ross blanked the Biloxi Shuckers for 7.1 innings, and home runs by Ahrens and Ruiz were more than enough for Mississippi. This was the second consecutive game with a home run for former Blue Jays first rounder Kevin Ahrens, and the home run was his 6th on the season. For Ruiz, hitting a home run, especially one to center field, is a hugely optimistic sign going down the home stretch. His absence of power has been notable, but 3 or 4 good ones down the stretch will ease some of the anxiety going into next season. Greg Ross added an RBI double himself, his 4th hit of the year. David Rohm also had a hit on the game, and it is nice to see him back in the lineup after he was hit in the face by a pitch a couple of days ago. Emerson Landoni also singled to extend his hitting streak to an even 10 games. Tonight's win is Mississippi's 4th in a row and has them sitting just half a game back of Mobile for a playoff spot.

(57-54) Carolina Mudcats 9 vs. (58-48) Potomac Nationals 4

Box Score

Connor Lien, CF: 1-4, RBI, BB, R, .294/.348/.436
Dustin Peterson, LF: 1-4, 2 RBI, R, .248/.321/.346
Tanner Krietemeier, 1B: 1-2, 2 BB, 3 R, .163/.217/.186
Brandon Barker, SP: 7 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 3.13 ERA

Carolina put up 7 runs in the first 4 innings, and that was more than enough to carry them to the win over Potomac. They managed all 9 of these runs (4 unearned) on just 8 hits, with no players getting more than 2. Joe Odom was the only batter without a hit, and he still reached on a walk. Carolina drew 6 walks on the day, 5 issued by P-Nats starter Ian Dickson. Dustin Peterson, Jacob Schrader, Carlos Franco, and Johan Camargo had 2 RBIs each, with the other being added by center fielder Connor Lien. Carlos Salazar walked 2 and struck out one in 2 innings of scoreless relief. He got the save on the game and lowered his Carolina ERA to 2.70. Carolina now sits 1.5 back of Winston-Salem for the second half division lead.

(45-64) Rome Braves 2 vs. (55-54) Augusta GreenJackets 7

Box Score

Luke Dykstra, 2B: 1-3, 2B, BB, .302/.342/.388
Leudys Baez, LF: 1-5, 3B, R, .278/.278/.444
Touki Toussaint, SP: 4 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, 4.87 ERA
Sean McLaughlin, RP: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 0.00 ERA

As expected, Atlanta announced that they were shutting down top prospect Ozhaino Albies for the remainder of the season with a broken thumb, and Touki Toussaint was unable to lighten the mood for the Rome Braves faithful. He allowed 7 runs over 4 innings, and the Rome offense short Braxton Davidson, Albies, and Jordan Edgerton were unable to cope. This was Rome's 4th consecutive loss, and they have gone 21-40 since a 7 game winning streak pulled them to .500 on May 29. Sean McLaughlin made his debut for Rome, striking out 7 of the 10 batters he faced on the night. No one on the team had more than one hit, with new addition Luke Dykstra being the only batter to reach base twice.

(19-23) Danville Braves 2 vs. (25-19) Pulaski Yankees 3

Box Score

Trey Keegan, C: 2-4, 2B, .200/.294/.222
Yeudi Grullon, 2B: 2-3, BB, SB, .237/.318/.339
Mike Soroka, SP: 4 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1.13 ERA

Matthew Custred, RP: 3.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1.42 ERA

It was a pretty quiet day in Danville, with nothing particularly good or bad happening for either team, though Matthew Custred's perfect relief appearance certainly was impressive. Mike Soroka got his first professional decision-a tough luck loss caused by a couple of errors, but he managed a solid stat line despite the poor defense. 8 of his 12 outs were recorded by ground outs. Not only did Custred have a great stat line, but he inherited a bases loaded jam in the 6th and was able to get the out to get Danville out of it. Carlos Castro added a hit on the day-a double, and drove in 1 of Danville's runs. Austin Riley had the game off, so I guess we'll have to wait another day to watch him continue his assault on rookie ball pitching.

(17-21) GCL Braves 12 vs. (13-25) GCL Astros 10

Box Score

Kevin Josephina, 2B: 2-4, 2B, RBI, BB, .321/.345/.357
Jose Pina, RF: 3-4, 3R, BB, .250/.282/.325
Bradley Keller, LF: 3-5, 2B, 2 HR (2), 5 RBI, .320/.384/.467
Jaret Hellinger, SP: 3 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 2.89 ERA

Jaret Hellinger was lights out to start off today's game, but the GCL squad ran into trouble in the 6th, giving up 8 runs and falling behind 10-4. They battled back behind the bat of Bradley Keller (another high risk athlete) and were able to pull off a 12-10 win. Despite a solid typical stat line, Hellinger had some control issues, hitting a batter and throwing two wild pitches in addition to that walk. The tall lefty has a very lanky frame, but at 6'4" 170 should still have enough projection to run his already low 90's fastball into the mid 90's at maturity. He will likely do this as a reliever, as there is some effort to his delivery (though I can only claim to base this on seeing 2 pitches). Keller was seen as a high ceiling project out of high school, but has performed very well so far-albeit with the help of a high BABIP to counter his extremely high K rate. Those two weren't the only notable performers in yesterday's game-with Alejandro Salazar putting up another multi hit game. Over his last month of play Salazar is hitting .349/.413/.473.

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