Dodgers Minor Leaguers Run the Board

Albuquerque, Chattanooga and Inland Empire and Great Lakes all came from behind to win on the Opening Day of the 2010 season. The 'Topes beat Oklahoma City 6-3 in 13, Chattanooga stopped Huntsville 4-2, Inland Empire topped Rancho Cucamonga 6-3 and Great Lakes sailed past South Bend 16-5.

'Topes Rally to Win in 13

Albuquerque rallied from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game in the ninth inning on a Prentice Redman home run and then won in the 13th when they scored three times on a bases-loaded error and a wild pitch to win 6-3.

James McDonald started and worked five innings, allowing seven hits, a single run and struck out three while not walking a batter. Michael Restovich homered (1) to left field in the fifth to tie the game tied 1-1.

Travis Schlichting allowed a walk and a single to put the RedHawks in front 2-1, then a wild pickoff throw and an interference call on first baseman John Lindsey allowed a second run.

Luis Ayala, Juan Perez and Justin Miller kept the game close until the ninth when Lindsey led off with a single and Redman's homer tie things up.

Tim Corcoran didn't allow a hit in the 11th or 12th and earned the win when the Isotopes scored three unearned runs in the top of the 13th.

The rally came with two out. Lindsey collected his second hit of the game and Redman and designated hitter Mike Restovich walked. Second baseman Ivan De Jesus bounced to third and a throwing error scored two. A wild pitch with shortstop Chin-Lung Hu batting made it 6-3.

Oklahoma didn't go without a fight. Jon Link took over and gave up consecutive singles to open the inning. A De Jesus to Hu to Russ Mitchell and a strikeout ended the game as Link earned his first save.

Lindsey and Restovich each had a pair of hits for the Topes.

It was the first opening game win over Oklahoma City in three tries. The are 6-1 in Opening Day games and 3-1 when opening a season on the road.

The 'Topes opened the season with a total of 11 players who played for them in 2009 including pitchers Tim Corcoran, Scott Elbert, Brent Leach, Josh Lindblom, James McDonald, and Travis Schlichting; catchers J.D. Closser and A.J. Ellis; infielder Chin-lung Hu; and outfielders Jamie Hoffmann and Xavier Paul. Reliever Justin Miller pitched for Albuquerque in 2007 and 2008 when both the pitcher and the team were part of the Marlins organization.

Scott Elbert draws the starting assignment tonight in Oklahoma City.

Van Slyke's Single in Eighth Wins for Chattanooga

Not to be outdone by their cousins in Albuquerque, Chattanooga, trailing 2-1 in the eighth, got a game-winning single from Scott Van Slyke and strong pitching to top Huntsville 4-2 in their home opener.

Chris Withrow started for the Lookouts and allowed a pair of runs in the first, then added five scoreless innings before turning the game over to Jesus Rodriguez who collected the win. Javy Guerra struck out a pair in the ninth to record his first save.

Trailing 2-0 in the sixth, outfielder Andrew Lambo reached first on a fielding error and with two out Van Slyke doubled down the left field line to score Lambo from first.

Lambo drew a second walk in the eighth open the winning rally. An error on Lucas May's ground ball put runners on second and third. Lambo was thrown out at home attempting to scored on an Eddy Perez ground ball but Van Slyke lined his second double to left, scoring May and Perez. Pinch hitter Tommy Giles singled home Van Slyke for a 4-2 Chattanooga lead.

Javy Guerra added a perfect ninth to preserve the win.

Chattanooga and Huntsville meet again tonight inn the second game of their five-game series.

Former Dodgers minor leaguer Carlos Santana went 4-for-5 with two homers, a double and four RBIs as the Columbus Clippers crushed the Indianapolis 17-4. Santana was traded to Cleveland in the deal that brought Casey Blake to Los Angeles.

66ers Win on Five Late Runs

In an evening of comebacks, Inland Empire trailed 3-0 in the top of the sixth, then scored one run each in the sixth and the seventh, then added two in the eighth and ninth to win 6-3 at Rancho Cucamonga.

