Pitching, or the lack thereof, was in the spotlight Tuesday in the Brewers farm system. Milwaukee reliever Eric Gagne pitched a hitless inning, while youngsters Jeremy Jeffress and Evan Anundsen sparkled in leading Brevard County and West Virginia to wins, respectively.
The most intriguing aspect of the Sounds' eventual 8-6 defeat to Memphis was the first inning. That's because Gagne started in his first rehab stint. The embattled Gagne, replaced as the closer for the Brewers by Salomon Torres during the former's stay on the disabled list, coaxed two fly balls and registered a strikeout in his only frame, throwing nine of his 14 offerings for strikes. He's scheduled to throw again Thursday.
Meanwhile, Richie Gardner followed and got roughed up for seven hits, three walks and five runs in his 3.1 innings in taking over for Gagne.
Nashville had plenty of offense as Tony Gwynn, Brad Nelson, Vinny Rottino and Adam Heether recorded multiple-hit nights. Nelson smacked a solo homer during a three-run fifth and Heether contributed two doubles. Shortstop Ozzie Chavez knocked in three runs on two grounders and a double. Gwynn's three base knocks pushed his average up to .333.
The Stars slipped to 3-4 in the second half, dropping a wild 9-8 contest at Carolina. Huntsville rallied from a 6-4 deficit to take an 8-6 advantage. However, the hosts responded with three runs, two earned, off Omar Aguilar (0-3).
The Stars pounded 13 hits, including a 3-for-3 effort from first baseman Chris Errecart and two apiece from center fielder Michael Brantley, shortstop Alcides Escobar, third baseman Mat Gamel, catcher Angel Salome and left fielder Cole Gillespie.
Jeffress (3-3) was dialed in during the first game of Tuesday night's doubleheader, going the full seven innings with eight strikeouts in the Manatees' 2-0 victory against Dunedin. Jeffress, Milwaukee's top pick in the 2006 draft, allowed only three hits and walked two to help the hosts snap a three-game losing skid.
Designated hitter Jonathan Lucroy, in only his fifth game since being called up from West Virginia, provided all of the offense that Jeffress needed, bringing in Lorenzo Cain on a grounder in the first and belting his second homer in the sixth to give him seven RBIs with his new club.
In the second game, the Manatees suffered a 6-1 setback as Zach Braddock slipped to 3-4 after allowing five runs in three innings, including a three-run homer in the first.
The Power exploded for their sixth double-digit offensive performance of the season and the third in their last seven contests, claming an 11-0 victory and the seventh win in the past nine outings.
Anundsen (7-4) benefited from the 16-hit attack but did more than his share, tossing a four-hitter through eight innings with six strikeouts. Rob Bryson struck out two in the ninth to cap the team's second shutout of the year.
Right fielder Caleb Gindl clubbed his seventh homer, a two-run shot in the third inning, and finished 2 for 5, one of six Power batters to post multiple hits. Lead-off hitter and center fielder Lee Haydel and No. 2 hitter Eric Farris led the way with three hits apiece.
Left fielder Erik Komatsu continued his torrid start at the plate, finishing 2 for 4 to help the Brewers claim a 5-3 win over Great Falls to improve to 3-5.
Helena starter Michael Bowman allowed one earned run and struck out seven in going the first five innings, while Nestor Corredor gave up one run in 2.2 innings. Adam Arnold hurled the final 1.1 innings to pick up his first save, fanning two.
Great Falls committed five errors that led to four unearned runs.
The Brewers slipped to 0-2 after a 3-1 setback to San Diego. The Brewers managed six hits, two of them by shortstop Carlos George, including a triple. Lefty Kristian Bueno suffered the loss, allowing two runs, one unearned, in three innings.