Triple-A has been a more challenging learning curve for Yankees righthander Jaron Long than his previous minor league performance would have suggested.
Long, a brilliant control artist with a career 4.1 strikeout to walk ratio, posted a 2.18 ERA in 28 games (18 starts) in 2014, maxing out at Double-A and often outshining top pitching prospect Luis Severino.
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Long, the son of former Yankees and current Mets hitting coach Kevin Long, started the 2015 season with a promotion to Triple-A and gave up five runs or more in three of his first five outings. He's settled down quite a bit since, but there has been the occasional blip, including a four-run, 11-hit outing in 3 2/3 innings on May 30.
So Thursday night's performance had been a long time coming for Jaron.
Long struck out six in six innings and gave up seven hits and two runs (one earned) in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's 10-2 win over Syracuse. He didn't walk a batter and the six strikeouts were a season high.
The Yankees signed Long as a non-drafted free agent after a blister issue during his senior season at Ohio State caused his draft stock to crater. In three seasons, the 23-year-old is 17-10 with a 2.86 ERA.
Shortstop Nick Noonan and first baseman Kyle Roller homered and leftfielder Ben Gamel went 1-for-2 with two walks on Thursday for the RailRiders (29-26, 2nd place in International League North, 2 games back).
Elsewhere in the minor leagues
(30-24, 2nd place in Eastern League Eastern, 2 games back)
Lefthander Caleb Smith struck out five in 6 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit and two walks in the Thunder's 2-0 win over Binghamton. Catcher Gary Sanchez hit his seventh home run of the season in the second inning, a solo shot, and drove in both runs.
SINGLE-A ADVANCED TAMPA
(27-27, T-2nd place in Florida State League North, 5 games back)
Leftfielder Ericson Leonora was 2-for-3 with a home run, and rightfielder Derek Toadvine went 2-for-3 with two stolen bases as the Yankees beat Clearwater, 3-2.
Righthander Rookie Davis struck out six in six innings, allowing three hits, one walk and two runs. In his last three starts, Davis (3-3, 3.26 ERA) has struck out 22 in 16 innings, allowing 11 hits, one walk and three runs.
(27-27, T-2nd place in South Atlantic League Southern, 4 games back)
Shortstop Jorge Mateo was 2-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base, and catcher Collin Slaybaugh went 4-for-4 with a double as the RiverDogs beat Asheville, 9-6. It was Slaybaugh's second 4-for-4 performance in two games with Charleston. He hit four singles and stole two bases during his debut on Wednesday.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE YANKEES 1
(3-2, 3rd place in DSL Boca Chica South, 1 game back)
Centerfielder Pablo Olivares was 3-for-5 with two triples, but the Yankees fell to the DSL Red Sox, 6-5.
ROOKIE - DOMINICAN SUMMER LEAGUE YANKEES 2
(3-2, T-2nd place in DSL Boca Chica North, 1 game back)
First baseman Miguel Flames was 3-for-4 with a double and a home run, and shortstop Danienger Perez went 2-for-4 with two doubles, but the Yankees lost to the DSL Mets 2, 5-4.