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Oakland A's Minor League Notebook: Strong debuts

There were some strong pitching debuts for players at new levels on Thursday night.

With the Oakland A's system continuing to see midseason shifts to its minor league rosters, there were several starting pitchers pitching in new locales on Thursday night.

Fillmyer strong for Midland

In Midland, right-hander Heath Fillmyer made his Double-A debut. Fillmyer earned a promotion to the Texas League after posting a 3.60 ERA with 89 strike-outs in 95 innings with the High-A Stockton Ports. Fillmyer had a strong first outing for Midland, allowing two runs on four hits in five innings in a game the RockHounds would comeback and win, 4-2. Fillmyer struck-out four San Antonio Missions and walked just one. Fillmyer is now at 100 innings for the season after throwing 99.1 last year. The 22-year-old is quickly emerging as one of the A's top pitching prospects.

Corey Walter got the win for the Midland in relief. Walter threw four innings, allowing just three hits. He didn't walk a batter and he struck-out one. Walter continues to impress, as he lowered his ERA to 2.40 in 75 innings in his first season at Double-A. Walter needed just 46 pitches in those four innings and threw 33 strikes. He recorded seven outs on the ground.

The RockHounds, still without Franklin Barreto (day-to-day with a hamstring injury), mounted a four-run rally in the eighth to earn the win. Viosergy Rosa and Josh Rodriguez each had two-hit games. 

Murray shines in Stockton rout

Right-hander Michael Murray joined the Stockton rotation from Beloit, taking Fillmyer's spot. Murray, a 2015 32nd-round pick, spent the first month of the season in extended spring training, but he struck-out 47 in 53 innings once he joined the Snappers' rotation. The 22-year-old allowed two unearned runs in five innings in the Ports' 10-4 win over Visalia. Murray struck-out three and walked two and allowed three hits.

The Ports' offense brought out the big bats on Thursday. Sandber Pimentel (15), Jose Brizuela (9) and B.J. Boyd (5) all homered. Mikey White had a double, a triple, a walk and a hit-by-pitch, although he had to leave the game after being hit. White is batting .361 over his last 10 games and .338/.434/.585 in 18 games in July. James Harris finished a homer shy of the cycle, and Pimentel, Boyd and Seth Brown also all had multi-hit nights.

Jensen, Sounds grab win in finale

Chris Jensen was also a starter on the move on Thursday, although he wasn't making his first trip to Triple-A this season. The right-hander returned to Nashville after a two-start stay in Midland. Jensen pitched well in his return to the Sounds, allowing three runs in seven innings in the Nashville 8-4 win over Albuquerque. Jensen struck-out five and walked one.

The Sounds were being no-hit until the sixth inning, when they exploded for seven runs to break the game open. Matt Olson finished the scoring in that frame with a two-run homer, his 11th of the season. Olson is batting .303 over his last 10 games and he has a 959 OPS in July. Rangel Ravelo had two doubles in the game and Joey Wendle added a triple.

Vermont squeaks past Hudson Valley

The Vermont Lake Monsters earned a 4-3 win over the Hudson Valley Renegades. Jordan Schwartz and Will Gilbert combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief of Dakota Chalmers to secure the win.

Chalmers had a solid outing, although he walked three in his final inning of work. He finished his start with five innings pitched, three runs allowed on four walks and six strike-outs. The 19-year-old has a 2.87 ERA and 33 strike-outs in 31.1 innings for the Lake Monsters this season. He is a strong candidate to land a spot in the New York-Penn League All-Star game.

Schwartz took over in the sixth and worked around two walks and three hits to get through 2.1 scoreless frames. Gilbert came on in the eighth with two-on and one-out and stranded both runners before working a scoreless ninth for his first pro save. The left-hander struck-out three and didn't walk a batter.

Eli White had a hit and two walks out of the lead-off spot to raise his OBP to .404 in 23 games for Vermont. Nate Mondou and Brett Sunde each had two-hit games. Mondou is batting .380 with a .436 OBP in 20 games for the Lake Monsters, while Sunde is hitting .333 in 13 games.

Luis Barrera extended his hitting streak to eight games. He is batting .321/.393/.431 in 29 games for Vermont.

AZL A's lose in rout to AZL Giants

It was a rough night from the outset for the AZL A's, who fell behind 5-0 in the first en route to an 11-3 loss to the AZL Giants. Skylar Szynski allowed those five runs in the first before working a scoreless second inning and finishing his night with five runs allowed on three hits and two walks. He didn't strike-out a batter. Kevin Duchene also allowed five runs in his three-inning outing, although only two of them were earned. Emerson Nelo allowed a run in three innings of work and Joseph Camacho finished the game with a scoreless frame.

Josh Vidales led a quiet night for the A's on offense with two hits. He is batting .322 with a .467 OBP in 18 AZL games.

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