Oakland A's MLN: Brett Vertigan En Fuego

All four of the Oakland A's full-season affiliates came away with wins on Wednesday. Brett Vertigan led the way for A's prospects with another three-hit night.

Vertigan, Ports Win Fourth of Five Games

Brett Vertigan continued to pace the Stockton Ports with another three-hit night and Stockton mounted a late comeback to win their fourth in five games, 6-5, over the Lancaster Jethawks.

Vertigan, finally healthy after a rough 2014 season, is having a dream season. He hit .293 with a .421 OBP in 26 games for the Low-A Beloit Snappers to start the year. After a promotion to High-A Stockton, Vertigan has been on a different level. With the three hits on Wednesday, Vertigan is now batting .392 in 73 at-bats for the Ports. He connected on his second homerun of the year when he led-off the game with a longball. Vertigan also had an outfield assist.

Vertigan got help from Tyler Marincov, who homered in the first inning and walked twice, and Branden Cogswell and B.J. Boyd, who each had two hits in the game.

Dillon Overton took the mound after suffering his worst outing as a pro in his last start. He allowed seven runs on 10 hits in two innings in that start on May 21. Overton was back to normal on Wednesday. He worked five shutout innings, allowing just a hit and retiring the last 13 batters he faced. He struck-out six and walked one.

Overton left the game with a 4-0 lead, but he was hung with a no decision when Sam Bragg allowed two runs in the sixth and Omar Duran allowed three runs in the eighth. All five of those runs came on two James Ramsey homeruns.

Suddenly down 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth, the Ports mounted a game-winning comeback. Michael Soto began the inning by reaching on a fielding error. Marincov followed with a walk. After a Beau Taylor strike-out, John Nogowski was at the plate when Lancaster’s defense complete came apart at the seams. First catcher Alfredo Gonzalez allowed a passed ball that moved Soto and Marincov up to third and second base. Then Nogowksi hit a groundball to second baseman Jose Fernandez. Fernandez elected to go home with the throw and he threw it away. Both runners scored and Nogowski reached base safely.

Those two runs were all closer Brendan McCurry would need to nail down the 6-5 win. McCurry faced the Lancaster heart of the order. He retired A.J. Reed and Jack Mayfield on groundballs and then struck-out Chase McDonald to end it. It was McCurry’s fifth save of the season. He has 31 strike-outs and six walks in 23 innings this season.

Nashville Makes it Three Straight versus Sacramento

Thus far, the Oakland A’s have enjoyed their return to Sacramento. The Nashville Sounds made it three straight wins against the River Cats with an 11-4 blowout. Nashville battered rehabbing starter Jake Peavy early and kept the pressure on the River Cats’ bullpen late.

Catcher Bryan Anderson had three of the Sounds’ franchise-tying eight doubles in the game. Anderson drove home four. Jason Pridie hit a homer off of Peavy and had two doubles to raise his average to .311. Kent Matthes also had a two-hit night. Nashville had 13 hits and four walks in total.

Sounds’ starter Zach Neal was outstanding. Although he allowed the first run for Sacramento in the series, he dominated the team he pitched for for much of the 2014 season. Neal allowed only four hits and one run in seven innings. He struck-out six, didn’t allow a walk and threw only 86 pitches. Neal has a 1.53 ERA in three starts for Nashville this season.

Rehabbing A’s reliever Eric O’Flaherty pitched the eighth. He allowed two hits – one of the infield variety – in a scoreless inning. O’Flaherty threw 14 pitches, nine for strikes. Joe Paterson, signed earlier this week, made his Nashville debut in the ninth and allowed three runs (two earned) in one inning.

Blair Turns on the Jets in Win over Drillers

Catcher/DH Carson Blair did his best to dispel the notion that catchers can’t run. The red-hot RockHounds’ prospect tripled twice and doubled in the Midland 8-3 win over the Tulsa Drillers.

Blair has a seven-game winning streak and is 12-for-28 over that stretch with five extra-base hits. He is third in the Texas League with a .433 OBP. Blair is batting .317 on the year.

Colin Walsh collected three hits and Chad Pinder had two hits to raise his average to .291. Pinder has six multi-hit games in his last seven games.

Matt Olson, who doubled in the game, continued to see his playing time in right field. Olson now has 11 games in right this season. Renato Nunez made his first professional appearance at first base in the game.

Starter Chris Jensen was touched for three runs (two earned) in the second inning, but he was nearly flawless after that. He went a season-high eight innings, allowing just those second-inning runs. Jensen struck-out three, walked two and he recorded 12 outs on the ground.

Bobby Wahl finished the game with a scoreless ninth. He struck-out two.

Beloit Gets back on Track

After a rough start to the week, the Beloit Snappers righted the ship and earned a 6-4 win over the Burlington Bees. Yairo Munoz homered and tripled and Sandber Pimentel connected on his eighth homer of the year to pace the Snappers. Joe Bennie also reached base twice and collected two stolen bases. Argenis Raga drove-in two and Max Kuhn had a double.

It wasn’t pretty, but starter Brett Graves moved to 4-0. He threw 5.2 innings and was charged with three runs allowed. He was working in and out of trouble all game. The right-hander allowed eight hits and he walked five. He also didn’t strike-out a batter. The Snappers turned two double-plays to help the pitching staff.

Rob Huber allowed a run in two innings of relief work. He struck-out two and didn’t walk anyone. Lefty Jose Torres took over with two-on and two-out in the bottom of the eighth. He allowed a run-scoring hit to Jake Yacinich but the inning ended on that same play, as right-fielder Shawn Duinkerk threw out Alex Abbott at third to end the inning. Torres worked a quick one-two-three ninth to earn his fourth save of the year.

Munoz is red-hot right now. The shortstop has a six-game hitting streak and he is batting .444 with three homers during that stretch. Pimentel has now homered in four times over his last six games.

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