Rays down on the farm April 17: Durham struggles late without Albernaz

Miss me yet? - Elsa

With their relief ace Craig Albernaz no longer in the organization, Durham had no one to turn to in a jam

The rest of the organization managed to only use pitchers on the mound Wednesday, most of which performed well.

Triple-A Durham Bulls (10-4)

A struggling starter and worn out bullpen cost Durham in their 9-6 loss to Norfolk. In the eighth inning of a 6-6 game and out of available relievers, the Bulls turned to backup catcher Mayo Acosta to work a couple innings. Acosta proceeded to pitch like a hitter making his first professional appearance on a mound, allowing the three extra Norfolk runs over two innings while Durham's offense went quietly in each of the last two innings. The Bulls were in this position because of Mike Montgomery crashing back to earth, allowing five runs on four hits and five walks in 2.1 innings with three strikeouts.

After falling behind 1-0 after half an inning, Durham put up a four spot in their first at-bats, thanks to a two run double by Jerry Sands and two run homer by Wilson Betemit. Unfortunately, Montgomery and newcomer reliever Doug Mathis combined to allow six Tides runs in the first three innings. A bases loaded walk in the sixth and sac fly in the seventh allowed Durham to tie the game, but they couldn't generate any more offense. Betemit had two hits and also walked. Mikie Mahtook only had one hit.

Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (7-6)

Patience paid off for the Montgomery bats in their 5-0 win over Pensacola. The Biscuits were able to draw seven walks in less than five innings against top Reds prospect Robert Stephenson, and for the most part, they made him pay for those mistakes. They scored their first run in the fourth on a bases loaded walk, and the big blow an inning later, a grand slam by Jeff Malm, was preceded by a single and pair of walks. Montgomery only collected four hits, but with 11 walks and a hit batter, it was enough to earn the win. Richie Shaffer drew three of those walks and also singled.

For the second straight start, Jared Mortensen threw five scoreless innings, and for the first time this year, he struck out more than he walked. He allowed four hits and three walks with four strikeouts. He was followed up by some more nice relief work from Jake Thompson who struck out four and only allowed one hit and a walk in three innings.

Class-A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (4-9)

A big inning by Fort Myers late sunk Charlotte in their 6-5 loss to the Miracle. Entering his second inning of work protecting a two run lead, Jose Alberto Molina recorded two quick outs before running into trouble. After an infield single to keep the inning alive, Max Kepler came home to score on a double, and Molina hit the next batter before being lifted from the game. Ryan Garton promptly allowed back to back singles (including an error that allowed a runner to move up a base) that allowed the pair of inherited runners to score and get a run charged to his own line. Andrew Toles hit an RBI triple in the bottom half of the inning to cut the deficit to one, but a ninth inning rally fell short.

Prior to that, Charlotte held two separate one run leads. Kes Carter and Tyler Goeddel each drove in a run in the early innings, and after Fort Myers tied at at two in the fifth, Carter had another RBI hit to retake the lead, and Josh Sale added to the lead with an RBI single. Carter stole a base and had his second straight three hit game. Starter Reinaldo Lopez pitched well, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks in six innings with five strikeouts.

Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods (2-10)

Bowling Green allowed a rare lead to slip away late in their 6-2 loss to Kane County. Needing just three outs to secure the win, Andrew Hanse proceeded to lead a Cougar hit parade. After two singles to start the inning, Hanse struck a batter out, but he then allowed four straight hits that put Kane County up 5-2. Aaron Griffin would allow an inherited runner to score for the 6-2 final.

After allowing an unearned first inning run, Jake Faria settled in to have a good game, allowing just that run on three hits and a walk in six innings with six strikeouts. Bowling Green only managed five singles, two of which came off the bat of Darryl George. They scored their two runs in the sixth on a sac fly by Johnny Field and a two out wild pitch.

CLICK HERE FOR ALL BOX SCORES

Star of the day- Mortensen certainly didn't have the pedigree of his mound opponent, but he came out on top this time.

Goat of the day- It's a shame Durham was put in a position to use the third catcher as a pitcher in a competitive game.

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

Durham v. Norfolk 7:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Merrill Kelly (2-0, 0.75) v. T.J. McFarland (0-0. 1.00)

Montgomery @ Pensacola 7:30 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Mike Colla (0-1, 6.52) v. Jon Moscot (0-0, 0.90)

Charlotte @ Palm Beach 6:30 PM (Radio stream)
Bruedlin Suero (0-1, 8.22)) v. Joe Cuda (0-1, 9.00)

Bowling Green v. Clinton 8:05 PM (Radio stream)
Jordan Harrison (0-0, 2.70) v. Carlos Misell (2-0, 0.84)

*Listed as TBA on milb.com

Scouting the opposition

Norfolk Tides (Baltimore)
4-9 (4th in IL South)
Offense: 45 R (9th) .688 OPS (9th)
Pitching: 4.81 ERA (13th) 1.49 WHIP (13th)
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Kevin Gausman (2), DH Henry Urrutia (7), RHP Mike Wright (8), LHP Chris Jones (27)

Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Cincinnati)
7-6 (T-1st in SL South)
Offense: 45 R (5th) .698 OPS (3rd)
Pitching: 3.19 ERA (5th) 1.18 WHIP (3rd)
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Robert Stephenson (1), OF Yorman Rodriguez (5), RHP Michael Lorenzen (6), RHP Carlos Contreras (7), RHP Daniel Corcino (13), OF Donald Lutz (16), RHP Jon Moscot (23)

Palm Beach Cardinals
6-7 (T-4th in FSL South)
Offense: 52 R (6th) .642 OPS (8th)
Pitching: 2.94 ERA (5th) 1.21 WHIP (5th)
Top 30 Prospects: LHP Marco Gonzales (5), OF Charlie Tilson (12), 2B Jacob Wilson (29)

Clinton LumberKings (Seattle)
5-7 (7th in MWL West)
Offense: 54 R (9th) .696 OPS (7th)
Pitching: 3.21 ERA (5th) 1.37 WHIP (11th)
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Edwin Diaz (5), OF Austin Wilson (6), OF Tyler O'Neill (18), SS Jack Reinheimer (26), RHP Lars Huijer (28)

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