Aside from Sale's return, Oscar had a big hit, hitting one of five home runs from Rays minor leaguers on Opening Day.
Triple-A Durham Bulls (1-0)
Three home runs backed a struggling Nathan Karns in Durham's 7-6 win over Gwinnett. After Karns served up a three run homer in the first inning, Kevin Kiermaier answered in the second with a two run shot of his own. Karns gave up three more runs a half inning later, and he lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on three hits and seven walks with just one strikeout. Four relievers combined to throw 6.1 scoreless to pick him up though, including Merrill Kelly striking out three in three innings of work.
The Bulls scored an unearned run in the fifth, but it was back to back home runs by Wilson Betemit and Jerry Sands an inning later that tied the game. The eventual game-winner scored on a Kiermaier groundout in the seventh inning. Sands had three hits and was a triple shy of the cycle, and Cole Figueroa hit two doubles.
Double-A Montgomery Biscuits (0-1)
Jaime Pedroza, brother of former Devil Ray prospect Sergio Pedroza, hit two home runs in Montgomery's 9-2 blowout loss to Birmingham. The Barons socked three dingers off Biscuits starter Victor Mateo who allowed eight runs (six earned) on eight hits in 4.2 innings of work with five strikeouts and no walks.
After a two run top half of the first for Birmingham, a Richie Shaffer run scoring groundout cut the lead in half, but Birmingham went on to score the next six runs to put the game out of reach. Willie Argo hit a solo home run. Jeff Malm, playing left field, had a two hit game.
Class-A Advanced Charlotte Stone Crabs (1-0)
After falling behind 3-0, Charlotte staged a comeback to beat Bradenton 5-4. A not so familiar face drove in the Stone Crabs' first run of the season; after Patrick Leonard led off the fifth with a double, Josh Sale doubled to drive him in, and he would come around to score himself on a two out single by Tommy Coyle. Sale drove in two more runs to tie the game an inning later on a single, and he was also at the plate when the eventual winning run scored on a wild pitch in the eighth.
Starter Roberto Gomez struggled, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and three walks in five innings with four strikeouts. Nick Sawyer allowed an unearned run and also walked four batters, but Marcus Jensen and Kevin Brandt finished the game by combining for three scoreless innings. Sale was the only Stone Crab to pick up two hits, but four teammates also reached base multiple times.
Class A Bowling Green Hot Rods (1-0)
Oscar Hernandez's grand slam proved to be decisive in Bowling Green's 5-2 win over South Bend. Three consecutive singles opened the third inning before Hernandez went deep to break the 1-1 tie. The Hot Rods got on the board in the first inning on a two out single by Yoel Araujo. Granden Goetzman had two of Bowling Green's six hits and scored twice.
He wasn't credited with the win, but Jake Faria was sharp in 4.1 innings, allowing just an unearned run on three hits and a walk with five strikeouts. Aaron Griffin was given the win with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief, and Stone Speer struck out four in two innings of relief. Each team struck out 12 times.
Star of the day- Has to go to Sale in his return to the diamond.
Goat of the day- Walking seven batters in one start is no way to go through life, son.
Today's games (probables courtesy of milb.com)
Durham v. Gwinnett 7:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Enny Romero (0-0, ---) v. Ervin Santana
Montgomery v. Birmingham 8:05 PM (MiLB.TV, radio stream)
Dylan Floro (0-0, ---) v. Myles Jaye (0-0, ---)
Charlotte v. Bradenton 6:30 PM (radio stream)
Reinaldo Lopez (0-0, ---) v. Chad Kuhl (0-0, ---)
Bowling Green v. South Bend 8:05 PM (radio stream)
Jordan Harrison* (0-0, ---) v. TBA
*Listed as TBA on milb.com
Scouting the opposition
0-1 (T-3rd in IL South)
Offense: 6 R (T-2nd) .626 OPS (6th)
Pitching: 6.75 ERA (10th) 1.50 WHIP (8th)
Top 30 Prospects: C Christian Bethancourt (2), 2B Tommy La Stella (9), RHP Cody Martin (11), 3B Edward Salcedo (12), OF Joey Terdoslavich (15), OF Todd Cunningham (23), RHP Juan Jaime (27)
Birmingham Barons (White Sox)
1-0 (T-1st in SL North)
Offense: 9 R (2nd) .949 OPS (1st)
Pitching: 2.00 ERA (3rd) 0.78 WHIP (T-1st)
Top 30 Prospects: 2B Micah Johnson (5), OF Trayce Thompson (7), RHP Chris Beck (8), RHP Chris Bassitt (15), LHP Scott Snodgress (16), OF Keenyn Walker (23), RHP Myles Jaye (24), 1B Rangel Ravelo (30)
Bradenton Marauders (Pittsburgh)
0-1 (T-4th in FSL South)
Offense: 4 R (T-6th) .873 OPS (1st)
Pitching: 4.50 ERA (9th) 1.63 WHIP (T-9th)
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Tyler Glasnow (3), OF Josh Bell (7), C Jin-De Jhang (24)
South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona)
0-1 (T-6th in MWL East)
Offense: 2 R (12th) .556 OPS (11th)
Pitching: 5.63 ERA (ERA Rank) 0.75 WHIP (2nd)
Top 30 Prospects: RHP Braden Shipley (2), RHP Aaron Blair (5), OF Stryker Trahan (8), 1B Daniel Palka (17), C Michael Perez (20), LHP Daniel Gibson (21), RHP Geordy Parra (22), SS Joe Munoz (26), 2B Jamie Westbrook (27), 2B Andrew Velasquez (28)