Oakland A's MLN: First-Class Pitching

Pitching was the name of the game around the Oakland A's minor league system on Tuesday night, although that stellar pitching didn't always lead to wins. We have the details of all of Tuesday's action...

Krol Rebounds, But Ports Shut-Out

Ian Krol's 2012 debut was less-than-stellar, but the left-hander made up for it in a big way in his second outing for the Stockton Ports. On Tuesday, Krol reminded everyone why he was one of the top pitchers in Midwest League in 2010. Krol was nearly perfect against Lake Elsinore, although his one mistake would wind-up costing him a win.

In six innings, Krol allowed only two base-runners. One came on a hit-by-pitch and that runner was almost immediately erased by a pick-off. The second was the game-winning hit, however, as Krol allowed a solo homerun to the Storm's number nine hitter. That blemish aside, Krol was brilliant, allowing just the one hit and the HBP over six frames. He struck-out six and induced nine groundouts against only one flyout. Krol cut his ERA from 13.50 to 6.30 with the outing.

Unfortunately for Krol, the Stockton offense was quiet on Tuesday. The Ports managed only seven hits and one walk and no runs in the 2-0 loss. Rashun Dixon had two hits and Beau Taylor had a hit and a walk, representing the only two Ports to reach base more than once in the game.

Nathan Long allowed a solo homerun in two innings of relief. He struck-out two and allowed three hits in total. Jose Guzman worked a perfect ninth but the Ports weren't able to rally in the bottom of the frame despite loading the bases. The Ports' pitching staff combined to strike-out 10 and didn't issue a walk, while the Storm hurlers combined to strike-out 12 Ports and issued only one walk.

Straily Spins Gem, But 'Hounds Fall

Dan Straily continued to make the transition from High-A to Double-A look easy with another strong outing on Tuesday. Unfortunately for Straily, he found himself on the wrong side of the win-loss ledger in the 2-1 Rockhounds' loss to Springfield.

Straily worked 6.2 innings on Tuesday, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits. He walked three but struck-out 10. Straily now has 23 strike-outs and only four walks in 16.1 innings.

A.J. Huttenlocker and Jonathan Ortiz combined to toss 2.1 scoreless innings of relief, but the Rockhounds were unable to rally. Springfield pitchers allowed only four hits and three walks to Midland in the game. Josh Horton had two of the Midland hits and Shane Peterson accounted for the Rockhounds' only run of the game with a solo homer. He struck-out in his other three at-bats, however.

Sacramento Pulls Away From Tacoma Late

With Sacramento's scheduled Tuesday starter Tyson Ross recalled to Oakland, Bruce Billings was called upon from Double-A Midland to make the start on Tuesday. Billings, who had been working out of the Midland bullpen, was limited three innings of work but pitched well in those three innings. He struck-out four, walked one and allowed four hits and a run.

The River Cats would cling to a 2-1 lead until the bottom of the eighth, when they added three insurance runs. Sacramento would win the game, 5-1.

Carlos Hernandez took over for Billings in the fourth and was brilliant in his relief outing. In three innings, he allowed only two hits and no walks and he struck-out four. Hernandez earned the win. Relievers Evan Scribner and Erick Threets continued the strong pitching by combining to toss three scoreless innings. Scribner struck-out three in two innings and Threets struck-out two in his scoreless ninth inning.

Offensively, it was the Michael Taylor-Adam Rosales show for Sacramento. Taylor had two doubles and a walk in three official at-bats and Rosales had a double and a single and two key RBIs. Both hitters are off to fast starts. Taylor is now batting .429 and he has eight doubles, while Rosales is batting .341 with five doubles.

Before the game, the River Cats' roster saw a small flurry of changes, as Ross and reliever Neil Wagner were promoted to Oakland. Billings was added to the River Cats' roster from Double-A and Andrew Carignan replaced Wagner in the River Cats' bullpen after being demoted to Sacramento. There will be at least one more move coming, as outfielder Collin Cowgill will also have to be added to the Sacramento roster after being sent down to make room for Ross on the A's roster. Given the glut of outfielders on the River Cats' roster, the A's could be looking to move one of their Triple-A outfielders before adding Cowgill.

Burlington Splits Double-Header

After being rained out in Appleton, Wisconsin, on Monday, the Burlington Bees and Wisconsin Timber Rattlers split a double-header on Tuesday. Burlington took game one, 5-1, and Wisconsin edged the Bees in game two, 2-0.

Drew Granier was the story in game one for Burlington. The right-hander went the distance (minor league double-headers feature seven-inning games) allowing only an unearned run in seven innings. He struck-out seven, walked one and allowed only four hits. The game lowered his ERA to 1.69 and moved his record to 2-0.

B.A. Vollmuth broke-out of an early season slump with two hits and two RBIs in four at-bats. One of the hits was a double. Nick Rickles and Royce Consigli - batting eighth and ninth, respectively - each collected two hits and scored two runs. Sean Jamieson also had a strong game at the plate, with a double, a run scored, an RBI and two walks in one official at-bat.

Outfield prospect Aaron Shipman made his 2012 debut in the game. He went 1-for-4 with an RBI and three strike-outs. Shipman replaced reliever Nathan Kilcrease on the Bees' roster. Kilcrease was placed on the DL on Tuesday.

In game two, the Bees' offense couldn't get on-track, as they were shutout by a pair of Timber Rattlers' pitchers. Jonathan Joseph got the start for the Bees and lasted only into the fourth inning. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks. Joseph struck-out four.

Jeff Urlaub and Ryan Doolittle combined to toss 2.1 scoreless innings. Neither reliever has allowed an earned run yet this season. Doolittle struck-out two in his inning of work.

Zhi Fang Pan and John Nester each had two hits, but it wasn't enough to push a run across for Burlington.

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