Starter Dustin Moseley dominated the Rainiers' bats and Tommy Murphy spearheaded an offense which did just enough to claim a victory over Tacoma and officially claim the Pacific North Division championship which has clearly been theirs to lose all season.
Moseley made his strongest start in two months, holding Tacoma to just one earned run on five hits and a walk over seven innings. He struck out seven, his second-highest total this year, and hit one batter on the way to his 12th victory of the season, a new franchise record for Salt Lake. The 24-year-old's command on the road was nothing new this year. While he has walked 35 hitters in 85 innings at home, he now has just 14 in 58.2 frames away from Franklin Covey Field.
Murphy collected a pair of doubles and an RBI in four trips to the plate, extending his hitting streak to five games. Murphy, who had gone all month without a double going into Sunday's contest, now has three in the last two games, though he also has struck out in each of the last four games to take his total for August to 17, the most he's had in any month.
Arkansas blown out by Tulsa (Colorado)
For the third straight outing, Christopher Hunter was pounded and the Travs never got back into the game as they fell to 13 games under .500.
Sean Rodriguez continued to serve as the Trav's lone offensive weapon, knocking his second homer in as many games and extending his hitting streak to eight games. Since moving up to the Texas League, Rodriguez has been on a tear, posting a .333 average and .578 slugging percentage. He was the only player in the lineup with more than one hit for the Travs.
Hunter, whose record fell to 4-13, got jumped for seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits and four walks in just 3.2 innings of work. The Utah Valley State alum has now given up at least five runs in 10 of his 24 appearances this year, helping to explain his league-worst 7.24 ERA. He is one of seven pitchers currently on the roster with an ERA over 5.00.
Rancho falls to division-leading Storm 5-2 (San Diego)
The Quakes fell behind Lake Elsinore early and were unable to recover, falling into a tie for the worst record in the California League in the second half at 28-35.
Francisco Rodriguez struggled badly with his control, walking a season-high six hitters and uncorking a wild pitch in only 4.2 innings of work. The 23-year-old had made it through at least five innings in nine of his previous 10 outings, but got the hook after walking four straight hitters to push in a run. After giving up four runs on Monday, Rodriguez is now 0-4 against the Storm this year, posting a 7.25 in 22.1 innings against them.
Shortstop Hainley Statia picked up his fourth two-hit game in 12 contests since moving up from Cedar Rapids. The switch-hitter sports a .275 average through his first 40 at-bats, walking five times to bolster his on-base percentage.
Kernels let one slip away to Burlington 4-3 (Kansas City)
A night after their marathon victory over Beloit, the Kernels once again took a tie to the ninth inning, but were unable to push the game into extra innings after the Bees pushed across a run in the top of the frame.
With the bullpen depleted, starter Anthony Ortega turned in a solid – and, more importantly, long – outing for the Kernels, giving up three runs, just one earned, on six hits over eight innings. The start, which was Ortega's longest appearance of the year, included five strikeouts, but Ortega walked three more as well. In 60.2 Midwest League innings, Ortega, who turned 21 last week, has allowed 25 free passes.
With closer Ryan Aldridge now in the California League, the Kernels turned to Dan Hawkins to try to maintain the tie in the ninth inning, but he was unable to do it, giving up a run on a hit, two walks and a hit batter. Hawkins, who picked up his only save in his second appearance of the year, has allowed the opponent to score in nine of his 19 games for the Kernels this year, but has given up only two runs in the last 8.2 innings.
Orem hand game to Great Falls 5-3 (White Sox)
Three errors by the Owlz pushed across a trio of White Sox runs in the third inning and Orem could never get closer than one run again after that, failing to take advantage of an Ogden loss and maintaining a one-game lead in the division.
Shortstop Ryan Mount had two of the club's three extra-base hits in the contest, smacking a triple to open the game and a one-out double in the sixth. He came across to score a pair of runs, extending his team-leading total to 47, which is good for third in the league. Mount has the third-highest slugging percentage on the time while hitting primarily in the leadoff spot for the Owlz.
Tyler Johnson plated the other Orem run with his eighth homer of the season in the second inning. The athletic 20-year-old, who is now tied with Mount for the team lead, has had six blasts in August despite hitting just .221 in the month. Strangely, the solo shot was his first of the year while playing in the field; he struck for all seven others as the designated hitter.
AZL Angels have the night off
With the Angels getting the night off in the Arizona League, the Padres and Royals both pounded their opponents to close the race for the second-half championship to one game. All three teams have two contests remaining with the Padres and Angels squaring off in the final game of the season on Wednesday.