As GreenJackets manager Mike Goff said after the game, the team's defense and pitching did an outstanding job of minimizing damage throughout the series, but Sunday's game was a little different.
The infield made a few sloppy or slow plays that led to more baserunners than Augusta's pitching would have preferred, and the GreenJackets pitching wasn't quite as clean, although Kendry Flores did a great job of settling in following the first-inning run.
Flores worked high-80s with a good breaking ball, but he was a little inconsistent with the breaking pitch, leaving it up and spinning it early out of the hand at times. Like the previous Augusta pitchers in the series, Flores' command improved as the game went on, and he turned in a solid six innings while on pitch count.
The GreenJackets finally got a dose of Adalberto Mondesi's defense at shortstop, as the 17-year-old flashed plus defensive skills on several plays. He ranged into the hole and made strong, accurate throws, as well as charged in and glove side with plus range. I spoke of Mondesi's defensive profile throughout the series but wondered when the tools would show. They did Sunday.
Cameron Gallagher had an excellent series for Lexington, going 5-10 with two doubles. Gallagher's double Sunday was a line drive off the left-center wall, showing some solid pop. The catcher was also sound behind the plate in the series, perhaps the more important aspect of his game at this point.
Stephen Branca had a good series for the GreenJackets while playing all over the field. He went 4-9 with a triple and showed good defense in the infield. The outfield may not be his strength, however, as he struggled with reads and routes in Sunday's game. But he showed versatilty early, which is important as the season progresses.
Tyler Hollick made his center field debut for the GreenJackets, making a couple solid plays on balls he had to range back on. One in particular was driven hard to left center, and Hollick made a good first step and straight route to catch it over his shoulder.
Goff said after the game that Joe Rapp broke a finger on his right hand, which will knock him out of action for at least a month. Rapp suffered the injury in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader when he made a catch along the first base railing. No corresponding move has been made yet.
(AUG) Kendry Flores: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
(AUG) Steven Okert: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
(AUG) Charles Jones: 2-4, RBI
(AUG) Stephen Branca: 2-3, BB
(LEX) Colin Rodgers: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
(LEX) Cameron Gallagher: 3-4, 2B
(LEX) Michael Antonio: 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI
(LEX) Adalberto Mondesi: 2-5, RBI
GreenJackets manager Mike Goff:
"It was one of those days. I didn’t think we swung the bats that bad. We didn’t get a lot to show for some of the balls we squared up pretty good. There had to be six or eight line drives right at people. It was just one of those days. I thought the pitching staff did a good job keeping us in the ballgame. We were in the ballgame. To be in that ballgame with three hits, I was proud of the guys.
"(Colin Rodgers) kept us off balance all day. Worked outside part of the plate very effectively. Right away you know it’s going to be one of those days, but he did a good job keeping his ballclub in the game and they came up with the big knock in the eighth. 1-2 count, we got beat up a little on 1-2 counts today which is something that can’t happen. I thought the ball Antonio hit was a good pitch. Down in the zone and he went down and got it. Wind's blowing out to left today, got in the jet stream and the ball kept going.
"(Steven Okert) threw the ball OK. They've got a little speed on that team and when those rabbits get on base they’re going to do some damage. (Terrance Gore) is one of the fastest guys I’ve seen down the baseline. When he puts the ball in play you have to scramble. I thought we did a good job up until today keeping those guys off the basepaths. That’s where we’ve been able to minimize those runs the last few days. Overall the pitching staff for the entire series was outstanding.
"Early on (Kendry Flores) made a couple mistakes. Left some balls up. The first run of the game came on a 1-2 hanging breaking ball which got him in trouble. Once he settled down he threw the ball well for first time out. Gave us six solid innings. So far we’ve had three starters give us five and one give us six and they’re on pitch limits right now. That’s very good.
"(Joe Rapp) is going to be out for probably a month minimum. I don’t know what we’re going to do as far as roster moves. We lose a power guy like that in the lineup it makes it tough on you. Going forward, we'll play (Shayne) Houck at first base, move (Stephen) Branca around; I’m sure there will be some other moves made here in the next week or so probably."
GreenJackets outfielder Charles Jones:
"I saw a lot of good pitches today. Got good pitches to hit and put good swings on them, and it worked out pretty good. It's just one of those days. It’s not like we had a bad day at the plate. We hit a lot of balls well, it just seemed like a million guys out there playing defense. You just have to accept it and keep swinging.
"We’ve got a really good team. Everybody has the right attitude. Everybody is here to win. We’re unified and ready to play every day. I think we’re going to do pretty well."