Two wins on a short night for the system

With Salt Lake and Arkansas out of action Sunday, the two teams at the bottom of the Angels system took advantage of a chance to claim the spotlight. The rookie level Angels got another strong outing from Vladimir Veras while Trevor Bell was solid in claiming a victory for Orem. Jordan Renz flashed a big bat, but the Kernels fell flat while Rancho finished a dreary trip north.

Salt Lake had an off day Sunday and will return to action against Round Rock Monday.

Arkansas had the day off while waiting for Frisco to open a three game series Monday night.

Rancho swept by Stockton 10-6 (A's)
The Ports scored a run in each of their last five innings to secure a sweep of the Quakes and send the club back to Rancho Cucamonga with a 1-5 mark for their trip.

After dominating the Arizona League, 20-year-old Pedro Herrera has struggled in three appearances with the Quakes. The righty from Venezuela was charged with three runs, two earned, on four hits in just two thirds of an inning Sunday, one outing after he failed to collect an out at all. Herrera has given up four hits in three appearances totaling 1.2 innings of work and walked three, giving opponents a .583 on-base percentage in the Cal League.

Making his eighth start in center field over the last 11 games, Josh Leblanc had three hits including a two-run double in the inning. The left-handed hitter, whom the Angels selected in the sixth round of the 2004 draft, has gone for three hits in a game four times this season.

Kernels can't come back, fall 7-5 to Lansing (Toronto)
Despite a pair of home runs by right fielder Jordan Renz, Cedar Rapids couldn't keep their offense going and lost when the bullpen couldn't hold a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning.

Renz was 3-for-4 on the night, collecting multiple home runs for the second time this year. Although he has hit just .228 on the season, Renz is second in the league with 20 home runs and sports the best slugging percentage (.473) and most RBIs (69) on the roster. He had been in a 2-for-25 funk before launching a three-run blast in the first inning.

Appearing out of the bullpen for the second straight outing, Brok Butcher struggled after entering with a runner on base and two outs. He plunked the first batter he saw, the second Midwest League hitter he has drilled in 30 innings, then surrendered a three-run blast to left field which cost the Kernels the win. At three different levels this year, the righty has given up only three homers in 52.1 innings of work.

Orem tops Ogden 4-3 (Dodgers)
The Owlz plated three runs in the top of the fourth then relied on their pitching to hold out for the rest of the game to take a victory over their in-state rivals and take a one game lead in the second half of the season.

Trevor Bell rebounded from back-to-back poor outings to pick up his fourth win of the season, giving up three runs – two earned – over 5.2 innings of work. The teenager surrendered only four hits and a walk, the fifth time in 10 starts he has allowed one or fewer base runner per inning of work. After giving up only one home run in his first 27.2 innings of work, Bell has surrendered six in 24.2 frames, including a two-run shot Sunday. Ryan Mount drove in a pair of runs with a bases-loaded double that almost cleared the right-centerfield wall in the fourth inning. The leadoff man is tied with Chris Pettit for the team lead with 16 extra-base hits on the year and, after coming around later in the inning, now sports a team-best 31 runs scored. Although Mount has a .277 overall average, he has struggled with runners on, managing just a .222 mark with a teammate on the bases.

Outfielder Tyler Johnson had a pair of doubles in four at-bats, driving in the Owlz first run with two outs in the first. The big Oklahoman has collected eight extra-base hits in his last seven games, driving in nine runs in that span. Of concern, however, is that Johnson has also whiffed nine times in the same period of time, taking his season count to 43 in 121 at-bats.

AZL Angels down A's 7-1
Vladimir Veras continued his impressive rookie campaign and the bottom half of the Angels lineup backed him up at the plate as the Angels won their fifth straight to remain a half-game behind the league-leading Padres.

Veras once again gave up just one run over five innings of work, matching his season high with eight strikeouts against only one walk. The 20-year-old righty has given up more than one run in just one of his nine starts and leads the league with a 1.88 ERA. In three starts against Oakland's lowest minor league affiliate, Veras has given up three earned runs on 10 hits in 16 innings while striking out 19.

Third baseman Matt Sweeney collected two more hits, including his fifth double of the season. The left-handed hitter also drew his 13th walk, pushing his on-base percentage to .427 to go along with his team-leading .631 slugging percentage which ranks second on the circuit. With all his plate appearances coming against right-handed pitching today, he increased the gap in his production against righties. While lefties have allowed him just a .241 average with a pair of doubles in 29 at-bats, he has mashed right-handers for a .378 average and .757 slugging percentage.

Australian Brendan Wilson threw two more innings of scoreless relief to lower his ERA to 1.84. After a rough year with Orem in 2005 which featured an elbow injury and poor results after his return, the righty was held back in Arizona for another year, but is finally showing the command and approach the Angels were hoping for when they signed him as a 17-year-old in Victoria. Wilson has allowed just one extra-base hit in 14.1 innings of work and is holding opponents to a .226 average.

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