Oakland A's MLN: Ports Rally for Win

We have all of the news and notes from around the Oakland A's system for Wednesday, April 22, including details from the day's action, a report from extended spring training and the result of Arnold Leon's MLB debut.

Ports Rally to Douse Blaze

Down 6-4 in the bottom of the seventh, the Stockton Ports rallied for four runs to grab the lead over the Bakersfield Blaze. They would hold on to win the game, 8-6.

Stockton got off to a fast start on Wednesday. With two-outs in the first, Michael Soto launched a three-run homer, his second homerun of the young season. Beau Taylor followed with his first homer of the year and the Ports had a 4-0 lead. Soto is batting .340 on the season with nine RBI in 12 games.

The Blaze would immediately get back into the game, scoring three times off of starter Kyle Finnegan in the top of the second. Bakersfield would tie the game in the fourth and take the lead in the fifth. Finnegan allowed five runs on five hits and fives walks in 4.1 innings. He struck-out three.

Jonathan Joseph was solid in relief of Finnegan – stranding two of three inherited runners. He would throw two scoreless innings before running into some trouble in the seventh. He allowed a run in that inning, finishing his evening with one run allowed on three hits in 2.2 innings.

Stockton's comeback in the seventh began when lead-off hitter J.P. Sportman connected on his second triple of the season. Branden Cogswell followed with a walk and John Nogowski singled, driving in Sportman and moving the tying run into scoring position. After Tyler Marincov struck-out swinging, Soto walked to load the bases. That brought Taylor to the plate. He hit a comebacker to new pitcher Brett Ash. It looked like an easy 1-6-3 double-play, but Ash threw the ball away. Two runs scored and the Ports took the 7-6 lead. Nick Rickles followed with a sacrifice fly to center to give the Ports an insurance run.

Reliever Sam Bragg recorded two outs in the eighth before running into trouble. He walked two, prompting manager Rick Magnante to call on closer Andres Avila with the tying run on first and two-outs. Avila got Mariners’ prospect Austin Wilson to hit a line-drive to first. Nogowski knocked it down and fed it to Avila for the final out of the inning. Avila retired the side in order in the ninth to record his first save of the season.

The Ports are now 6-8 on the year.

Long Makes First Triple-A Start

With scheduled starter Arnold Leon promoted to the big leagues, the Nashville Sounds turned to right-hander Nate Long to make the start on Wednesday. Called up that day from Double-A Midland, Long had a solid effort in his first career Triple-A start.

The MVP of the champion Midland pitching staff last season, Long began this year in the RockHounds’ bullpen. He hadn’t allowed a run in seven innings at the time of his promotion to Triple-A. Long allowed two in the first and two in the third, but he overall had a solid showing. On a limited pitch count, Long lasted into the fifth inning, allowing four runs on seven hits in 4.2 innings. He struck-out six and walked only one. Long threw 51 of his 74 pitches for strikes.

Kevin Whelan had a strong outing in relief of Long. He threw 2.1 scoreless innings, walking one and striking out four. Brock Huntzinger allowed a run on two hits in one inning and Eury De La Rosa threw a scoreless eighth.

Andy Parrino had a good game at the plate, going 3-for-3 with a triple. Jason Pridie hit his first homerun of the season, a solo shot in the ninth off of Jorge De Leon. He also singled. The Sounds managed just eight hits and two runs in the 5-2 loss, however.

The Sounds fall to .500 on the year at 7-7.

Fillmyer goes Seven, but Snappers Fall

Starter Heath Fillmyer threw a career-high seven innings, but the Beloit Snappers fell to the Burlington Bees, 4-3. The game was played in frigid temperatures with an official crowd of 304 fans in attendance.

Fillmyer allowed seven hits and two walks in his seven innings. He struck-out four and allowed four runs. His sinker was particularly effective, as he induced 11 groundouts against only one flyout. He did allow a three-run homerun to Caleb Adams that wound-up being the difference in the game. Carlos Navas came on in relief and he threw two hitless innings, walking one and striking out one. Navas is off to a good start in his first taste of full-season baseball. He has a 2.35 ERA and an 8:3 K:BB in 7.2 innings.

The Snappers scored once in the fifth and twice in the seventh but couldn’t get that tying run across. The bottom of the Beloit order was effective on Wednesday. Argenis Raga had three hits to pace the Snappers’ offensively. Robert Martinez had two hits, including a double, and he scored twice. Melvin Mercedes, Max Kuhn and Sandber Pimentel each had an RBI.

The Snappers are now 4-10 on the young season.

Extended Spring Training Update

Report from Kimberly Contreras

On Wednesday, the following pitchers threw in the A’s extended spring training game versus the Arizona Diamondbacks: Victor Veliz, Ben Bracewell, Derek Beasley, Koby Gauna, Jon Massad and Dawson Brown.

The offense was highlighted by home runs by rehabbing corner infielders Matt Chapman and Nate Freiman to essentially the same place left-center field. Both balls were hit VERY HARD. Everything Nate hit was VERY HARD.

Other Notes:

- C Iolana Akau – appears to be seeing the baseball as if it were a beach ball. Caught the entire game.

- C Tom Gavitt – warmed up pitchers when needed.

- OF James Harris – doing well defensively and offensively.

- Nate Freiman and Miguel Mercedes split the playing time at first base. Carlos Hiciano and Jesus Lopez split the game at second. Eric Marinez and Trace Loehr split the game at short, while Jean Carlo Rodriguez and Gabriel Santana split the game at third. In the outfield, Rodolfo Penalo and James Harris played the entire game, while Jhonny Rodriguez and Vicmal De La Cruz split.

- Former A’s prospect Sean Jamieson played in the game for Arizona.

- The A’s have Camp Days on Thursday and Friday. The next game is Saturday morning AT the Giants (Hayden & Camelback.)

Midland Off

The RockHounds had Wednesday off after completing their first road trip of the season. They will square off with the San Antonio Missions on Thursday at Citibank Ballpark.

Leon Debuts

Arnold Leon made his major-league debut on Wednesday night, pitching the bottom of the ninth inning in the A’s 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Leon allowed a run, but he struck-out a batter (former Triple-A teammate Collin Cowgill) and retired Mike Trout, who was the first batter Leon faced in the big leagues. The A’s told their beat reporters after the game that Leon will be optioned back to Nashville on Thursday. It isn’t yet known who will replace Leon on the A’s roster. R.J. Alvarez, who was optioned to Nashville earlier in the day, can’t be recalled for at least 10 days.

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