River Cats Take Two From Nashville
After a tough series in Memphis, the Sacramento River Cats got back to their winning ways in Nashville this weekend, winning games on Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, it was a homecoming game for starter Sonny Gray, who pitched in front of friends and family against the Sounds. Gray, a native of Smyrna, Tennessee, pitched collegiately in Nashville for Vanderbilt and led the Commodores to the College World Series in his junior year.
Gray was a star once again on Saturday in the River Cats' 5-2 win. Although he walked five, Gray didn't allow a run in six innings. He scattered three hits and he struck-out eight. Gray is now 4-1 with a 2.19 ERA in six starts for the River Cats. He has a 33:17 K:BB ratio and he has yet to allow a homerun.
Sacramento had 12 hits on Saturday, with Scott Moore leading the way with three, including two doubles. Michael Choice, Jemile Weeks, Stephen Vogt and Grant Green each had two hits. Choice homered (his seventh) and Weeks tripled.
On Sunday, Choice went deep once again, as the River Cats earned a 6-5 win over the Sounds. Choice had two hits and a walk in the game and reached base five times on Saturday and Sunday to snap a four-game skid during which he went 0-for-16. Choice has a .284/.385/.507 line with eight homeruns and 31 RBI in 35 games this season.
Outfielder Jeremy Barfield also homered on Sunday, his first at the Triple-A level. Since his promotion to Sacramento on Thursday, Barfield has five hits in 14 at-bats. He also has a walk and two RBI. Barfield now has nine homeruns in 113 at-bats between Double-A and Triple-A this season and an OPS of 863 between the two levels.
Left-hander Andrew Werner earned the win with six strong innings of work. He allowed two solo homeruns, but those were the only runs to score against Werner. He struck-out six and walked two. In Werner's last two starts, he has allowed five runs in 12.2 innings and he has had quality starts in three of his last four outings.
Anderson Struggles in Rehab Outing For Midland
Thanks to a Saturday double-header, the Midland Rockhounds played three games on Saturday and Sunday, going 1-2 in the process against the San Antonio Missions.
On Saturday, Midland split a double-header, earning a 6-2 win in game one and dropping the night cap, 6-5. On Sunday, with A's starter Brett Anderson on the hill, Midland fell 8-3.
Saturday's starter, Murphy Smith, was solid in five innings of work. He scattered eight hits and allowed two runs. Smith lowered his ERA to 2.09. Paul Smyth earned the save with two scoreless, hitless innings. He walked one and struck-out two. It was Smyth's first save of the year.
The RockHounds got to Padres' top prospect Keyvius Sampson for three runs on five hits and two walks in 4.1 innings. Chad Oberacker and Anthony Aliotti each had multi-hit games. Jake Goebbert and Dusty Coleman each drove-in two.
In game two, a Coleman error lead to four unearned runs. Josh Bowman struggled with his command in the loss, walking four and allowing two homeruns in five innings of work. He was charged with only one of the five runs he allowed to score. Mike DeMark was hung with the loss when he allowed a sixth-inning run.
Oberacker had another two-hit game, while Goebbert and Coleman each had two hits. Oberacker (1) and Goebbert (4) both went deep.
On Sunday, Anderson took the hill for what is expected to be the left-hander's only rehab start before returning to the A's rotation. He threw 80 pitches in 3.2 innings and was hung with six runs allowed. Anderson coughed up six hits and he walked four, while striking out three. Anderson is eligible to return to the A's rotation this week.
Carlos Hernandez and Nate Long combined to hold the Missions to two runs in 4.1 innings after Anderson's departure, but Midland couldn't make-up the deficit. They managed only three hits, one of which was Aliotti's fourth homerun of the season. The St. Mary's alum has a .375/.476/.551 line in 136 at-bats this season.
Ports No-Hit One Day After Slugfest
One day after dropping a 10-6 decision, the Stockton Ports were no-hit by the Lancaster JetHawks on Sunday. The no-hitter was the first suffered by Stockton since 1987.
