The Burlington Bees moved one step closer to securing a spot in the playoffs with a come-from-behind 7-6 win over the Kane County Cougars. The Bees now have a three-game lead over the Cougars for the final Midwest League playoff spot with eight games left in the regular season schedule. The Bees have two more games versus the Cougars this week.
Sunday's game was a back-and-forth affair. Burlington jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Newcomer Sam Roberts had the big hit in the inning, smashing a two-run triple. He would then score the third run of the inning on a Nick Rickles RBI groundout.
Starter Chris Lamb cruised through the first four innings for the Bees but ran into trouble in the fifth inning, when he allowed two runs. He would then allow the first three runners of the sixth inning to reach before being relieved. All three runners would eventually score, leaving Lamb with a line of five runs allowed (four earned) on five hits and one walk with five strike-outs in five-plus innings. Drew Tyson had a rough outing in relief of Lamb, walking all three batters he faced.
Nate Eppley was able to stop the bleeding for the Bees, however. He came into the game with the bases loaded and allowed only one run to score. Eppley would eventually work two scoreless innings, giving up only a hit. He was aided by a nice play from shortstop Addison Russell, who threw out a runner at the plate on fielder's choice.
The Bees entered the bottom of the sixth down 6-3, but they quickly got themselves back into the game with a "walking rally." Michael Fabiaschi, Aaron Shipman, Russell and Max Muncy walked to start the inning. Then Bobby Crocker singled home the second run of the inning. After Douglas Landaeta and Rashun Dixon were retired, Roberts picked up his second big hit of the night. He singled and two runs scored (one run was credited to Roberts and the second run was ruled unearned thanks to a fielding error by left-fielder Julio Aparicio).
That 7-6 advantage would hold up for the Bees thanks to the relief efforts of Eppley and Jose Macias. Macias, the Bees' closer of late, took over for Eppley in the eight and tossed two scoreless frames to earn his eighth save of the season. He allowed three hits but didn't walk a batter and he struck-out two.
In addition to Roberts, Muncy had a big game at the plate for the Bees. The A's 2012 fifth-round pick had three hits, two of which were doubles. He has a 782 OPS for the Bees and has walked more than he has struck-out (35 walks to 32 strike-outs). Muncy has an 805 OPS in August.
Other News and Notes
- Stockton first-baseman A.J. Kirby-Jones hit his 21st homerun of the season on Saturday and has moved into a tie for 10th place in the California League. Kirby-Jones has an 849 OPS, which is 16th-best in the league. He has homered seven times this month and has a 944 OPS in August. It has been an excellent recovery month for Kirby-Jones, who struggled badly in July, posting a 499 OPS.
- The A's currently have four minor league players who have reached the 20-homer plateau this season. All four of those players have spent at least one half of the season with the Stockton Ports. Dusty Robinson leads the organization with 24 homers, followed by Miles Head (23), Kirby-Jones (21) and Whitaker (20).
- Stockton catcher Max Stassi has been out since August 9th with a strained oblique. The team is hopeful that Stassi will be able to return to action for a game or two before the end of the season. He is batting .268/.331/.468 with 15 homers in 84 games.
- The Midland Rockhounds dropped both ends of a double-header on Sunday. The double-header was a result of a rainout on Saturday. The Rockhounds dropped game one by a 4-2 score and game two by an 11-4 score.
- Although the Rockhounds have been struggling lately (losers of six of their last eight games), newcomer David Freitas has been off to a good start. The catcher acquired from the Washington Nationals in the Kurt Suzuki trade is batting .341 with an 823 OPS in 14 games with the Rockhounds.
- The Arizona A's lost, 5-2, to the Arizona Cubs on Sunday in what is likely to be a post-season preview. The A's Rookie League club has already clinched a spot in the Arizona League playoffs and have a 36-16 record. The A's lead the league in team OPS (853 OPS).
- On Sunday, Michael Ynoa had his worst start of the season. The Vermont Lake Monsters' right-hander allowed eight runs on four hits and four walks in 1.1 innings. Ynoa had been coming off of his best outing as a pro, when he tossed 2.2 scoreless innings. In that outing, he walked two and struck-out five. On the year, Ynoa has an 8.03 ERA and a 19:24 K:BB ratio in 24.2 innings for the Arizona A's and the Lake Monsters.
- Seth Streich, Tucker Healy and Omar Duran were solid in relief of Ynoa. Streich had 2.2 scoreless innings. He struck-out five and walked only one in his outing. Streich has a 43:13 K:BB ratio in 31.1 innings as a pro. Healy allowed a run in two innings of work, despite not allowing a hit. Healy has given up only two runs over his last 15.2 innings of work. He has a 22:6 K:BB ratio over that span. Duran had two more strike-outs in his two scoreless innings of work, although he also walked two. Duran now has 32 strike-outs in 16.2 innings for the Lake Monsters, but he has walked 13. He has also allowed only two hits.
- Jemile Weeks had two more hits and a walk on Sunday for the Sacramento River Cats. Since being demoted by the A's, Weeks has seven hits in 12 at-bats with three walks. He has three RBIs and has started all three games at second base, with Grant Green either DHing or playing in the outfield.
- Brad Peacock had his first poor outing in more than a month in the River Cats' 4-2 loss to the Salt Lake Bees on Sunday night. He lasted only 4.2 innings, walking four and striking out four while allowing three runs. Peacock threw 91 pitches in the outing. Outfielder Michael Taylor had a good game in the loss. He went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and his 18th stolen base of the season. Collin Cowgill also had two hits and rehabbing A's third baseman Brandon Inge had a double in three at-bats and he walked twice.