Oakland A's MLN: Sulentic Tees Off

The Midland Rockhounds fell just short of their goal of a first-half division title, but they got their second-half off to a fast start with a big win over Frisco. We have the details of Wednesday's action in the Oakland A's system and some roster moves inside...

Rockhounds Pound Frisco

The Midland Rockhounds managed only one run in a must-win game in the first-half season finale on Tuesday, but they rebounded in a big way on Wednesday with a 14-3 drubbing of the Frisco Roughriders. Midland, who just missed out on a division title in the first half, begins the second half with a 1-0 record.

Matt Sulentic was the star of a prolific Midland offense on Wednesday. The 21-year-old outfielder led-off for the first time all season and he was a catalyst for Midland all day. In six plate appearances, Sulentic reached base five times with four hits and a walk. Two of the hits were homeruns, another was a triple and another was a single. Sulentic had a chance to complete the cycle in the ninth inning, but he hit a grandslam instead of a double. He finished with six RBIs and he also walked. The A's 2006 third-round pick is batting .291 with an 803 OPS in his first season at the Double-A level.

Sulentic had plenty of support from his Midland teammates. Chris Carter also homered, his 11th of the year. Josh Horton drove-in three runs, while Adrian Cardenas went 3-6 with two RBIs. Raul Padron had two doubles in five at-bats. He is batting .368 in nine games since being promoted from High-A Stockton. Archie Gilbert had two hits and three runs scored, and Alexander Valdez had two hits to raise his average to .319. Valdez has a 922 OPS in 27 games with Midland this season.

Daniel Barone made his first start for the Rockhounds. Barone signed with the A's this week as a minor league free agent. He had been with the Florida Marlins organization and he appeared in 16 games with the Marlins in 2006. Barone allowed one run in three innings with three strike-outs. He was on a 50-pitch limit. The right-hander is a native of San Jose and went to Sonoma State, alma mater of A's prospect Tom Everidge.

Carlos Hernandez relieved Barone and earned the win with five solid innings. He allowed two runs on four hits with four strike-outs and one walk. Hernandez moved to 6-1 and lowered his Double-A ERA to 4.50. Rocky Roquet pitched a scoreless ninth to finish off the game for Midland.

Eaton Blanks River Cats

Former Philadelphia Phillies bust Adam Eaton is trying to revive his career with the Colorado Rockies and he is off to a good start with the Rockies Triple-A affiliate. Eaton moved to 3-0 and lowered his ERA to 0.95 with six shut-out innings in the Sky Sox's 2-0 win over the Sacramento River Cats.

The River Cats managed only five hits in the game. Four of those hits came from Mark Ellis and Travis Buck in the second and third spots in the line-up. Ellis is batting .240 in his rehab assignment with Sacramento. Buck is hitting .386 with a 1054 OPS in 13 games with the River Cats. Sacramento's other hit came from Matt Carson. All five hits were singles.

Jerome Wiliams was stuck with the tough-luck loss. He allowed only one earned run (two total) in 4.2 innings in his second start of the season. Chris Schroder, Brad Kilby, Ryan Webb and Jay Marshall combined to toss 4.1 scoreless innings to keep the game close, but it wasn't enough. The only base-runner allowed by the River Cats' bullpen came on a walk by Schroder.

Kilby struck-out two in his scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 2.17. He has 33 strike-outs and only nine walks in 29 innings this season. PCL batters are hitting a paltry .105 against the left-hander and he hasn't allowed a run since June 5th.

Webb also had two strike-outs in his one inning outing. The right-hander has really taken to the bullpen since making the transition from the rotation in April. He is 6-0 with two saves and a 3.57 ERA. Webb has a 27:7 K:BB ratio since becoming a reliever. In June, he has a 2.53 ERA and a 10:1 K:BB ratio in 10.2 innings.

C's Drop Heart-breaker

For the second consecutive day, the Vancouver Canadians dropped a one-run decision to Tri-City. On Tuesday, it was a 3-2 game. On Wednesday, the C's lost by a score of 2-1. Tri-City scored the winning run off of Bo Schultz in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Pitching was the name of the game for both teams. Vancouver managed only three hits, while Tri-City was held to seven hits. Chad Lee, who has been plagued by injuries since being selected in the fourth round of the 2006 draft by Oakland, had a fine 2009 debut. The right-hander worked four scoreless innings, allowing only a hit and a walk. He struck-out seven. Ronny Morla followed with four solid innings of his own, allowing one run on four hits. He struck-out three and walked none.

Vancouver had only five base-runners in the game. Conner Crumbliss, hitting in the lead-off spot, had a hit and a walk and he scored the C's only run. Nino Leyja had the C's other two hits. The 18-year-old is off to a good start to this season. He has eight hits in 19 at-bats in five games.

A's Beat Giants ... No, Really

The Rookie League A's showed the big league club how it is done on Wednesday. On the same night that the big league A's were getting beat for the fifth time in six games against the San Francisco Giants, the AZL A's were pounding out 11 hits in a 10-8 win over the AZL Giants.

Blake Crosby had three hits and two RBIs to lead the AZL A's attack. Douglas Landaeta added two hits, including a triple, and two RBIs, while Stephen Parker and Ramon Soto scored twice. Gernaldo Castillo had two hits in the game, as well.

Omar Duran, one of the A's big Latin American free agent signings before the 2008 season, earned his first win of the season with 1.1 scoreless innings in relief. He had three strike-outs and no walks. Luis Reyes recovered from a horrific first outing, when he allowed six runs in one-third of an inning, to earn his first save with a scoreless ninth.

Roster Moves

Mid-season often means lots of roster moves around the Oakland A's system, and some of those moves have begun already. Midland closer Sam Demel earned a much-deserved promotion to Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday. The right-hander was brilliant for the Rockhounds during the first-half, posting a 0.61 ERA and saving 11 games. The Rockhounds also lost reliever Angel Garcia, who landed on the disabled list.

Midland has added three pitchers in the past week, however. In addition to Barone, who was added to the roster prior to Wednesday's game, the Rockhounds have added Daniel Haigwood, a veteran left-hander. He is getting his first start with Midland on Thursday.

The Rockhounds have also added reliever Steve Sharpe, who is playing at his third level this season after competing for Stockton and Sacramento in the first half of the year. Sharpe has a 3.34 ERA in 35 innings between Stockton and Sacramento this season.

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