Oakland A's MLN: Almost Perfect

Last season, Dallas Braden made history by tossing a perfect game on Mother's Day. This year, the Oakland A's didn't make any history, but the organization was one win away from a perfect sweep on Mother's Day. We have news and notes from around the organization inside...

A's Organizations Falls One Win Short of Clean Sweep

The Stockton Ports were the only team within the Oakland A's organization to lose on Sunday. Great pitching once again ruled the day for the A's from the major leagues down through Low-A.

In the big leagues, Tyson Ross continued to make a case for a permanent spot in the A's rotation with another strong start. Facing the highest scoring offense in the American League, Ross breezed through five innings before running into trouble in the sixth.

Ross completed his start with a line of six innings pitched with two runs allowed on six hits and three walks. He struck-out four. Ross earned his second win to move to 2-2 and he lowered his ERA to 2.51. He threw only 89 pitches.

Backing Ross were Michael Wuertz, Grant Balfour and Brian Fuentes who each threw a scoreless inning in relief. Wuertz has yet to allow a run in 7.1 innings this season. He has given up only one hit and three walks and he has struck-out eight.

Kevin Kouzmanoff and Kurt Suzuki each hit solo homers and Conor Jackson raised his average to .291 with three hits in five at-bats. The A's are now 18-17 and two games back of the Los Angeles Angels for first place in the American League West.

In Sacramento, the red-hot River Cats moved their record to 20-11 with a 5-3 win over Colorado Springs. Matt Carson hit a tie-breaking homerun and Wes Timmons had three hits to lead the River Cats' offense.

Bobby Cramer got the start and he lasted 4.2 innings, his longest outing since returning to Triple-A and the starting rotation. Cramer was charged with two runs on four hits. He struck-out three and walked one. Cramer has 13 strike-outs and four walks in 10.1 innings for Sacramento.

The River Cats had 13 hits, with Timmons, Jemile Weeks, Shane Peterson and Josh Horton turning in multi-hit games. Weeks returned to action on Friday after missing a week of games with a bruised hamstring. He has three hits in eight at-bats since returning and he has a 1102 OPS over his last 10 games. Weeks' OPS is 982 for the season.

Timmons is also back from injury, having missed three weeks with a sprained ankle. He returned to action on Saturday. Peterson, on the River Cats' roster in the place of the injured Chris Carter, raised his Triple-A average to .300 with his two hits. Between Double-A Midland and Sacramento, Peterson has a .408 OBP in 28 games.

Joey Devine earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning. Devine has been nearly flawless since making his season debut on April 21. In 9.1 innings, Devine has allowed only four hits and one unearned run. He hasn't walked a batter and he has struck-out 13. Although the A's bullpen is well-stocked, he could force his way onto the big league roster soon if he continues to pitch as he is currently.

The Midland Rockhounds needed some ninth inning magic to move their record to 15-15 on the season. Kent Walton singled home Stephen Parker with one out in the bottom of the ninth to send the 'Hounds home winners over the Frisco RoughRiders, 2-1, on Mother's Day. Walton and Matt Sulentic led the Rockhounds' offense with two hits apiece.

Although he didn't factor in the decision, Ethan Hollingsworth was the story of the day for Midland. The right-hander, acquired for Clayton Mortensen this off-season, pitched a season-high eight innings. He allowed one run on three hits. Hollingsworth struck-out six and walked only one. The Western Michigan alum has a 3.97 ERA in 34 innings with a 21:7 K:BB ratio this season.

Paul Smyth earned the win after pitching a scoreless ninth inning. He struck-out two. The scoreless outing broke a string of five outings during which Smyth allowed at least one run. Despite that streak, Smyth has a 3.57 ERA. He has walked an uncharacteristic nine batters in 17.2 innings, but he has struck-out 24 this season.

Smyth's 2010 team, the Stockton Ports, were unable to pull out a win on their last game of a seven-game roadtrip. Despite the loss, it was a successful trip down south for the Ports, who went 5-2. The Ports are 20-11 and they have a one game lead over San Jose heading into their off-day on Monday.

On Sunday, the Ports dropped a 4-0 decision to the Lake Elsinore Storm. Fabian Williamson had a decent start, allowing four runs on eight hits in six innings, but he received no support from his offense. Stockton managed seven hits but couldn't push a run across. Rashun Dixon had two doubles and Michael Gilmartin had two singles to pace the Ports' offense.

The Burlington Bees moved their record to an impressive 22-7 with a 5-2 win over the Clinton Lumberkings. Burlington holds a 2.5 game lead in the Western Division. The Bees have won four straight and seven of eight.

Jacob Brown moved to 4-0 with a strong six innings. He allowed only two unearned runs on six hits. He didn't walk a batter and he struck-out six. Brown has struck-out 30 and walked only three in 36.1 innings this season. His ERA is 1.24.

Chris Mederos earned his fourth save with 1.2 scoreless innings. Mederos, like Brown, is an alum of Georgia Southern University. The right-handed Mederos was a starter for Low-A Kane County last season, but he has made a successful move to the bullpen. In 18 innings this season, he has allowed only eight hits and three walks and he has struck-out 24.

The Bees had 10 hits, led by first-baseman Josh Whitaker's three-hit game. Tyreace House and Royce Consigli each had two hits.

News and Notes

- The Stockton Ports' bullpen received a makeover over the weekend, with Brett Hunter and Ben Hornbeck joining the team from extended spring training and Max Peterson and Connor Hoehn landing on the disabled list. Both Hunter and Hornbeck spent significant time with Stockton last season.

- The Midland Rockhounds' bullpen also saw a wave of changes this weekend. John Meloan and Justin Souza joined the team from extended spring training. Both relievers are coming off of significant arm surgeries. Meloan had Tommy John surgery last April, while Souza had surgery to repair a fractured elbow last summer. Souza allowed a run in one inning in his debut on Saturday. Meloan has yet to debut.

- Leaving the Midland bullpen was right-hander Fautino De Los Santos, who was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento on Thursday. The hard-throwing reliever has made two appearances since his promotion. He hasn't allowed a run in two innings. De Los Santos has allowed a hit and two walks while striking out two.

- De Los Santos took Mitch Canham's spot on the Sacramento roster. Canham landed on the disabled list. Starter Graham Godfrey also landed on the disabled list this week for Sacramento. Godfrey landed on the DL a day after moving to 4-0 when he struck-out seven in six innings of one-run ball. Timmons took Godfrey's place on the roster when he was activated from the disabled list.

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