Wednesday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 5-4 vs. Gwinnett,
6:30 p.m.

Rosenbaum (5-2, 3.15) vs.
Flande (2-4, 4.70)
Harrisburg Won, 9-1 @ Akron,
7:05 p.m.
Gilliam (1 0, 1.80) vs.
Roberts (3 2, 4.08)
Potomac Lost, 5-4 vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Hill (4-2, 3.33) vs.
McCarthy (3-2, 4.04)
Hagerstown Lost, 9-4 @ Asheville,
11:05 a.m.
Purke (1st start of ’13) vs.
TBD



Gwinnett 5 Syracuse 4
• Torra (L, 0-1) 7IP, 10H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 2K, HR
• Broadway 2IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 0K
• Marrero 1-2, R, 2B, BB, 2RBI
• Brown 1-3, BB

A pair of crooked innings early proved to be too much for Syracuse to overcome as they lost their second straight at home, 5-4 to Gwinnett. Matt Torra went seven innings (important with a short ‘pen) and gave up those first four runs on 10 hits, including a two-run HR. Michael Broadway gave up a run in the 8th in his first AAA appearance since 2010. The Chiefs made the most of their limited offensive chances, scoring four times on six hits and five walks. Chris Marrero led the attack with a walk and a two-run double.
Roster moves: LHP Xavier Cedeno optioned from Washington, RHP Yunesky Maya outrighted from Washington; RHPs Chris Young and Cole Kimball, IF Brian Bocock placed on 7-Day DL.

Harrisburg 9 Akron 1
• Jordan (W, 2-0) 7IP, 8H, R, ER, BB, 5K
• Holland 2IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 3K
• Van Ostrand 3-4, 2-2B, R, BB
• Souza 1-3, 2R, 2B, 2BB, SB
• Leon 1-3, 2R, 3B, 2BB, 2RBI

Taylor Jordan saw his ERA soar from 0.82 to 1.00 as he won for the second time in four AA starts as the Senators strafed the Aeros, 9-1. The 24-y.o. scattered eight hits and walked one while striking out five over seven innings. Neil Holland rebounded his worst outing (4R in &#8531 inn. on 5/23) with two scoreless frames. Akron handed out 10 free passes, eight by starter Robert Whitenack, with Steve Souza Jr., Sandy Leon, and Brian Goodwin each reaching twice on BB’s. Jimmy Van Ostrand singled and doubled twice to lead the Senators offense and drove in two, as did Leon on a triple — his tenth in 443 games.

Salem 5 Potomac 4
• Cole 6IP, 7H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 4K, HR
• Selik (BS, 2; L, 0-1) 1IP, 1H, 2R, 2ER, BB, 0K, HBP, WP
• Sanchez 1-3, R, 2B, 2RBI
• Ramsey 1-3, BB

Potomac somehow managed to dodge the rain (*ahem*) but couldn’t dodge the bullet, show down in the 9th by Salem, 5-4. Cameron Selik took the loss on the lone hit he gave up, unable to escape the mistakes of a hit batsmen, a wild pitch, and a walk. It was also the 16th blown save in 26 opportunities for the P-Nats ‘pen. Starter A.J. Cole recovered from a first-inning HR to post his third quality start, allowing two runs on seven hits with no walks and four K’s. Adrian Sanchez went 1-for-3 with 2-run double to lead the seven-hit Potomac attack.

Asheville 9 Hagerstown 4
• Pineyro (L, 4-3) 5IP, 6H, 4R, 2ER, 2BB, 6K, 0HR
• Smith 3IP, 8H, 5R, 5ER, 2BB, 3K, HR
• B. Miller 2-3, R, 2-2B, BB
• Renda 2-4, R, 2B, RBI

Just one ball left the yard, but the Tourists still peppered the field with 14 hits en route to a 9-4 win over the Suns. Ivan Pineyro went five innings and gave up four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks in the loss. Jason Smith finished the game but was charged with five runs on eight hits over the final three frames. Brandon Miller doubled twice and Tony Renda doubled once to lead the Hagerstown offense, which broke into double digits with 10 hits. Roster moves: LHP Matt Purke activated from 7-Day DL; RHP Leonard Hollins reassigned to XST.

