Only an innings limit could stop Midland Rockhounds left-hander Carlos Hernandez on Wednesday night, as the Frisco Roughriders were no match for the Santa Clara native. Hernandez tossed five perfect innings to earn the win in Midland's 9-1 victory.
It took Hernandez only 55 pitches to retire all 15 batters he faced on Wednesday. The change-up artist struck-out five and recorded six ground-outs and three fly-outs. He wasn't able to chase history, however, as he was pulled after the fifth inning for Ben Hornbeck. Hernandez and Hornbeck are in a tandem starter pairing right now for Midland. Hornbeck would lose the shut-out and the perfect game, but he did pitch well in his four innings, allowing only a run on four hits and a walk. He struck-out three.
Hernandez lowered his ERA to 1.96 for the season and moved to 3-0. He is now third in the Texas League in ERA. Hernandez has struggled with walks this season (he has 20 in 36.2 innings), but he has held opposing batters to a .219 average and he has 27 strike-outs.
A 35th round draft-and-follow pick in the 2006 draft, Hernandez won an A's organization-high 15 games last season, pitching for High-A Stockton, Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento. He tossed a career-high 150 innings last season. Hernandez missed a start earlier this month with a slightly sprained ankle, but he appears to be back to 100 percent.
Hernandez and Hornbeck didn't need much run support on Wednesday, but Archie Gilbert made certain that neither pitcher had to sweat. Gilbert connected for two homeruns and he drove-in four runs. Gilbert's first homerun of the night came off of Texas Rangers' top pitching prospect Martin Perez. Gilbert also stole his 12th base of the season.
Gilbert now has seven homeruns and 28 RBIs on the season, both team-highs for Midland. The East Bay native has an 823 OPS on the year.
Josh Horton also had a big game offensively. The shortstop had two triples and three hits overall. He raised his average with Midland to .295. In only 74 at-bats this season between Midland and Stockton, Horton already has four triples and 12 extra-base hits.
* Injuries continue to affect the Rockhounds' roster. Infielder Yung-Chi Chen is the latest 'Hound to land on the DL. He has a wrist injury. Chen was replaced on the roster by newcomer J.C. Holt, who was signed by the A's to a minor league deal over the weekend. He debuted with Midland on Tuesday.
* Gilbert received an honor this weekend, as he was elected into the Cal State - East Bay (used to be known as Cal State - Hayward) Hall of Fame.
* Infielder Alexander Valdez is third in the Texas League in OPS with a 907 mark. He is batting .304 with six homers and 26 RBIs. Valdez walked twice on Wednesday. He had walked only 10 times the whole season coming into the game.