A's MLN: Affiliates Power Way To Perfect Day

While the Oakland A's continued to struggle to score runs, their minor league affiliates lit up the box score on Monday. All four teams had big games on offense, as they went 4-0 on the evening. Find out who had big days at the plate in this edition of <i>A's Minor League Notebook...</i>

Cust's Big Night Leads Sacramento To Victory

With two-outs in the bottom of the 4th, the Sacramento River Cats were staring up at a four-run deficit. One swing from the powerful Jack Cust immediately cut the Las Vegas 51's lead in half and gave Sacramento some life. In the bottom of the 6th, the River Cats completed their comeback, thanks to a two-out, two-RBI double by Jermaine Clark. Closer Chris Mabeus pitched a 1-2-3 to nail down the 6-5 win for Sacramento. The save was Mabeus' first of the season, as he had his most impressive outing of the year, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Lefty Steve Smyth earned the win for the River Cats despite allowing four runs in six innings of work.

Cust has had a 'hit or miss' kind of a season. He has struck out 28 times in only 18 games, but he has also walked 17 times and has been productive when he has hit the ball. Cust was 3-4 on the night, including that rally-igniting two-run homer. The homer was his fourth on the season, making Cust the River Cats' team leader in that category. He raised his batting average from .190 to .226. The former Arizona prospect has 13 RBI on the season, second-best on the River Cats' roster. Cust has been playing most of his games in left-field this season, although he has generally been lifted in the late-innings for a defensive replacement.

Matt Watson stole his sixth base of the season on Monday, continuing an unusual trend for Sacramento. Despite the A's philosophical aversion to stealing bases, the River Cats have been running with frequency and with success this season. Sacramento has swiped 21 bags and they have only been caught four times (conversely, the A's have stolen only two bases on the year). Jermaine Clark leads the team with seven steals, with Watson close on his heels with six.

Sacramento is now 10-9 on the season and is tied with Tucson and Salt Lake for the division lead.

Ethier Continues To Pound Texas League Pitching

The Andre Ethier hit parade continued on Monday when the Rockhounds outfielder drove in five runs, including a two-run homerun. Ethier upped his batting average to a robust .409. He has a team-leading five homeruns on the season and he has driven in 19 runs. Ethier's outburst paced the Midland attack and helped guide the team to a 7-3 victory over the San Antonio Missions. The win snapped a two-game losing streak and upped the Rockhounds' record to 12-6. Midland has a two-game lead over San Antonio in the division.

Starter Matt Lynch had a solid outing to gain his second win against zero losses. Lynch worked five innings, allowing two runs on six hits. Reliever Nick Mattioni took over for Lynch in the sixth and stifled the Missions' offense for the next 3.1 innings. Mattioni allowed no hits and only one walk over that span. He struck out five. Brad Weis retired the last two batters to finish off the win for Midland.

Brian Stavisky and Brant Colamarino also had big days at the plate. Colamarino went 2-4 on the night with a double, a run scored and a walk. He is hot on Ethier's tail for the team lead in batting average, as Colamarino is now hitting .394 on the campaign. Stavisky, the California League MVP last season, has been hot lately and continued the streak on Monday. The Midland DH went 3-4 with his third double of the year. Stavisky is now hitting .281.

Stockton Scores Late -- Then Holds On -- To Snare Win

The Stockton Ports scored late and then held off a last-gasp rally to capture an 8-7 win over the San Jose Giants. Stockton homered three times and scored five times in the seventh and eighth innings to build their lead to 8-3. San Jose responded with four runs to narrow the lead to 8-7. After coming into the game in the bottom of the eighth and allowing a three-run homerun, Ports reliever Alex Santos retired the last four batters of the game to preserve the win.

Stockton starter Dallas Braden continued to amass strikeouts at a prolific win. He struck out 10 batters in six innings of work. Braden now has 31 strikeouts against only six walks on the season in 21.2 innings pitched. He upped his record to 3-0 by allowing three runs in six innings of work.

Braden's strong pitching performance was bolstered by a powerful offensive attack propelled by the long-ball. Dustin Majewski, Richie Robnett and John McCurdy all hit homeruns. The Ports had 11 hits and walked six times on the night. Kurt Suzuki pushed his batting average to .321 with a 2-3 night and Danny Putnam drove in his 16th run of the season. The Ports' 8th and 9th-place hitters (Majewski and McCurdy) combined to go 3-5 with three runs scored, two homeruns, three RBIs and one walk.

Stockton now sits at 8-9 and is two games back of the division lead. Their season-long road-trip will come to an end on Thursday when they open their new ballpark against the San Jose Giants.

Kane County Wins A Wild One With Late Comeback

After a rough start, the Kane County Cougars appear to be heading in the right direction. They won for a second straight evening, eeking out a wild 14-13 victory over South Bend. Tom Everidge and Nick Blasi homered for Kane County, who also got three RBIs from top prospect Javier Herrera.

The game was a see-saw affair. Kane County fell behind 4-0 in the first, but came back with five in the second. They would add four run innings in the fifth and the eight, as well as a single run in the seventh. The Cougars would need every last run, as South Bend matched them practically hit for hit.

Chalon Tietje, Myron Leslie, Gregorio Petit, Blasi and Herrera all had multi-hit games for Kane County. Chris Tritle only had one hit, but he managed to score three runs after walking three times and stealing two bases. The Cougars had their clutch-hitting bats on Monday, as they drove in seven runs with two-outs.

Rob Semerano blew the save in the eighth when he allowed a two-out grand slam to give South Bend a 13-10 lead. However, he earned the win when the Cougars rallied for four in the bottom half of the frame. Keith Perez became the only pitcher on either side to pitch at least an inning and not give up a run when he worked a scoreless ninth for his first save. Kane County has now won two in a row and sits at 7-10 on the season.

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