Oakland A's MLN: Affiliates Go 3-0

In this edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook, find out which slumping top prospecs had big days, how many hits red-hot Andre Ethier collected, and whether Kane County teenage starter Ryan Webb continued his string of strong starts...

Big Inning Lifts River Cats to Second Straight Win

The River Cats followed-up Tuesday's 20-hit barrage with a 13-hit effort on Wednesday. Although Sacramento stranded a number of runners, they were able to string together enough of those hits in the fifth inning to score four runs. Britt Reames, Marcus Gwyn and Tim Harikkala made sure that was all the scoring the River Cats would need, as the River Cats beat the Tucson Sidewinders, 4-2.

Reames began the season in the Sacramento bullpen but was moved into the starting rotation two weeks ago. Reames had his best start on Wednesday, tossing 6.2 solid innings. He scattered six hits and allowed single runs in the fifth and seventh innings. Gwyn and Harikkala combined to toss 2.1 scoreless innings to finish off the game. Gwyn and Harikkala have been the River Cats' most reliable relievers this season. Gwyn has struck out 17 batters in 14.2 innings pitched and he now has a 3.07 ERA for the season. Harikkala has been nearly unhittable this season. He has three saves on the year and a tidy 0.95 ERA. He has worked a bullpen-high 18.2 innings and has allowed only two earned runs over that span.

The River Cats' scoring came all in the fifth inning. After Mike Rouse singled to start the inning, John Baker followed with his first hit of the game, a single. Baker went 2-4 with a double. His batting average is almost over the Mendoza line, up to .197. He has a streak of three straight games with at least one extra-base hit.

Freddie Bynum followed Baker's hit with a sacrifice bunt, a maneuver that worked to perfection when Andrew Beattie grounded out to second, driving in Rouse. Matt Watson doubled to center, driving in Baker for the River Cats' second run of the inning. Watson came around to score when Shawn Garrett's grounder skipped past Tucson second baseman Andy Green for a fielding error. Jack Cust drove in the River Cats' final run with a double.

Every River Cat starter recorded a hit except for Bobby Smith. DH Jack Cust led the offensive attack with three hits, raising his batting average to .283. Cust has struck out 33 times in only 25 games, but he has a nearly 900 OPS. Dan Johnson also collected two singles. He is wriggling his way out of an early season slump that had caused his batting average to dip to .210. He is now at .250.

Watson and Garrett continue to be the catalysts at the top of the River Cats' order. Garrett is hitting a team-leading .310. Watson is hitting .292 with 15 walks and only 15 strikeouts.

Rockhounds Win a Slugfest With One In the Ninth

Jason Perry's one-out double in the ninth inning drove in Brant Colamarino to send the Rockhounds home a winner, 9-8, over the Tulsa Drillers. Perry's walk-off hit completed a Midland comeback that saw them claw all the way back from an 8-5 sixth inning deficit. Andre Ethier broke a mini-slump with three hits, including his sixth homerun of the year. Reliever Nick Mattioni picked up the win after working two scoreless innings.

Matt Allegra also homered for the Rockhonds. It was Allegra's first homer of the year. Brian Stavisky raised his batting average to .313 with a three-hit, three-RBI effort. In total, the Rockhounds had 14 hits on the evening.

The Midland bullpen was outstanding once again. After starter Brad Ziegler allowed seven runs in 4.1 innings of work, the three Midland relievers combined to allow only one run in 4.2 innings. The bullpen kept the Rockhounds close enough for the Midland offense to make their late-game comeback. Midland is now 16-9 on the season.

Stockton Rained Out

The Ports' game against Modesto was called due to inclement weather. The game will be made up as part of a double-header on May 14.

Herrera's Slam Leads Kane County To Win

Javier Herrera hasn't had a lot of great moments this season. After a dream-like 2004 season, his 2005 has been more like a nightmare. It began right before Opening Day when it was reported that Herrera tested positive for steroids. After serving a 15-game suspension, Herrera has mostly struggled at the plate. The reigning Northwest League MVP has struck out 19 times in 11 games, including four strikeouts on Wednesday night, and his batting average has dipped to .178. However, Herrera had one good swing on Wednesday and it was enough to give the Cougars four runs in Kane County's 8-5 victory over Dayton.

Nick Blasi, Ryan Ruiz and Kevin Melillo all walked to start the fifth inning. With no more open bases, Dayton reliever Alexander Farfan had to put a pitch over the plate. He did and Herrera made him pay, sending a drive over the centerfield fence for a grand slam. The grand slam was Herrera's second homerun of the season and it broke the game wide open, giving Kane County a 6-0 lead. Despite Herrera's struggles this season, he has made his few hits count, as he has 10 RBIs in 11 games.

Teenage Cougar starter Ryan Webb made the lead stand. He worked six innings, allowing three runs on four hits. Webb also struck out seven and walked two. He is now 2-1 on the season with a 3.20 ERA. Keith Perez relieved Webb in the seventh and allowed two runs without recording an out. However, Connor Robertson and Scot Drucker combined to toss three scoreless innings to give the Cougars the win. Drucker earned his sixth save of the season with one inning of work. He struck out two of the three batters he faced and lowered his ERA to 0.71.

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