Oakland A's MLN: Midland's Race Down To Wire

The Kane County Cougars are already division champions, and the Midland Rockhounds are still hopeful of making it two Oakland A's affiliates with division titles to their credit. Midland's race with San Antonio for the division crown is going down to tonight, the final day of the first-half. We have details on that race and more inside...

Rockhounds Win, Push Race To Final Day

Graham Godfrey was outstanding in a must-win game and the Midland Rockhounds used a four-run second inning to propel themselves to a 4-2 win over the Frisco Roughriders on Monday night. The win kept Midland within one game of first-place San Antonio. If Midland wins tonight and San Antonio loses, the two teams will finish the first-half of the season tied for the division crown. Under new Texas League rules, the division title would then be determined based on the outcome of the first game between those two teams in the second half of the season. The Rockhounds and Missions next battle on Friday at Midland's Citibank Ballpark.

Godfrey kept the Rockhounds' first-half playoff hopes alive with six strong innings of work. He scattered seven hits and two walks and allowed only two runs. He earned his seventh win of the season against four losses and lowered his season ERA to 3.24. Godfrey has been outstanding since a slow start to his season. In April, he posted a 5.60 ERA, but in May and June, he has had ERAs of 2.94 and 2.34, respectively. Texas League batters are hitting .246 against Godfrey this season.

Godfrey got some help from his bullpen to finish the win. Jared Lansford and Michael Benacka combined to pitch scoreless seventh and eighth innings, although Lansford made it interesting with four walks and two hits allowed in 1.2 innings. A double-play in the seventh helped Lansford's cause.

Closer Sam Demel, who has quietly put together a dominating season, worked the ninth for his 11th save of the season. He allowed one hit, but he struck-out two and walked none. Demel has a 0.61 ERA and has allowed only 32 base-runners in 29.1 innings this season. He has yet to allow a run in June and has walked only one batter in 7.2 innings this month.

The Rockhounds didn't get much offense, but they made what they got count. Matt Sulentic was the only Midland player with two hits. He also walked. Josh Horton and Adrian Cardenas each had RBIs, while Matt Spencer drove home two.

Travis Banwart gets the start tonight for Midland in another must-win game.

Vancouver Wins Second Straight

After dropping their opener, the Vancouver Canadians have comeback with two consecutive wins. Outstanding pitching has been the name of the game for Vancouver in those two wins, as the C's pitching staff has allowed only two runs over those two games.

On Monday, the C's used a late-game offensive outburst to win, 7-1, over Everett. Trailing 1-0 into the fifth, Vancouver scored seven times in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth to earn the win. Hector Garcia got the start for Vancouver. The hard-throwing righty allowed an unearned run in four innings, although he did walk four against only one strike-out.

Kyle Christensen came on in relief of Garcia and he earned the win with three scoreless frames. It was the first win for Christensen since 2007, as the right-hander missed all of last season with injuries. He allowed one hit and one walk and struck-out three. Paul Smyth had an impressive professional debut, striking out the side in his one inning of work. Daniel Straily finished off the win with a scoreless ninth inning.

On offense, C's were quiet early, but rallied to collect 10 hits and five walks. Nino Leyja, Kent Walton and Gabriel Ortiz each had two hits. Walton and Ortiz both had two RBIs. Ryne Jernigan reached base three times, scoring twice and driving in a run, while Leonardo Gil scored two runs, as well. Rashun Dixon had a double and a run scored. Through three games, the multi-talented outfielder has five hits in 12 at-bats with two extra-base hits, three RBIs and a stolen base.

Rookie A's Earn Win In Season Opener

The A's Arizona Rookie League team rallied late to earn a win in their season opener, 6-4 over the Cubs. 2009 draft pick Michael Spina led the way for the AZL A's with three hits, including a double. Diomedes Lopez had two hits in two at-bats, while Gernaldo Castillo scored twice.

Rony Acevedo earned the win in relief. He allowed two runs on two hits and two walks in 3.2 innings. He struck-out two. A.J. Huttenlocker earned a save in his professional debut with a perfect ninth inning. Huttenlocker struck-out one.

News And Notes

- While not currently listed on the AZL A's roster, RHP Fautino De Los Santos is expected to pitch for the AZL A's around the 4th of July if his rehab continues to go as scheduled, according to A's Director of Player Development Keith Lieppman. De Los Santos is about 13 months removed from Tommy John surgery.

- MILB.com currently lists Midland infielder Mike Affronti as a catcher on the AZL A's roster, but Affronti is still with Midland and isn't making a position switch. The catcher who should be listed is Chris Affinito, who signed with the A's as an undrafted free agent from Seton Hall.

- Second baseman Jemile Weeks was missing from the Stockton Ports' line-up on Saturday and Sunday. Weeks tweaked his foot beating out an infield hit on Friday night. That hit kept his 19-game hitting streak alive. The injury isn't thought to be serious, but the A's decided to give Weeks the two days off leading into the Ports' All-Star break as a precaution, according to Lieppman.

- Infielder/outfielder Larry Cobb has been suspended for 50 games under baseball's drug program. Major League Baseball announced on Monday that Cobb had tested positive for amphetamines. The Florida native has split the season between Sacramento and Stockton and is batting .226 with three homers and a 667 OPS. He was currently on the Stockton Ports' roster, although Cobb last played on June 9th for Sacramento. He was the co-MVP of the Kane County Cougars last season and a Midwest League All-Star. Cobb hit .273 with 13 homers and 70 RBIs for the Cougars last season.

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