Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Minor League Playoffs Under Way

It doesn't appear that the Yankees and Red Sox will be meeting in this year's post-season, not at the major league level anyway. But their Triple-A and Double-A are going at in the first round of the International and Eastern League playoffs.

The Scranton Yankees took a 1-0 advantage in the "Best of Five" series, with a 7-1 win against Pawtucket Red Sox knuckleballer, Charlie Zink. Chase Wright started for the Yankees, but was pulled after 4.2 innings that included five walks. Stephen Jackson picked up the win by recording four outs. He and three relievers combined to shut out the Pawsox over the final 4.1 innings.

Justin Christian broke a scoreless tie with a 2-run home run off of Zink in the fourth. Catcher Chris Stewart would take Zink deep in the sixth inning with a solo shot, and Ben Broussard added a solo shot against Marcus McBeth ("out damn spot?") in the ninth.

It was a big night for Christian, who in addition to his home run, added a double and a walk, and stole a base. Eric Duncan also had a big night with three hits and a run scored, and Melky Cabrera drove in a run as well.

Game 2 is Thursday with Ian Kennedy facing Devern Hansack.

The Trenton Thunder opened their Eastern League playoffs with a 2-1 win over the Portland SeaDogs. Eric Hacker, who opened the season at Single-A Tampa, picked up the win after allowing one run in 5.2 innings pitched. He scattered five hits and struck out six.

A SeaDogs error allowed the Thunder to take a quick 1-0 lead in the first, but Portland tied the game up in the second inning on a Josh Reddick RBI single. An Edwar Gonzalez RBI single put Trenton up for good in the fourth.

Hacker ran into trouble in the sixth and was pulled with two men aboard. But Mike Dunn, who except for Monday's appearance, had not pitched above the Single-A level, struck out Reddick to preserve the lead. After retiring the first two men in the seventh, Dunn gave way to Jhonny Nunez, who retired all seven men he faced, four by strikeout, to pick up the save.

In regular season action, the Staten Island Yankees edged the Aberdeen IronBirds, 9-8. The Baby Bombers lead the Brooklyn Cylones by three games in the New York-Penn League's MacNamara division with three games to play.

Hector Noesi, who won a pair of games for the GCL Yankees, picked up his first win of the short season schedule. David Adams drove in three runs, and Dan Brewer and Jaedyn Pruitt added two RBI each as SI built a 7-1 lead. The pen nearly blew the game, as Aberdeen cut the margin to 7-6. The Yankees added a pair of insurance runs and Pat Venditte picked up his 22nd save after allowing two unearned runs in the ninth.

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