Oakland A's MLN: Rockhounds Win Big

The Midland Rockhounds used a seven-run first inning to cruise to a big win, while the Kane County Cougars and Sacramento River Cats received stellar starting pitching performances in their wins. Meanwhile, the Stockton Ports fell just short of a series win over the San Jose Giants. We have the details inside...

Midland, Spencer Power Way To Win

The Midland Rockhounds had a seven-run first inning, highlighted by a grandslam from left-fielder Matt Spencer, and they cruised to a 16-8 win over Northwest Arkansas.

Alexander Valdez also homered in the first inning (his homer came immediately after Spencer's grandslam). Tom Everidge and Adrian Cardenas each drove-in three runs, while Chris Carter reached base four times and drove-in two. Josh Horton and Archie Gilbert each collected three hits. Gilbert also walked twice and stole his 14th base of the season. Matt Sulentic added two hits and two runs scored. Every Midland starter had at least one hit and one run scored in the game.

Gilbert extended his hitting streak to eight games. He is batting .322 on the season and .356 over his last 10 contests. The Midland lead-off hitter has a .418 OBP and 24 walks against 16 strike-outs this season. Horton is batting .383 over his last 10 games with two homers and 11 RBIs. He has his season average up to .299 and his OPS up to 766.

Carter's double on Wednesday gives him 21 on the season. He has a .490 SLG and an 886 OPS for Midland. Carter has walked 10 times in his last 10 games and is batting .395 over that stretch. Cardenas is batting .333 with a homer and 11 RBIs in nine games since being sent back to Midland from Triple-A Sacramento. Josh Donaldson, who had a double and two RBIs in Wednesday's contest, is batting .425 with two homers and 13 RBIs over his last 10 games. On the season, he is hitting .287 with five homers, 38 RBIs and an 889 OPS.

Carlos Hernandez, who got 12 runs of support his last time on the mound and 24 runs in his first Midland outing, benefited from the Midland offensive explosion once again to move to 3-0 with the Rockhounds. He allowed three runs in five innings to earn the win.

Gonzalez Brilliant In Sacramento Win

With Vince Mazzaro's promotion to the major leagues, Gio Gonzalez is doing his best to remind everyone that there is still a top pitching prospect on the River Cats' staff. The lefty notched his second consecutive solid start, allowing one run on two hits and two walks in six innings to earn his second win of the season in a 3-1 Sacramento victory over Salt Lake.

In his last two starts, Gonzalez has allowed only one run, four hits and five walks over 13 innings pitched. He has struck-out 11 in those two starts. His ERA is now 3.50 and he has 44 strike-outs in 43.2 innings and has allowed only 33 hits.

Gonzalez got some help from a stellar Sacramento bullpen. Ryan Webb worked 1.1 scoreless innings in relief, allowing only one hit. Jay Marshall worked a scoreless one-third of an inning and then Jeff Gray earned his fifth save of the season with 1.1 perfect innings. He struck-out three and lowered his ERA to 1.80 for the season.

Once again, the River Cats had just enough offense to win. Daric Barton, Eric Munson and Cliff Pennington each drove in a run. Chris Denorfia and Munson were the only two River Cats with multi-hit games, while Barton and Jeff Baisley each reached base twice. Denorfia is batting .310 with five walks and a homer over his last 10 games.

Kane County Wins Behind Smalley

Kenneth Smalley moved to 5-1 on the season with yet another outstanding outing for the Low-A Kane County Cougars. The right-hander tossed six shut-out innings, allowing only five hits and one walk. He struck-out four and lowered his ERA to 1.69 in the 3-1 Cougars' win.

Trey Barham (one scoreless inning with two strike-outs) and Justin Murray (two innings with one run allowed) combined to finish off the win for Smalley and the Cougars. Murray earned his second save of the season. Since joining the Cougars from extended spring training on May 25th, Barham has worked in three games, allowing one run on one hit and one walk in 4.1 innings. He has struck-out six.

Sluggers Grant Desme and Jeremy Barfield once again paced the Cougars' attack. Desme homered and walked in three at-bats. The A's 2007 second round pick has nine homeruns and a .516 SLG in 51 games for the Cougars. He is batting .284 on the season despite starting the year with an 0-20 slump. Desme has also stolen 15 bases in 15 tries. Barfield extended his hitting streak to six games. He is batting .462 with six RBIs over his last 10 games and is hitting .348 with four homers and a 937 OPS in 32 games this season.

Ports Split Series With San Jose

After starting the year 0-8 against the San Jose Giants, the High-A Stockton Ports had a chance to take a four-game series against their Bay Area rivals. It wasn't to be, however, as Stockton dropped the series finale by a score of 4-2 and had to settle for a split.

Ben Hornbeck got the start for Stockton, his third since being promoted from Kane County. He allowed two runs in the first and one in the second, but settled down after that before being pulled because of a high pitch count with two-outs in the fifth inning. In 4.2 innings, Hornbeck allowed three runs on six hits and two walks (one intentional). He struck-out seven. Hornbeck has 25 strike-outs in 14.2 innings for the Ports and 72 strike-outs in 51 total innings this season.

The Ports could only muster offense in the fifth inning against San Jose's pitching staff when Christian Vitters hit a two-run homerun. It was Vitters second homerun of the season. The third baseman is batting .277 with 13 RBIs in 20 games since joining the Ports from extended spring training.

A's 2008 first round pick Jemile Weeks had a double in four at-bats. The second baseman is off to a terrific start since being activated from extended spring training on May 27th. He has 11 hits in 33 at-bats, including a double and two homers. He has driven-in seven runs in seven games and has a 934 OPS. Jermaine Mitchell added a hit and a walk in the game. He is batting .300 over his last 10 games and has seven walks. The outfielder has a .364 OBP this season.

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