Daily Minor League Report – July 16

InsidethePark.com's exclusive Daily Minor League Report - the complete source for all the stellar performances from around the Mariners' minor league system and some other information worth mentioning.

While most of the Mariners' minor league affiliates used the All-Star Break to take a day off or two, the San Antonio Missions kept rolling right along.

The AA-Texas League West Division leaders defeated the Arkansas 4-2 on Tuesday for the second time in as many days and their 10th win of the season over the Travelers.

Third baseman Justin Leone provided the deciding hit with a two-run, bases-loaded double in the seventh inning.

Leone has driven in runs in six of his seven bases-loaded opportunities.

Leone, who leads the Texas League in doubles, on-base percentage and runs scored, also doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth.

With starters Travis Blackley and Clint Nageotte unavailable after pitching in the MLB Futures Game, the Missions turned the ball over to Gustavo Martinez for his first start of the year.

He more than filled the spot, pitching four, one-hit innings, while giving up only one run.

The excellent Missions bullpen held the Travelers to one run over five innings.

Left-hander Justin Lamber (2-1) tossed three innings, giving up only two base runners.

Jared Hoerman gave up a run in the ninth, but still picked up his league-leading 29th save, extending his club record for a season.

Hoerman has converted 16 straight save opportunities since May 30.

Inland Empire (Advanced-A) 9, Stockton 3: Blake Bone plays for the Inland Empire 66ers. Blake Bone has a great name. And Blake Bone has made major contributions to two recent 66er victories.

Bone drove in four runs and scored twice on Tuesday. Bone smashed a three-run home run with Greg Jacobs and John Castellano (more on them later) on base to give the 66er an insurmountable 5-0 lead.

Bone's other two home runs on the season came in Sunday's 16-8 pounding of Lancaster.

Recently promoted Rich Dorman (1-0) pitched 3.1 perfect innings, striking out five of the 10 batters he faced.

Dorman hasn't allowed a run in either of his two appearances since departing Wisconsin for Inland Empire.

Dorman and fellow former Timber Rattler Ryan Rowland-Smith come to Inland Empire at the right time, as the team announced Mike Steele, California League saves leader, will not return this season after having surgery on his rotator cuff.

On deck:
Tacoma (42-56; -9.0): 96% idle
Notes: Most of the Rainiers had the last three days off and they deserve it after a dismal first half. But 40-year-old catcher Pat Borders has the honor of starting today's AAA All-Star game in Memphis.

Borders leads the Rainiers in RBIs (42) and doubles (22).

ESPN2 has the game live at 5 p.m. Pacific.

San Antonio (18-8, second half; +5.0): RH Clint Nageotte (9-2 W-L, 2.62) at Arkansas
Notes: Though Clint Nageotte struck out 10 in his last start; he picked up a no decision after pitching only five innings. The Missions reduced his pitch count because of his appearance in the MLB Futures game, and Nageotte didn't help his cause with four walks.

In fact, Nageotte let an un-earned run score on back-to-back walks. Round Rock would come back score a run in the bottom of the seventh to defeat the Missions 2-1…

But the track back to victories for Nageotte comes tonight in the form of the Arkansas Travelers.

In two wins over Arkansas, Nageotte has 20 strikeouts over 14.2 innings without giving up an earned run.

Inland Empire (15-10, second half; -0.0): RH Elvis Perez (1-1, 6.52) at Stockton
Notes: The reason for Inland Empire's surge into a first-place tie in the California League North Division is a simple concept called scoring runs. And they've done a lot of it lately.

In the last 15 games, the 66ers have averaged 5.73 runs per game with 10 wins…

Greg Jacobs and John Castellano have led the offensive explosion.

Jacobs leads the league with a .360 batting average and 1029 OPS. Over his last five games, Jacobs has 11 hits and seven RBIs in 22 at-bats.

Castellano has an on-going 24-game hitting streak and has raised his batting average to .301.

Wisconsin (11-14, second half; -4.5): idle
Notes: The Timber Rattlers have climbed out of the cellar in the Midwest League Western Division due, in no small part, to a four-game sweep of Peoria.

Wisconsin has won five-straight games, since breaking a 10-game home losing streak.

They return home July 22 for four more games against Peoria…

First baseman Jon Nelson pounded the Chiefs in the latter two games of the series. Nelson cracked four hits in eight bats, with four runs scored, three RBIs, a home run and two doubles.

Everett (14-13; -1.0): RH Felix Hernandez (4-0, 0.53) vs. Spokane
Notes: Everett skipped struggling left-hander Victor Ramirez in the rotation to keep Hernandez on his proper rest.

Anyone reading this report in the Seattle area should turn off their computer immediately and make haste to Everett Memorial Field and see this 17-year-old phenom pitch.

If you're outside an hour or two drive, following the game online is a snap once you navigate from the Aquasox home page to a couple other sites. The game starts at 7:05.

James is a Central Washington University student interning for InsidethePark.com this summer. He welcomes your feedback, hints, tips or other observations (including any ideas on a better name than "Daily Minor League Report." Original, huh?) at cwusports@hotmail.com

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