Michael Taylor Named Carolina League Batter of the Week

Michael TaylorPotomac CF Michael Taylor has become the fourth P-Nat to win the Carolina League’s weekly honors, named as the Batter of the Week for the period of May 20-26.

Taylor went 10-for-20 with five straight two-hit games, posting a line of .500/.565/.650 with three doubles, three walks, three runs scored and two stolen bases. His 29 RBI is good for fourth-best in the Carolina League while his 14 steals is third-best.

Originally drafted as a shortstop, the Nationals’ 6th round pick in the 2009 Draft converted to the OF in 2011 and has become one of the organization’s best defensive prospects. He was ranked by Baseball America as Washington’s #11 prospect and has been an outfielder on this site’s watchlist for 2013 and 2012.

Last Night In Woodbridge

For six and a third innings, the Potomac Nationals pitchers flirted with a no-hitter. Leading 3-0, the game seemed relatively secure. A single, walk, a fielder’s choice and a two-run double later, the focus rapidly shifted from the statistical anomaly to the more basic task of winning the game.

Matt Grace stranded the tying run at second in the 7th as the P-Nats rallied in the 8th to get some breathing room. Rob Wort mowed ’em down 1-2-3 in the 9th to secure the 5-2 win that gave Potomac its third straight “W” and kept pace with the first-place duo of Lynchburg and Frederick in the Carolina League North.

It was the first start in Woodbridge for Sammy Solis since August 23, 2011 — a four-inning stint against Wilmington as Washington’s 2nd Round pick of the 2010 Draft was finishing up his first full professional season. Solis would pitch another four innings last night, this time while pitching his way back from Tommy John surgery in March 2012.

Like many “TJers,” Solis struggled with his command, racking up a lot of deep counts and walking three over his four innings. The velocity, however, was as advertised — consistently in the 91-93 range, occasionally touching 94 or 95. Unusually, his touch with the secondary stuff was quite good; the 11-5 curve breaking late and over and the changeup sneaking by batters with good separation from the heat.

Solis struck out four, including the the side in the 3rd, and left the game without a hit as the league-worst Salem offense onlt hit one ball solidly, which third baseman Cutter Dykstra snared in self-defense to end the first inning.

Potomac got on the board in the next half-inning with a sloppy first as Billy Burns, returning after a 12-day absence, “singled” and took second on the throw that hit him in the back prior to touching first base, then advanced third on Michael Taylor’s opposite-field single.

Following a Dykstra popup, Taylor was caught leaning towards second and Burns, who scampered home on a similar rundown in his previous game, couldn’t repeat the feat and was thrown out between third and home. Taylor, however, did move up to second and scored on Adrian Nieto’s two-out single.

Burns teamed up with No. 9 man Randolph Oduber in the 5th for the second and third P-Nats runs, with the Groovin’ Aruban walking and Burns dropping down an actual bunt single. The lineup bookends executed a double steal after a Taylor flyout and both scored on Dykstra’s two-run single to extend the Potomac lead to 3-0 after five.

David Fischer got the benefit of the offense, taking over for Solis in the 5th and turning in two hitless innings with two walks and an error before running into trouble in the 7th, letting up a single to end the no-hit bid, walking the next batter, and throwing a wild pitch to set up Salem’s Jose Garcia for a two-run double that sliced the margin from 3-0 to 3-2.

As aforementioned, Grace got the final out of the 7th and retired the side in 8th, getting an assist the hard way with a grounder up the middle that went off his leg and rolled on over to first baseman Kevin Keyes for the third and final out.

Potomac put it away in the bottom of the 8th as Keyes singled with one out, Adrian Sanchez walked with two outs, and Francisco Soriano tripled them home for the 5-2 edge that Wort secured with a pair of strikeouts for the save. The win went to Fischer while the hold went to Grace — the first of the season in each category for both relievers.

The series continues with A.J. Cole (1-2, 4.98) taking the hill tonight against Salem’s Kyle Stroup (2-3, 4.86).

Tuesday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Lost, 9-5 vs. Gwinnett,
6:30 p.m.

