Thomas Grand-Slam Can't Prevent Sacramento Loss
The River Cats have been waiting all season for Charles Thomas' first homerun. He made it a memorable one, but it wasn't enough to push the River Cats to a win, as they fell to Tacoma, 8-6.
Thomas crushed a two-out grand-slam in the top of the fourth inning to give Sacramento a short-lived 5-4 lead. However, Ben Fritz was unable to hold the lead, allowing two more runs in the bottom of the inning. Fritz's debut with Sacramento was a forgettable one, as the right-hander allowed four runs in the first and two more in the fourth. He couldn't make it out of the game's fourth frame, finishing with a final line-score of six runs earned in 3.1 innings of work.
The River Cats would tie the game in the top of the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly by Mark Kiger. However, Randy Keisler allowed two tie-breaking runs in the bottom of the seventh and the River Cats were unable to recover.
Andrew Beattie had a good game on offense, going 1-2 with two walks. In total, the River Cats walked six times, helping them to six runs despite collecting only five hits.
Midland Back In Second, Beats Frisco
The Midland Rockhounds climbed back into a tie for second-place in the South Division with a 6-4 victory over the Frisco Roughriders. Red-hot Brant Colamarino continued to simmer with a 2-3 night at the plate that included his seventh homerun of the season. He also walked twice. Starter Ray Aguilar went seven strong innings to earn his fifth win of the season.
Aguilar struggled at times with his control, but he was able to overcome his four walks with the help of six strikeouts and a double-play to limit the damage to just three runs. Anthony Rawson allowed a run in only one-third of an inning, but Connor Robertson worked out of an eighth inning jam and pitched a scoreless ninth to secure his third save of the season.
Travis Buck added yet another double to his ledger, collecting his minor-league leading 29th of the season. He also had a single and is hitting .312 since his promotion to AA in mid-May. Buck has never hit lower than .300 at any of the professional levels he has played at during his young career. Kevin Melillo, Brian Stavisky, Kurt Suzuki and Lloyd Turner each had an RBI to help push Midland back to two games over the .500 mark.
Stockton Pulls Out Second Straight Win
The Stockton Ports have had an inconsistent season, so when they win two straight, it is big news. The Ports turned that trick on Monday night, defeating the Visalia Oaks by a score of 6-4. Ryan Ford earned his fourth win of the season with a solid performance. On offense, Gregorio Petit recorded his fourth straight two-hit game with a 2-4 effort to pace the Ports.
Ford lasted six innings on Monday night, allowing only two runs on nine hits. He struck out six and walked only one. The left-hander lowered his ERA to 4.52. Heath Castle was outstanding in relief of Ford, striking out five out of the seven batters he faced in working two scoreless innings. Things got a little sticky in the ninth inning when Randy Rapp allowed two runs to narrow the score to 6-4 with two-outs. However, Ports closer Mike Mitchell slammed the door on the Visalia rally, striking out the final batter of the game to earn his 12th save of the season.
Petit raised his average to .262 with his two-hit night, which included his 12th double of the season and his 28th RBI of the year. Richie Robnett launched his 10th homerun of the season, crushing a solo shot in the fifth. John McCurdy also had a solo homerun, his fourth of the year.
Catcher Landon Powell went 0-3, but all was not lost on the day for the talented catcher. He was informed before the game that he was named a California League All-Star. Quite a comeback for Powell only one year removed from a major knee injury that cost him the 2005 season.
Cougars Lose Heart-Breaker In Extras
One day after clinching a berth in the 2006 post-season, the Kane County Cougars dropped a heart-breaker on the road versus Burlington. A pitcher's duel throughout, the game was decided in the bottom of the 14th inning when Jeff Gray, normally a starting pitcher, came into the game with runners on the corners and one-out. He launched a wild-pitch that allowed the winning run to score.
Before that, it had been eight innings since either team had been able to score a run. Burlington got on the board first, scoring a run off of Cougars' starter Jason Ray in the third inning. Kane County answered with a run in the sixth on a run-scoring double-play by Nick Blasi.
Ray was strong once again, allowing only three hits and one run in six innings. He struck out three and walked three and lowered his ERA to 3.02. Joe Piekraz and Steven Sharpe worked five scoreless innings to extend the game into extra-innings. Brad Kilby took over in the 12th and pitched admirably, striking out five over his first two innings of relief. He allowed a lead-off single in the bottom of the 14th and the runner advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. The runner stole third and Kilby intentionally walked the next hitter before giving way to Gray. Kilby was stuck with a tough loss, dropping his record to 1-1 on the year.
Not surprisingly, the Cougars didn't have much offense on Monday. They could manage only five hits. Shortstop Justin Sellers scored Kane County's only run of the game and he went 1-4. Blasi swiped his 12th base of the year in the losing effort.
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