If draft position means anything, the future of the Nationals' franchise is now playing in AA…
Minor League Notebook: Brown Adjusts to AAA
The Zephyrs jumped to a 6-0 lead after two innings of play as Brendan Harris capped a four-run second with a two-out, two-RBI single. The Redbirds began to creep back into it and had cut the lead in half to 6-3 when Orie stepped to the plate with two on. His blast to left was his 14th home run of the year.
Brown came up with two aboard in the next inning and hit one out to center to cap the scoring. He has only had five games in New Orleans, but it appears that Brown could be following the same path as teammate Brandon Watson, who was struggling in AA Harrisburg before being called up to New Orleans. Watson is now among the league leaders with a .356 batting average and Brown is hitting .429.
The Z's probably wished that they would have saved some offense for Sunday as the scratched out just four hits and one unearned run in a 7-1 loss to Memphis. Starter Stephen Randolph gave up all seven runs in just three innings of work, raising his ERA in 11 games with New Orleans to 10.80.
Lefty prospect Rich Rundles' up and down season took another downer on Saturday as Altoona lit him up for six runs, five of them earned, in three-plus innings of work. The 11-5 loss lowered Rundles' record to 5-7 and raised his ERA to 3.69. An organization in desperate need of left-handed pitching is desperately hoping that Rundles' will develop some more consistency. At age 24, there's still time for him.
Darrell Rasner, another 24-year-old Senator who, like Rundles, is on the Nats' 40-man roster, had a better time of it on Sunday as he allowed three runs on four hits in eight innings of work against Altoona. He could have left a loser as Harrisburg trailed 3-2 when he left the mound after giving up two runs in the top of the eighth, but the Senators rallied for the win.
With two out and nobody on in the bottom of the eighth, Ryan Zimmerman drew a walk and scored on consecutive singles by Edgar Gonzalez and Christian Guerrero. Danny Rueckel relieved Rasner and, after retiring the Sounds in order in the top of the ninth, drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Larry Broadway moved him to third with a single. Rueckel then scored the walk-off winning run on a single by Dan Dement.
In A Potomac, the Nationals built up a 7-1 lead against Lynchburg and cruised to a 7-4 win over the Hillcats. Lefty Jason Stevenson got the win and lowered his ERA to 2.13 while giving up one run in seven innings. It appears that the move down from AA that happened last month was something that Stevenson needed; he was 1-9 with a 10.57 ERA in Harrisburg.
As one might expect from a 19-year-old, Collin Balester was not quite as impressive as he was in his previous outing when he started for A Savannah last week against Ashville. The lefthander gave up seven hits and three runs in five innings of work. He was not involved in the decision in the 7-5 loss. Last week, Balester threw a gem, allowing just one hit in eight innings against Greensboro.
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