Torra (0-0, 6.75) vs.
D. Rodriguez (2-3, 6.14)
Harrisburg Won, 3-1 @ Akron,
7:05 p.m.
Jordan (1-0, 0.82) vs.
Whitenack (0-0, INF
Potomac Won, 5-2 vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Cole (1-2, 4.98) vs.
Stroup (2-3, 4.86)
Hagerstown Lost, 12-4 @ Asheville,
7:05 p.m.
Pineyro (4-2, 3.32) vs.
TBD



Gwinnett 9 Syracuse 5
• Tatusko 7IP, 5H, 4R, 4ER, 2BB, 5K, WP
• Davis (BS, 3; L, 1-2) ⅓ IP, 4H, 4R, 4ER, 0BB, 0K, HR
• Costanzo 2-4, 2R, 3B
• Walters 1-4, R, HR, 4RBI

Gwinnett rallied for five in the 9th to turn a 5-4 deficit into a 9-5 win over Syracuse. Ernesto “Ole” Mejia delivered the big blow, a three-run, pinch-hit homer off Erik Davis, who suffered his third blown save and second loss. Cole Kimball served up another homer to the first batter he faced in his first outing of the season. Ryan Tatusko got the start and allowed four runs on five hits and two walks over seven innings. Mike Costanzo singled and tripled while Zach Walters connected for his 10th HR while driving in four to lead the Chiefs offense.

Harrisburg 8 Reading 2
• Clay 6⅓ IP, 5H, R, ER, 2BB, 9K
• Herron (W, 2-0) 1⅔ IP, 0H, 0R, 2BB, 2K
• Barrett (S, 8) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 0K
• Howell 3-3, BB, HR, 2RBI
• Souza 2-3, 2B, BB, RBI, SB
• Lozada 2-3, 2B, BB, CS

Jeff Howell’s two-run shot in the bottom of the 8th snapped a 1-1 tie as the Senators took both the game and series, 3-1. Caleb Clay got the start at the last minute (*ahem*) and struck out a season-high of nine over six and a 1/3rd innings, but gave up the Reading run in the 7th for the no-decision. Tyler Herron got the win by finishing the 7th and pitching 8th, striking out two and walking two. Aaron Barrett got his 8th save with a 1-2-3 ninth. Steve Souza Jr. and Jose Lozada both went 2-for-3 with a double and a walk, with Souza driving in the 1st Senator run and stealing his 5th base.

Potomac 5 Salem 2
• Solis 4IP, 0H, 0R, 3BB, 4K
• Fischer (W, 1-0) 2⅔ IP, 2H, 2R, 2ER, 3BB, 2K, WP
• Wort (SV, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 2K
• Sanchez 2-3, R, 2B, BB
• Soriano 1-3, 3B, 2RBI

Potomac won its third straight to keep pace in the race for the 1st half title Last Night In Woodbridge.

Asheville 12 Hagerstown 4
• Lee (L, 1-1) 3IP, 5H, 7R, 7ER, 3BB, 4K, 2HR
• Pleffner 3-5, RBI
• Renda 2-5, R

Asheville homered three times and scored in six innings out of eight in a 12-4 smackdown of Hagerstown. Nick Lee got hammered in his first start, giving up seven runs on three walks and five hits (a single, two doubles, and two home runs) over three innings. The barrage continued against three Suns relievers as each one was scored upon. Ten of the Tourists’ 13 hits went for extra bases. Shawn Pleffner singled three times and Tony Renda twice to combine for five of the ten Hagerstown hits.

Nathan Karns Gets The Surprise Callup

No, I Said The White PhoneIt may just be an up and back, but Nathan Karns got the call this afternoon to make his MLB debut tomorrow night against the Baltimore Orioles.

Earlier this afternoon, there was a clue when Nathan Karns was bumped from his scheduled start today vs. Reading to tomorrow with Caleb Clay taking his place at the last minute. Others felt like the short outing of Chris Young yesterday was a hint, however, that seemed unlikely given how ineffective the veteran had been in seven starts (9HR, 50H in 32IP).

Karns has been up and down all season long for Harrisburg, posting a 4-2, 4.60 ERA mark in nine starts but includes outings of five, six, and seven runs surrendered (two of those coming in his last three starts) as well as a 13K, two-hit, seven-inning complete game on April 20th. He’s also given up five HRs in nine starts, after having three career longballs surrendered in 171⅓ innings prior to this season.