Austin Gallagher, who missed most of 2009 due to injuries, lined a two run single in the eight gave the 66ers their first lead of the game and outfielder Kyle Russell's two-run homer in the ninth put a cherry on top the cake.

Brandon Mann, who pitched for Montgomery in the Southern League in 2009, earned the win in relief. Cole St. Clare added two hitless innings, striking out three, to collect the save.

JohnMichael Redding started and worked three innings, allowing three hits, three walks and a pair of runs. Robert Boothe surrendered the third run in the fifth inning.

Inland Empire was held to one hit over the first five innings, a single by Gallagher in the fifth, then in the sixth, second baseman Cesar Suarez singled and scored on Russell's double. In the seventh, catcher Tony Delmonico walked, moved to third on shortstop Chris Gutierrez's double and scored on Nick Buss' sac fly.

Trailing 3-2, the 66ers took the lead in the eighth when Steven Caseres singled with two out and Delmonico was hit by a pitch. After a wild pitch, Gallagher's single to center gave Inland Empire their first lead of the season.

They added two more in the ninth for good measure when Suarez singled for the second time and was bunted to second by outfielder Alfredo Silverio. Russell, who launched 26 homers for Great Lakes in 2009, slammed a shot over the right-center field wall to close out the scoring.

Suarez, Russell and Gallagher each had a pair of hits, with Russell and Gallagher driving in two each.

The two teams meet again tonight in Rancho Cucamonga.

Loons Maul South Bend 16-5

Brad Golder
Great Lakes Loons

The aggressive play of the Great Lakes Loons under the regime of manager Juan Bustabad has come to be known as "Busty Ball."  After exploding for 16 runs and 16 hits, including two long home runs, the 2010 Loons might be better described as "Busty's Bombers."

Outfielder Blake Smith, a third-round draft choice of the Dodgers last season out of Cal-Berkeley, tied a franchise single-game record with five hits, including two doubles and a long home run that left the stadium, as the Loons' pounded the South Bend Silver Hawks in the season opener 16-5.  A sparse crowd of 834 braved the frigid temperatures, stiff wind and slight snow flurries at Stanley Coveleski Stadium.

Right-hander Josh Wall struggled through the first two innings but also pitched in some tough luck.  After surrendering a run in the first on three singles, the Loons responded with to take the lead in the second on Smith's long home run.

Wall then gave up four runs (three earned) in the second inning.  However, the Loons could have gotten out of the second with just one run allowed without an errant throw from shortstop Christian Lara.

Down 5-2 after two innings, the Loons rallied again in the fourth inning to take the lead for good with a six-run frame.  Catcher J.T. Wise hit a two-run home run to left to pull Great Lakes within one.  Second baseman Pedro Guerrero tied the score on a groundout, followed by an RBI single by center fielder Brian Cavazos-Galvez and a two-run double by Angelo Songco.

Meanwhile, South Bend's bats were held quiet the rest of the way. Keon Broxton's second inning double was the Silver Hawks' final hit of the game. 

Wall threw hitless, scoreless baseball in the third and fourth innings.  Lefty Jordan Roberts (1-0) followed with three scoreless innings without a hit and was credited with the scorer's decision win.  Then Luis Vazquez and J.B. Paxson proceeded to throw a scoreless, hitless inning each to close out the game.

Smith joins Jaime Pedroza as the only two players in team history to record five hits in a game.  Pedroza did so on April 30 of last year at Wisconsin. Smith came one RBI and one base shy of tying single-game franchise records for RBIs and total bases.

Third baseman Brian Ruggiano, Lara, Sands and Wise all recorded two hits. Guerrero was the only Loons regular held hitless, although he notched an RBI and a walk and was the only Loons regular to not bat six times.  Lara reached base all six times at the plate.

The Loons and Silver Hawks meet for the second game of the series Friday night at Coveleski Stadium.  Game time is 6:30 pm.  Right-hander Brett Wallach, a third-round draft choice of the Dodgers last year, will get the start for the Loons.  He will be opposed by righty Charles Brewer.

The Loons return to Dow Diamond for their home opener Sunday.  Game time is 3:05 pm.  The game will be preceded by a parade through Downtown Midland and games and activities on the Dow Diamond front lawn.