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Braves Minor League Recap: Allan Winans pitches complete game in win

Winans allowed one run over nine innings as Gwinnett won 2-1

Scottsdale Scorpions v. Salt River Rafters Photo by Jerry Kime/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Atlanta Braves farm system had a mixed bag of games on Thursday evening, with a phenomenal pitching performance in Gwinnett stealing the show. Over in Mississippi they suffered a blowout loss, but Drew Lugbauer keeps hitting long balls and now has 12 on the season.

(27-33) Gwinnett Stripers 2, (28-32) Charlotte Knights 1

Box Score

  • Vaughn Grissom, SS: 0-4, .322/.398/.480
  • Braden Shewmake, 2B: 0-4, .210/.269/.395
  • Allan Winans, SP: 9 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2.66 ERA

The Gwinnett Stripers won behind a masterful performance from Allan Winans, who went the distance while allowing just one run. Gwinnett’s offense was held in check as well, and every pitch was important as they never held more than a one run lead. They trailed by a run entering the fourth inning, and quickly had two weak ground outs. Finally though the bottom of the order got the ball rolling as Joe Dunand smacked a solo home run to tie the game at one. All of the scoring for the Stripers would come in this inning as Yolmer Sanchez followed with a walk and was brought home by a triple from Hoy Park. The time spent on the bench in Atlanta seems to have really disrupted Braden Shewmake’s rhythm. Since returning to the Stripers his numbers have fallen off of a cliff and he has a .476 OPS with eight strikeouts in 30 plate appearances in June.

Winans has been able to force a lot of whiffs this season, but tonight he was more centered around weak contact and heavily leaned on his changeup with a 47% usage recorded by Baseball Savant. His first five innings he really had the Knights off balance, with just one ball hit above 90 mph and six of his outs recorded on batted balls hit with an exit velocity of 75 mph or lower. Unfortunately for Winans, Charlotte made the most of their one hard hit ball as it would go for a solo home run that put them on top briefly. After that fifth inning the Knights started to figure out Winans and had eight hard hits balls over the final four innings. Somehow Winans was able to escape this allowing only one hit and he closed out the ninth with his 14th ground out of the game on just his 92nd pitch. In two starts this month Winans has pitched sixteen innings with one run allowed.

(25-28) Mississippi Braves 2, (28-26) Biloxi Shuckers 8

Box Score

Drew Lugbauer, 1B: 2-3, HR, BB, .237/.313/.424

Javier Valdes, C: 1-4, 2B, .241/.346/.279

Scott Blewett, SP: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 4.43 ERA

Not a whole lot went right for Mississippi in a nightmare sixth inning, and the team’s 1-7 performance with runners in scoring position was enough to ensure they never got close after. The Braves were given ample opportunity in the early innings as Biloxi’s starter walked four batters in the first two innings. In the second inning they did take advantage, with Andrew Moritz giving Mississippi a lead with a base hit. In the third inning Drew Lugbauer had a one out hit to get some business stirring, and when Javier Valdes smoked a double off of the wall it seemed the Braves had a chance to extend the lead. On the play Lugbauer was thrown out at home and Mississippi would waste their chance as Cade Bunnell struck out to end the inning. After falling behind 6-1 in the sixth inning the game wasn’t much of a contest, but Lugbauer did crush his 12th home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Lugbauer now has 99 career minor league home runs. Mississippi had one last real opportunity in the seventh inning as a Justin Dean single and two walks loaded the bases with one out. While they didn’t bring the tying run to the plate as they trailed 7-2, there was finally some pressure on Biloxi. Lugbauer and Valdes were the two you wanted at the plate in this situation, but it wasn’t to be. A sinking line drive off of the bat of Lugbauer found the second baseman’s glove and Valdes popped out to end Mississippi’s most dangerous threat. The Braves wouldn’t get another hit in the game, going down in order in the eighth and ninth innings.

Scott Blewett pitched five strong innings for Mississippi, but they could never find that last out in the sixth inning. Blewett allowed a leadoff double in the game but bounced back to retire nine straight batters and send it to the fourth inning with the Braves on top. In the fourth inning though balls managed to find holes for the Shuckers and they came away with a run to tie the game up. Blewett pitched a clean fifth inning and recorded two quick outs in the sixth, but after a single and a walk with two outs was pulled for the game for Trey Riley. Riley’s command in this game was just poor, and the inning unraveled as he allowed two hits, three walks, and five runs (two inherited) to score. Riley allowed another run in the seventh inning before being pulled from the game with two outs. Riley was off to a decent start to the season entering June, having put behind a poor performance in his first game, but he’s had two poor outings this month already that have ballooned his ERA to near 6.

