Rays down on the farm August 22: Durham clinches

Shelley Duncan's home run helped Durham clinch a playoff berth - USA TODAY Sports

The Bulls became the first Rays affiliate to punch their ticket to the playoffs

In other action, Enny Romero was great, and Charlotte completely shut down the Florida State League's best offense in a doubleheader.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (82-50)

Durham clinched their division with a 9-2 win over Charlotte. Despite a first inning solo home run by Brent Morel, there was little doubt that this would be the night for the Bulls. They answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, and they scored two runs in all three of the following innings to lead 7-2 after four. That stretch was capped off by a two run homer from Shelley Duncan in the fourth. Despite allowing both Knights runs, Merrill Kelly pitched well, allowing the two runs on five hits and a pair of walks in seven innings with six strikeouts. Jesus Flores drove in three runs, and Mike Fontenot reached base three times. Durham had the hiccup in 2012, but they've now won the division in six out of the last seven years.

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (27-32)

Enny Romero turned in his best start of the season in Montgomery's 5-0 win over Mississippi. He tied a season high with seven innings, obviously all scoreless, with seven strikeouts and only five hits and one walk allowed. Nearly 65% of his pitches went for strikes as well. The Biscuits didn't wait long to give him run support with two runs scored just five batters into the game. Mikie Mahtook singled home Shawn O'Malley to open the scoring, and Cameron Seitzer's bases loaded groundout plated the second run. Seitzer would drive in the first run in another two run inning in the third. Mahtook and Todd Glaesmann provided a large bulk of the production, combining for six hits and reaching base seven times. Curt Casali reached base four times. Braulio Lara finished the shutout with two innings of relief, walking two and not striking out anyone.

Class-A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (33-22)

Charlotte pitching dominated on their way to a nine inning, game one 2-1 win over Fort Myers. The Miracle struck first when Byron Buxton scored in the fourth inning, but Charlotte limited them to just six baserunners for the entire game. The single Buxton used to get on was the only hit allowed by Grayson Garvin in four innings who struck out one and walked none in four innings. Jake Hager tied the game with a single in the sixth, and a two out single by Drew Vettleson in the ninth allowed the Stone Crabs to walk off with a win. Shay Crawford threw three scoreless innings, and Matt Ramsey was credited with the win with two. Alejandro Segovia had two hits.

That effort continued in game two as Charlotte pulled out a 6-0 win. Making his affiliated baseball debut was Jared Mortensen, signed by the Rays last week from the American Association. Mortensen struck out four and only allowed two hits and two walks in a complete game shutout. The Stone Crabs went ahead early in the game with a pair of runs in the second on back to back doubles by Segovia and Jeff Malm later followed by a Luke Bailey single. They had another two run inning in the sixth with RBI hits from Kes Carter and Vettleson. Richie Shaffer had two hits and drove in a pair of runs.

Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods (36-23)

Bowling Green used a pair of four run innings to beat West Michigan by a 9-1 score. The first came in the third inning, starting with a two run homer by Joey Rickard. It was just one of three extra base hits in the inning for the Hot Rods, the last of which was a Tyler Goeddel double that scored the fourth run of the inning. Three extra base hits powered the second four run frame in the fifth, starting with back to back doubles by Patrick Leonard and Tommy Coyle. Goeddel picked up another RBI with a single, and Marty Gantt contributed to the inning with an RBI triple. With the great run support, Jeff Ames cruised through six innings, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts. Matt Spann threw the final three innings to earn his first save as a professional. Goeddel had four hits, and Coyle also reached base four times.

Short-Season Hudson Valley Renegades (28-33)

After allowing three runs in the top of the 10th, Hudson Valley battled back but came up short in a 6-5 loss to Aberdeen. Because of a one out error by James Harris, all three runs scored by the IronBirds in the 10th were unearned. Two were charged to Rick Teasley who also gave up the tying run in the eighth inning. Harris took a step to redeem himself in the bottom half of the inning by hitting the third of three straight Renegade singles to pull within two, and Ben Kline singled home another run with two outs before Ariel Soriano popped up with the tying run stranded on second base. Starter Aaron Griffin was long gone before the game was decided, but he pitched well, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits and no walks in six innings with four strikeouts. Six Renegade batters had multi-hit games as the team pounded out 16 hits. Omar Narvaez and Ty Young each had three, and all of Narvaez's went for extra bases.

Rookie Princeton Rays (19-40)

Princeton was off.

