Oakland A's Notebook: Santos Returns For Midland

It took 12 hits and eight runs, but the Midland Rockhounds were able to squeak out a one-run victory, 8-7, over the San Antonio Missions. Closer Alex Santos returned from the suspended list in dramatic fashion, as he recorded the final out with the tying run on first to secure the win for Midland. Find out the details on Midland's win and other news around the A's organization in this edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook…

Before his appearance in Midland's win on Saturday night, Alex Santos had been serving a suspension for failing a steroid test. Before the suspension, he was one of the most intriguing stories in the A's chain. The former Independent League pitcher and Tampa Bay draft pick had blazed through the California League before being promoted to AA and dominating Texas League hitters. The save was Santos' 14th with Midland and his 21st overall. He has struck out 53 and walked 12 in 44 innings this year.

Midland had plenty of offensive support from a few other former Stockton Ports. Recently promoted second baseman Kevin Melillo went 2-3 with a double, a run batted in, two walks and three runs scored in his first start for the Rockhounds. Melillo has been red-hot in July and could be named the California League Player of the Month despite being promoted to AA before the end of July. Melillo hit nine homeruns and drove in 23 runs for the Ports during the month of July. He also hit an even .400. Former Port Daric Barton also had two hits, snapping a four game hitless streak that had dropped his batting average down to .273. He ended the game at .284.

The biggest offensive star of the game for Midland was the man who has been the Rockhounds' best offensive player all season long: outfielder Andre Ethier. Ethier continued his torrid season at the plate with a 3-5 effort. He finished a triple short of the cycle and drove in four runs. He also scored twice. Ethier is hitting .327 with 17 homers and 65 RBI on the year.

DH Brian Stavisky drove in three runs and Steve Stanley and Mark Kiger each had two hits for Midland. Stanley is quietly having a solid season for Midland. The spunky centerfielder has a career-high five homeruns and has a 780 OPS to go along with a .304 batting average. Stanley has driven in 37 runs, mostly from the lead-off spot, and has walked 41 times against 49 strikeouts, giving the Rockhounds a Jason Kendall-like presence at the top of the order.

The Rockhounds themselves have had a dream season. With the win on Saturday night, Midland moved into a first place tie with San Antonio for the second half Western Division lead. Midland already secured themselves their first playoff berth in a decade with a first-half division title. Midland is leading the Texas League in wins this season.

Other Notes

-- To make room for second baseman Kevin Melillo on the Midland roster, Francis Gomez was sent back to A-Stockton. Gomez hit .264 with four homers in 57 games for Midland. Gomez went 1-1 with two walks in his return to Stockton, where he is hitting .293.

-- Starter Shane Komine had a successful return to full-season professional ball with a strong start for the Ports. Komine missed almost a full year with Tommy John surgery. He made four appearances for the A's Rookie League team before being promoted to Stockton. Komine, who was with Midland last season before being hurt, had four shut-out innings on Saturday night. The Nebraska alum allowed only four hits and one walk while striking out five in Stockton's 6-2 win over the Modesto Nuts. It was the first of a double-header for Stockton.

-- Starter Michael Rogers returned from the disabled list on Saturday night, but was knocked around by Quad Cities. He allowed six runs (five earned) in three innings of work. The Cougars scored four runs in the ninth, but it wasn't enough, as they fell by a score of 7-6.

-- Centerfielder Mike Massaro raised his batting average to .348 with a 4-5 night in Vancouver's 9-2 win over Boise. Massaro clubbed his first homer of the season and finished a triple short of the cycle. Starter Mike Madsen got the win with a six-inning, one-run effort. Madsen has a 1.38 ERA on the season.

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