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Oakland Athletics Minor League Notebook: Jesus Luzardo shines in Double-A debut

Jesus Luzardo put together an impressive debut in his first start for Double-A Midland, while the Stockton Ports and Beloit Snappers also pulled out wins on Tuesday night.

Jesus Luzardo / Photo by Melissa Lockard
Jesus Luzardo threw five innings in his first start at the Double-A level. / Photo by Melissa Lockard

After rough start, Luzardo breezes through Midland debut

Armed with a one-run lead, Jesus Luzardo took the hill for the first time as a member of the Midland RockHounds, and he quickly found himself in an unusual position: in trouble early.

In his first three starts this season with High-A Stockton, Luzardo didn’t allow a run before the fifth inning. In his last two starts with the Ports, he didn’t even allow a hit until the fifth inning. In fact, in his last outing in the California League, Luzardo didn’t allow a hit at all. So when Myles Straw and Carmen Benedetti both doubled to lead-off the Corpus Christi half of the first inning, Luzardo had to dig deep for something extra.

He found it.

Benedetti did come around to score on a groundout and a sacrifice fly, but Luzardo wouldn’t have to sweat much for the remainder of his five-inning outing. After the first two batters of the game, he allowed just one hit and one walk, while striking out five. Only one runner reached second base after the first inning. Luzardo threw 78 pitches, 45 for strikes. And, oh by the way, his Double-A debut came against a Corpus Christi team that is tied with the RockHounds atop the Texas League’s South Division.

Midland had a tough time cashing in on its own opportunities to score. The RockHounds pounded out 11 hits, reached base on errors twice and walked five times. However, several base-running errors cut into the RockHounds’ scoring. Three runners were caught stealing/picked off and two more were thrown out on the bases from the outfield. Nonetheless, Midland was able to push across three runs and take home the 3-2 win.

Sean Murphy continued his assault on Texas League pitching with two hits, including his 11th double of the season. Tyler Ramirez doubled twice and J.P. Sportman had two hits. Every RockHound hitter reached base safely at least once.

Sam Bragg came on in the sixth in relief of Luzardo and he earned the win with two scoreless innings. He allowed only one hit. J.B. Wendelken worked out of a bases-loaded jam to throw a scoreless eighth and Jake Sanchez notched his fourth save since being sent down to Double-A with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Before the game, outfielder Skye Bolt was re-assigned from Midland to High-A Stockton. Luzardo took Bolt’s spot on the Midland roster.

Allen’s triple sparks Beloit’s late comeback

Down 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh, the Beloit Snappers got to work against the Peoria Chiefs.

Number eight and nine hitters Jack Meggs and Jesus Lopez drew back-to-back walks, setting the stage for leadoff man Nick Allen to work his magic. The 19-year-old sent a line-drive into right field for a two-run triple, and the Snappers were in business. A Mickey McDonald single followed and the Snappers suddenly had a 3-2 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Allen’s triple was his only hit of the night, but it couldn’t have come at a more opportune time. It was his first triple of the season and his fourth and fifth runs driven-in. Austin Beck had two hits to raise his season average to .296. He has hit safely in five of his last six games and four of those five games were multi-hit efforts.

Jared Poche’ got the start and he was outstanding in his second Midwest League appearance. The left-hander allowed just one hit and one walk in five innings of work. He struck out five and threw 36 of 54 pitches for strikes. Jesus Zambrano allowed two runs in 2.2 innings, but earned the win. Josh Reagan notched the save — his second of the season — with 1.1 scoreless innings.

The Snappers are now back over .500 at 7-6 on the season.

Before the game, Beloit right-hander Dakota Chalmers was placed on the DL. Mitchell Jordan was called up from extended spring training to replace Chalmers on the roster.

Ports breeze past Quakes behind Dunshee’s strong effort

It wasn’t a scoreless effort, but Parker Dunshee notched another impressive start under his belt in the Stockton Ports’ 8-2 win over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.

On an 80-degree night with the wind blowing out to right field, Dunshee lasted 5.2 innings against the Quakes. He allowed his first home run since his professional debut back in the Arizona Rookie League some 50+ innings ago, but still put together a solid line. Dunshee allowed two runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out nine. The three walks were a career-high, but Dunshee’s nine strikeouts gives him 30 in 21.2 innings this season.

The game was knotted at two until the Ports broke it open with a three-run fifth. Edwin Diaz doubled to open the inning and Eric MariñezMelvin Mercedes and Brallan Perez followed with singles to plate a run. A Nate Mondou RBI groundout and a wild pitch brought home two more runs.

Stockton would tack on single runs in the sixth, eighth and ninth. They had 14 hits and took advantage of four Rancho errors. Jonah Heim and Dairon Blanco led the way with three hits each, and Mercedes, Mariñez and Skye Bolt each had two hits. One of Blanco’s hits was his first home run in the US.

Mercedes and Bolt joined the Ports’ roster on Tuesday from Nashville and Midland, respectively. Every Ports batter reached base safely except Kevin Merrell, who had a rare bad night, striking out four times in an 0-for-5.

Angel Duno continued his impressive start to the season with 2.1 scoreless innings in relief. Duno allowed one hit and struck out two. In 17 innings this season, he’s allowed one run on seven hits and two walks while striking out 17.

The Ports moved to 11-8 with the win.


1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. worldblee

    April 25, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Luzardo’s stuff looks great in the small sample I’ve seen on film. With Puk out for the year, I would be surprised if it was Luzardo who got a call up later this year, at least after rosters expand.

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