On Saturday, Stockton carried a 6-0 lead into the fifth inning, but they would see the JetHawks score 10 unanswered runs. Seven of those runs came in the bottom of the eighth.
Shortstop Addison Russell his hit third homerun and his second in two days in the Saturday loss. Russell is in the middle of a rough stretch. Even with the two homeruns this weekend, the A's top prospect is batting .128/.227/.359 in his last 10 games. He has 36 strike-outs in 101 at-bats this season, although he has also walked 19 times.
Outfielder Bobby Crocker had a hit in the game and three on Friday to extended a good run of play. The Cal Poly alum is batting .355 over his last 10 games and is hitting .265 with a 762 OPS for the season. Crocker has struggled with plate discipline, however, striking out 38 times against only six walks.
Before the late collapse, Drew Granier was in-line with the win after allowing three runs on five hits in six innings. He struck-out five and walked two. Granier has a 2.60 ERA and 55 strike-outs in 45 innings this season.
In Sunday's no-hit loss, Stockton's Jake Brown was the tough-luck starter. He allowed just one hit and one run in six innings, but was stuck with the loss. Brown struck-out two and walked none and lowered his ERA to 4.15. He has yet to walk a batter this season (29 strike-outs in 30.1 innings).
Right-hander Brett Hunter made his 2013 debut in relief of Brown. Hunter began the year rehabbing in extended spring training. The Pepperdine alum struck-out two in a scoreless inning of relief. Hunter took Pedro Vidal's spot on the Stockton roster. Vidal was promoted to Sacramento over the weekend when Jesse Chavez was promoted to Oakland. Blake Hassebrock allowed the second run of the game in his one inning of work.
Lancaster's Kyle Hallock and Luis Cruz combined on the nine-inning no-hitter. They only allowed two base-runners (one walk and an error) and they struck-out seven.
Beloit Splits A Pair
The Beloit Snappers won a pitcher's duel in walk-off fashion on Saturday and then lost a slugfest on Sunday against Cedar Rapids.
On Saturday, the Snappers pulled out a 3-2 win, scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth for the walk-off.
DH Chad Lewis hit the game-winning two-run double in the ninth. It was his fourth double in seven games since being sent out from extended spring training.
Fellow alum of this year's extended spring, Rashun Dixon, hit his fourth homerun just 10 games with the Snappers. He has 10 hits in 34 at-bats and seven walks. Chris Bostick had two hits and a walk in the win.
RHP Michael Ynoa got the start and he continued to dominate the Midwest League. In four innings, he allowed three hits and a run and he struck-out a season-best seven. Ynoa has a 1.23 ERA and a 23:7 K:BB ratio in 22 innings this season. He has allowed just 14 hits and only one homerun (the first batter he faced this season).
Fellow right-hander Andres Avila followed Ynoa with four strong innings of his own. He allowed just one run on three hits. Avila struck-out four and walked none. Ryan Dull got the win with one scoreless inning of relief. Dull has a 20:1 K:BB ratio and has allowed just eight hits in 14.1 innings this season.
There wasn't much good pitching to be found on either side on Sunday. Cedar Rapids scored 23 runs in the 23-16 win. Beloit starter Seth Streich was torched for 11 runs (10 earned) in two innings, while relievers Kris Hall (six runs) and Chris Lamb (five runs) struggled in two-inning stints. Infielder Sam Roberts pitched the top of the ninth, allowing a run.
The Beloit offense was red-hot in the loss. John Wooten hit a grand-slam and had four hits and a walk. The homer was Wooten's sixth of the season. 3B Renato Nunez hit his team-leading eighth homer and also had two doubles and a walk. Nunez has a 908 OPS in 113 at-bats this season.
Every Beloit starter had at least one hit. Brett Vertigan, Bostick, Daniel Robertson and Ryan Mathews all had two-hit games. Vertigan also walked twice and he swiped his seventh base of the year. Bostick and Dixon each reached safely three times.