Starter Joe Saunders continued his recent hot streak and the Bees knocked six extra-base hits to down the RiverCats 8-2 in the opener of a five game series against the Oakland A's top affiliate.
Saunders gave up two runs on seven hits over seven innings, the eighth straight outing in which the lefty has allowed two runs or fewer. Saunders didn't walk a hitter while striking out six. He now has a three-to-one ratio on the year, yielding just 24 free passes in 101 innings of work. The former first round pick has now gone at least seven innings in seven of his last eight outings and his innings pitched total leads the PCL.
Mike Eylward was the key to Wednesday's offense, scoring a pair and driving in three for the Bees. After knocking five home runs in 104 at-bats in Arkansas, the first baseman hit just his second homer for the Bees in 152 at-bats. As good as Eylward has been at Franklin Covey Field, where he now owns a .323 average with tonight's success, he has hit just .203 in other PCL ballparks.
After Nick Gorneault's injury Tuesday, Tommy Murphy started the game in right field, with Reggie Willits in center. Murphy, who is rumored to be headed back to the Angels once they return from a National League ballpark, had a pair of hits including an RBI double and is hitting an even .300 since returning to Salt Lake.
Quakes fall flat in losing second half opening series
Jose Arredondo has done everything he can to put his team in a position to win, but once again the Quakes offense sputtered on a night he pitched, leading to a 6-3 loss to Lake Elsinore.
Arredondo pitched seven innings, giving up just two earned runs on four hits while extending his Cal League lead in strikeouts by recording eight more. Despite the fact that he has not given up more than three earned runs in any game this year and has the second-best ERA in the league at 2.20, the righty owns just a 4-6 record.
"I feel sorry for Jose, " said Quakes manager Bobby Mitchell. "His record would be so much better if we could have scored just a few runs for him here and there."
Although Arredondo has a fastball that sat in the 92-94 range all night, all but one of his strikeouts came on his split finger or slider. While the club is trying to work with him to use his change up more, he did not use it once.
Through seven innings, Michael Collins had the Quakes' only hit, a home run just inside the right field foul pole in the fourth inning. After struggling some with inside pitches early in the year, he has made an adjustment at the plate and was able to get the bat through quickly on a low inside fastball for his fourth round-tripper of the year. He also had a double in the ninth inning. Both hits came against left-handed pitchers against whom he had just four extra-base hits on the year coming in.
The struggles for 2000 first-round pick Joe Torres continued as he retired only one of the four hitters he faced. After getting a quick groundout, he hit one of the two lefties he faced with his first pitch, then issued two walks on eight straight balls before Mitchell lifted him. The lefty had not recorded an out in either of his previous outings and now has a 16.88 ERA for the month and 6.08 mark overall. Although lefties have hit just .179 against him, he has allowed nearly a .400 on-base percentage because he has struggled to find the strike zone. In total, he has now walked 36 hitters in 26.2 innings of work.
Owlz pounded in game two
The Raptors jumped all over the Orem bullpen and limited Owlz batters to just four singles to cruise to a 14-1 victory.
Starter Anthony Ortega, who led the Dominican Summer League with a 0.86 ERA last season, gave up two runs – one earned – in 4.1 innings of work, but was saddled with the loss. The 20-year-old righty struck out four and walked two.
Relievers Patrick Connelly, Josh Cowles and Jacob Dixon did not fare as well, surrendering 12 runs over the next three innings, although five of those were unearned. Cowles is making the transition to the mound after spending three years in the system as an outfielder. The 22-year-old from Redlands walked two and allowed two hits in his two-thirds of an inning.
Tadd Brewer, the Angels' 17th-round pick in this month's draft, drove in the Owlz only run on the night with a fifth inning single to right field that plated Luis Rivera. Brewer was in the lineup at second base a night after Abel Nieves started there in the opener.