Oakland A's MLN: Low-Scoring Openers

There wasn't much offense for Oakland A's minor league affiliates during their season-opening games on Thursday night. One of the games was washed out by rain and the other three A's affiliates combined to score only five runs. We have the details of Opening Night in the minor leagues inside…

Sacramento Blanked In Season Opener

The weather wasn't the only thing that was chilly in Tacoma, Washington, on Thursday night. The Sacramento River Cats' bats were stone cold for their season opener versus the Tacoma Rainiers. Sacramento starter Greg Smith was solid in his debut as part of the Oakland A's organization, but it wasn't enough as the River Cats fell by a score of 2-0.

Smith went six innings in his first start of the season. He allowed single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and he allowed six hits and walked a batter. Smith struck out four. Jeff Gray took over for Smith in the seventh inning and he had a strong 2008 debut. The hard-throwing right-hander didn't allow a hit or a walk in two innings of work. He struck out one.

The River Cats managed only five hits and three walks on offense, and two of those base-runners were erased on pick-offs. Casey Rogowski, who got the start at first base, had the River Cats' only extra-base hit, a double off of Rainiers' starter Ryan Feierabend. Gregorio Petit, Carlos Gonzalez, Landon Powell and Jeff Fiorentino picked up the other hits – all singles – for Sacramento.

Defensively, Sacramento made two errors. Petit had one, a fielding error from shortstop, and Wes Bankston had a fielding error at third base.

Midland Squeaks Out Rain-Shortened Victory

Mike Madsen had a strong 2008 debut and the Midland Rockhounds managed to eek out just enough offense to post a victory over the Arkansas Travelers. The game was stopped in the top of the eighth inning with the Rockhounds in the lead by a score of 3-2. Midland looked to be on the verge of breaking the game open when the rain came, as Anthony Recker was at the plate with the bases loaded and no-outs.

Madsen earned the win by throwing six strong innings. He allowed two runs – one earned – on four hits and a walk. He struck out two. Both runs came on a homerun by Ben Johnson, which came on the heels of a Myron Leslie throwing error. Left-hander Justin Dowdy earned his first save as a member of the A's organization by working a scoreless seventh inning. He struck out a batter and didn't allow a base-runner.

On offense, second baseman Jesus Guzman was the leader for Midland. The former Mariners' farmhand had a double and a single and he scored two runs. He also stole a base. DH Brian Snyder and first baseman Tom Everidge each had doubles. Everidge also had a two-out RBI.

Shortstop Cliff Pennington served as the Rockhounds' lead-off hitter. He reached base twice in three official at-bats on a hit and a walk. Outfielders Danny Putnam and Mike Massaro each had RBIs for Midland.

Stockton Drops A Close One

Stockton Ports' starter Fautino De Los Santos was both electric and erratic in his debut as a member of the Oakland A's organization. The hard-throwing right-hander struck out six and allowed only five hits in six innings in his season debut. He walked only one, but he uncorked three wild pitches and hit a batter. De Los Santos allowed single runs in the fourth and fifth innings and took the loss in the Ports' 3-2 loss to the Modesto Nuts.

Third baseman Frank Martinez represented the entire Stockton offense on Thursday. He launched a solo homerun in the fifth inning to get Stockton on the board and then he scored the Ports' second run on a wild pitch. Second baseman Mike Affronti and centerfielder Archie Gilbert were the only other Ports to collect hits. Affronti had a double and Gilbert had a single. Shortstop Josh Horton and right-fielder Matt Sulentic each walked twice for Stockton. Horton and Gilbert were both caught stealing second base in the first inning.

Right-hander Graham Godfrey had a rough debut as part of the A's organization. He walked three, allowed a hit and what would be the game-winning run in only two-thirds of an inning of work. Patrick Currin relieved Godfrey with two-outs in the seventh and retired the final batter of the seventh and then worked scoreless eighth and ninth innings. He struck out three and didn't walk a batter.

Outfielder Richie Robnett started for Stockton. Robnett will be on the Stockton roster for the next three or four days to get some at-bats. He was banged up at the end of spring training and is expected to rejoin the Sacramento roster next week.

Kane County Rained Out In Beloit

The Kane County Cougars' season-opener versus the Beloit Snappers in Wisconsin was rained out. The two teams will play their regularly scheduled game on Friday night and will then play a double-header on Saturday to make-up for Thursday's rain-out. The double-header will be two seven-inning games.

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