Bell, Kuhl among top prospect performers Friday

Pirates No. 3 prospect homers and hits walk-off single, No. 18 thrives in Triple-A debut

Bell, Kuhl among top prospect performers Friday

The Indianapolis Indians were two outs away from elimination Friday night, but first baseman Josh Bell wasn't quite ready for the offseason.

Bell, the Pirates' No. 3 prospect, lined a single to right field, capping a three-run ninth inning as Triple-A Indianapolis beat Columbus, 5-4, at Victory Field to push the Governors' Cup championship into a decisive Game 5 on Saturday.

The walk-off single also punctuated another fantastic night at the plate for Bell, MLBPipeline.com's No. 33 overall prospect and the No. 1 first-base prospect in the Minors.

Bell went 4-for-4 with a walk and a solo home run, bringing his postseason batting average to .423 for Indianapolis. His game-winning single off right-hander Jeff Johnson came with the bases loaded, as Columbus intentionally walked Gorkys Hernandez and brought up Bell.

"One thing we do is fight," Bell said, according to MiLB.com.

But Bell wasn't the only Pirates prospect who delivered when it counted Friday night. The game's most impressive performer may have been right-hander Chad Kuhl, the Bucs' No. 18 prospect.

The 23-year-old got the nod for Indianapolis with the Indians' season on the line -- and, oh by the way, it was his Triple-A debut. Kuhl enjoyed a breakthrough season for Double-A Altoona, going 11-5 with a 2.48 ERA.

But he managed top that in his first Triple-A start, holding the Clippers to one run on six hits and a walk while striking out four over seven innings.

The rest of the best playoff performances from top Minor Leaguers

Athletics No. 6 prospect Renato Nunez finished a strong series by going 2-for-5 with a run scored as Double-A Midland captured its second straight Texas League championship. The 21-year-old hit .407 during Midland's postseason run. Overall this season, the corner infielder hit .278/.332/.480 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs in 93 games for Midland.

Dodgers No. 28 prospect Scott Barlow put together a fantastic outing for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, carrying a perfect game through four innings in the Quakes' 4-3 win over the San Jose Giants on Friday. Rancho Cucamonga took a 2-0 lead in the California League finals due in large part to Barlow, who held the Giants to one run on four hits while striking out a career-high 11 batters over seven innings.

Orioles No. 10 prospect David Hess received plenty of run support and held up his end of the bargain in Double-A Bowie's 9-1 win over Reading in Game 4 of the Eastern League finals. The 22-year-old right-hander struck out eight and held the Fightin Phils to just one run on three hits and a walk over seven strong innings. Hess improved to 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in the playoffs.

Orioles No. 12 prospect Trey Mancini was one of the BaySox hitters backing up Hess on Friday. The first baseman went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Mancini, 23, has hit just .188 in the postseason but put together a .359/.395/.586 batting line with 13 homers and 57 RBIs in 84 games for Bowie, which evened its series with Reading at two games apiece.

Rangers No. 4 prospect (No. 69 overall) Lewis Brinson made an immediate impact in Triple-A Round Rock's 6-2 win over Fresno. The 21-year-old outfielder led off the game with a solo homer.

Brinson, who finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs for the Express, added a two-run shot in the second inning.

• But Brinson wasn't the only Rangers prospect who got the job done Friday. Texas' No. 2 prospect, outfielder Nomar Mazara, chipped in with two hits in a 2-for-5 night. Mazara, 20, is batting .381 in the playoffs for Round Rock, which is now one game away from a Pacific Coast League championship after beating Fresno on Friday.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.