Road Warriors: Sacramento Continues Fast Start
The Sacramento River Cats have started their season on a roadtrip, but that hasn't prevented them from dominating in the early going this season. After taking three of four games versus the Las Vegas 51s, Sacramento won game one of their series versus the Tucson Padres by a score of 5-4.
Before the game, the Oakland A's activated first baseman Daric Barton off of the disabled list. Barton had been playing first base for the River Cats as part of a rehab assignment. With Barton back in Oakland, Chris Carter was able to resume his normal place at first. He responded with a big game offensively, doubling twice in four at-bats and driving in three runs. Carter is batting .421 over the first five games of the season.
Veterans Jeff Fiorentino and Adam Rosales added two hits a piece, and Wes Timmons scored twice and stole two bases. Derek Norris added his third double in his fourth game of the season. He also has two homeruns. Grant Green went 0-for-4 at the plate, but he did contribute with the glove, recording an outfield assist from centerfield.
Lefty Fabio Castro got the start for Sacramento and he allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in four innings. Justin Souza earned the win with two strong innings of relief. He allowed only a hit and struck-out one. Evan Scribner allowed a solo homerun, but was otherwise effective in two innings of work. He didn't walk a batter and he struck-out two.
Neil Wagner came on in the ninth inning with a two-run lead. After striking out Daniel Robertson, he allowed a single to Sawyer Carroll and a triple to Brad Davis to shrink the lead to one run. Wagner was able to escape with the save, however, when he got Beamer Weems to line-out to short and he then struck-out Anthony Contreras to end the game. It was Wagner's first save of the save.
Midland Rebounds With Win Behind Daley Gem
A day after being blown-out by the Springfield Cardinals, the Midland Rockhounds picked up a win in game two of the series, defeating the Cardinals, 5-4. Gary Daley, Jr. was brilliant in his first start of 2012, limiting his original organization to two hits and two walks in six shutout innings. He struck-out four.
Daley's strong effort was almost wasted by a Cardinals' comeback, however. Springfield scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh off of sidearmer Paul Smyth, who allowed a three-run homer to number nine hitter Rainel Rosario. Trey Barham worked around two walks and a hit to record the final out of the seventh and the first two outs of the eighth.
Jonathan Ortiz came on with two-on and two-outs in the eighth. He struck-out Audy Perez to end that threat. Ortiz didn't have an easy ninth inning, however. After recording two quick outs, Ortiz allowed a solo homerun to Kolten Wong to cut the 'Hounds' lead to 5-4. Ortiz then allowed a double to Oscar Taveras before inducing an Xavier Scruggs' ground-out to end the game.
Offensively, Midland was quiet until sixth inning, netting only an RBI single from Leonardo Gil until that inning. The Rockhounds extended their lead in dramatic fashion in the sixth. Midland loaded the bases with one-out when Dusty Coleman came to the plate, hitless on the season. He picked a good time to collect his first knock, cracking an opposite-field grandslam to right to give Midland the 5-0 lead. Coleman struck-out in his other three at-bats and has 11 strike-outs in 14 at-bats this season. The homerun broke a streak of two straight games where Coleman struck-out in all of his at-bats.
Lead-off hitter Conner Crumbliss continued his hot start with a two-for-four with one walk night. One of the hits was a double and he stole two bases. The utilityman, who was at second base on Monday, has four extra-base hits, four stolen bases and five walks over his first five games this season. April was Crumbliss' worst month last year.
Stockton Stumbles Versus Bakersfield
After a strong first series versus the Lake Elsinore Storm, the Stockton Ports struggled during game one of their set with the Bakersfield Blaze, losing 10-4. Josh Bowman was roughed up in his California League debut, allowing seven runs (six earned) in 3.1 innings. Reliever Arnold Leon also had a difficult outing, allowing four hits and three runs (two earned) in two-thirds of an inning in his second outing of the season.
Offensively, the Ports were relatively quiet, collecting only eight hits and walking only once. Miles Head and Max Stassi each homered for the first time this season, but both were solo shots. The homerun for Stassi saved what was otherwise a difficult evening during which the catcher struck-out three times and had a passed ball.
A.J. Kirby-Jones was the highlight for Stockton. Batting eighth, Kirby-Jones had three hits, including a double. He is six-for-his-first-12 and may be the most powerful number eight hitter in the California League. Over his first two professional seasons, Kirby-Jones homered 27 times in 169 games.
Although Bowman and Leon struggled, Stockton relievers Nathan Long and Connor Hoehn turned in solid efforts. Long tossed 2.2 scoreless innings, walking two, but striking out three and allowing only one hit. Hoehn threw 1.1 perfect innings, striking out a batter. Stockton pitchers combined to strike-out highly regarded Reds' prospect Yorman Rodriguez five times in five at-bats.
Burlington Drops Home Opener
The Burlington Bees were unable to secure a win for the hometown fans in their season opener on Monday night, dropping their game against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers by a score of 6-2.
Raul Alcantara and Max Perlman were the tandem starters for Monday's game. Alcantara, making his A's organizational debut, pitched around trouble for most of his four innings of work. He allowed two runs (both in the first inning) on six hits and two walks and he struck-out two.
Alcantara gave way to Perlman in the fifth and the Harvard alum had a rough first inning of his 2012 season. The tall right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) in the fifth inning, an inning made worse by Perlman's own throwing error. He settled down after that, tossing three scoreless innings to finish with a line of four runs (three earned) on four hits in four innings. He walked none and struck-out two and was hung with the loss. Chaz Mye recovered from disastrous first outing of the season (four runs allowed in one inning) to pitch a scoreless ninth on Monday.
The Bees didn't generate much offense outside of the efforts of centerfielder Bobby Crocker. Crocker came into the game hitless in six at-bats, but he turned that around in a hurry. In four at-bats on Monday, Crocker had three hits and he scored a run. Outside of Crocker, Burlington managed only four other hits and three walks. Crocker also recorded an outfield assist.