Midland clinches semi-final series, moves on to finals again
It has been a different cast of characters each season, but the destination has been the same: a trip to the Texas League finals each of the past three seasons for the Midland RockHounds. The RockHounds will be looking to be the first Texas League team since 1925 to win at least three straight Texas League titles when they take on the Northwest Arkansas Naturals starting on Tuesday.
Brandon Mann helped the RockHounds into the finals with an outstanding pitching performance on Saturday night. He threw 6.1 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and two walks to earn the win. Mann struck-out six.
Mann left the game with a 5-0 lead thanks to a three-run RockHounds' second inning and a two-run Midland fifth. Yairo Munoz and J.P. Sportman led the way for Midland with three hits each. Five different players drove-in runs for the RockHounds in a team effort offensively.
Trey Cochran-Gill finished off a scoreless seventh for Mann but was touched for a run in the eighth. Jake Sanchez ran into trouble in the ninth, allowing a run on three hits and a walk, but he struck-out Garrett Stubbs with the bases-loaded to clinch the series for Midland.
The Texas League finals begin on Tuesday with Midland on the road at the beginning of the best-of-five series. It is a rematch of last year's finals.
Sounds drop heartbreaker, see season end short of title
The Nashville Sounds came up 90 feet short in a back-and-forth affair, dropping Game Five of the Pacific Coast League's American Conference finals, 10-9. The Sounds had the bases-loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth but were unable to push across the tying run.
The Sounds had plenty of opportunities to run away with the game, but they went 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position and stranded 14 runners in the game. Nashville had 15 hits and walked eight times. Franklin Barreto finished a torrid post-season with a big game. He went three-for-five with a double, triple and a homer, and he also walked. Barreto hit .421 in the series. Rangel Ravelo also had three hits and Jaycob Brugman, Matt Olson, Renato Nunez and Bryan Anderson all had two-hit games. Olson and Nunez both homered in big spots, but they also left the bases loaded in the ninth.
Nashville used six pitchers in the game, as starter Chris Jensen lasted only two innings, allowing three runs. Angel Castro allowed four runs (three earned) in 2.1 innings and Ryan Brasier gave-up a three-run homer in the eighth that gave the Oklahoma City Dodgers a 10-9 lead. Andres Avila, Tucker Healy and Colt Hynes had scoreless outings in relief.
The Sounds rallied several times during the game, overcoming deficits of 3-0 and 7-4, but they weren't able to make that final comeback in the end. Nashville had the most regular season wins in the PCL this season with 83, but they were hit hard by promotions to the big leagues over the past two weeks.
A's Notes: Alcantara recovers, Butler released
In his second big league start, Raul Alcantara looked like the pitcher who dominated the Pacific Coast League over the past seven weeks. Alcantara was wild and hit hard during his big league debut last Monday, allowing five runs in three innings. On Sunday, it was a different story, as he allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk in 5.2 innings against the Seattle Mariners. Alcantara struck-out four in the game.
Before the game, the A's announced that they had released veteran Billy Butler, who still has a year and change remaining on his three-year deal he signed with Oakland before the 2015 season. Butler was a disappointment during his time with the A's, hitting just .258/.325/.394. The A's still owe Butler roughly $12 million.