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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap 7/1: Rio Ruiz hits a grand slam, William Contreras goes deep

Rio Ruiz and William Contreras both went deep while one of the Braves’ better pitching prospects had a rough outing on Sunday.

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets - Game One Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Gwinnett Stripers 6, Charlotte Knights 7

Box Score

  • Rio Ruiz, 3B: 1-5, HR, 4 RBI, .259/.307/.380
  • Dustin Peterson, RF: 2-5, .252/.309/.388
  • Kolby Allard, SP: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 2.93 ERA

Rio Ruiz came through in a big way with a grand slam in the 2nd inning, but Kolby Allard had a tough game and the bullpen faltered as well as Gwinnett fell 7-6. The Gwinnett pitching staff walked nine batters in the game including four from Allard which is uncharacteristically high for him. The bad news is that Allard did give up five runs in this outing, but the good news is that is by far the highest amount he has given up this season and his 2.93 ERA ranks sixth in the International League. Both Elian Leyva and Rex Brothers gave up runs as well which proved to be damning as Gwinnett would fail to hold off Charlotte late in the game.

Gwinnett’s offense jumped all over Carson Fulmer with the biggest blow coming off the bat of Rio Ruiz as his fifth home run of the year was of the grand slam variety. Rio had been having a rough year in Triple-A, but has been showing signs of coming around. He is batting .349 over his last 10 games and has a six game hitting streak going. Dustin Peterson, Sal Giardina, and Xavier Avery all had multi-hit games for Gwinnett although the only extra-base hit from the squad was Rio’s grand slam.

Mississippi Braves, Pensacola Blue Wahoos - Postponed

Rain sucks

Florida Fire Frogs 2, Daytona Tortugas 8 - Game One

Box Score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 1-4, 2B, .274/.296/.407
  • Ray-Patrick Didder, SS: 1-3, 2B, run, .208/.306/.299
  • Jeremy Walker, SP: 5 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 4.36 ERA

Florida Fire Frogs 3, Daytona Tortugas 4 - Game Two

Box Score

  • Brett Cumberland, C: 1-3, 2B, RBI, run, .226/.350/.385
  • Alejandro Salazar, 3B: 2-3, .277/.309/.325
  • Tucker Davidson, SP: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, 4.52 ERA

Florida actually got to play baseball yesterday (yay no rain!) and was swept in a doubleheader with Daytona by the scores of 8-2 and 4-3. Jeremy Walker had one of those Jeremy Walker games where things got out of hand in a hurry, but he has been much better (other than yesterday) of late and has turned into one of Florida’s most consistent starters. Tucker Davidson his rebound from a terrible start to the season and seems to be settling in nicely in high-A. He has eight straight starts where he has given up two earned runs or less, although it is worth mentioning that the strikeouts have dropped off a fair bit from last year.

It was a rather quiet day on offense for Florida unfortunately. Cristian Pache did rope a double in the first game, but he has cooled off considerably of late with a .214 batting average over his last 10 games. Braxton Davidson had about a two week span where he looked like he was going to help Florida win the league title single-handedly, but he has since come back to earth and has just four hits over his last ten games while striking out 16 times. Brett Cumberland had hits in both halves of the doubleheader and Alejandro Salazar had two hits in each half of the twin bill.

Rome Braves 6, Kannapolis Intimidators 5

Box Score

  • Riley Delgado, SS: 2-4, 2 runs, .332/.378/.410
  • William Contreras, DH: 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, 2 runs, .291/.356/.417
  • Freddy Tarnok, SP: 1.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R (4 ER), 2 BB, 1 K, 2.17 ERA

Freddy Tarnok’s debut as a starter did not go quite as planned, but the Rome offense led by Riley Delgado and William Contreras picked him up and held on for a 6-5 win over Kannapolis. Nerves were the likely issue as Tarnok made his debut in the rotation as this was far and away his roughest appearance of the season as he failed to escape the second inning. Once he settles into his new role, he will be just fine. Walter Borkovich and Kelvin Vasquez held down the fort for Rome with 6.1 scoreless innings of relief which allowed the Braves to secure a win.

William Contreras came to play on Sunday as he connected for his seventh home run of the season. The 3-run shot tied the game up in the bottom of the third and was the turning point in the game for Rome. Contreras has improved his OPS each month while in Rome and is quietly shaping himself up to be the top catching prospect in the Braves’ farm system. Riley Delgado is currently on an eight game hitting streak and had a pair of hits in this one because that is just what he does. Riley is frankly overdue for a promotion at this point due to his performance as well as his age relatively to the level. Keep an eye on Austin Bush as well, as Rome’s giant first baseman is currently riding a seven game hitting streak and has massive raw power.

Danville Braves 3, Bristol Pirates 2 - F/10

Box Score

  • AJ Graffanino, SS: 2-5, RBI
  • Henry Quintero, RF: 2-4, 2B, HR, RBI, .263/.286/.579
  • Matt Rowland, SP: 4 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4.50 ERA

AJ Graffanino made his pro debut a memorable one as he had a pair of hits in Danville’s 3-2 win over Bristol. In addition to two hits and a game-tying RBI, Graffanino made a heads up play to gun a runner out at home to prevent Bristol from stealing the game late. This allowed Danville to rally in the bottom of the 10th with a walk-off sac fly off the bat Brendan Venter. Matt Rowland is coming around nicely on the mound after missing nearly two pro seasons with four scoreless innings. It is going to take some time with Rowland, but the upside is real with him if he can stay healthy. Jacob Belinda made a relief appearance late in the game and it did not go well although he was credited with the “win”. He has given up two or more runs in four straight appearances.

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