Midland Notes: Donaldson Busts Out In Win

The Midland Rockhounds are rolling and even a rehabbing major league starter couldn't stop their momentum on Wednesday night.

Down 5-0 in the bottom of the first, the Midland Rockhounds exploded for five runs in the first and three runs in the second against rehabbing Houston Astros' starter Brian Moehler. Midland would eventually go on to win the game by a score of 16-9. The Rockhounds are now 13-6 on the season and in first place in their division.

Catcher Josh Donaldson has been one of the rare Rockhounds to get off to a slow start this season, but he showed signs of life on Wednesday. He had two hits in four at-bats, including his first triple of the season, and he drove-in three runs. He also walked and scored twice. Donaldson has had six RBIs and four hits in his last two games. On Tuesday, he hit hit first homerun of the season.

Despite his struggles to get hits, Donaldson has been getting on-base at a regular clip. He has 16 walks against 13 strike-outs this season and has a .390 OBP despite sporting a .230 batting average. Donaldson got off to a slow start last season, as well, batting .217 for Low-A Peoria for the first 63 games of the season. After a mid-season trade to Oakland, Donaldson took off, batting .330 with nine homers in 47 games for High-A Stockton.

Adrian Cardenas, Danny Putnam and Josh Horton continue to rake for Midland. Cardenas had three hits and five RBIs on Wednesday. One of his three hits was a triple, his second of the season. He has 18 RBIs in 18 games and is batting .355 with a 989 OPS. He has 13 extra-base hits in 76 at-bats. Cardenas has hit safely in eight of his last 10 games.

Putnam has recovered from a slow start and is scorching at the plate. He had four hits on Wednesday to raise his average to .301. He leads the team with five homers and he has 15 RBIs and a 948 OPS. The A's 2004 supplemental first round pick is batting .395 with all five of his homeruns over the past 10 games. He hit .276 with an 877 OPS and 15 homers for Triple-A Sacramento last season.

Horton missed time earlier this month with a tender throwing arm, but he is firmly back in the swing of things. The shortstop had three hits on Wednesday, and he has eight hits in his last four games. He is batting .339 on the season and .366 over his last 10 games. His OBP is a stellar .426 and he has driven-in 11.

Chris Carter had two RBIs on Wednesday to up his season total to a team-best 21 RBIs (good for second in the league). Tom Everidge extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a hit in five at-bats on Wednesday. He has raised his average 100 points during the streak to .305. Archie Gilbert reached base twice on Wednesday. The outfielder has a .439 OBP.

Overall, the Rockhounds' offense is tops in the league. The team is batting .314 with an 850 OPS. They have scored 138 runs in only 19 games. They are also third in the league in stolen bases with 23.

On the mound, Travis Banwart is making a run at giving the Rockhounds back-to-back ERA crown winners (Vince Mazzaro was the Texas League's ERA champ last season). Banwart leads the league with three wins and a 1.31 ERA in four starts. As a team, the Rockhounds are second in the league in ERA with a 4.21 mark.

Michael Benacka is putting together an impressive season. The right-hander has allowed only 11 base-runners in 12.1 innings and he has struck-out 13. He sports a 1.46 ERA and he has a win and a save. Angel Garcia has a 0.69 ERA in 13 relief innings this season. Garcia sat out all of last season after being selected in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft by Oakland. Before this season, he had spent his entire career with the Minnesota Twins organization and was their fourth round pick in 2001.

Right-hander Arnold Leon has been struggling of late. The 20-year-old has allowed at least two runs in each of his last three relief appearances. He did strike-out four in 1.2 innings in his last outing, however. Overall, he has a 5.06 ERA and an 8:6 K:BB ratio in 10.2 innings pitched this season.

The Rockhounds finish their series against Corpus Christi tonight. Multiple Cy Young award-winner Roger Clemens arrived in town on Wednesday to watch his son, Koby, play for the Hooks. Koby is a catcher in the Astros' system and he was just recently promoted to Double-A. The elder Clemens will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Midland game on Thursday. The Rockhounds will be looking to extend their winning streak to five games.

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