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Atlanta Braves Minor League Recap: Acuna Homers, Wentz Dominates

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Water is Wet

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game
Ronald Acuna hit another home run, this time opposite field because the left field seats have been begging for mercy
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

(60-60) Gwinnett Braves 9, (77-44) Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders 4 Game 1

Box Score

Ronald Acuna, CF: 3-6, HR, RBI, .336/.404/.580

Rio Ruiz, 3B: 3-4, BB, 3 RBI, .248/.327/.432

Dustin Peterson, LF: 1-4, .264/.334/.341

Manny Barreda, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 3.14 ERA

(61-60) Gwinnett Braves 4, (77-45) Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders 1 Game 2

Box Score

Ronald Acuna, RF: 2-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, .341/.407/.607

Rio Ruiz, 3B: 0-3, .246/.324/.428

Dustin Peterson, DH: 0-3, .263/.332/.337

Josh Collmenter, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 2.25 ERA

The Ronald Acuna show led the way once again for Gwinnett, and they took the resumption of the suspended game and game 2 of the double header to extend their winning streak to 6 games. In game one the Braves opened the scoring on a Rio Ruiz single in the top of the first inning but then fell behind 2-1 an inning later. Ronald ,Acuna tied the game up in the 3rd with a solo home run to lead off the inning, and Gwinnett strung together 5 more hits in the inning to take a 5-2 lead before the game was suspended after 4 innings. The Braves went scoreless in three innings after the game resumed, but in the 8th inning Carlos Franco, David Freitas, and Acuna singled to load the bases with one out. 3 more singles in the inning scored 4 runs to give Gwinnett a 9-2 win and lead to an easy game one win. Gwinnett fell behind in game 2 but once again got a big contribution from Acuna, who tied the game up in the third inning with a two out RBI double that scored Luis Valenzuela. Acuna broke the tied two innings later with an opposite field shot that scored three runs and pushed Acuna’s OPS since his promotion to Gwinnett over 1.000

Manny Barreda’s start in the suspended contest was interrupted after he had allowed 2 runs over 4 innings, but it likely didn’t have very long to go anyway as he had already reached 81 pitches on the day. Daniel Winkler was the first man out of the bullpen after the resumption of play, and pitched a good 5th inning without allowing a baserunner and touched 94 mph on the gun. Winkler allowed the first two batters to reach in the 6th and was pulled for Philip Pfeifer, who then went 1 23 innings and didn’t allow a run. David Peterson finished off the last out of the 7th for Philip Pfeifer, and then allowed one run on a home run in the 8th inning after Gwinnett has already extended to lead to 9-2. Jason Hursh got hit around a little in the 9th inning and allowed 3 hits and a run, but also recorded a strike out for each of his 3 outs in the inning. Josh Collmenter made a rehab start in game 2, and pitched well for Gwinnett. Collmenter finished 4 innings and allowed one run on 4 hits, and struck out 6 batters to zero walks. Collmenter threw 40 of his 59 pitches for strikes. Matt Wisler came out the bullpen first and pitched well, going 2 13 innings and not allowing a run. Wisler only allowed one hit and no walks while striking out 3 batters. Finally Evan Phillips closed out the game by recording the final 2 outs, one by way of strike out.

Next Game: 8/17 vs (77-45) Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders @ 7:05 PM ET

Probable Starters

GWN: Aaron Blair (7-6, 4.39 ERA)

SWB: Brady Lail

(48-71) Mississippi Braves 4, (64-57) Pensacola Blue Wahoos 5

Box Score

Austin Riley, 3B: 2-5, 2B, RBI, .276/.315/.405

Alex Jackson, C: 2-5, HR, RBI, .239/.327/.435

Travis Demeritte, 2B: 1-4, BB, .217/.296/.397

Kolby Allard, SP: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 3.48 ERA

Kolby Allard posted a strong start for Mississippi, but a late comeback led to an extra innings win for the Blue Wahoos. Mississippi took the lead in the early stages of the game when Alex Jackson led off the second inning with a home run, his second straight game with a home run and 5th with a hit. In that span he has 10 of his 11 hits with Mississippi. The Braves added another run in the fourth inning when Austin Riley doubled in Dylan Moore with no outs to give Mississippi a 2-0. Riley came around to score on a single by Tyler Neslony, and with Kolby Allard cruising the Braves seemed destined for a big when. The offense got mostly shut down from there, and found themselves needing a comeback after 2 runs in the fifth and 2 more in the eighth put them down 4-3 going into the bottom of the eighth. With one out singles from Alex Jackson and Joey Meneses and a walk by Travis Demeritte (playing in his first game since returning from the DL) loaded the bases. Mississippi only managed one run from that rally, but Tyler Neslony was able to get them in on a sacrifice fly that was dropped by the left fielder. With one out and the bases still loaded the Braves made two quick outs to end the threat. In the 10th inning Pensacola scored a run and Mississippi could not answer and lost their fourth game out of their last 5.

Kolby Allard’s start got off to a dominant start in the first inning when he struck out three batters in the inning. Allard recorded his first 5 outs via strikeout and came out in the second with a 1-2-3 inning, then recorded another strikeout in a scoreless third. Allard didn’t get into any trouble until the fourth, when a leadoff single turned into a run after a double scored the first Wahoos run of the day. A single advanced the second runner to third and a wild pitch by Allard scored the second run of the inning before Allard could work out of it. Allard ended his start strong with a perfect final inning and struck out the final batter he faced on the night. Mauricio Cabrera came out of the bullpen in the 7th inning and did his job, getting through with only a walk allowed and not hits with a strikeout. Devan Watts struggled in the 8th inning and allowed 3 hits (2 doubles) that gave Pensacola the lead and required Mississippi to play catch up. Corbin Clouse pitched a scoreless 9th inning, but loaded the bases in the 10th inning and allowed a sacrifice fly that ended up being the game winner for the Blue Wahoos.