Two years removed from labrum surgery, Washignton’s 2009 12th-round pick put together a career year in 2012, going from from the Hagerstown Suns bullpen in April to the Nationals’ Minors Pitcher of the Year in September to a spot on the 40-man roster in November.

He’s a two-time watchlist player and longtime subject of speculation in the comments — heard but not seen for nearly 18 months before he emerged in Auburn in the summer of 2011, when he blew away the GCL with 26K in 18⅔ innings and then posted a modest 3-2, 3.44 mark in eight starts for the Doubledays.

The Nats No. 5 prospect per Baseball America features a fastball that can touch the mid-90s, a hard (low-80s) curve and a changeup that most scouts say will make or break him as a starter. If he can’t harness it, the feeling is that he’ll still have great upside as a late-inning relief option, a la Christian Garcia.

Transaction Update

Transactions for NPP 3Some serious gamesmanship by the Washington Nationals as they’ve gone to unusual measures to confuse the folks trying to read the tea leaves on tomorrow’s starter for the parent club. To wit, Nathan Karns, who is on the 40-man roster, was listed as the starter for Harrisburg Senators for today in yesteday’s media notes; today, it’s Caleb Clay, who was supposed to go to the bullpen with the promotion of Rob Gilliam.

Meanwhile, Chris Young, who is not on the 40-man roster, was lifted after one inning yesterday, though he was spanked like Ana Steele rocked for three runs on three hits, including his ninth home run allowed in seven starts. With Jeff Mandel and Tanner Roark used for four innings apiece, a pair of relievers were sent to Syracuse, which is not necessarily related, of course.

Here’s a rundown of the moves made thus far today (some previously reported)…

SYRACUSE
• LHP Xavier Cedeno recalled to Washington
• RHP Cole Kimball activated from the 7-Day DL
• RHP Michael Broadway reassigned from Harrisburg

HARRISBURG
• RHP Taylor Jordan reassigned from Syracuse
• IF Josh Johnson placed on the Temporary Inactive List (death in the family)

POTOMAC
• OF Billy Burns activated from 7-Day DL
• OF J.R. Higley transferred to Hagerstown

As of this writing, the rosters for Syracuse, Harrisburg, and Hagerstown are not full, thus there are myriad moves that can be made.
If any are made in the next 24 hours, this space will be updated.

Monday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 8-5 vs. Gwinnett,
6:30 p.m.

Tatusko (0-1, 2.97) vs.
Poveda (3-3, 2.52)
Harrisburg Won, 8-2 vs. Reading,
2:00 p.m.
Clay (4-2, 4.69) vs.
Neris (3-1, 4.50)
Potomac Won, 4-2 vs. Salem,
7:05 p.m.
Solis (0-0, 4.50) vs.
Quevedo (1-2, 5.67)
Hagerstown Won, 16-9 @ Asheville,
7:05 p.m.
Lee (1-0, 5.79) vs.
Oakes (4-3, 5.00)



Syracuse 8 Columbus 5
• Young 1IP, 3H, 3R, 3ER, 2BB, 0K, HR
• Mandel (W, 1-1) 4IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, BB, K
• Roark 4IP, 2H, 0R, BB, 4K
• Brown 3-5, 2R, HR, 2RBI
• Marrero 2-3, R, HR, 3RBI
• Rhymes 2-4, R, 2B, BB

Three Chiefs homered while Chris Young once again came up short on the mound as Syracuse sailed past Columbus, 8-5, for a four-game sweep. Despite a 4-0 cushion give to him in the top of the 1st, Young gave up three runs in the space of three batters before recording a single out with a single, walk, and a three-run HR (no. 9 in seven starts). Jeff Mandel and Tanner Roark combined for eight innings of relief for the win and save respectively. Chris Marrero, Carlos Rivero and Cory Brown each homered as the Chiefs pummeled Clipper pitchers for 14 hits total. Roster move: LHP Xavier Cedeno recalled to Washington.

