Midland Off To Good Start
After a season-opening loss, the Midland Rockhounds have reeled off three wins in a row. Midland moved to 3-1 on Sunday with an 8-7 win in soggy and breezy Springfield, Missouri.
The Rockhounds out-lasted the Cardinals on Sunday, fighting through wind, rain and cold in a back-and-forth affair. They would score the winning run on a suicide squeeze by catcher Josh Donaldson. Donaldson walked three times in the game and scored twice. Sam Demel earned his first save of the season by retiring the final batter of the game.
Demel was one of several Rockhounds who had a strong weekend. He has appeared in two games and has tossed 2.1 scoreless innings. He hasn't walked a batter and has struck-out two. Demel is pitching in his home state and is an alum of Texas Christian University.
Starter Jason Fernandez also had a strong start to his season. The right-hander tossed six scoreless innings in his season debut, earning the win. He allowed two hits and three walks and struck-out three.
Kristian Bell also pitched well in his first outing of the season, allowing one run in four innings. Travis Banwart tossed four scoreless frames in his first start of the season. Reliever Michael Benacka earned a win by tossing 2.2 scoreless innings. He struck-out four and walked one.
On offense, centerfielder Corey Brown had a big first weekend in Double-A. In four games this season, Brown has five hits in 14 at-bats. He has also walked twice, stole two bases and scored two runs. Infielder Yung-Chi Chen has dominated in three games this season. He has five hits in 11 at-bats and has scored six runs.
Second baseman Adrian Cardenas is off to a fast start with four doubles in his first four games. He has four RBIs, as well. Cardenas had only four doubles in 86 at-bats with Midland in 2008. Shortstop Josh Horton has five hits in 15 at-bats to start the season.
Outfielder Javier Herrera hasn't played since the season's Opening Night when he had two at-bats. Midland will continue its series with Springfield on Monday.
Stockton Stumbles In Season-Opening Series
The San Jose Giants sent the defending California League champion Stockton Ports a loud message over the season's first weekend, sweeping the Ports in four games and outscoring the champs by a 24-1 margin.
Stockton scored a run in the ninth inning of Game One of the season, but they haven't scored a run since then. The Giants earned wins of 5-1, 4-0, 5-0 and 10-0.
There weren't many offensive highlights for Stockton this weekend. Outfielder Shane Keough got off to a good start, collecting three hits in his first nine Cal League at-bats. Catcher Matt Smith had three hits in 10 at-bats and outfielder Jermaine Mitchell had three hits in 11 at-bats and a stolen base.
The pitching staff didn't find much more success. Carlos Hernandez had the Ports' best start, allowing three earned runs in five innings. He struck-out six and walked two, but was still stuck with a loss. Craig Italiano allowed four runs in 2.1 innings, Scott Hodsdson allowed four earned runs in three innings and Tyson Ross coughed-up two runs in four innings.
The Ports mercifully have seen the last of the Giants -- for three days at least. They take on Modesto starting on Monday for a three-game set. The Ports open their home schedule against San Jose on Thursday.
Kane County Earns First Series Win
The Kane County Cougars took two of three games against rival Peoria in the season's first series.
First baseman Steve Kleen had a big first weekend back after missing the entire 2008 season with injury. He collected five hits in 13 at-bats, including two doubles, and he drove-in four. Outfielder David Thomas had four hits in his first 12 at-bats and he stole three bases in three chances. Outfielder Mitchell LeVier had four hits in 12 at-bats, including two doubles.
Shawn Haviland was outstanding in his first start of the season. The Harvard alum allowed two runs in 5.1 innings. He struck-out four and walked none. Matt Fitts allowed three runs in five innings in his first start of the season, while Josue Selenes earned a win in relief and tossed four scoreless innings.
Closer Jose Guzman got off to a fast start. He earned saves in his first two appearances, allowing only a hit in two innings.
Brett Hunter is scheduled to be the Cougars' fifth starter, although he is going to be used in a tandem with lefty Ben Hornbeck, meaning that both will be scheduled to throw no more than three or four innings.
Oakland A's Rookie Update
The Oakland A's may have been swept over the weekend, but it was a memorable one for the A's rookie set. Starter Brett Anderson made his major league debut on Friday night in the A's home opener. He was touched for five runs in the second inning against Seattle, but threw five other scoreless innings in what was generally a strong major league debut.
Catcher Landon Powell made his major league debut on Saturday, reaching the big leagues after five minor league seasons and two major knee injuries. Powell doubled home two runners in his first big league at-bat, which came against King Felix Hernandez.
Trevor Cahill had a most memorable second outing. Cahill had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning, which he lost with one out in that inning. He would eventually allow a run-scoring double later in that inning, the only run that would score in the game. Cahill allowed two hits and one run in seven innings and struck-out three while walking three.
Andrew Bailey has quickly become one of the A's most reliable relievers. He has appeared in three games since the season began and has tossed 3.1 scoreless innings. Bailey has struck-out five and has yet to allow a walk while giving up only one hit.
Oakland A's MLN: Weekend Wrap
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