Daily Minor League Report – August 13

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.

For six innings on Tuesday, the Texas-League leading San Antonio Missions flexed their strength with three homeruns and Clint Nageotte on the mound.

Unfortunately for the Missions, there were three more innings to play and a three-run Wichita seventh sapped a 5-4 win from the Mariners Double-A affiliate.

The Wranglers have won eight of their last ten games, but have gained no ground on second-half East Division-leading Arkansas. On the other hand, San Antonio has lost seven of ten and lost very little of their hold on the West Division crown.

All four Mission runs came via the long ball, with 1B A.J. Zapp capping off the scoring with his league-leading 24th homer.

In the next inning, Wichita took the lead back for good with Brian Harris' two-run triple off of Nageotte (10-6).

Harris also homered in the first inning.

Nageotte pitched 6.2 innings, giving up five runs, six hits, three walks, uncorking a wild pitch and striking out eight – his highest total since July 10.

Since winning his 10th game on July 16, Nageotte has lost four straight decisions. Over the last month, the 23-year-old right-hander has recorded a 4.71 ERA, given up 1.6 baserunners per nine innings and seen his strike outs per nine innings dip to 7.6.

Jaime Bubela and Justin Leone also homered for the Missions.

Tacoma (AAA) 9, Edmonton 1: Right-hander Brian Sweeney evened up his record as the Rainiers beat first-place Edmonton.

Sweeney (10-10) gave up one run in 6.2 innings as he took over the team lead in wins from Craig Anderson. He walked only one and struck out 10.

The Rainiers collected 10 hits (hmmm… all these 10s would make a darn good poker hand) against Trapper pitching and also stole three bases. The Rainiers continue to pad their league lead in stolen bases, even with team leader Chad Meyers with the big-league club.

2B Mickey Lopez led the way with three hits, two runs and an RBI. He reached base in all four of his at-bats.

1B Andy Barkett had two hits and three RBIs. Rehabber Jeff Cirillo also had two hits and scored three times.

Tacoma has won five of the first six games in this 12-game home stand.

Inland Empire (Advanced-A) 11, Bakersfield 1: Apparently right-hander Elvis Perez didn't get the memo that the 66ers were planning on putting up 11 runs on 18 hits, because he still went out and shut down the Blaze.

Perez (3-4) threw seven innings of one-run, seven-hit baseball, while striking out nine.

Inland Empire should learn what keeps Perez' switch turned on in this fashion, because three of his nine appearances are pulling his numbers towards the dark side.

Without three of his starts in which he gave up 19 runs in only 10 innings, Perez has a 1.07 ERA in 33.2 innings.

As far as the offense goes, the 66ers scored twice in the first and three times in the third, fourth and sixth.

OF Shin-Soo Choo led off the scoring with his ninth homer. He also had a double to go with his three runs and two RBIs.

1B John Castellano stayed one ahead of Choo with his 10th home run – a two-run shot in the fourth.

The 66ers had seven extra-base hits, including five doubles. Six players had multiple hits, and every player had at least one.

Evel Bastida-Martinez was the big culprit with two doubles among his five hits.

Beloit 4, Wisconsin (A) 2: The Beloit Snappers were doing just fine offensively with progeny Tony Gwynn, Jr., and Prince Fielder, and then they added Kevin Weeks, the second overall pick in the 2003 draft, to their roster.

Weeks doubled and scored in his first professional at-bat and later drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.

The Timber Rattlers couldn't muster an earned run against Snapper pitching, as they lost their second straight.

Rattler starter Bobby Livingston (13-6) should be glad this will be the last time he'll face Beloit this year. Livingston lost his other meeting with the Snappers way back in April.

After the loss, Livingston won eight-straight decisions.

Livingston gave up four runs and 10 hits in six innings.

Down 4-0 in the top of the ninth, the Timber Rattlers tried their best to come back, but could only pick up two unearned runs on three of their five total hits in the game.

Eugene 10, Everett (SS-A) 3: For the third straight game involving the Everett, one team did a lot of damage and did it early. Unfortunately for the AquaSox, they weren't the team with their hitting shoes on this time.

Everett did have a 1-0 lead after the first frame, but… and it's a big but, because Eugene scored nine times in the top-half of the second inning with all runs coming off Thomas Oldham.