Harrisburg 8 Reading 2
• Demny (W, 4-4) 7IP, 5H, 2R, 1ER, BB, 9K, HR
• Krol 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Souza 2-4, R, RBI, SB, CS
• Hood 2-4, 2R, HR, 2RBI

Ricky Hague’s three-run HR highlighted a five-run 4th as Harrisburg defeated Reading, 8-2. Paul Demny evened his won-loss record at 4-4 with seven strong innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk while striking out a season-high of nine. Matt Swynenberg and Ian Krol each followed with a scoreless inning to lock down the win, the Senators’ fifth in the last six meetings vs. the Fightin’ Phils. Steve Souza Jr. and Destin Hood both went 2-for-4 to pace the Harrisburg offense, which scored eight times on just nine hits and four walks.

Potomac 4 Lynchburg 2
• Ray 4IP, 5H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K, WP
• Bates (W, 1-3) 3IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Soriano 2-5, R, 2B, 3B
• Taylor 2-5, SB
• Keyes 2-4, R, 2B, 2RBI

Kevin Keyes’s two-run double in the 5th broke a 2-2 tie and the P-Nats ‘pen turned in five scoreless innings as Potomac took the game from Lynchburg by a 4-2 count, and the series 2-1 to pull within a ½ game of first place in the Carolina League North. Robbie Ray went just four innings as a high pitch count held him to four innings, as the 22-y.o. southpaw gave up both Lynchburg runs on five hits and two walks and struck out a season-low of three. Colin Bates threw three prefect frames, striking out the side in the 7th to earn the win. Francisco Soriano, Michael Taylor, and Keyes each had two hits to pace the Potomac offense.

Hagerstown 16 Lexington 9
• Pena 2⅓ IP, 6H, 6R, 6ER, 3BB, 2K, 2HR
• Henke (W, 1-1) 3⅔ IP, 3H, R, ER, BB, 2K, HR, 3-2 IR-S
• Norfork 4-6, 2R, RBI
• Piwinica-Worms 2-4, 3R, 2-2B, 4RBI
• Martinez 3-4, 2R, 2-2B, 5RBI

An eight-run 6th actually proved to be the difference as Hagerstown outslugged Lexington, 16-9 to take the series 3-1 and finish the homestand at 5-2. Travis Henke got the win despite letting in two of three inherited runners and surrendering a home run. Starter Ronald Pena was charged with six runs on six hits and three walks and two home runs by 17-y.o. Raul A. Mondesi (son of Raul Sr. and brother to Raul Jr.). Khayyan Norfork led the Hagerstown hit parade with a 4-for-6 afternoon while Estarlin Martinez drove in five with two doubles and a single.

Sunday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 2-1 (10 inn.) @ Columbus,
6:05 p.m.

Young (1-2, 7.26) vs.
J. Martinez (1-2, 4.97)
Harrisburg Lost, 5-1 vs. Reading,
6:30 p.m.
Demny (3-4, 4.60) vs.
Biddle (3-3, 2.50)
Potomac Won, 3-1 @ Lynchburg,
2:05 p.m.
Ray (3-2, 2.42) vs.
Holland (3-2, 3.18)
Hagerstown Lost, 6-0 vs. Lexington,
1:05 p.m.
Pena (2-2, 3.47) vs.
Almonte (2-4, 2.91)



Syracuse 2 Columbus 1 (10 inn.)
• Ohlendorf 5⅓ IP, 4H, R, ER, 4BB, 11K
• Accardo (W, 2-0) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Davis (SV, 7) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, K
• Rahl 1-4, R, HR, RBI
• Perez 1-4, R, BB, RBI

The bookends of the lineup were difference as Syracuse won its fifth straight, 2-1 in extra innings over Columbus. No. 9 batter Chris Rahl homered in the 8th to extend his hit streak to 16 games while leadoff man Eury Perez’s two-out double in the 10th knocked in the game-winner. Starter Ross Ohlendorf struck out 11 in five and a 1/3rd innings but walked four and gave up a run on four hits. Three Syracuse relievers combined to throw four and 2/3rds scoreless innings to enable the comeback win. Jeremy Accardo got his second win while Erik Davis notched his seventh save.

