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BLUE JAYS (7-11)
1 Dwight Smith Jr. CF
2 Dickie Joe Thon SS
3 Santiago Nessy C
4 Art Charles 1B
5 Christian Lopes 2B
6 Eric Arce LF
7 Matt Dean 3B
8 Jacob Anderson DH
9 Nico Taylor RF
RHP Tucker Jensen (1-0, 2.13)
1 Terrance Gore LF
2 Humberto Arteaga SS
3 Bubba Starling CF
4 Patrick Leonard 3B
5 Kenny Diekroeger 2B
6 Fred Ford RF
7 Mark Threlkeld 1B
8 Chris Elder DH
9 Alexander Marquez C
RHP Yender Caramo (1-1, 4.96)
BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here for Blue Jays pregame at 6:45. The games are also carried on local radio on WKEZ 1240 AM The Rooster Classic Country
WEATHER: 100 right now, though it might get down to 99 by first pitch.
UMPIRES: PLATE Jordan Albarado FIELD James Floyd
ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: The Blue Jays came one strike short of a victory for the second time this week. The Royals scored the tying run on Colby Broussard’s wild pitch before Jose Rodriguez laced a single down the third-base line to win it in the ninth inning as the Royals stunned the Jays 3-2 at Burlington Athletic Stadium on Saturday. Broussard entered in the eighth inning with the tying run at second base and only one out. He struck out Terrance Gore before getting Humberto Arteaga on a flyout to escape the jam and preserve a 2-1 lead. He started the ninth with a strikeout of the highly-touted Bubba Starling, then Patrick Leonard reached on an error at third base by Matt Dean. The righty struck out Kenny Diekroeger for the second out before losing his command. After Fred Ford reached on an infield single, Beau Maggi walked on four pitches to load the bases. With two strikes on Mark Threlkeld, Broussard uncorked a wild pitch that sent home Leonard with the tying run and moved the game-winner to third. Threlkeld walked to load the bases again, setting the stage for Rodriguez. His sharp liner to left field plated Ford and handed Burlington a come-from-behind victory. Roberto Osuna started the game with three shutout innings and three strikeouts before Jeremy Gabryszwski pitched three scoreless innings after him. The Jays struck first in the fifth inning when Christian Lopes doubled, moved up on a Chris Peters bunt, then scored on Matt Dean’s opposite field double. They tacked on another run an inning later when Santiago Nessy clubbed a monster home run to left center off Royals starter Daniel Hernandez. The Royals got on the board in the seventh when Diekroeger lifted a solo homer off Gabryszwski to cut the lead to 2-1. That was the only run and hit that Gabryszwski allowed. Julio Morales kept the game close for the Royals as he held Bluefield without a run in the seventh, eighth and ninth to record the win.
VS. THE ROYALS: These two clubs met in Burlington two weeks ago and the visiting Jays won two out of three for their only series win so far in 2012. Art Charles belted two home runs in a 10-5 win in the opener on June 25 and Tom Robson, Kevin Comer and Colby Broussard combined on a four-hitter in a 3-0 win on June 26. The Baby Jays missed a chance at a sweep on the 27th, with Burlington coming back from 3-1 down in the seventh inning to win 4-3. The Royals struggled last year to a 24-44 finish and the Jays feasted on Burlington in 2011, going 7-2 in the season series. Bluefield took two of three at home from July 18-20, with the only loss coming in 11 innings. They swept the Royals a week later on the road by a combined score of 22-3. They played again at Bowen Field from August 16-18 and won the series again, winning a rain-shortened rubber game. Returning reliever Les Williams pitched five scoreless innings against the Royals spanning two appearances.
TONIGHT'S PITCHING PROBABLES
RHP TUCKER JENSEN: The righty from Ormond Beach, FL aims to build on Wednesday’s great outing in which he recorded his first win of the season. In a July 4th win against Danville, he faced the minimum in two and two-thirds innings of relief, with the only baserunner reaching on a hit by pitch. He just fell below the innings qualifier last night, but his 0.79 WHIP would be third-best in the league and his 2.13 ERA would rank ninth. A year ago for Bluefield he allowed 14 earned runs in 11.1 innings in four Appy League starts. He really excelled in eight Gulf Coast League starts to begin his career, pitching to a 1.77 ERA with an 8.9 K/9 rate to earn a one-game call-up to low-A Lansing. Between three levels he struck out 56 batters in 57 innings of work. A decorated hurler at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, Tucker was named Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2011, also earning NAIA Second-Team All-America honors. The 22-year-old is the grandson of 1958 American League MVP Jackie Jensen.
RHP YENDER CARAMO: Right-hander Yender Caramo goes for Burlington tonight and like Jensen, he also last pitched against Danville. On Tuesday, he allowed five runs, two earned, on eight hits in six innings in taking the road loss despite registering seven strikeouts. Although he’s allowed 22 hits in 16.1 innings and batters are hitting .310 against him, he has not issued a walk this season. His 16.1 innings are the most in the league without issuing a free pass and only Bluefield’s Roberto Osuna (12 IP) has also worked 10+ innings without a walk. The 20-year-old native of Venezuela signed with the Royals in 2010 and was named the Dominican Summer League Royals Pitcher of the Year in 2011 after leading the league with ten wins and a 1.20 ERA in 67.2 innings.
DEJA VU: Last night’s loss was the second time this week that the Jays lost a game in which they had the lead with two outs and two strikes in the ninth. The Jays were also a strike away from a win on Sunday at home against Pulaski before the Mariners rallied off Colby Broussard to win in shocking fashion.
KICK IN THE DOOR HITTING .444: Right fielder Nico Taylor ran his hitting streak to eight last night. That passes Carlos Ramirez, who Taylor replaced as the regular right fielder after a call-up to Short Season-A Vancouver, for the Jays’ longest hitting streak of the season. After starting the season in an 0-for-13 funk, Taylor is 11-for-25 (.444).
000-SUNA: Roberto Osuna pitched three shutout innings in his start last night, lowering his ERA to 0.75. He struck out four, including one of Kansas City uber-prospect Bubba Starling. The 17-year-old Osuna has wowed in four three-inning appearances for Bluefield, racking up 14 K’s and no walks in 12 innings of work.
NIGHTLY ART CHARLES ON BASE STREAK UPDATE: Art Charles walked twice in last night’s loss, extending his on-base streak to 18 games, spanning every Blue Jays game this season. He’s the only Appy Leaguer to reach in every game so far in 2012. Art’s on-base streak dating back to last season is up to 26. The day before he began that streak on August 23, 2011, he had just had a 15-gamer snapped, so the Bakersfield native has reached in 41 of his last 42 games. His .442 on base percentage is tied for fifth-best in the league, in part because his 20 walks also lead the loop. He’s tied for fourth in the league in home runs with four.
Pregame Audio: Coming soon
Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 7-8
Check out the @BluefieldJays Twitter page for mid-game updates