Oakland A's MLN: Midland, KC Rolling

Perhaps it is something about playing in California. The Oakland A's and their two California-based affiliates are off to very slow starts at the plate this season. However, the A's two non-California-based affiliates are red-hot at the dish. We have details on the Thursday night action in the A's system inside...

Midland Powers Way To Eighth Win

The potent Midland offense backed a strong start by Travis Banwart in a 9-3 win over the San Antonio Missions. The Rockhounds are now 8-5 on the season and in first place in their division. Midland is batting .299 as a team with 87 runs scored in 13 games, both good for second in the league. Their 36 doubles lead the league by seven.

Danny Putnam and Chris Carter each scored three times in the rout. Carter doubled twice and drove home two, while Putnam cracked his third homer of the season. Carter is now batting .315 with 18 RBIs on the season after getting off to a slow start. Tom Everidge had three RBIs and two hits. Adrian Cardenas and Matt Sulentic also chipped in with two-hit games. Cardenas collected his team-leading eighth double of the year. The two hits for Sulentic were his first at the Double-A level.

Banwart moved to 2-0 on the season by scattering three hits and two walks over 5.2 scoreless innings. He struck-out five. The Rockhounds had a shut-out going until the bottom of the ninth inning, when reliever Arnold Leon allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks. Banwart has a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 innings thus far this season. The right-hander had a 3.59 ERA in 100.1 innings for Low-A Kane County and High-A Stockton in 2008.

Haviland, Cougars Win Again

The Cougars moved to 9-4 and took sole possession of first place in their division with an 8-4 victory over the Burlington Bees.

Starter Shawn Haviland moved to 2-0 on the season with another strong start. The right-hander allowed two runs on two hits and one walk in six innings of work. He struck-out seven. Haviland has a 2.65 ERA in 17 innings and a 19:2 K:BB ratio thus far this season for the Cougars.

Kane County's offense once again had a good game on Thursday. The Cougars had 11 hits, including two that went for extra-bases. Jason Christian hit his second homerun of the season, a three-run shot in the third. Franklin Hernandez collected his second triple and went 2-4 to raise his average to .298. Steve Kleen raised his average to .362 with another 2-4 night. The Cougars are second in the Midwest League with a .275 team average and have scored 70 runs in 13 games, good also for second in the league. The Cougars are also second in the league in homeruns with eight on the season.

Sacramento Falls, But Gio Is Brilliant

Gio Gonzalez is making a strong case for a spot in the Oakland A's rotation. The left-hander lost a spot in the rotation this spring thanks to a shoulder injury, but he appears healthy and could take Josh Outman's place in the A's starting five as early as next week. He got the start on Thursday night in Portland and was brilliant. In 4.2 innings, Gonzalez allowed only three hits and a walk and he struck-out eight. On the season, Gonzalez has allowed five hits and two runs in 11.2 innings with a 15:6 K:BB ratio.

Despite the terrific outing from Gonzalez, the River Cats were unable to get the win, as Portland's staff – including former A's right-hander Chad Gaudin – shut-down the River Cats' offense. Gaudin threw five scoreless innings, allowing only two hits and striking out seven. Three Beavers relievers combined to throw four more scoreless innings to earn Portland a 3-0 win.

Jared Lansford earned the loss by allowing three runs on four hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. Lansford is coming off of a strong 2008 season, but he hasn't been right for most of 2009. In nine innings, he has allowed 10 runs and has walked 12 while striking out only one.

The River Cats managed only three hits in the game, a single each from Eric Patterson, Eric Munson and Gregorio Petit. Munson is three-for-nine with a homer since joining the River Cats on Tuesday. Daric Barton went 0-3 and saw his season average drop to .133 on the year. As a team, the River Cats are batting only .224, good for dead-last in the Pacific Coast League. They are 8-7 on the season.

Ports Nipped Again

The Stockton Ports once again blew a late lead and fell to 2-13 on the season. Stockton led Bakersfield by a score of 5-3 in the seventh inning, but the Blaze scored three in the seventh to get the 6-5 win.

Matt Spencer led the Ports' offense by reaching base four times with two hits and two walks. He scored twice. Raul Padron homered for the second straight game, a three-run shot in the fifth inning. Toddric Johnson and Alexander Valdez had the other two RBIs for Stockton. Valdez went 0-3, however, and is batting .047 on the season.

Scott Mitchinson got the start and was in-line for the win when he left the game in the sixth inning. He allowed three runs on nine hits in five innings. He struck-out four and walked one. Mitchinson did allow two homers in the hitter-friendly Bakersfield park. Patrick Currin got the loss by allowing three runs in 1.2 innings of relief. It was his second loss of the season.

The game was played in Bakersfield before an announced crowd of 856 people.

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