Next Game: 8/17 vs (63-57) Pensacola Blue Wahoos @ 8:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

MIS: Mike Soroka (10-7, 2.70 ERA)

PNS: Keury Mella (2-10, 4.87 ERA)

(64-56) Rome Braves 8, (56-63) Asheville Tourists 1

Box Score

Isranel Wilson, RF: 1-4, RBI, .250/.331/.308

Cristian Pache, CF: 2-4, 2B, .270/.326/.329

Joey Wentz, SP: 6 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 2.19 ERA

Joey Wentz allowed an unearned run in the first inning before going into shutdown mode again on the mound, and the Rome offense came alive early to give them an easy win over Asheville. Rome fell behind in the top of the first inning but responded to Asheville’s only run of the game on a rally started by Cristian Pache with 2 outs. Pache singled up the middle, advanced to second on a passed ball, and then scored on a single by Carlos Martinez to tie the game. In the third inning Anthony Concepcion led off the inning with a walk and Izzy Wilson followed him with a single, leading up to Marcus Mooney’s single that gave Rome a lead they would not let go of. The Braves gave the first out of the inning by having Cristian Pache bunt over the two runners before Drew Lugbauer hit a double that scored both (and would have bunt or not) and gave Rome a 4-1 lead. In the fourth inning Kurt Hoekstra led off the inning with a single, then a bunt attempt led to a throwing error by the pitcher and two runners on base. After another sacrifice bunt the Braves scored both runners on a sacrifice fly but Isranel Wilson and a single from Marcus Mooney. A run scoring double play off of the bat of Leudys Baez gave Rome another run in the 5th inning, and after that Kurt Hoekstra tripled and came around to score to make it an 8-1 lead that ended up being the final score.

Joey Wentz was once again dominant for the Rome Braves, and reports from the game said he showed all three pitches throughout the start and was in control. A fielding error with one out in the first and a double (the only hit allowed in the game for Wentz) was all Asheville could muster against Wentz, who retired at one point 13 batters in a row. Wentz was efficient and struck out two batters in a seven pitch second inning, then sat the Tourists down with perfect innings in the 3rd and 4th. Wentz allowed his only walk of the game in the fifth inning but it didn’t come around to hurt him, and retired the final four batters of the game. The Braves didn’t push him with a big lead and had him leave after just 69 pitches, and Wentz improved his SAL-leading ERA down to 2.19. Wentz has posted a 0.84 ERA over 53 23 innings in his last 9 starts, and his 5 strikeouts in this game were his lowest total of that span. Wentz hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 17 23 innings, his last coming in the first inning against Asheville back on August 5th. His 69 pitches were his lowest total since May 29, though again it is likely he was just pulled given they had a huge lead and wanted to give him some extra rest for the stretch run. Bladimir Matos pitched 2 scoreless innings of relief and Matt Custred pitched the final inning scoreless in his first game without a strikeout since August 19th of last season.

Next Game: 8/17 vs (56-63) Asheville Tourists 7:00 PM ET

Probable Starters

ROM: Jeremy Walker (5-11, 4.50 ERA)

ASH: Matt Dennis (6-4, 3.09 ERA)

(23-22) GCL Braves 7, (11-33) GCL Tigers East 2

Box Score

Livan Soto, SS: 1-3,BB, SB, 2 RBI, .238/.329/.270

Abrahan Gutierrez, DH: 2-5, 2B, RBI, .260/.324/.340

Yunior Severino, 2B: 1-5, .254/.335/.387

Yoeli Lopez, RF: 3-3, 2B, .250/.346/.346

Gabriel Noguera, SP: 4 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 4.09 ERA

A strong all around game for the Braves and three hits from Yoeli Lopez led the way in a 7-2 win. The Braves had fallen behind early to the .... um... struggling Tigers East team, but got the first run back in the third inning when Yoeli Lopez doubled with one out and came in to score on Livan Soto’s RBI single. Soto used his speed to advance to second on the throw and steal third, but was stranded there by two strikeouts. The Tigers took the lead back in the fourth but the Braves responded with a two out rally. A Jeremy Fernandez single scored Braulio Vasquez and tied the game back up. The offense threatened again in a big way in the 5th when a single by Jose Bermudez and double by Abrahan Gutierrez had two runnerss on with no outs, but the Braves could only push in Bermudez as 2 strike outs and a fly out ended the inning. The Braves pulled away with a four run 6th inning started by a hit by pitch and singles from Jeremy Fernandez and Yoeli Lopez to load the bases. A sacrifice fly and a fielding error scored all three runs and put Jose Bermudez at third base with one out and Abrahan Gutierrez singled singled in Bermudez to push the score to 7-2.

Gabriel Noguera got the start on the mound and put up a reasonably good outing against the Tigers. Noguera did allow 2 runs in the game, one on a home run and the other after he let a guy get all the way to third on wild pitched, but struck out 5 batters in his 4 innings. Noguera has 44 strikeouts in 42 innings between the DSL and GCL this season and is carrying a 1.71 ERA overall. Gil Suarez pitched 4 scoreless innings in relief of Noguera, lowering his ERA on the season to 2.45. Tanner Allison pitched a perfect ninth inning and struck out 2 batters.