Since his promotion from Double-A Trenton, Deivi Garcia has had trouble against hitters at the Minor Leagues' highest level. He may have turned the corner on Saturday night.
The top Yankees prospect pitched five hitless innings, allowing a run on five walks while striking out seven, before Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre dropped an 8-7, 11-inning decision to Gwinnett at Coolray Field.
Video: RailRiders' Garcia freezes LaMarre
With Ben Heller getting a rehab start, Garcia made his first relief appearance since Aug. 13, 2017 in the Appalachian League. Recovering from Tommy John surgery, Heller fired a perfect first inning that included a three-pitch strikeout of Drew Waters, MLB.com's No. 25 overall prospect.
Pedro Florimon lined to second base to begin Garcia's night in the second. Lucas Duda struck out swinging on a 3-2 pitch and the right-hander top Braves prospect Cristian Pache on three pitches to end the frame.
After 25th-ranked Alex Jackson whiffed to start the third, Garcia walked Jack Lopez. Waters flied to left, but Lopez stole second and Johan Camargo walked before Ryan LaMarre flied to center.
Gameday box score
Garcia, ranked 64th overall by MLB.com, took a 1-0 lead into the fourth after batterymate Erik Kratz hit his fifth homer of the season. Florimon walked again and made it all the way to third on an errant pickoff attempt. Duda tied the game with a sacrifice fly for the only blemish against the right-hander, who fanned Pache again to end the inning.
The native of the Domincian Republic cruised through the fifth on 16 pitches, retiring Jackson on an infield popup and striking out Lopez and Waters. After setting down eight straight hitters, Garcia walked Florimon again with two outs in the sixth but wrapped up his night when Duca flied to center.
The 5-foot-9 hurler threw 43 of 85 pitches for strikes and lowered his IL ERA from 5.93 to 5.01. He did not figure in the decision as Gwinnett scored three times in the seventh against veteran David Hernandez.
In seven games with the RailRiders, Garcia has 34 strikeouts over 32 1/3 innings. He's tied for seventh in the Minors with 154 whiffs across three levels while going 5-9 with a 4.08 ERA.
2019 MiLB include
Billy Burns scored on a throwing error in the 10th to give the RailRiders a 5-4 lead, but Duda tied it back up by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the inning.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre regained the lead in the 11th on Ryan McBroom's two-run homer, but Camargo doubled home Lopez and Florimon delivered a game-tying RBI single. After Duda was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Brady Lail (1-1) walked Andres Blanco on four pitches to end the game as the RailRiders lost their sixth straight game. The setback reduced their lead in the North Division to one game over Buffalo.
Third-ranked Braves prospect Ian Anderson started for the Stripers and allowed four runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven frames.