Reading 5 Harrisburg 1
• Treinen (L, 4-5) 6IP, 6H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 5K, HR, 3WP
• Barrett 1⅓ IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 3K
• Leon 1-3, BB
• Bloxom 1-3, RBI

Four errors and four wild pitches didn’t doom the Senators… but they didn’t help, either as Harrisburg lost to Reading, 5-1. Starter Blake Treinen was errant three times towards the plate and once over to first as he was charged with four runs on six hits and three walks over six innings while taking his fifth loss. Offensively, Treinen went 1-for-2 with a double, the only Harrisburg extra-base hit as the Senators were held to six hits total. Before folks panic (again), Anthony Rendon had his wisdom teeth removed on Friday and is likely to be out until Monday at the earliest, per Geoff Morrow’s latest game notebook.

Potomac 3 Lynchburg 1
• Schwartz (W, 4-1) 8IP, 2H, R, ER, 0BB, 3K
• Selik (SV, 1) 1IP, 0H, 0R, BB, 0K
• Taylor 2-4, R, 2B, RBI
• Leonida 1-3, RBI, SF

Blake Schwartz was perfect for four innings and finished with just two hits given up over eight masterful innings as the P-Nats evened the series with the Hillcats with a 3-1 win. An infield single in the 5th broke up the perfect game while a leadoff triple in the 7th ruined the shutout as Schwartz walked none and struck out three for his fourth win. Cameron Selik pitched a scoreless 9th for his first save of the season. Michael Taylor singled and doubled, scored a run and drove in a run, but left the game with an injury after a groundout in the 8th.

Lexington 6 Hagerstown 0
• Anderson (L, 4-2) 4⅓ IP, 5H, 4R, 3ER, 4BB, 1K
• McKenzie 2⅔ IP, 3H, R, ER, 3BB, 5K, 4WP, 1-1 IR-S
• Renda 1-4
• Pleffner 2-2, 2BB

The worm turned in the Hub City as the Legends limited the Suns to just three hits in a 6-0 shutout. Dixon Anderson took the loss, his second, giving up four runs and five hits and four walks with just one strikeout. Chris McKenzie let in one inherited runner and was just as wild, walking three and misfiring four times for wild pitches. Shawn Pleffner reach base four times with two singles and two walks but the rest of the lineup went 1-for-25 with Tony Renda singling once and Estarlin Martinez walking twice. Roster moves: RHP Brian Rauh reassigned from Harrisburg; OF Wander Ramos placed on the 7-Day DL; RHP Pedro Encarnacion placed on the 3-Day Temporary Inactive list.

Saturday’s News & Notes

Team Yesterday Today Probable Pitchers
Syracuse Won, 8-4 @ Columbus,
7:05 p.m.
Ohlendorf (3-5, 5.13) vs.
Salazar (0-0, 0.00)
Harrisburg Won, 9-2 vs. Reading,
7:00 p.m.
Treinen (4-4, 4.62) vs.
Rosin (2-3, 3.68)
Potomac Lost, 7-3 @ Lynchburg,
6:05 p.m.
Schwartz (3-1, 0.96) vs.
J. Miller (3-2, 4.15)
Hagerstown Won, 6-0 vs. Lexington,
7:05 p.m.
Anderson (4-1, 2.12) vs.
Brickhouse (2-3, 2.47)



Syracuse 8 Columbus 4
• Rosenbaum (W, 5-2) 7IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 4K, HR, WP, HBP, BK
• Accardo 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0BB, 1K
• Rivero 2-3, R, RBI
• Brown 2-5, R, 2B, HR, 3RBI

Corey Brown’s three-run shot in the 5th inning broke a 3-3 tie as the Chiefs went on to double up the Clippers, 8-4. Danny Rosenbaum got his team-leading fifth win with seven uneven innings, giving up three runs on four hits and four walks with four strikeouts. He also gave up a home run and hit a batter. Chris Marrero homered while Zach Walters connected for a doubled and drove in two runs as Syracuse scored its eight runs on just eight hits and five walks.

