Lewin Diaz Continues To Sizzle As Blue Wahoos Newcomer

June 23, 2019

Six seasons and six teams within the Minnesota Twins organization have provided Lewin Diaz a chance to make a steady progression.

Three games into his level climb with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Diaz has accelerated the impact.

Diaz, 22, a first baseman, signed by the Twins as a teenager in 2013 out of the Dominican Republic, continued showcasing his potential. He went 3-for-4 Saturday night with an RBI, during the Blue Wahoos 3-2 loss against the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville.

Diaz, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound player, has been a mid-season all-star the past three years, including the past two with the Fort Myers Miracle in the High-A Florida State League. He has shined since being promoted to the Blue Wahoos.

He’s produced seven hits in 13 at-bats for a .533 average with two doubles and three RBI.

And the one at-bat Diaz had Saturday when he didn’t produce a hit was just as impressive.

In the ninth inning, after Ben Rortvedt led off with a walk, Diaz worked a 3-2 count and fouled off four pitches against reliever Brett Graves before slashing a line drive into second baseman Justin Twine’s glove.

That became a defining moment in the game, especially with Rortvedt on second base after a throwing error on a pickoff attempt.

Caleb Hamilton followed Diaz by also working a 3-2 count against Graves before a swinging strikeout. Mark Contreras grounded out to end the game.

The Blue Wahoos (40-33, 2-1 second half) will get their second attempt to clinch the series on Sunday with Jorge Alcala (5-4) going against Jacksonville’s Cody Poteet in a 2:05 p.m. game in Jacksonville.

The teams will close out the series on Monday night (6:05 p.m.) and the Blue Wahoos will travel back to Pensacola to begin a nine-game homestand on Tuesday.

Saturday night, a crowd of 8,261 in Jacksonville watched a crisply-played game with strong pitching on both sides. The Jumbo Shrimp (30-43) had ace pitcher Sixto Sanchez, 20, the top prospect in the Miami Marlins organization and No. 27 overall by MLB Pipeline, deliver another quality outing.

Sanchez worked seven complete innings, yielding seven hits and two runs in the fourth inning. He struck out nine and did not allow a walk.

The Blue Wahoos’ Charlie Barnes worked into the fifth inning, allowing seven hits, two runs, no walks and six strikeouts.

In the fourth inning, the Blue Wahoos had their best at-bats against Sanchez. Travis Blankenhorn led off the inning with a single. Alex Kirilloff followed with a double to put runners on second and third.

With one out, Diaz singled to right field to score Blankenhorn. Hamilton followed with a single to score Kirilloff. But Sanchez ended the damage by striking out Contreras and Joe Cronin.

The Jumbo Shrimp tied the game in the fifth on three consecutive singles. After a wild pitch by Barnes put runners on second and third, Riley Mahan’s one-out single tied the game.

The Jumbo Shrimp scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning when J.C. Milan homered off reliever Anthony Vizcaya.

A pivotal sequence happened in the top of the seventh after Cronin hit a one out triple. Michael Davis hit a fly out to right fielder Stone Garrett, whose throw to the plate nabbed Cronin who was trying to score on a sacrifice fly.

In the eighth, Kirilloff hit into an inning-ending double play and Jacksonville sealed the game in the ninth.

It was the first loss for fill-in manager Steve Singleton, the Blue Wahoos hitting coach, who is handling the managing duties this weekend while Ramon Borrego takes an extended vacation with his family in Fort Myers.

Borrego will join the team in Pensacola when the Blue Wahoos open a five-game series against the Biloxi Shuckers, the first half Southern League South Division champs.

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