Jon Keck walked in the winning run in the top of the 13th inning on Thursday as Class AA Northwest Arkansas lost 4-3 to Springfield.
The Cardinals opened the inning with a walk and a single and both runners moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Keck walked Jake Lemmerman to force in what proved to the winning run.
Starter Jason Adam gave up three runs on four hits in seven innings with three walks and six strikeouts. Adam has had a quality start in four his last five starts.
Matt Fields’ two-run homer in the fourth opened the scoring, but Springfield got one in the fifth and two in the sixth and took the lead. The Naturals tied it in the seventh when Brian Fletcher scored on a wild pitch.
The Naturals were limited to five hits in the game.
Class A Lexington
The Legends were held to two hits in a 3-1 loss to Greensboro.
A single by Raul Mondesi and Michael Antonio’s solo homer in the fifth inning was all Lexington could manage at the plate.
Bubba Starling, who was zero for four, is mired in a dreadful slump. Since hitting a home run on July 3, he is zero for his last 19 and his average has dropped to .215.
Starter Christian Binford took the loss despite allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in eight innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
Binford, 5-4, has been sensational over his last 10 starts. He’s got a 1.41 ERA with 59 strikeouts and just 10 walks in 632/3 innings.
“He’s probably been as consistent as anybody from the start of the year until now,“ Royals’ assistant general manager J.J. Picollo said before Binford’s start Thursday. “He’s gone six, seven innings on a regular basis, throws a ton of strikes. His velocity has bumped up a bit. He’s commanding his breaking ball has certainly has helped with his fatigue at that level.
“He was a projection guy when we signed out of high school. He was somebody we knew would need two, three years to develop. Good body, good arm action. Now the fastball velocity is starting to get up there and his command of his breaking ball has really helped him.”
Binford, the Royals’ No. 26 prospect according to Baseball America, was drafted in 2011 out of Mercersburg, Fla.
Class AAA Omaha
Brett Hayes’ two-run homer capped a four-run first and that was enough for the Storm Chasers, who beat Round Rock 4-2.
Omaha’s Brian Sanches, 5-2, allowed one run on four hits in five innings, while Buddy Baumann gave up a run on two hits in 2 1/3 innings with five strikeouts. Will Smith gave up two hits in 12/3 innings with two strikeouts and a walk and got his second save.
Irving Falu and Christian Colon opened the game with singles and moved up a base on a passed ball. Anthony Seratelli walked to load the bases and Ben Broussard hit a sacrifice fly that scored Falu. Colon also scored on the play after an error by the left fielder.
After a ground out, Hayes hit his home run to left.
Class A-Advanced Wilmington
Parker Morin’s bases-loaded walk with two outs in the eighth inning helped the Blue Rocks beat Frederick 3-2.
Alex McClure and Jorge Bonifacio opened the eighth inning with singles and moved up on a wild pitch. After an out, Lane Adams’ comebacker to the pitcher resulted in McClure being nailed at the plate. Bonifacio took third on the play and Adams made it to second.
Jared Schlehuber was intentionally walked to load the bases and that’s when Morin walked.
Frederick tied the game 2-2 in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly. That was after Geulin Beltre’s suicide squeeze scored Schlehuber. Wilmington scored its first run on Bonifacio’s RBI groundout.
Starter Kyle Smith gave up one run in six innings on seven hits with four strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 2.82. Spencer Patton, 5-1, allowed a run on two hits in two hits. Andrew Triggs gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth but recorded his seventh save.
Rookie Advanced Idaho Falls
The Chukars had 10 singles and drew 11 walks in a 10-6 victory at Helena.
Humberto Arteaga had three hits and two RBIs, while Dominique Taylor and Nick Cuckovich each had two hits. Cody Stubbs, Frank Schwindel, Alexis Rivera and Hunter Dozier each walked twice.
Idaho Falls starter Cody Reed, the Royals’ second-round pick in last month’s draft, struggled with his control, too. He walked four in three innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on one hit with three strikeouts.
Tyler Mack, 1-2, got the win after giving up three hits and one unearned run in two innings. Glenn Sparkman, a 20th-round draft pick last month, allowed one hit and walked two in three scoreless innings. He struck out four.