Minor League Notebook | May 27

Augusta needs every win they can get in their tight division race. Fresno, meanwhile, implodes upon itself in a rare meltdown, while San Jose can't hold on to its own lead. And can Connecticut score? It's Just Another Day in the Minors!

Fresno Grizzlies: Salt Lake 8, Fresno 6 (Click to see Box Score)

Lines of the day:

DH Lance Niekro - 3-5, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 SO
LF Brian Horwitz - 2-3, 2 RBI, 1 BB
RF Justin Leone - 2-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 SB (8)
RP Scott Munter - 0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP, L (1-3)
RP Dan Giese - 2 2-3 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 BK

The Grizzlies got off to a great start, but the bullpen had a rare meltdown. Fresno got five runs in the first, highlighted by a two-RBI double by Tomas De La Rosa. Fresno starting pitcher Matt Kinney gave four runs right back in the first, but Fresno was able to hold onto a slim lead for most of the game. But after Kinney gave up a single to lead off the sixth, Munter came in and all heck broke loose. Munter walked two to load the bases, and let the runner come in on a hit-by-pitch. He was replaced by Giese, who let all three of Munter's runners score.

Munter's ERA was the victim of this game. By being credited with three runs without getting an out, his ERA jumped from 1.96 to 3.13. Niekro has gotten right back to home in the Pacific Coast League, and is batting .343 with five doubles and a home run in 10 games. Meanwhile, Horwitz seems like he is at home hitting in the PCL, but then, he's been at home everywhere he's played. His batting average currently sits at .476.

Connecticut Defenders: Game 1 - Connecticut 4, Trenton 1 (Click to see Box Score)

Lines of the day

Game 1:

2B Eugenio Velez - 3-4, 1 R, 1 2B (1), 4 SB (6)
RF John Bowker - 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B (9), 1 HR (7), 2 RBI
C Stephen Holm - 1-3, 1 R, 1 HR (4), 1 RBI
SP Geno Espineli - 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, W (4-1)
RP Brian Anderson - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, S (8)

Game 2 - Trenton 3, Connecticut 0 (Click to see Box Score)

Game 2:

2B Eugenio Velez - 1-3, 2 SO, 1 SB (7)
RF John Bowker - 1-2, 1 2B (10), 1 BB, 1 CS (2)
SP Ben Cox - 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, L (0-6)
RP Brooks McNiven - 2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 1 HBP

For at least one game, Connecticut's offense came back, but it disappeared again the same day. Velez has been good since coming back, but he was a real catalyst in Game 1. He got on base three times, and stole four bases to make a real statement, helping lead the Defenders to a much-needed win. He also had one of the team's only two hits in Game 2, and stole another base. Bowker was the other star, with three hits, all for extra bases, on the two games.

Trenton has shut out Connecticut in three of the four games they've played in this series, with one more game to go Monday. Velez raised his average from .280 to .344 on the day. Bowker leads the team in home runs, triples, and is within one of the team lead in doubles now. Espineli now has the lowest ERA of any semi-regular starter currently on the team at 2.73. Only Alex Hinshaw, with two spot starts, is lower (1.71).

San Jose Giants: Stockton 9, San Jose 6 (Click to see Box Score)

Lines of the day:

3B Anthony Contreras - 2-5, 1 2B (9), 3 RBI, 1 SO
CF Antoan Richardson - 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B (7), 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 SB (21)
RF Michael Mooney - 1-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB
SS Kyle Haines - 3-3, 2 R, 1 2B (2), 1 BB, 3 E (3)
SP Gregorio Martinez - 4 IP, 6 H 7 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 SO, 1 WP, L (3-3)
RP Kelvin Pichardo - 2 2-3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 SO

An ugly second inning killed the Giants in this one. A wild pitch with no one out and a runner on first, started the ugliness, and it continued with two errors by Haines later in the inning. Stockton scored six runs to take the lead away from San Jose, who had jumped ahead 3-0 in the first. That would be enough to take this game.

It was a day of threes for Haines, who was 3-for-3 but also had his first three errors on the season. Richardson has been hot and cold since his late April surge, either getting two hits or no hits in each of his last nine games. Contreras is on an eight-game hitting streak.

Augusta GreenJackets: Augusta 5, Lexington 2 (Click to see Box Score)

Lines of the day:

SS Emmanuel Burriss - 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B (1), 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SO, 2 SB (6), 1 E (3)
DH Matt Weston - 1-4, 1 R, 1 RBI
LF James Simmons - 1-3, 1 R, 1 3B (3), 1 RBI, 2 SO
SP Henry Sosa - 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, W (4-0)
RP Juan Trinidad - 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, S (9)

With the South division race becoming achingly close, Augusta is taking advantage on having someone to beat up on. Lexington became the GreenJackets' victim for the second time in three games with one more coming on Monday. Augusta did it with two doubles around a single in the fourth to score three runs, and scoring two more on a triple and double in the fourth inning.

Augusta will spend the next week battling some of the top teams in both divisions, and will spend almost all of the first half remaining against top teams, all while nursing a one-game lead over second place Columbus, and a game and a half over Asheville. Burriss raised his average back to .250, but also committed his third error in eight games at Augusta. Simmons hit his third triple of the young season, but is still batting just .188 in the South Atlantic League.

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