Nunez continues to roll
Could the Renato Nunez show be heading to a big league ballpark near you? With Danny Valencia hurting and Jed Lowrie on the disabled list, the A's are thin in the infield and in need of a spark. Nunez could be that spark. The Nashville Sounds' third baseman had three hits on Thursday, including a inside-the-park grandslam, to power the Sounds to a 7-2 win over the Iowa Cubs.
Nunez also added a double, a single and a walk on top of the controversial grandslam. That game-changing blow came with two-outs in the top of the sixth. Nunez crushed a pitch to deep left field. It hit off the wall and bounced towards the Iowa bullpen. Cubs' left fielder John Andreoli threw up his arms to indicate that he felt the ball was unplayable and therefore a ground-rule double. The umpire ran out into left field and ruled the ball was playable. Since Nunez and the rest of the Sounds kept running, the play was ruled a grandslam. The homer was his seventh of the year. Nunez has his average up to .300 for the year and he sports a .300/.358/.567 line. Nunez has struck-out just 20 times in 120 official at-bats and has walked four times over his last 10 games (eight total for the year).
Utilityman Max Muncy also had a big game for Nashville. He, too, could be an option for the A's in the near future. Muncy had two hits -- including a double -- and two walks. He is batting .294 with 10 walks over his last 10 games and he has a .283/.397/.478 line with six homers in 34 games for Nashville. Muncy appears to be settling in as the Sounds' everyday left fielder. He has played 17 games in left, eight at third and three at first this season.
The Sounds drew nine walks in the game. Matt Olson walked three times and Andrew Lambo had two walks. Olson has struggled all season, but he has continued to walk at a good clip with 19 in 31 games. Olson has also hit much better on the road (.195/.333/.463) than he has at home (.140/.265/.193).
Jesse Hahn made his first start for Nashville since being optioned back to Triple-A last week. Hahn was very effective, allowing just a run on seven hits in 5.2 innings. He struck-out five and walked one. Hahn has a 1.93 ERA in 23.1 innings for Nashville this season. Ryan Brasier was brilliant in relief of Hahn. He struck-out five and walked none in 2.1 perfect innings. J.B. Wendelken struggled in his return to Triple-A, but managed to work out of a jam and allow just one run in the ninth to close out the game.
Midland overcomes controversy to earn a win in extras
The Midland RockHounds watched a 4-1 lead evaporate quickly after what appeared to be a blown call in the bottom of the seventh, but managed to earn the win anyway, 5-4, in 11 innings over the San Antonio Missions.
The RockHounds staked out a 4-0 lead when they scored single runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Reliever Trey Cochran-Gill allowed a solo homerun to start the seventh, but recorded two quick outs after that. He appeared to get the third out on a groundball back to the pitcher, but the runner was ruled safe on the play. Cochran-Gill then hit a batter and allowed a three-run homer to Gabriel Quintana, tying the game.
The game remained tied until the top of the 11th, when the RockHounds mounted a two-out rally. J.P. Sportman drew a walk and then stole second. He advanced to third on the errant throw from the Missions' catcher and came around to score on a line-drive single by Danny Oh.
Corey Walter got the start. Throwing a career-high five innings, he didn't allow a run on two hits. He walked one and struck-out one. Walter recorded eight outs on the ground and two in the air. After Cochran-Gill left the game with two-outs in the seventh, Bobby Wahl took over. He stranded the runners and worked 1.1 scoreless to keep the game tied. Wahl has a streak of 6.1 scoreless innings and has lowered his ERA to 3.97. Ryan Doolittle earned the win with two scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 1.17. Jake Sanchez got the save with a perfect 11th inning. The save was his second of the season.
Beloit scores five in the ninth, stuns Quad Cities in extras
Down 9-4 in the ninth, the Beloit Snappers scored five times -- including three times with two outs -- to send the game into extra innings. The Snappers would finish the stunning comeback when Steven Pallares singled home Edwin Diaz with two outs in the 13th inning to give Beloit a 10-9 win over Quad Cities.
The Snappers had plenty of offense, collecting 14 hits and six walks. Jesus Lopez had two hits and a walk. One of the hits was a homerun, his first as a professional. He drove-in three and has 12 hits over his last 35 at-bats (.343 average). Pallares had two hits and two walks and was in the middle of both the ninth inning rally and the game-winning effort in the 13th. Chris Iriart, Justin Higley, Ryan Howell, Nick Collins and Diaz also each had two hits. Higley and Collins each homered.
Kyle Friedrichs got the start and he allowed three runs (none earned) in five innings. He struck-out five, walked one and lowered his ERA to 1.73. Friedrichs has allowed just 30 hits and four walks in 36.1 innings this season. Armando Ruiz earned the win with four innings of relief. The four innings were a career-high for one appearance for Ruiz.
Ports drop heart-breaker in extras
The Stockton Ports blew a 5-1 lead and lost, 6-5, to the Visalia Rawhide in 10 innings.
The Ports jumped out to a second-inning 2-0 lead when John Nogowski hit a two-run homer off of rehabbing big leaguer John Collmenter. The homer was Nogowski's first of the year. The Rawhide scored once in the bottom of the third, but Stockton extended their lead with three more runs in the fourth. Mikey White had a two-run single and Lana Akau had a run-scoring single to complete the Ports' scoring. Akau finished the game with three hits and White had two.
Stockton carried the 5-1 lead into bottom of the sixth, when the Rawhide took advantage of some shoddy Stockton defense to score twice. Visalia then tacked on two runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game. Visalia would earn the win on an Ericson Leonora single off of Rob Huber in the 10th.
Heath Fillmyer had another solid start. He allowed three runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings. He struck-out five, walked none and recorded 10 outs on the ground. His ERA is 3.79 and he has a 28:8 K:BB this season in 38 innings.