All four Dodgers minor league affiliates won a game on Sunday, with some standout offensive performances and a walk-off home run by a teenager.
Player of the day
Stefen Romero doubled twice and drove in six runs for Triple-A Oklahoma City. He had a three-run double in the first inning, a sacrifice fly in the third, and a two-run double in the fourth.
3⃣ plate appearances— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) May 1, 2022
Stefen Romero is on fire! His second double of the day makes it 10-2 in the 4th inning! pic.twitter.com/Krs8vsBJyF
It’s been a slow start this season for Romero, who was hurt in spring training and began the year on the injured list. Sunday was just his fourth game of the season, and the first time he’s played on back-to-back days this year. The 33-year-old right fielder also drove in three runs on Saturday.
Romero signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers in February with a non-roster invitation to spring training, after playing the last five years in Japan. He played in the majors for parts of three seasons (2014-16) with the Mariners.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Romero was by no means alone on offense, as Oklahoma City built a 14-2 lead through four innings. OKC held on to beat the Sugar Land Space Cowboys (Astros) in a high-scoring affair at home.
Miguel Vargas tripled, singled, walked twice, and scored three runs. He was 8-for-22 (.364) with eight runs scored in the six-game series. Catcher Tomás Telis singled twice, doubled, walked, and drove in four runs. Outfielder Drew Avans homered and doubled in the win.
Caleb Ferguson was the first pitcher used by Oklahoma City in this game, in the second game of his rehab assignment as he, like Tommy Kahnle, is recovering from Tommy John surgery from late in the 2020 season. Ferguson struck out one of the four batters he faced, and allowed an infield single. His final batter faced reached on an error by Andy Burns at third base, and both bequeathed runners scored after Ferguson left.
Ferguson was ahead of Kahnle in that he was built up enough to pitch in three spring games. So Ferguson might not need eight games in his rehab assignment like Kahnle to get ready. But he’s not particularly close to returning just yet.
Michael Grove struck out five in 3⅔ innings, and gave up the only run allowed by Drillers pitchers in a win over the Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros). Grove has 18 strikeouts in 12⅓ innings this season, but more importantly has only walked two of 50 batters faced, after walking 12.4 percent of hitters in 2021.
Left fielder Ryan Ward had two hits, including a first-inning home run for Tulsa. Michael Busch doubled, singled, and drove in the Drillers’ other run on Sunday.
Mark Washington pitched two scoreless innings in relief, and has a 1.23 ERA on the season. The Dodgers’ 25th-round draft pick in 2017 has only allowed a run in one of his eight appearances, and in his last five games has pitched 9⅓ scoreless frames, with 11 strikeouts.
High-A Great Lakes
After Saturday’s road game got rained out, the Loons split a Sunday doubleheader with the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers). Cole Percival pitched three scoreless innings to earn the win in the opener.
Kendall Williams, one of two players received from Toronto in the Ross Stripling trade in September 2020, was roughed up in his High-A debut, allowing three doubles, a home run, and a triple among his eight hits and five runs in three innings.
Left fielder Joe Vranesh had three hits in the nightcap, hitting two solo home runs to provide the only offense in that game for Great Lakes.
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga
Luis Rodriguez, a 19-year-old outfielder signed by the Dodgers out of Venezuela in 2019, hit a walk-off home run to lift the Quakes over the Visalia Rawhide (D-backs).
#16 Luis Rodriguez slams his first homer of the season to right field for a Quakes walk-off win ‼️ pic.twitter.com/YZpJGwq5Ka— Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (@RCQuakes) May 1, 2022
It was the first home run of the season for Rodriguez, who doesn’t turn 20 until September yet leads Rancho Cucamonga with 20 walks in 19 games.
Catcher Yeiner Fernandez had two hits, including a home run. Shortstop Alex De Jesus hit a two-run double.
Madison Jeffrey, the Dodgers’ 15th-round draft pick last year out of West Virginia, struck out all three batters he faced in the ninth inning to earn his first professional win.
Triple-A: Garrett Cleavinger was optioned to Oklahoma City.
Great Lakes 3, West Michigan 1 (Game 1)
West Michigan 8, Great Lakes 2 (Game 2)
- 8:05 a.m. PT: Great Lakes (TBD) vs. Beloit [Marlins] (TBD)
- 9:05 a.m.: Oklahoma City (TBD) vs. Albuquerque [Rockies] (TBD)
- 5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Gus Varland) at Wichita [Twins] (Louie Varland)
- 6:05 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Ben Casparius) at Lake Elsinore [Padres] (Levi Thomas)
Monday is an off day for all four affiliates. Tuesday’s Double-A contest, per the Drillers’ Sunday broadcast, could feature a matchup of brothers on the mound.