Braden "K"oasts Again In Midland
Starter Dallas Braden regained his strikeout form on Wednesday, as he K'ed eight batters in seven innings in the Rockhounds' 5-2 win over the Springfield Cardinals. Braden allowed only five hits and one run and he captured his third win of the season for Midland. He is 9-1 overall on the season.
Steve Stanley got the Rockhounds on the board early when he cranked his third homerun of the season over the rightfield wall. Stanley went 2-5 on the evening and he is now hitting .283 on the season. Casey Myers, playing at first base, hit a solo homerun in the second inning to give Midland a 2-1 lead. It was Myers' fourth homer of the year. Andre Ethier cracked his 10th homer of the year in the 8th inning and went 2-4. He is still leading the team with a .364 batting average. The home run accounted for his 40th RBI of the season.
Jason Perry drove in two runs to up his season total to 38 and he brought his batting average back up to an even .300. Shortstop Omar Quintanilla hit eighth in the game instead of his customary second spot and he contributed two hits in four plate appearances. Quintanilla is hitting .270 on the campaign.
Braden left the game after the seventh inning with the Rockhounds leading 4-1. Reliever Shawn Kohn allowed a run in the eighth, but Ethier gave the Rockhounds the run back with a solo homer in the bottom half of the inning. Alex Santos came on in the ninth and picked up his fifth save for Midland in as many chances. He struck out two of the three batters he faced. In total, Midland pitchers combined to strike out 11 Cardinals. Midland is now 33-20 on the season and they have a six game lead over San Antonio in the West division.
Garcia Saves The Day, As River Cats Squeak Out Win
Closer Jairo Garcia had a tall order in front of him when he entered the game in the top of the 9th on Wednesday. Sacramento and Tacoma were locked in a 4-4 tie when River Cats' relievers Victor Moreno and Ron Flores combined to load the bases with only one out. On came Garcia, who was tasked with keeping the Rainiers from breaking the tie. Garcia worked out of the jam, striking out Ryan Christianson and inducing a ground out from Aaron Rifkin.
Buoyed by the strong effort from Garcia, the Sacramento offense immediately got to work in winning the game in the bottom of the 9th. Freddie Bynum started the inning with an infield hit and advanced to second on a throwing error by Tacoma second baseman Eric Blakeley. Keith Ginter dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance Bynum to third. Matt Watson and Jack Cust drew back-to-back walks and Andrew Beattie ended the game with a line-drive single to left, as the River Cats won the game, 5-4.
Beattie was the offensive star of the game for Sacramento, as he went 3-4 hitting in the fifth slot in the batting order. Beattie has been on a tear lately and has raised his batting average to .328. Shortstop Mike Rouse also reached base three times, with two hits and a walk and two RBI. Shawn Garrett had a clutch pinch-hit, two-run double in the eighth inning that evened the game at 4-4.
A's reliever Kiko Calero started the game for the River Cats as part of his rehabilitation assignment. Calero was hit hard in his one inning of work, allowing four hits and two runs. He did strike out former Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo. Calero is scheduled to start again for Sacramento on Friday and could be activated on Saturday. Scheduled starter Mario Ramos took over for Calero in the second inning and put together another fine performance. Ramos tossed 6.1 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits. He struck out four. It was Ramos' second straight strong outing and he has now dropped his ERA to 4.20. With the win, the River Cats moved into first place with a 29-25 record, 0.5 games ahead of the Las Vegas 51s.
Rogers, Kane County Win Again
2004 first round pick Michael Rogers has been pitching well lately, and he is finally getting the wins to show for it. Rogers won his second game of the season on Wednesday when the Cougars beat West Michigan, 4-2. Rogers was very effective against the White Caps, allowing only one unearned run in seven innings of work. He struck out six. Rogers now has a 2-3 record and a 4.42 ERA.
The game was tied 1-1 in the top of the eighth inning, when Kory Wayment shot a two-out, two-run single to left to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead. Kane County tacked on one more run in the top of the 9th when Eddie Kim hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Myron Leslie. Leslie was the only Cougar to collect two hits. Leslie has been red-hot in May and has upped his average to a team-leading .301.
Reliever Keith Perez worked a scoreless eighth and Robert Semerano allowed one run in the 9th to secure his fourth save of the season. Kane County is now 23-29 on the year.
Stockton Pounds Visalia, 19-7
The Stockton offense has come to life lately, and the Ports exploded for their biggest offensive output of the season on Wednesday. They hammered out 19 runs on 18 hits, 12 walks and two hit-by-pitches. Several Ports had huge days at the plate, but none better than shortstop John McCurdy. McCurdy went 3-4 with a walk, two runs scored and a game-high five RBI. The former first round pick has shown signs of life at the plate lately and has raised his batting average from the low .200s to .269. McCurdy has 22 RBI on the season.
First baseman Daric Barton reached base five times with two doubles and three walks. He also drove in three runs and scored four. Centerfielder Dustin Majewski, who is coming off of a cold May after a very hot April, had a perfect day at that plate. Majewski went 3-3 with two doubles, three runs scored and a walk.
Richie Robnett and Vasili Spanos extended their hitting streaks to nine games. Robnett, hitting lead-off, went 2-5 with three RBI. He has 22 RBI on the season. Spanos went 2-3 with two walks. The big third baseman is hitting .298 on the season. Danny Putnam drove in his team-leading 35th RBI of the season. Catcher Kurt Suzuki was the only Port not to get a base-hit on Wednesday. However, he still had a productive day at the plate. Suzuki walked three times and was hit by a pitch and scored all four times he reached base.
Brad Ziegler was the beneficiary of the Ports' offensive outburst, as he earned his fourth win of the season. He allowed three runs (two earned) in 5.1 innings. Ziegler struck out six and walked none. The Ports are over .500 on the season at 27-26.
A's MLN: Braden Stars Again; Affiliates Go 4-0
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