Harrisburg 9 Reading 2
• Gilliam (W, 1-0) 5IP, 3H, R, ER, 0BB, 7K, HR
• Rauh (SV, 1) 4IP, 1H, R, ER, BB, 2K
• Johnson 3-4, 3R, 2HR, BB, 5RBI
• Hood 2-4, R, HR, 3RBI
• Souza 2-4, 2R, BB

The three newest Senators on the Harrisburg roster all played key roles in a 9-2 win over Reading. Starter Rob Gilliam struck out seven and gave a run (on a home run) on three hits and no walks over five innings. Brian Rauh, called up from Hagerstown hours earlier, tossed four innings of one-run ball for the save. Steven Souza Jr. came off the DL and picked up where he left off with two singles and a walk. Josh Johnson and Destin Hood went deep as the Senators returned to .500 (24-24) with the win.

Lynchburg 7 Potomac 3
• Hill (L, 4-2) 4⅔ IP, 10H, 7R, 7ER, 0BB, 2K
• Holt 3⅓ IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 0K, 2-1 IR-S
• Taylor 2-3, R, 2BB, RBI, SB
• Nieto 2-3, BB
• 2-for-14 RISP, 10 LOB

The curse of the GBI lives… Taylor Hill (Potomac’s “Good” for this week) was knocked around for seven runs on 10 hits over four and 2/3rds as the Hillcats downed the P-Nats 7-3. After letting in one of two runners with a single to the first batter he faced, Greg Holt retired 10 in a row to finish the game. The lockdown performance went for naught as Potomac could only muster three runs, as they struggled to get the clutch hit and stranded 10 baserunners.

Hagerstown 6 Lexington 0
• Encarnacion (W, 4-3) 5IP, 2H, 0R, 5BB, 5K
• Smith (H, 1) 3IP, 1H, 0R, 0BB, 4K
• Perez 2-3, BB, RBI
• Piwinica-Worms 2-4, 2RBI
• B. Miller 2-5, R, RBI

For the second straight game, three Hagerstown pitchers combined to shut out Lexington, this time by a 6-0 count. Pedro Encarnacion allowed just two hits though he walked five over five innings as he earned his fourth win. Jason Smith pitched three scoreless innings in his 2013 debut, giving up a hit and striking out four. Offensively, Stephen Perez, Will Piwinica-Worms, and Brandon Miller combined for six hits and four runs batted in.

Kobernus Promoted, Maya Designated For Assignment

Moving On Up for NPP
Following the news that Danny Espinosa has bone chips and will need prolonged rest, if not a stint on the DL, the Washington Nationals have promoted IF/OF Jeff Kobernus from the Syracuse Chiefs.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for Kobernus over the past six months. He was selected by Boston then traded to Detroit in the MLB phase of the Rule 5 draft in December and played well into the spring for the Tigers before his return in late March. The experience may have proved beneficial, as he was asked to play outfield for Detroit to make the club as a utilityman — a position he hadn’t played since his collegiate days.

Upon his return to Nationals, he was assigned to the Chiefs and continued to play outfield, mostly in left field (19 games) but occasionally in center (9 games) as well as second and third base (12 and 3 games). More noticeable was the hot start as the 24-y.o. batted .367/.408/.467 with a home run and eight stolen bases in April.

He’s cooled some in May (.298/.344/.369) but has picked up the pace on the basepaths with 13 steals this month. Speed is his calling card as the Nats’ 2009 2nd Round Pick out of California led the Carolina League with 53 steals in 2011 and the Eastern League with 42 last season despite playing only 82 games.

To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Yunesky Maya was designated for assignment (as previously hinted in this space). Putting it as mildly as possible, Maya has been a tremendous disappointment, signed as an international free agent as a Cuban defector in 2010 for four years and $6 million. In three-plus seasons, he’s pitched 59 innings at the major-league level — all but 1/3rd in 2010 and 2011 — and 367⅔ innings in the minors, mostly at AAA.

Last season was the only one in which he had an ERA below 4.00 as the 31-year-old went 11-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 28 starts for Syracuse.

RHP Taylor Jordan was also promoted, going from Harrisburg to Syracuse, though it’s likely to be a temporary move that will be reversed once Maya’s fate is ultimately determined. Likewise for the shift of RHP Brian Rauh from Hagerstown to Harrisburg, a move to replace whichever reliever (best guess: Matt Swynenberg) replaces Jordan in the rotation when his turn comes up next.