Tuesday's Houston Astros Minor League Standouts

A look at some of the standout performances from Tuesday's action on the Astros farm

The Houston Astros dropped the first game of their three-game set with the reigning Silver Boot champion (and AL West champion) Texas Rangers on Tuesday night, 7-5. If the team's slow start continues to fester, it may not be a long time before we see some reinforcements on the 25-man roster. With that in mind we take a look at some of the standouts from yesterday's action. 

Fresno Grizzlies (Tacos)

Taco Tuesday means that Fresno changes their name to the Tacos for home games to capitalize on what was one of the most well-received promotions of the 2015 season, the Taco Truck Throwdown. 

The Grizzlies won the first game of a four-game series with the 10-3 Salt Lake Bees (Angels) by shutting them out 3-0 behind another stellar outing from Tommy Shirley (2-0, 0.00). Shirley went 6 innings, allowing six hits and a walk while striking out three to improve his record to 2-0 on the year. With two starts under his belt, Shirley has combined to toss 11 shutout innings, allowing just nine hits and two walks in that time, striking out seven. As the starter's pitch counts expand as the season goes on (the affiliates are keeping their starters close to 80 pitches for the first month), Shirley should be able to work even deeper into games. 

The 27-year-old lefty was taken in the 9th round of the 2010 draft and has been in Triple-A for at least parts of the last three seasons, but has yet to make his Major League debut. When Shirley first arrived in Triple-A with Oklahoma City in 2014 (before the Astros switched their affiliate to Fresno), he was being used primarily as a reliever, while in 2015 he was used both as a starter and out of the bullpen. The two start stretch is the first time since his promotion to Triple-A that he has thrown consecutive scoreless starts, and he has had consecutive scoreless outings (with at least one being as a starter) just once, working 5 innings as a starter and another as a reliever in early May of last year. 

One of the better bullpen options on the farm, 29-year-old James Hoyt, who like Shirley has yet to make his big league debut, allowed a walk in the 9th before sealing his third save of the year. 

Colin Moran hit cleanup and went 2-for-4 with an rbi to continue his hot start. He is now batting .342 and has recorded a hit in 9 of Fresno's first 10 games. The run batted in gives him nine on the year, tying him for second on the team with offseason Minor League signee Danny Worth and putting him two behind A.J. Reed

Fresno is now 6-5, 2.5 games behind the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners) in the PCL Pacific Northern division and are riding a two-game win streak. 

Corpus Christi Hooks

The Hooks five-game winning streak came to an end yesterday afternoon as the Springfield Cardinals took the final game of the three game series 6-3. Keegan Yuhl got the start for Corpus Christi, his first in seven days, and allowed five runs in 4.2 innings. Coming in to Tuesday's game Yuhl had allowed just one run in 8.2 frames. The 5th inning was his undoing this game. After retiring the first batter, he plunked Paul DeJong, and allowed a single to Jesse Jenner before walking C.J. McElroy, loading the bases. Yuhl would get the second out on the next batter via the strikeout, but a bases clearing double and a bunt single would spell the end for Yuhl's day. 

Joe Musgrove came on in relief with a man on and allowed a homer to the first batter he faced. That is the first home run, and the first run overall that Musgrove has allowed this season. His ERA still sits at a cool 0.73 through 12.1 innings of work, which included Tuesday's 3.1 innings in which he allowed just three hits, no walks, and struck out four. He threw a total of 37 pitches, 31 of which were strikes, so it seems safe to say that he didn't even come close to walking anyone. 

Offensively, Jack Mayfield, Conrad Gregor and J.D. Davis drove in the Hooks' three runs. Davis also went 3-for-4 with a walk--his second consecutive multi-hit game--raising his batting average by over .100 points in the last two days. 

While he didn't drive in a run, Teoscar Hernandez did go 2-for-4 with a walk and a pair of strikeouts. In the early going Hernandez is batting .304, thanks in large part to an eight game hit streak which includes six multi-hit games. This is significant because through 11 games last season at the same level, Hernandez was batting just .143, finishing the year with a .219 average. It took him until May 23 to record as many multi-hit games as he has already this season. Alex Bregman did not play in this game, so he will have to wait to extend his 11-game hit streak.

The Hooks are now 8-4 and a game behind the Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers) in the Texas League South division. 

Lancaster JetHawks

The JetHawks' rough season continued last night as they dropped their second consecutive game to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers), and third in a row. Starter Elieser Hernandez, a standout a year ago with Tri-City and Quad Cities, was roughed up for a second consecutive outing, going just 1.2 innings and allowing six runs on six hits and two walks, striking out one. His ERA this season stands at 14.29 after allowing 10 runs (9 earned) on 15 hits in 5.2 innings. Last night it was the long ball that hurt Hernandez as he allowed a two-run shot and a pair of solo homers, all in the first frame. 

On the bright side, Ryan Thompson came on in relief in the fifth inning and wouldn't allow an earned run, totaling 3.2 innings and giving up just three hits and recording three punch-outs to lower his ERA on the year to 2.84.

Ramon Laureano went 2-for-3 with three rbi, giving him six on the season, and Nick Tanielu brought home two of his own with a fifth inning single. Both players have six rbi on the season, which are the most on the team. 

Lancaster is 4-6 after the loss and is in 4th place in the California League South, 3.5 games out of 1st. 

Quad Cities River Bandits

The Bandits snapped a five-game losing streak Tuesday afternoon with a 4-2 victory to even their series with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at a game apiece. Jose Hernandez struck out six in 4.2 innings of one-run ball, followed by 1.1 innings by Adam Whitt who allowed a run but earned the win. Ralpha Garza came on in the 7th inning and worked a three inning save, his first of the season. Garza would allow just one hit and recorded one strikeout in his time on the bump. 

Whitt was roughed up in his first outing of the season, allowing four runs in two-thirds of an inning, but since then he has combined to five innings, allowing three runs. Two of those runs came in his next outing, but in his last 3.1 innings he has allowed just two hits, two walks and one run. For Garza, it's the first save in his first save opportunity of his pro career. 

Kyle Tucker went 1-for-5 with a triple and would later score on a fielding error to give Quad Cities an insurance run. Dexture McCall set the table with a 3-for-4 outing from the 5th spot in the lineup and would come around to score twice. The first of those runs came on second baseman Aaron Mizell's first home run of the season, which gave the Bandits a 2-1 lead in the 4th. Mizell finished the day 2-for-4 with two rbi, giving him three on the season.

The rubber match in the series is set for Wednesday at 6:35 as Quad Cities look for their second series win of the young season. They are currently 3-10 and are already 5.5 games back of 1st. 

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