Mike Madsen was outstanding for a second straight game for the Midland Rockhounds, blanking Corpus Christi for seven innings to earn his first Double-A win. The Rockhounds survived a scare in the ninth inning to hold on to win by a score of 3-2.
Madsen was nearly flawless, striking out eight and allowing only two hits. He also walked three. In two outings since being promoted from High-A Stockton, Madsen has allowed only four hits in 13 innings. He has struck out 11 and has walked four over that time.
On the season, Madsen has whiffed 31 in 37 innings and has allowed only 25 hits. Madsen has looked like the pitcher who dominanted the Northwest League in 2005 after being drafted out of Ohio State University. He struggled last season, posting a 6-11 record with a 7.34 ERA for Midland and Stockton.
Madsen didn't receive much offensive support, but it was enough. Second baseman Brian Snyder cracked his third homer of the season, a two-run shot. He also added a double and a walk. Snyder, after a rough 2006 season, has also seen a revival at the plate. The former first round pick has an 816 OPS on the season. Vasili Spanos also had two hits.
Midland almost lost the game in the ninth, when a Jeff Baisley error contributed to a two-run inning off of Brad Ziegler. Ziegler was able to close the door, however, securing the 3-2 win. He pitched two innings and earned his first save of the season.
Sacramento Jumps Out Early; Holds On Late
Daric Barton broke out of a deep slump, crushing an opposite field grand-slam and driving in five in the River Cats 11-8 win over Las Vegas. Sacramento had 14 hits and 12 walks in the game.
Colby Lewis hasn't had much run support this season, but he got plenty on Thursday. He allowed three runs in the first inning, but Sacramento scored in the second through sixth innings to go out to an 11-3 lead. Jeff Gray struggled in the eighth and ninth, allowing five runs before Connor Robertson came on to slam the door for his first save of the year.
Barton needed a good game at the plate after struggling over the last two weeks, and he got it. Barton doubled and crushed a grand-slam, his second homer of the year and his first since Opening Day. His five RBIs give him 18 for the season. He also drew two walks.
Every regular except for Kevin Melillo reached base at least twice for Sacramento. Antonio Perez had three hits, two walks and two RBIs against his old team. Lou Merloni and Donnie Murphy both tripled and Murphy also homered, his second of hte season. Murphy's average is up to .337 on the seaosn and he has been a solid contributor for the River Cats all season.
Lewis finished the game with six strong innings. He allowed only those three first inning runs and four hits. He was wild, however, walking five. He struck out seven and he has 37 strikeouts in 36.2 innings for the River Cats this season. The win was his third of the year. He has been Sacramento's best starter this season.
Ron Flores added a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 1.32.
Stockton Loses Nailbiter To San Jose
Stockton had nine hits, but could manage only two runs against the San Jose Giants and lost to the Giants by a score of 3-2.
Jose Guzman had a strong effort for the Ports in a losing cause. The young right-hander three runs on six hits in six innings. It was his second start for the Ports since being called up from extended spring training.
Reliever Pat Currin had a strong second outing for the Ports after a terrible first outing that saw him allow four runs in one-third of an inning. Currin threw two scoreless innings, striking out three and keeping the Ports close.
Frank Martinez, Javier Herrera and Jose Pineda had two hits a piece. Martinez has been outstanding for Stockton this season. The switch-hitting third baseman is batting .305 with 16 RBIs. He has an impressive .380 OPS and an 811 OPS. He stole his fifth base on Thursday in addition to the two hits.
Herrera had two singles and he stole his seventh base of the season. After a horrific start to the year, Herrera has been on-fire of late. He has a .359 batting average over the past 10 games and his average is up to .242 after bottoming out in the low .100s.
Pineda is finally mixing in some singles with his homeruns. Coming into Thursday's game, Pineda had five hits, four of which were homeruns. He singled twice on Thursday.
Cougars Drop Series Finale
Kane County's slow start continued on Thursday, as they fell by a score of 9-3 to West Michigan. The Cougars are now 5-19 on the season. Only Wisconsin has a worse record in the Midwest League.
Starter Scott Deal was rocked for four runs in the first. He allowed two more in the fifth, finishing with six runs in five innings. Joe Piekarz allowed three runs in two innings of work.
Kane County couldn't muster much offense. Greg Dowling had a two-run double to lead the Cougars' offense.