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Duran, Lewis shine in Double-A debuts

Twins righty posts zeros; top prospect gets two hits, two RBIs
Jhoan Duran recorded a career-high 14 strikeouts over six innings for Fort Myers on May 26. (William Parmeter/Fort Myers Miracle)
July 28, 2019

Even when Jhoan Duran allowed baserunners, they weren't aboard for very long.Making his Double-A debut along with Royce Lewis, the Minnesota's No. 9 prospect gave up two hits over five innings as Pensacola blanked Jacksonville, 5-0, on Sunday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Lewis -- MLB.com's No. 7 overall prospect -- picked

Even when Jhoan Duran allowed baserunners, they weren't aboard for very long.
Making his Double-A debut along with Royce Lewis, the Minnesota's No. 9 prospect gave up two hits over five innings as Pensacola blanked Jacksonville, 5-0, on Sunday at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Lewis -- MLB.com's No. 7 overall prospect -- picked up two hits, including a two-run double.

"That was very fun to watch," Blue Wahoos manager Ramon Borrego said of the duo's first action in the Southern League.
After issuing a leadoff walk to Bryson Brigman in the bottom of the first inning, Duran (1-0) got Riley Mahan to ground into a double play on the next pitch. The 21-year-old retired eight in a row before Anfernee Seymour singled with two outs in the third. He got Brigman to ground to short to end the frame.
Duran retired the Jumbo Shrimp in order in the fourth before reigning Southern League Player of the Week Stone Garrett led off the fifth with a single. Lazaro Alonso bounced into a double play on an 0-2 pitch to end that threat.
"He was making really good pitches to induce those ground balls and get out of the innings," Borrego said. "But then he basically dominated besides that."
Gameday box score 
Duran fanned three, walked one and threw 44 of 65 pitches for strikes.
"He was very good with his fastball and the way he mixed his pitches," the skipper said. "He gave us five solid innings. That's what the manager asked him for."
Prior to his promotion Thursday, Duran went 2-9 with a 3.23 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts, for Class A Advanced Fort Myers. Over 78 innings, the native of the Dominican Republic struck out 95 and walked 31 while posting a .224 opponents' batting average.
Lewis, the Twins' top prospect, grounded out in his first Southern League at-bat, but plated Iván De Jesús Jr. and Jimmy Kerrigan with a bases-loaded double high off the left-field wall against right-hander Pablo López in the second. He also led off the fifth with a single off righty Josh Roeder.
"For me as a manager, that was really good to see," Borrego said. "I was watching him and the way he handled himself in his first game in Double-A and the way he's matured and I'm so happy for him."

Lewis, was promoted from the Miracle on Saturday night. He left Fort Myers at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday to make the six-hour drive to Pensacola, according to the manager.
"I spoke to him and said, 'Hey Lewis, are you ready?" said Borrego, who managed Lewis last season in Fort Myers. "I knew what his answer was going to be. He said, 'Hey Ramon, I'm ready to play.'"
The top pick in the 2017 Draft batted leadoff for Borrego last year, so filling out the lineup card wasn't much of a problem for the skipper.
"I knew I got my leadoff guy right away," Borrego said. "I'm really excited."
In 94 games in the Florida State League, the 20-year-old shortstop batted .238/.289/.376 with 10 homers, 55 runs scored, 35 RBIs and 16 stolen bases. Borrego, who spoke with Lewis on Sunday, plans to help him raise his game on both sides of the ball.

"Now we have him here," Borrego said, "and anything that he needs to get back on track, we're going to give him that help."
The manager noted Lewis is a hard worker who will make the necessary adjustments to get his numbers back on track.
"He's always asking questions and I like that," Borrego said. "And he's able to get the answers and make the adjustments quickly. I don't worry too much about him. I know he's going to adjust."
Lewis participated in the Futures Game in Cleveland during All-Star festivities and sported a .273/.341/.481 slash line, four homers and 10 RBIs in 19 games in July.
After strong entrances to the Southern League, Borrego sees bright futures for both Lewis and Duran.
"Those guys now know the game, they have experience," he said. "The wait to the big leagues is going to be short for those guys."

Shlomo Sprung is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @sprungonsports</a