Minor League Notebook - August 29, 2004

<b>This is a free preview of premium content.</b><br> As the Oakland A's were streaking to a perfect 7-0 week of baseball, many of their minor league affiliates were also playing at a high level. Find out who has been on a hot streak and who is scuffling in this edition of <i>Minor League Notebook</i>...

Sacramento – AAA

The River Cats dropped another game to the second-place Tucson Sidewinders, as they lost 5-1 on Sunday. Starter Mike Ziegler had a poor performance, lasting only 2.2 innings. He allowed four of the five Sidewinders' runs. Mario Ramos, who was bumped from the rotation after struggling for much of the season, turned in one of his better performances of the season. Ramos tossed five strong innings, allowing only one run and two hits, while striking out seven. Ramos is likely to pitch in the Winter Leagues in an attempt to get himself back to pitching the way he was before he was traded away from the A's organization in 2002.

First baseman Dan Johnson and designated hitter Graham Koonce each went 2-4. with Johnson driving in the lone River Cats' run. Johnson was recently named the MVP of the 2004 Sacramento River Cats. A's prospect Jairo Garcia threw a strong 1.1, striking out two of the four batters he faced. Speedsters Freddie Bynum and Esteban German each stole their 18th base of the season. German, who spent much of the first half of the season in Oakland, has played very well since being sent down to Sacramento. He has hit .330 with a .380 OBP and 29 RBIs in 54 games. German is likely to be one of the first River Cats recalled to Oakland when the rosters expand in September.

The River Cats had a down week, as they dropped five of seven games, including four to their second place rivals. Sacramento has seen their division lead drop from a mid-week high of 8.5 games to the current 4.5 game lead. The ‘Cats are still likely to make the playoffs, but they are going to have to raise their level of play if they are going to repeat as PCL Champions.

Midland – AA

The RockHounds pulled out a nailbiter, beating Arkansas 9-8 in 10 innings on Sunday. Midland jumped out to an early 8-0 lead, only to watch Arkansas battle back to tie the game with a run in the fourth and seven runs combined in the 6th, 7th and 8th innings. The RockHounds' game-winning rally came when Brian Sellier singled with one out and stole second. With two-outs, he advanced to third on a wild pitch and Nelson Cruz came up with a clutch single to drive Sellier home.

Huston Street, who had entered the game in the 9th inning, pitched a scoreless 10th for the victory. Street, a 2004 draft pick and star of the College World Series, struck out two, walked two and gave up no hits in his two innings of work. He is a candidate to be promoted to Sacramento for the playoffs if the AAA team makes it. Steven Bondurant started the game and pitched well until he ran into trouble in the sixth inning. His final line saw him responsible for three runs in 5.1 innings of work. Bondurant, who dominated the Midwest A league for Kane County this season, has been up and down since he arrived in Midland, compiling a 5.40 ERA. Midland hit three homeruns off of Arkansas' starter David Gill, with Cruz, Steve Jackson and Jon Weber going deep. Cruz and Weber both drove in four runs each.

The RockHounds, who have hovered around .500 all season, went 4-2 on the week and find themselves over .500 for the second half at 32-31.

Modesto – A (California League)

The Lil'A's put a hurtin' on the Stockton Ports on Sunday with a 12-3 thumping of the Ports. Modesto overcame two first innings errors that led to two runs to storm back in the lead with four runs in the third inning. All four third-inning runs came as part of a two-out rally. Lloyd Turner walked with one out, but was erased trying to steal second. Jed Morris then drew a walk and advanced to third on Brian Stavisky's single. Jason Perry doubled them both home and then scored himself on John Suomi's RBI double. Isaac Garcia finished the rally with an RBI single and Modesto had the lead for good. The Lil'A's tacked on three in the fifth and then five in the bottom of the eighth. The five-run rally was highlighted by back-to-back homeruns by Stavisky (18) and Perry (23). Stavisky's homerun was a three-run blast. Starter Keith Perez was unable to finish the fifth inning, as he gave up all three of Stockton's runs in 4.1 innings pitched. Marc Sauer threw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to get his eleventh win of the season.

The A's had a banner week, winning five of six games to open up a 7.5 game lead over Stockton for the second half title. Modesto is streaking towards the playoffs, winning 9 of their last ten games. Their lone loss was a 10-9 defeat on Tuesday.

Kane County – A (Midwest League)

The Cougars swept a shortened double-header on Sunday, winning 3-2 and 4-2 in seven inning games. Dallas Braden, who has impressed since his promotion to Kane County, picked up the win in the first game with six solid innings pitched. He gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits with five strikeouts and only one walk. 2004 draft pick Jason Windsor pitched a scoreless top of the seventh inning to pick up his first save for Kane County. He had two strikeouts. First baseman Eddie Kim had two hits, a run and an RBI and Brian Snyder went 1-2 with a walk and an RBI. Cougar ace Brad Knox notched his 14th victory in the second game, throwing six shutout innings. He struck out seven and walked only one. Knox now has a 2.17 ERA on the season. The Cougars had a comfortable 4-0 lead going into the top of the seventh (final) inning. Dan Fyvie made it interesting, however, allowing two runs in 2/3 of an inning before Justin Crowder came in to finish off the inning for his first save of the season.

Rain forced the postponement of Saturday's game, which caused Sunday's double header. Kane County had a good week, going 4-2. Kane County now has a three-game lead for the second half Western Division title, despite being 5-5 in their last ten games. The Cougars are already guaranteed a playoff berth, as they won the first half title.

Vancouver – A (Short-season Northwest League)

The Canadians dropped a tough one to the Everett Aquasox, losing 5-3 on Sunday. Vancouver was trailing most of the game, as Everett scored two in the third and another in the 7th to take a 3-0 lead. Vancouver tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the 7th on a walk, a dropped fly ball, an RBI double, a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring wild pitch. The Canadians were unable to maintain the momentum, however, as Adiel Sanchez came in for starter Steven Sharpe and gave up the two winning runs on a bases-loaded infield hit. Sharpe was sharp, pitching seven solid innings. He gave up three runs on six hits and struck out six. Kurt Suzuki, Richie Robnett, and Gregorio Petit were the offensive stars, as they each notched two hits in the losing effort. In a small note, the Canadians held Mariners' draft pick Matthew Tuiasosopo hitless in three at-bats (with one walk). Tuiasosopo is the younger brother of Marques (quarterback for the Oakland Raiders) and the son of Manu Tuiasosopo (former defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers). Matt turned down a football scholarship to the University of Washington to sign with the Seattle organization.

Sunday's loss broke a four-game winning streak for the Canadians. They were 5-2 on the week and they currently stand in first place in the division with a half game lead over Everett. The Canadians (38-30) have mimicked their parent club, going an impressive 23-11 at home, while struggling to a 15-19 record away from Vancouver.

Arizona (Rookie League)

On Saturday, the Arizona Athletics took a 6-5 victory over the Rangers' affiliate. The win gave the A's a two-game lead over the first-half division winning San Francisco Giants' affiliate. Of note, Connor Robertson picked up his 13th save with a scoreless bottom of the ninth inning. He gave up one hit and struck out two. Robertson has pitched extremely well for the Arizona A's this season, compiling a 0.92 ERA.

Oakland Clubhouse Top Stories