Oakland A's MLN: Pitching Dominates The Night

Over the past 15 years, great pitching is what has defined the Oakland A's. That tradition is alive and well with the A's major league team in 2011, and it is also going strong at the minor league level. On Thursday night, the A's four minor league affiliates were all victorious and all four received dominant performances from their starting pitchers. We have the details inside...

Griffin Flirts With History In Win

Burlington Bees right-hander A.J. Griffin was an All-Star closer in 2010 for the Vancouver Canadians. He is well on his way to earning All-Star honors for the Bees in 2011 as a starting pitcher. After striking out 10 in his first start of the season, Griffin topped that effort with another gem on Thursday night.

Griffin came within five outs of pitching a nine-inning no-hitter. He settled for a sparkling line of 7.2 scoreless innings. Griffin allowed only one hit - a single - and he struck-out nine while walking two. He earned the win in the Bees' 5-1 victory over the Peoria Chiefs.

Griffin, the A's 2010 13th-round pick, is making quick work of Midwest League batters this season. In 13.2 innings, Griffin has allowed only two runs on four hits and three walks while striking out 19.

The Bees gave Griffin all of the offense he would need in the second inning, when they scored all five of their runs. The big hit was a two-run double by John Nester. Nino Leyja also had a two-run single in the inning.

Royce Consigli continued his hot start to the season with two hits in three at-bats. Consigli has had multi-hit games in five of the seven games he has played this season. The outfielder is batting .462 in 26 at-bats. He also drew his first walk of the season in the game.

Drew Tyson allowed back-to-back doubles to start the ninth inning, but he retired the next three batters to secure the 5-1 win. The Bees are now 6-2 on the season.

Hernandez, Midland Bullpen Spin A Gem

The Bees weren't the only team close to history on Thursday. The Midland Rockhounds' pitching staff tossed a one-hitter in their 3-0 victory over the Arkansas Travelers.

Starter Carlos Hernandez led the way for Midland on the mound. The left-hander breezed through 5.2 innings. He allowed only one hit and one walk and he struck-out seven. Hernandez moved to 2-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 1.54. He has struck-out 12 and walked only two in 11.2 innings this season.

Hernandez got some help from his bullpen mates, Neil Wagner and Jared Lansford. Wagner took over in the sixth with two-outs. He struck-out the first batter he faced and tossed two more perfect innings before giving way to Lansford in the ninth. Lansford worked a mostly stress-free inning, allowing only a walk to top prospect Mike Trout. Lansford earned his first save of the season.

For the second time this season, the Rockhounds took advantage of 2010 teammate Daniel Sattler. Sattler allowed four runs in two innings against the 'Hounds on Opening Night and he didn't fare much better on Thursday. He came into a scoreless game in the sixth inning and promptly allowed three runs on three walks and two hits in two-thirds of an inning. He also made an error on a pick-off attempt and threw a wild pitch.

Michael Spina had an RBI single and Matt Sulentic had an RBI walk. The third run scored on Petey Paramore's RBI groundout.

The Rockhounds moved to 6-1 on the season.

River Cats Work Overtime For Win

The day after losing a heart-breaker, the Sacramento River Cats' offense was quiet but their pitching was so good that they were able to eek out a win in 11 innings, 2-1, over the Las Vegas 51s.

Sacramento starter Guillermo Moscoso put together his second impressive outing of the season. He tossed six scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk and striking out three. Moscoso has allowed only one run on eight hits in 11 innings this season.

When Moscoso exited the game, the River Cats were clinging to a 1-0 lead. That lead would evaporate in the seventh inning when the 51s would string a walk and two hits together to score a run off of reliever Gabe DeHoyos. The inning could have been worse, but DeHoyos got a strike-em-out/throw-em-out double-play to end the inning.

Neither team would score again until the 11th inning. Sacramento relievers Danny Farquhar and Joe Bateman each tossed two scoreless innings. Bateman would end up as the winning pitcher.

The River Cats' winning rally started when Steven Tolleson was hit by a pitch from former major league closer Chad Cordero. Chris Carter nearly ended the game with the next at-bat, flying out to deep centerfield. Matt Carson would follow with a single that moved Tolleson to third and then Anthony Recker connected on the game-winning sacrifice fly.

Sacramento is now 3-5 on the season.

Stockton Wins Home Opener

The Stockton Ports put on a good show for more than 4,000 fans at their home opener at Banner Island Ballpark. Backed by an outstanding pitching performance by starter Robert Gilliam, the Ports beat the Modesto Nuts to move to 5-3 on the season.

Gilliam moved to 2-0 on the season with seven strong innings. The hard-throwing right-hander scattered three hits and one walk over seven innings. He allowed only one run and he struck-out seven.

Rockies top prospect Tyler Matzek got the start for the Nuts. He allowed only two hits and one run, but he lasted only 3.1 innings thanks to spotty command. Matzek struck-out five, but he walked four.

The game was knotted at 1 in the bottom of the sixth when Anthony Aliotti came up with the bases loaded and two-outs. He dropped a two-RBI single in front of the centerfielder to give the Ports a 3-1 lead they wouldn't relinquish.

Bo Schultz and Connor Hoehn worked scoreless innings in relief to close out the win for the Ports. Hoehn struck-out the side and earned his first save of the season.

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