Griffin Struggles But River Cats Roll
Rehabbing A's starter A.J. Griffin had a rough outing in his first rehab appearance for the River Cats, but Sacramento cruised to a 9-4 victory over Salt Lake.
Griffin struck-out the side in his first inning of work, but it took two spectacular defensive plays to keep the Bees off of the scoreboard in his second inning and he allowed three runs in only a third of an inning in the following frame to finish with three runs allowed in 2.1 innings of work. He allowed four hits and three walks and he struck-out four while tossing 60 pitches. Griffin is expected to make at least one more rehab start before being activated by the A's.
Reliever James Simmons earned the win with 2.2 solid innings of work. The former first-round pick allowed two hits and two walks but didn't allow a run. He struck-out two. Simmons lowered his Triple-A ERA to 0.84 (10.2 innings). It has been a solid season for Simmons, who missed the entire 2010 campaign and the first few months of the 2011 season recovering from a shoulder injury.
Pedro Figueroa allowed a run in two innings of work and Arnold Leon struck-out three in two hitless innings. Leon, a 2010 Tommy John survivor, has 70 strike-outs in 61.2 innings spread over three levels in his first full season back after the surgery.
The River Cats received plenty of offense in the game, pounding out 10 hits and nine runs. Kila Ka'aihue (14) and Brandon Hicks (17) each went deep and drove-in three runs for Sacramento. Daric Barton had two RBIs before being ejected in the eighth inning.
Shane Peterson continued his assault on Triple-A pitching on Wednesday. He went 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored in the game. Peterson is batting .392 with an 1118 OPS in 102 at-bats with the River Cats. Over his last two games, Peterson has reached base eight times.
The A's promoted Sacramento starter Tyson Ross to the big leagues to take Bartolo Colon's spot in the rotation. Ross will start for the A's on Thursday in the first game of a crucial series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Colon was suspended on Wednesday for 50 games after failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs. Ross has pitched well for Sacramento since the All-Star break. He has 44 strike-outs in 46.2 innings and a 3.09 ERA. Pacific Coast League batters were hitting only .222 against him.
The River Cats' magic number to clinch their sixth consecutive division title is now at six.
Midland Drops A Tight One To The Hooks
Anthony Aliotti cracked his 10th homerun of the season, but the Midland Rockhounds fell to the Corpus Christi Hooks by a score of 4-2 on Wednesday night. Aliotti is now one homer shy of matching his career-high, which he achieved last season with High-A Stockton. The first-baseman currently has career-highs in batting average (.292), slugging (.434) and OPS (818).
Josh Horton had two hits and Conner Crumbliss added a double and walk in the loss. It was the third consecutive start that Horton has had in which he collected two hits. He is six-for-his-last 12 and is batting .277 on the year and .330 since the All-Star break. Crumbliss is batting .353 over his last 10 games with a 1345 OPS.
Murphy Smith struck-out five in 5.2 innings but also allowed four runs and was hung with the loss. Paul Smyth tossed 2.1 scoreless innings in relief of Smith. Smyth has a 1.64 ERA in August (11 innings pitched).
The Rockhounds are sitting on an elimination number of one for the post-season.
Ports Nearly Blanked By Nuts
Rockies prospect Tyler Matzek dominated the Stockton Ports on Wednesday night, striking out 10 in seven shutout innings. The Ports scored a run in the ninth inning to prevent being shutout, but lost by a score of 5-1.
Ryan Ortiz was the lone offensive force for the Ports. Ortiz had three hits and an RBI. He raised his Stockton batting average from .236 to .258 with the effort. Dusty Robinson was the only other Ports' hitter to collect a base-knock. Robinson is the organizational leader in homeruns with 24.
Stockton starter Jacob Brown had five strike-outs but he allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings. Jeff Urlaub took over for Brown and was brilliant in three innings of work. The lefty struck-out six of the nine batters he faced in three perfect frames.
Bees Drop Game To Clinton, Still In Playoff Position
The Burlington Bees lost, 5-1, on Wednesday night but still maintain a solid lead for the final playoff spot with 12 games to play. The Bees managed only four hits in the loss.
Staff ace Drew Granier struck-out seven in 5.1 innings, but he was undone by three homeruns. He allowed five earned runs and walked two. Granier has a 146:51 K:BB ratio in 150.2 innings for the Bees this season. He has a 3.11 ERA and a team-best 11 wins. No other Bees' pitcher has more than six wins.
A's 2012 top pick Addison Russell had a tough night, going 0-for-4 with three strike-outs, although he did drive-in the only Burlington run of the game. Russell had three hits on Tuesday night and is batting .250 in five games with the Bees thus far. For the season, Russell has a .377/.439/.611 line in 44 games between three levels (Rookie level, short-season A and Low-A).
Nate Eppley threw two scoreless innings in relief with two strike-outs. It was a positive outing for the right-hander, who had allowed 10 runs in his previous five innings.
On Monday, the Bees lost starting shortstop Sean Jamieson when the A's traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Stephen Drew. Jamieson's spot on the Bees' roster was taken on Wednesday by Sam Roberts, who was promoted from short-season Vermont. Roberts had 17 walks in 17 games for the Lake Monsters and a .424 OBP.
Lake Monsters Blanked By Staten Island
Vermont managed only eight hits in a 2-0 loss to the Staten Island Yankees on Wednesday night. Chris Bostick and Bruce Maxwell had two hits each, but it wasn't enough for the Lake Monsters to get on the scoreboard. J.C. Menna pitched well in five innings of work, but he was hung with a tough-luck loss. It was his eighth loss of the season.
Tucker Healy and Stuart Pudenz were solid in relief of Menna. Both have been strike-out machines for Vermont. Healy has 38 strike-outs in 24.1 innings this season, while Pudenz has 31 strike-outs in 24.1 innings.
Vermont has already been eliminated from the post-season.
A's Washed Out In The Desert
The A's Rookie League squad was unable to build on its league-best record thanks to a rare weather-related cancellation in the desert. The A's were scheduled to take on the Dodgers, but heavy rains the night before rendered the Camwlback Ranch playing surface unplayable. The A's are 35-14 on the year.
The A's third-overall pick this season Matt Olson has been hot for the A's lately. He has an eight-game hitting streak. During that stretch, he has three homers and 10 RBIs. He leads the team in homers (8) and RBIs (39). On the year, he is batting .295/.364/.558.
On Tuesday, A's 2011 eighth-round pick Colin O'Connell made his professional debut. He tossed a scoreless inning for the AZL A's, striking otu one and allowing two hits. O'Connell had been on the 60-day DL all season until making his first appearance on Tuesday.