CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The International League hit as many home runs as it allowed hits (three), a formula that resulted in a 4-2 victory over the Pacific Coast League in the annual Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday night. The win was the IL's fourth straight and its seventh in the
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The International League hit as many home runs as it allowed hits (three), a formula that resulted in a 4-2 victory over the Pacific Coast League in the annual Triple-A All-Star Game on Wednesday night. The win was the IL's fourth straight and its seventh in the past eight, which secured home-team advantage in the Triple-A National Championship Game in September.
Here are seven players whose performances stood out:
Erik González, SS, Indians (IL)
Blocked by Francisco Lindor in Cleveland, Gonzalez has the tools to be an everyday shortstop somewhere. He made the defensive play of the game, racing up the middle and flipping the ball to Twins second baseman Jorge Polanco to start a double play that snuffed out the PCL's last-gasp rally in the ninth inning. Gonzalez also got the IL on the scoreboard with a homer in the second inning, lining a changeup from Astros right-hander Brady Rodgers into the left-field stands.
Mike Clevinger, RHP, Indians (IL)
Clevinger needed just 12 pitches (eight strikes) to cruise through a perfect third inning. He struck out Mets third baseman T.J. Rivera swinging with an 86-mph slider and Padres center fielder Hunter Renfroe looking with a 96-mph fastball. Clevinger operated from 93-96 mph with his heater.
José Berríos, RHP, Twins (IL)
The game's best prospect delivered a scoreless fourth inning, pitching around a leadoff single by Diamondbacks right fielder Kyle Jensen. Berrios battled the strike zone a little bit, missing with nine of his 20 pitches, but he whiffed Mets designated hitter Travis Taijeron with a 95-mph fastball and worked from 93-95. He also fooled Cubs first baseman Dan Vogelbach with a nifty changeup before getting him to line out softly to right field.
Chris Marrero, OF, Red Sox (IL)
Marrero won Monday's Triple-A Home Run Derby with 44 long balls, including 18 in the finals against Jensen, and the 15th overall pick in the 2006 Draft saved one more for Wednesday night. When Cubs righty Armando Rivero served him an 89-mph fastball over the plate in the eighth inning, Marrero crushed it over the 12-foot wall in center field, a shot that traveled an estimated 420 feet. He won the Top Star Award for the IL.
Travis Taijeron, DH, Mets (PCL)
Taijeron has smashed 38 homers during the past two seasons at Las Vegas, but scouts worry about his swing-and-miss tendencies, because he has a long right-handed swing and gets too pull-conscious at times. He went the other way, however, to open the scoring with a two-run homer in the second inning off a changeup from Twins left-hander Jason Wheeler that was down in the strike zone. Taijeron garnered the Top Star Award for the PCL, which went just 1-for-25 after his blast.
Shawn Armstrong, RHP, Indians (IL)
A walk and wild pitch put the tying run in scoring position for the PCL in the seventh inning, but Armstrong quelled the threat by striking out Diamondbacks shortstop Jack Reinheimer and Padres second baseman Carlos Asuaje on 88- and 86-mph sliders. Armstrong required just eight pitches (six strikes) to retire the two batters and sat at 93-mph with his fastball.
Andrew Knapp, C, Phillies (IL)
Knapp also hit an opposite-field homer, belting a thigh-high 90-mph fastball from Diamondbacks righty Braden Shipley over the left-field wall to tie the game 2-2 in the fourth inning. Knapp surrendered a stolen base to the less-than-speedy Jensen, who got a huge jump on a 3-2 pitch from Berrios.
*Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast*.