Before leaving with two out, Oldham (3-3) gave up seven hits, a walk hit a batter and had one batter reach on an error which led to two unearned runs. Of the five outs he recorded, four of them came via the strike out.

He saw his ERA jump over a run to 3.77.

Eugene took the rest of the night off offensively as right-hander Kenly Chang and left-hander Victor Ramirez, in his first relief appearance after 10 starts, kept the Emeralds to one run over 7.1 innings.

The Everett offense even came back to overtake the Emeralds' hit total, but the runs didn't accompany.

3B Jeremy Dutton had five hits, and 2B Nick Orlandos, OF Chris Colton and OF Josh Womack also had multiple hits.

On Deck:

Tacoma (54-70, -7.0): RH Rett Johnson (5-2 W-L, 1.85 ERA) vs. Edmonton
Notes: It's easy to heap superlatives for Johnson's performances with Tacoma, but it's equally as easy to forget what he did in San Antonio earlier this year.

Johnson didn't suffer an injury, get demoted or held back. Johnson worked hard to get to San Antonio last year and excelled. And he worked hard at the beginning of the season to get to the Triple-A level where the Mariners organization can hear his footsteps even louder.

In his 24 total starts this year, Johnson has an 11-4 record a 2.50 ERA and 1.19 baserunners per inning.

And he has a few more starts to add to his amazing year, which may include a September call-up for his first taste of the majors.

San Antonio (32-20, second half; +8.0): LH Travis Blackley (14-3, 2.51) vs Wichita
Notes: The Mariners promoted Brian Strelitz to San Antonio from Inland Empire on July 17. With Inland Empire, Strelitz pitched in 54.1 innings over 29 games during the first three-and-a-half months of the season. In four weeks on the Missions' roster, Strelitz has pitched in only seven games and 11 innings, but he's given them reason to get him more appearances lately.

The 23-year-old right-hander has taken the mound four times in the last week, pitching 3.2 innings without giving up an earned run. In fact, Strelitz hasn't given up an earned run in his last five appearances.

Strelitz, along with independent-signee LH George Sherrill, has combined with RH Josue Matos, LH Tim Hamulack and RH closer Jared Hoerman to give the Missions a standout bullpen.

Inalnd Empire (30-21, second half; -0.5) LH Troy Cate (9-10, 4.07) vs. Bakersfield
Notes: With Luis Ugueto and Rob Gandolfo returning the Missions' middle-infield and Corey Harrington and Michael Garciaparra taking over in Wisconsin, Tim Merritt saw his options for playing time drying up in the Mariners organization.

Then the medic ward that is Inland Empire came calling after 2B Ismael Castro suffered a season-ending hand injury.

Merritt will split time in the infield with Eriberto Menchaca and Evel Bastida-Martinez.

Merritt, 23, batted .257 with 22 RBIs and 24 stolen bases in 84 games with Wisconsin. He batted just .205 with 5 RBIs and two stolen bases in 13 games at his most recent stop in San Antonio, but he had several key hits for the Missions…

Adding Merritt to the roster won't completely solve their position player problem though, as an injury to recently acquired Frederico Balet, better known as Pichi, has succumbed to a hand injury which will keep him out for at least a week.

Inland Empire has played with a shortened bench since the sudden retirement of Blake Bone. The team has only 11 position players available.

Wisconsin (22-28, second half; -12.0): RH T.A. Fulmer (8-1, 2.67) at Beloit
Notes: Unlike Livingston, Fulmer had success in his only meeting with Beloit so far.

Fulmer went the distance for a victory in the first of the two consecutive, four-game series.

Fulmer has pitched through the seventh inning in six of his last seven starts, including two complete games.

Everett (24-30; -5.0): RH Felix Hernandez (7-1, 1.84) vs. Eugene
Notes: C Justin Ruchti has arrived in Everett fresh from the 2003 draft.

It hasn't taken him long after signing to show why the Mariners took him in the ninth round.

Ruchti has a hit in five of his six games for a .318 batting average.

While at Rice University, Ruchti proved he can bring more than just a batting average, which he did as his team won the 2003 NCAA College World Series.

He hit only .222 in the series, but he drove in the winning run in one game and doubled home the go-ahead run in another.

Ruchti has continued to display similar tendencies with two doubles among his seven hits so far and five RBIs.

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 jamesinsidethepark@yahoo.com

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