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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: A walk-off bunt and Jefrey Ramos bomb gives the Braves a winning night

Though Gwinnett had the night off, there was still plenty of action in the lower minor leagues on Monday night.

MLB: Atlanta Braves-Workouts Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The senior members of the Atlanta Braves farm system had an off day, but the other three teams were all in action. Three of the more intriguing pitching prospects were on the bump Monday in 2017 breakout star Tucker Davidson, the exciting, but raw Freddy Tarnok, and Jasseel De La Cruz looking to rebound from a promising, but injury-riddled 2018.

Davidson went toe-to-toe with arguably the best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball, while the Fire Frogs enjoyed a sixth-inning power surge to leap to victory. The young Rome Braves are still figuring things out, dropping another game on the young season.

Let’s take a look at how Monday’s action went down.

Gwinnett Stripers - OFF

Probable starter 4/23 - Kyle Wright

Mississippi Braves 2, Montgomery Biscuits 1 (10 innings)

Box score

  • Cristian Pache, CF: 2-for-4, .979 OPS
  • Ray-Patrick Didder, SS: 1-for-4, 1 RBI
  • Tucker Davidson, SP: 5 IP, 1 H, 1 R (unearned), 5 BB, 3 K

The M-Braves had the daunting task of facing off against one of baseball’s best left-handed pitching prospects in the Tampa Bay Rays Brendan McKay. McKay dominated with nine strikeouts and no walks, but it was a Didder walk-off bunt in the 10th that decided the pitching duel.

Davidson was effectively wild, landing just 47 of his 86 pitches for strikes and walking five, but the only run that crossed in his five innings of work was unearned. Connor Johnstone came on and had yet another strong performance for Mississippi, hurling four one-hit, shutout innings and lowering his ERA to 1.08 since rejoining the team. Michal Mader pitched a scoreless tenth to pick up the victory.

Offensively, the M-Braves struggled. Pache remained red hot but was caught stealing twice on the day. Ryan Casteel looks to be settling in nicely in the heart of the lineup, picking up a hit in his last three games, this one being a home run off of McKay for his only run allowed. Drew Waters had a down day, striking out twice in four hitless at bats, but none of that mattered as Mississippi got to 9-7 on the year on the speedy Didder’s extra-inning heroics.

Probable starter 4/23 - Ian Anderson

Florida Fire Frogs 7, Clearwater Threshers 1

Box score

  • Jefrey Ramos, LF: 1-for-5, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 HR
  • Izzy Wilson, CF: 1-for-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 HR
  • Freddy Tarnok, SP: 4.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K

Tarnok showed more of the same Monday night in Clearwater as he continues his transition from raw pitching talent to the starting rotation. Like Davidson, Tarnok had some issues with walks, but seemed to dodge trouble all night. He left the game down a run before the home run show in the sixth inning put the Fire Frogs in front for good. The biggest takeaway was Tarnok throwing a season-high 88 pitches as he continues to get stretched out and learns to work a lineup the second time around. Justin Kelly spelled Tarnok and was solid in 2.1 shutout innings, striking out three and walking none. Jon Kennedy went the final two, not allowing a hit or run while striking out three.

The sixth inning is when the damage was done. Izzy Wilson blasted his first home run of the year — and even drew a walk — but it was Jefrey Ramos’ second home run of the season that gave the Fire Frogs a commanding lead, scoring a pair of Rileys (shortstop Unroe and third baseman Delgado) on the blast. Florida hung another crooked number in the eighth for a little insurance as catcher Rusber Estrada (3-for-4, one run scored, two RBI) drove in two and Brett Langhorne followed, driving in Estrada on a double. Greyson Jenista also put up his first multi-hit game since April 12 on a night that Florida racked up 12 hits.

Probable starter 4/23 - TBD

Lakewood BlueClaws 10, Rome Braves 5

Box score

  • Andrew Moritz, LF: 3-for-5, 1 RBI
  • Justin Dean, CF: 0-for-3, 1 BB
  • Jasseel De La Cruz, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R (one earned), 1 BB, 4 K

The Braves young righty came out and put together another quality outing Monday night in Rome. De La Cruz strung together his longest outing of the season, and was efficient, landing 50 of 75 pitches for strikes while inducing nine ground outs to five fly outs. He left the game tied at two but Victor Vodnik couldn’t hold it down, allowing a two-run Alex Bohm bomb in the seventh. He struggled amid a Lakewood hit parade in the top of the eighth as four more unearned runs came across. The positive here is that he struck out five and walked just one in 1.2 innings pitched. Dilmer Mejia came on to close it out, allowing one more run to score in the ninth.

Offensively, Brendan Venter was the star, with two doubles, including an RBI one in the third, as well as scoring a run in the eighth. For right fielder Trey Harris, it was his eighth game in his last ten registering at least one hit, having scored eight runs over that span. On the night the young Braves walked more than they struck out, but simply couldn’t get anything going on the base paths.

Rome tried as they could to make it exciting in the bottom of the eighth, rallying for three runs, but Harris left the bases full. Rome couldn’t get anything going in the ninth, falling to 6-11 on the year.

Probable starter 4/23 - Jose Olague

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