Notebook: Chris Walker, Johnny Defendis on fire

Chris Walker's recent tear has propelled him near the top of his team's charts in average and OBP; Johnny Defendis continues short-season dominance; Darin Downs' worst outing at Boise?

Iowa loses 3-2

The Iowa offense managed only six hits in 12 innings on Sunday. Mike Fontenot tied Scott McClain with the team lead in errors with his 11th of the year, which led to the eventual game-winning run. Fontenot went 0-for-3 at the plate, but managed his club best 52nd and 53rd walks of the year, respectively. The only player who overly contributed at the plate was catcher Mark Johnson, who finished with two hits and a home run -- his first since April 16.

Sergio Mitre started and gave up his first runs at Triple-A since May. So what if it was only his second appearance with the club since then? Mitre allowed two runs in six innings to go with six strikeouts. Relievers Jermaine Van Buren, Russ Rohlicek and Carmen Pignatiello were strong from the bullpen. Van Buren threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit. He has been scored on only once since July 5, a span of 16 innings. Pignatiello (1-3) was charged with the loss.

West Tenn loses 6-2

Jae-Kuk Ryu dropped his fourth straight decision with his team dropping its sixth in a row on Sunday. Ryu (8-8) tied his worst outing of the year with five runs and nine hits allowed in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out three and walked two. Right-hander Victor Ramos, a former Pirates prospect, continues to pitch well at Double-A. He lowered his ERA with the Jaxx to 1.72 after another scoreless outing -- his 10th in 12 games since joining the club from Peoria.

Brandon Sing was the Southern League's "Topps Player of the Month" in July with his .366 average, nine home runs and 22 RBI in that period, but August has been a struggle to this point. Sing went 0-for-3 and is hitting .150 over his last 12 games. He has one home run and two RBI for the month. In his first start at shortstop since July 20, Ryan Theriot was also hitless. The 2001 third round pick from LSU became a father earlier this year and is hitting .303 in what has been the best year yet of his minor league career.

Daytona beat Jupiter 5-2

Yorkin Ferreras (2-3) unofficially strung together his third quality start in a row, tossing six scoreless innings and allowing three hits to go with six strikeouts on Sunday. His ERA over his last three starts is 2.25 after beginning the year with a plus-six average through his first four months. Lee Gwaltney was more than happy to close things out in relief for his second career save. After all, he has surrendered just one earned run in his last 13 appearances from the bullpen, which equals a 2.64 ERA since joining the team from Peoria.

While the offense managed only six hits, they made the most of them as five players drove in a run apiece. Chris Walker continued to serve as a thorn in the opposition's side by going 1-for-5 with an RBI and his 49th stolen base. The team's leadoff hitter has hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games with a .292 season-to-date average, second on the club behind only Tony Richie (.300) and newcomer Jeff Culpepper (.311 through 22 games). At one point during the hit streak, Walker recorded 15 hits over the course of six games. His .346 OBP ranks second only to Jake Fox's .355 mark.

Peoria Washed Out

Sunday's game was postponed due to rain. It was the second day in a row that rain halted play, as Saturday's contest was postponed after two innings. The Chiefs hope Mother Nature won't put a halt to the league's best hitter this season: second baseman Eric Patterson. He still leads the Midwest League with a .331 average and ranks in the league top five in slugging percentage, on-base percentage, triples, runs scored, and stolen bases. Likewise, Sean Gallagher's 2.29 ERA and 13 wins still lead the league. His 120 strikeouts are good for fourth in the league.

Boise loses 7-2

Darin Downs (4-3) had arguably his worst start with the Hawks all season, allowing five earned runs in only 3 1/3 innings on Sunday. He lost for the first time in almost a month -- since July 17. Things are still going quite well for the left-hander, however. After a two-month stint in extended spring training, Downs has 45 strikeouts to just 13 walks. He has not walked more than two hitters in any of his 10 starts at Boise this year. Rookie right-hander Michael Hyle was scheduled to start, but instead pitched from the bullpen. He gave up two runs in relief to snap a string of four consecutive appearances as a starter.

On offense, Johnny Defendis collected a season high four hits in a 4-for-4 night. Defendis has hit safely in all but one of his last 11 games and is batting .450 (18-for-40) since August began. Between the Hawks and Arizona League Cubs, he is batting .343 in 40 games. Jose Rios collected his first two hits of the month. With Culpepper promoted to Daytona, Defendis and Rios are the only two Hawk players batting above .300.


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