The Great Lakes Loons won their ninth consecutive game, the Clinton LumberKings lost their 13th in a row, and two Midwest League pitchers struck out 11 batters Friday.
The Loons extended their winning streak by two games thanks to a doubleheader sweep of the Cedar Rapids Kernels. Instead of the usual 14 innings that comprise a typical minor-league doubleheader, it was a 21-inning day for the teams; the first game lasted 13 innings, and the second game went eight.
In the second game, Loons SP Derrick Sylvester struck out 11 batters while giving up only one run on three hits, two walks and a wild pitch in five innings. He got a no-decision. (Bowling Green Hot Rods SP Brent Honeywell also struck out 11 batters Friday, in seven innings against the Beloit Snappers. He also got a no-decision.)
The Loons are the hottest team in the Midwest League, winning 14 of their last 15 games and sweeping their last three series. They are a half-game out of the first-half wild-card spot for the Eastern Division.
Meanwhile, the Clinton LumberKings continued to head in the wrong direction, losing their 13th consecutive game Friday. They took an 8-7 lead into the 9th inning, but the Lake County Captains rallied for two runs in the bottom half to win 9-8. The Captains have won their last four games, keeping them two games behind the Loons and 2.5 games behind the Hot Rods, who would be the Eastern Division wild-card team if the first half ended Friday.
The Lansing Lugnuts lead the Eastern Division by a game.
The Quad Cities River Bandits clinched a first-half playoff berth Friday and have a 4.5-game lead over the Kernels in the Western Division. Any combination of five Quad Cities wins and Cedar Rapids losses would give the River Bandits the division title. The Kernels likely will be the other first-half playoff team from the Western Division, as they have a five-game lead over the next two teams in line, the Burlington Bees and the Kane County Cougars.
A few other Midwest League-related notes from Friday:
Arizona Diamondbacks RHP Chase Anderson (2010 South Bend Silver Hawks) took a no-hitter into the 7th inning against the San Francisco Giants. He allowed only one hit in seven innings and outdueled Giants ace Madison Bumgarner for the win.
Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (2013 River Bandits) hit his first home run at Minute Maid Park, three days after hitting his first major-league roundtripper in Chicago. Earlier this week I wrote about Correa and the four other former River Bandits who made their MLB debuts this year. You can read that post here.
The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired minor-league infielder Ronald Torreyes, who played 73 games with the Dayton Dragons (6 in 2010 and 67 in 2011). This is the fourth time he was traded since playing in the Midwest League, going from the Cincinnati Reds to the Chicago Cubs to the Astros to the Toronto Blue Jays to the Dodgers. He has split this season between Double-A and Triple-A. (See a photo of me with Torreyes at the Dayton Mall in 2011 here.)
Cougars catcher Stryker Trahan and Captains first baseman Bobby Bradley are at the top of the latest installment of Baseball America‘s Prospect Hot Sheet. Lugnuts shortstop Richard Urena and Dragons third baseman Gavin LaValley also made the list of 20.