Rookie Gulf Coast League Rays (23-30)

One run wasn't enough in the GCL Rays' 2-1 loss to the GCL Red Sox. A near-ML ready rehabbing prospect was involved in all of the Red Sox damage. Bryce Brentz doubled home their first run in the bottom of the fourth inning, and he came around to score himself on a two out single later in the inning. The Rays would answer right back when two groundouts scored Riley Unroe after a double to lead off the fifth, but only four Rays would reach base for the rest of the game. Wilking Rodriguez struck out three in two perfect innings in his rehab appearance, and he was relieved by Roel Ramirez who was charged with both Red Sox runs in three innings of work. Jeremy Hadley had three of the Rays' six hits.

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Star of the day- Great job by Mortensen in his first started in affiliated baseball.

Goat of the day- Three of the four runs were unearned, but Teasley was a real contributor to the Renegades' loss.

Today's games (probables courtesy of milb.com)

Durham @ Norfolk 7:05 PM (MiLB.TV)
Matt Buschmann (7-1, 2.94) v. Zach Britton (5-5, 4.74)

Montgomery v. Mississippi 8:05 PM (MiLB.TV)
Enny Romero* (10-6, 2.69) v. Mitch Atkins (5-1, 2.76)

Charlotte v. Fort Myers 6:30 PM
Jake Partridge* (2-5, 4.30) v. TB

Bowling Green v. West Michigan 8:05 PM
Jordan Harrison (4-2, 2.44) v. Jake Thompson (3-3, 3.10)

Hudson Valley v. Aberdeen 7:05 PM
Ben Griset* (1-3, 3.65) v. Austin Urban* (1-4, 3.64)

Princeton v. Bristol 7:05 PM
Nolan Gannon* (1-5, 7.82) v. Thaddius Lowry (2-4, 6.40)

GCL Rays v. GCL Red Sox 12 PM
TBA v. TBA

*Listed as TBA on milb.com

Scouting the opposition

Norfolk Tides (Baltimore)
69-63 (2nd in IL South)
Offense: 599 R (4th) .734 OPS (4th)
Pitching: 3.94 ERA (7th) 1.35 WHIP (7th)
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Kevin Gausman (2), IF Jonathan Schoop (3), OF Xavier Avery (11), OF Henry Urrutia (13), RHP Steve Johnson (16), LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (21), LHP Michael Belfiore (24)

Mississippi Braves
32-26 (2nd in SL South)
Offense: 522 R (4th) .687 OPS (5th)
Pitching: 3.08 ERA (1st) 1.28 WHIP (5th)
Top 30 Prospects: RHP J.R. Graham (2), C Christian Bethancourt (3), 3B Edward Salcedo (17), RHP Juan Jaime (20), OF Robby Hefflinger (29), RHP Aaron Northcraft (30)

Fort Myers Miracle (Minnesota)
26-30 (6th in FSL South)
Offense: 604 R (1st) .750 OPS (1st)
Pitching: 3.53 ERA (3rd) 1.29 WHIP (3rd)
Top 30 Prospects: OF Byron Buxton (2), SS Levi Michael (16), RHP Tyler Jones (23), LHP Jason Wheeler (25), RHP Adrian Salcedo (27), LHP Chad Rodgers (28), 1B Kennys Vargas (29), OF Nate Roberts (32), RHP Zack Jones (33)

West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit)
27-29 (6th in MWL East)
Offense: 535 R (13th) .697 OPS (11th)
Pitching: 3.73 ERA (6th) 1.35 WHIP (9th)
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Jake Thompson (4), 2B Harold Castro (17), RHP Montreal Robertson (18), RHP Endrys Briceno (22), RHP Edgar De La Rosa (29), 1B Dean Green (33), RHP Corey Knebel

Aberdeen IronBirds (Baltimore)
31-27 (1st in McNamara)
Offense: 247 R (5th) .656 OPS (5th)
Pitching: 3.39 ERA (11th) 1.28 WHIP (10th)
Top 30 Prospects: OF Mike Yastrzemski

Bristol White Sox
16-40 (5th in APP West)
Offense: 196 R (10th) .610 OPS (9th)
Pitching: 4.88 ERA (10th) 1.49 WHIP (10th)
Top 30 Prospects: C Sammy Ayala (22)

GCL Red Sox
29-24 (1st in GCL South)
Offense: 188 R (15th) .652 OPS (9th)
Pitching: 3.19 ERA (4th) 1.26 WHIP (5th)
Top 30 Prospects: LHP Trey Ball, C Jon Denney

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