Blue Rocks play sloppy and lose to P-Nats

High-A Wilmington lost their fourth straight and seventh straight to Potomac at home, losing 5-2.

The Blue Rocks collected just four hits and committed four errors. Those errors cost them four runs.

Zach Lovvorn ST

Starter Zach Lovvorn during spring training 2016 (Jen Nevius).

Starter Zach Lovvorn was the victim of those errors, which started with the first batter of the game. Then there was the botched double play ball (though they got an out) that should have ended the first inning two batters later. Instead, the P-Nats scored two.

It was Lovvorn’s best start of the season, yet he took the loss (5IP, 5H, 5R, ER, BB, 4K).

“A total of four errors, you’re not gonna win many games with four errors,” Blue Rocks manager Jamie Quirk said following the loss. “I thought Lovvorn, he hung in there and only gave up one earned run in five innings and that was nice. What the errors do too is they make you throw a lot more pitches and it cost him going deeper into the game.”

One of those four hits was Ryan O’Hearn‘s solo home run in the first. It was his sixth of the season and he pulled it to right field (with the wind blowing in). Their next hit came with one out in the fifth.

P-Nats starter Phillips Valdez, who beat Lovvorn back on Opening Night, was lights out yet again. He struck out 11 over seven innings and only threw 80 pitches. Valdez allowed just two hits and one of the two runs he allowed was unearned.

The bullpen, which has not been the Blue Rocks strong suit, was up to the challenge tonight. Matt Alvarez threw two scoreless, allowing just one hit. He struck out two (an interview with him coming soon). Lefty Mark McCoy, he of the worst ERA on the team, also pitched two scoreless innings. He overcame two walks.

“It was big for them,” Quirk said about the outings from Alvarez and McCoy. “They got a nice two innings in, the both of them. It was huge for their progress and their mental state. It was good to see that they got out on the mound and were able to get through it.”

So how did the rest of the KC Royals minor leagues fair on Saturday night?

Triple-A Omaha came back and held on to beat Colorado Springs in their series opener, 11-9. The Storm Chasers were down 6-0 heading into the bottom of the third.

Colorado Springs scored two runs in the top of the ninth and had the tying run on second base, but lefty reliever David Huff struck out the final batter of the game (and a total of three in the ninth).

Every Omaha hitter had at least one hit, except Cheslor Cuthbert. However Cuthbert drove in a run with a sac fly. Whit Merrifield had just one hit, but he still stole three bases (13 on the season).

Leadoff hitter Reymond Fuentes went 2-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored, and a stolen base. Jorge Bonifacio doubled and hit a three-run home run.

Despite allowing six runs, starter John Lannan still lasted six innings and picked up the victory. After the third, he allowed three more base runners, though one was picked off in the fourth.

Double-A NW Arkansas won their third straight over Tulsa, winning 7-3.

nwaThe Naturals offense was out-hit 14-10, but had five extra base hits, including Jack Lopez‘ first Double-A home run. Carlos Garcia and Orlando Calixte each had two hits, including a double. Garcia stole his first base, while Calixte stole two (to give him eight on the season).

Hunter Dozier played his first game in the outfield, as he started in left field. He would move to third base to close out the game.

Eric Skoglund won his first Double-A game, allowing one run on seven hits over five innings. He struck out four. Andrew Edwards followed and allowed an unearned run on four hits over 2.2 innings. Sam Selman entered with two outs and a runner on base in the eighth and did not record an out: passed ball, wild pitch, RBI single, and a walk.

Kevin McCarthy earned his second save, as he cleaned up the mess in the eighth. However, he allowed a run in the ninth, but induced a game ending double play.

Low-A Lexington lost to West Virginia, 5-1. The Power hit three home runs.

Things got interesting after the third Power homer in the eighth. Legends reliever Franco Terrero threw behind the next hitter, eliciting an ejection while both benches cleared (no punches were thrown).

Foster Griffin was the hard luck loser, as he allowed two runs on three hits (two solo homers) over seven innings. Griffin also induced 15 ground outs.

The Legends lone run came via Chase Vallot‘s third home run of the season.

About Jen Nevius

I first became a KC Royals fan way back in 1995 when I attended my first Wilmington Blue Rocks game. I fell in love with minor league baseball then and began following the Royals as former Blue Rocks clawed their way to the big leagues. 3+ years ago I started covering the Royals for Aerys Sports, but since the site has been shut down, I am going out on my own.
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