Photo by Kimberly Contreras

Oakland A's Minor League Notebook: Opening Day, take two

After two rainouts on Thursday, it was a super-slate of games on Friday night for the Oakland A's system. The Stockton Ports found themselves facing history in both ends of a double-header, while the Beloit Snappers got their season underway and the Nashville Sounds and Midland RockHounds earned wins.

Ports fall two-outs short of history in game one, fall to history in game two

Brett Graves and Joey Wagman fell two outs shy of history in game one of a double-header that kicked started the Stockton Ports' season. The Ports would win game one but lost game two of the set against Rancho Cucamonga.

Graves was brilliant in his first outing of 2017. The right-hander needed just 42 pitches to get through four perfect innings. He struck-out five and recorded six outs on the ground. Wagman came on in the fifth and was very effective himself. He carried the perfect game into the seventh before allowing a one-out single. Wagman quickly recorded the final two outs to finish off the one-hitter. He struck-out three and earned the win.

The Ports offense scored single runs in the first and second to give Graves an early lead. Sean Murphy singled home Tyler Ramirez in the first to score Stockton's first run of the season. In the second, Eli White singled home Skye Bolt to complete Stockton's scoring for the night. White had a good game at the plate, collecting two of Stockton's four hits. 

In game two, the Ports offense disappeared completely, as Dodgers' prospects Mitchell White and Alex Hermeling combined to throw a no-hitter. Three walks were all the Ports could muster against White and Hermeling.

Stockton starter Casey Meisner had a rough 2017 debut. He allowed two two-run homeruns -- one in the first and one in the third -- to put Stockton in an early hole. Meisner was charged with the four runs on four hits and a walk in three innings. He didn't strike out a batter.

Jared Lyons and Matthew Sergey both pitched well in relief of Meisner. Lyons allowed just one hit in two innings, while Sergey struck-out four and allowed just a walk in two scoreles frames.

Beloit splits double-header to start season

A day after their opener was rained out, the Beloit Snappers split a double-header against the Cedar Rapids Kernels to start the season. 

In game one, the Snappers managed just three hits in a 4-0 loss. Brendan Butler allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in 3.2 innings. Xavier Altamirano finished off the game with 3.1 scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits and he struck-out three.

The Snappers were unable to make a dent on Eduardo Del Rosario and Colton DavisCole Gruber had a single and a walk, while Eric Marinez and Miguel Mercedes each singled to account for all of the Snappers' offense.

Beloit didn't manage a lot more offense in game two, but it was enough to eek out their first win of the season, 3-2. 

The Snappers' first run of the season came in the second inning when Luis Barrera scored on a two-out wild pitch. Beloit's second run came in the fourth inning on another wild pitch, this time scoring Jason Goldstein. The Snappers would hold that 2-0 lead until the fifth, when two unearned runs were scored off of Heath Bowers

With the game still tied in the bottom of the seventh, the Snappers ensured that they wouldn't have to go into extra-innings on the tail-end of a double-header. With one-out, Kyle Nowlin singled. Mercedes the followed with a line-drive into the gap, scoring Nowlin and giving Beloit its first win of the season.

Nowlin reached twice with the single and a walk and Marinez had two walks. Ty Damron had an impressive first start, throwing four scoreless innings. He struck-out seven and scattered three hits. Bowers allowed the two unearned runs in 2.1 innings and Will Gilbert recorded the final two outs of the top of the seventh. Gilbert was awarded the win.

Sounds complete comeback, win in extras

Down 5-0 after the first inning, the Nashville Sounds clawed their way back into the game, tying it in the ninth and eventually winning in the 11th inning, 8-6.

Jaff DeckerFranklin Barreto and Chris Parmelee all had huge games in the win. Decker went 4-for-4 with two walks and two stolen bases, while Barreto and Parmelee both homered and had three hits. Chad Pinder also added two doubles and Ryan Lavarnway and Andrew Lambo each had two hits as part of Nashville's 18-hit attack.

The game got off to a poor start for Nashville, as starter Michael Brady allowed four hits and two walks in the first, leading to five Round Rock runs. The Sounds got one run back in the top of the second when Lavarnway doubled home Pinder, who had doubled earlier in the inning. The game remained 5-1 until the fifth, when the Sounds rallied for three runs. The first two came on Barreto's first homer of the 2017 season, a two-run shot. A Parmelee RBI single later in the inning brought the Sounds to within a run at 5-4.

Nashville remained in the game thanks in large part to relief effort of Zach Neal, who took over for Brady in the fourth and threw four scoreless innings. Neal allowed just two hits and he struck-out two. Ross Detwiler threw a scoreless bottom of the eighth to keep the Sounds within a run going into the ninth.

The Sounds were still down a run with two-outs in the top of the ninth when Decker doubled home Lavarnway to tie the game. Renato Nunez almost gave the Sounds the lead, but his hard smash to the shortstop hole was fielded by Doug Bernier and turned into an out.

Parmelee did give Nashville the lead in the top of the 10th with a solo homerun. Aaron Kurcz, who had worked around a leadoff double in the bottom of the ninth, allowed a solo homer in the bottom of the 10th to tie the game. Kurcz got the Sounds out of the inning without further damage, setting Nashville up for another opportunity to take the lead in the 11th.

Lambo started the 11th with a single and he moved to second on a Barreto sacrifice bunt. After a Decker walk, Nunez got the go-ahead RBI, a single to center. Parmelee followed with an RBI single of his own to give the Sounds a two-run cushion. Bobby Wahl allowed a one-out single and a one-out walk but struck-out Travis Snider and induced a Wil MIddlebrooks flyout to end the game. 

Kurcz was credited with the Sounds first win of the season, while Wahl notched the team's first save. Nashville played without a DH for much of the game, as Matt Chapman left the game after the fourth inning for undisclosed reasons. At that point, Nunez moved from DH to third base, forcing Kurcz and Neal to bat for themselves once each. 

Midland sails to second straight win

Strong pitching and timely hitting led to a second straight win for the Midland RockHounds, who moved to 2-0 on the year.

James Naile and Grant Holmes were paired in the tandem for Friday night and both had strong outings. Naile threw four scoreless innings, scattering two hits and a walk in his first outing of the season. He struck-out two and induced five groundball outs. Lou Trivino bridged the tandem, working a scoreless fifth, with Holmes taking over in the sixth. Holmes, the youngest pitcher in the Texas League this season, allowed two runs on six hits and one walk in 3.2 innings. He struck-out four. Holmes finished one out from earning a save. Kyle Finnegan took over for Holmes with two outs in the ninth and recorded the final out to earn the save. Trivino was credited with the win.

The RockHounds broke open a 0-0 tie in the fifth with a three-run rally. B.J. Boyd doubled to start the inning and J.P. Sportman followed with a walk. One batter later, Tyler Marincov drove home both with an RBI double. Marincov would come around to score on a Joe Bennie two-out single. The RockHounds would tack on another run in the sixth on an RBI single by Max Schrock and their final run in the eighth on a Sportman single.

Midland had 12 hits in the game, led by Boyd and Sportman, who each had three hits. Marincov added two hits and Andy Paz and Viosergy Rosa each walked twice.

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