(26-28) Rome Braves 2, (19-31) Hickory Crawdads 1

Box Score

  • Kevin Kilpatrick Jr., CF: 0-2, 2 BB, .223/.357/.364
  • Drake Baldwin, C: 1-3, BB, .218/.356/.429
  • Ignacio Alvarez Jr., SS: 0-3, BB, RBI, .273/.416/.335
  • Ian Mejia, SP: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4.13 ERA
  • Hayden Harris, RP: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 4.15 ERA

Pitchers duel number two also favored the Braves affiliate, as Ian Mejia set his career high with 7 13 innings pitched. Rome was completely befuddled by Hickory starter Larson Kindreich, who got the first fourteen outs of the game all via ground out or strike out. Finally Keshawn Ogans broke through with the Braves first hit, battling for nine pitches before turning on a ball and doubling down the left field line. Eliezel Stevens would make that run count, bouncing a ball through the shifted left side of the Crawdads infield to bring in Ogans for the game’s first run. The departure of Kindreich allowed the Braves much more opportunity after that fifth inning, and in the eighth Stephen Paolini would get a rally started with a single. Reliever Leury Tejada then issued a walk to Kevin Kilpatrick Jr. before departing, and his replacement Andy Rodriguez walked two straight batters to force home what was ultimately the game’s winning run.

Ian Mejia completely controlled this game on the mound, so much so that the Crawdads had just one at bat in the entire game with a runner in scoring position. Mejia matched Kindreich pitch-for-pitch, not recording many strikeouts but getting Hickory to pound the ball into the dirt as he retired the first nine batters of the game. After a single broke that streak Mejia forced a double play ball then got another ground out to end the fourth inning. His lone runner to reach second base came when he allowed an infield single and walk in the sixth inning, but he got the final batter to ground out to protect a one run lead. After retiring the first batter of the eighth inning Mejia finally cracked, giving up a triple into the right-center field gap that ended his day. Hayden Harris pitched wonderfully in relief of Mejia, but couldn’t strand that runner as the next batter lifted a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Harris didn’t allow any hits as he closed out the game, and he struck out two batters in the ninth inning.

(26-28) Augusta GreenJackets 2, (32-22) Myrtle Beach Pelicans 10

Box Score

  • Cory Acton, 2B: 3-4, 2B, 2 RBI, .258/.324/.387
  • Jhancarlos Lara, SP: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 4.55 ERA

If you’re a GreenJackets fan it has been a rough week. Augusta went on a tear to get themselves four games above .500 but have now dropped six straight games with an average margin of 5.3 runs. The previously dominant pitching staff has allowed 52 runs over those six games. Offensively there isn’t many nice words for this team in this game as they only had five hits in the game. Three of those came off of the bat of Cory Acton, though fortunately for the GreenJackets those hits were well-timed. Justin Janas and Nick Clarno each had hits for the GreenJackets in the eighth inning, and Acton ensured there would be no shutout by ripping a two-run double.

Jhancarlos Lara had an inconsistent game and got beat up for most of his start, but did recover late to put a nice finish out on the field. Lara cruised through the first inning, but one pitch into the second inning and the GreenJackets were trailing as Felix Stevens took Lara deep to open the frame. Lara then walked the next batter before getting a caught stealing that allowed him to turn the inning around and get out of it with only one run allowed. The Pelicans strung together three hits and two runs with two outs in the third inning, and Lara went to a three ball count to the next batter before coming back to strike him out looking and end a rough inning. That set off Lara’s best stretch of the day as he retired six of the final seven batters he faced, struck out four of those, and allowed his only hit on a slap hit bloop in the fifth inning. The game truly got out of hand on the watch of Nick Martinez, who gave up seven runs across four innings as Myrtle Beach pulled away.

(1-2) FCL Braves 5, (2-1) FCL Orioles 11

Box Score

  • Douglas Glod, RF: 0-3, 2 BB
  • Diego Benitez, SS: 2-4, 2B, BB

The late innings of this game were a good example of what not to do in a baseball game, as the FCL Braves allowed eight runs over the final three innings to take a loss. The good news is that Diego Benitez is off to a much better start than last season as he had two hits and a double in this game. Benitez has two doubles in three games this season after having just eighth extra base hits across 43 games last season in the DSL. Luis Sanchez had a wonderful season last year in the DSL and has brought that over stateside. He went 1-2 with two walks in this game and across the first three games has four hits and an .884 OPS.

(0-3) DSL Braves 1, (2-1) DSL Colorado 7

Box Score

  • John Estevez, CF: 1-3, BB
  • Edward Cedano, SP: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
  • Rayven Antonio, RP: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

The only notable line from this game was the did not play from Luis Guanipa, who left the last game for the DSL Braves early. The offense struggled in his absence, scoring just one run while notching seven hits. First baseman Josnaider Orellana had the lone multi-hit game with two singles. 17 year old Edward Cedano pitched three scoreless innings in his first start of the season, walking two and striking out only one batter. The game truly went to the pits in the ninth inning as Yansel Marine allowed five runs (three earned) across 1 ⅓ innings on the mound.

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