M's Minor League Playoff Roundup - 9/10

San Antonio lost, ending its season, but Wisconsin kept its title hopes alive with an extra-inning win against Clinton and Tacoma staved off elimination to play another day in Sacramento.

Cabrera, Fruto Extend Tacoma's Season
By Jason A. Churchill


Asdrubal Cabrera's run-scoring single in the top of the 10th inning handed the Rainiers a 5-4 lead that right-hander Emiliano Fruto held onto in the bottom of the inning, forcing a deciding game in the best of five series.

The Rainiers used seven pitchers to cover 10 frames, with right-hander Francisco Cruceta going the first five and allowing two runs on five hits.

Right-handers Michael Bumstead, Jeff Heaverlo and Masao Kida combined with left-handers Andrew Lorraine and Damian Moss to set up Fruto, who pitched the final two innings to earn the win.

Tacoma fell behind in the first inning when Sacramento got two off Cruceta, but the Rainiers bounced back on a home run by Wiki Gonzalez and a run-scoring double by T.J. Bohn, tying the score at two.

Cabrera's heroics began in the fourth when he drove in Hunter Brown on a sac-fly, giving Tacoma a 3-2 lead - a lead the Rainiers held onto until the bottom of the eighth.

Sacramento had numerous scoring opportunities, leaving men in scoring position in innings two through six and not being retired in order until Fruto's five-pitch ninth.

After Sacramento took a 4-3 lead in the eighth, Cabrera led off the top of the ninth inning with a walk off River cats closer Jairo Garcia and his 98 mph gas.

Shin-soo Choo, attempting to bunt, instead drew a base on balls forcing the Cats to go to the bullpen for right-hander Chris Mabeus.

Justin Leone bunted Cabrera to third and Choo to second, and Mabeus intentionally walked Abraham Nunez, setting up what Rainiers play-by-play man creatively called "the showdown."

Wiki Gonzalez missed a grand slam home run by milimeters, but drove in Cabrera to tie the game at four with a line-drive sac-fly to left field.

Tacoma got the game-winner from Cabrera after there were two outs, thanks to the work of center fielder T.J. Bohn.

Bohn walked and stole second, setting the stage for the 20-year-old shortstop, who followed with a ground ball single that gave Tacoma the 5-4 lead.

Each club left 12 men on base but Sacramento had a golden opportunity to break the game open in the sixth when Andrew Lorraine was summoned from the bullpen to get out of a jam.

Lorraine struck out Mike Rouse with two on and one out and walked Jermaine Clark to load the bases. On a 3-1 pitch, the left-hander enduced a foul out from former Rainier Hiram Bocachica.

Cabrera finished the night 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs and two RBI. The win sends the two clubs into a winner-take-all game five Sunday night in Sacramento. Tacoma will start right-hander Chris Buglovsky (4-5, 4.24) against Sacramento's Mike Ziegler (6-6, 5.01) in the elimination matchup.
Missions Season Ends with Blowout Loss
By Joe Kaiser


When the San Antonio Missions needed their pitching staff to come through the most, it failed miserably Saturday night at Midland. The Rockhounds used a 17-hit attack to pull away from the Missions early for a 12-2 win, ending the Missions season.

Missions starter Juan Sandoval lasted just 2.2 innings, allowing five runs on six hits and three walks. He took the loss.

Chris Key came in to try and douse the Rockhounds' hot offensive attack, but faired little better. The veteran minor leaguer lasted just 1.1 innings of his own, giving up two runs on four hits.

On this night, it seemingly didn't matter who the Missions sent to the mound. Every option, save for Tim Rall, who recorded the final out for San Antonio, was hit hard. Ryan Rowland-Smith allowed two runs in relief and Jared Thomas came in and allowed three more.

Midland scored three times in the first, twice in the third and fourth innings, twice more in the sixth to make it a 9-0 game, then tacked on the final three runs in the eighth.

Adam Jones and Jaime Bubela each went 3-4 to lead the Missions offense, accounting for six of the team's eight hits on the night. Nate Espy and Eriberto Menchaca each added singles.

Nick Mattioni picked up the win for the Rockhounds, pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief after coming in for starter Matt Lynch in the third inning.

San Antonio ends its season having finished second to Midland in both the first half and second half of the Texas League season. The Missions finished the year with an overall record of 78-67.


Clement Powers T-Rats to Extra Inning Win
By Joe Kaiser


A day after Mike Wilson's walkoff home run that advanced the Timber Rattlers into the second round of the Midwest League playoffs, Jeff Clement provided the fireworks for the surging squad from Appleton, Wisc., in their series opener at Clinton.

Clement, who went 3-5 on the night with five RBI, hit a go-ahead solo home run in the top of the 10th inning, his second deep blast of the game, to give Wisconsin the late advantage. Justin Jordan recorded the final three outs in the bottom of the 10th inning, securing the 8-7 victory for the Timber Rattlers.

Jordan, who entered the game for starter Shawn Nottingham in the seventh, earned the win with 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. He struck out four along the way.

Nottingham, who has suffered through an injury-plagued season, gave up seven runs - four earned - in 6.1 innings before giving way to the bullpen. He struck out three and walked three as well.

Clement's 10th inning heroics were set up an inning earlier, when outfielder Chris Colton led off the ninth with a solo homer that tied the score at 7-7. It was Colton's only hit of the game, but it proved to be critical to Wisconsin's come-from-behind victory.

Clinton stormed in front in the early going with two runs in the first, getting the first when Brandon Boggs stole home and adding another when William Susdorf singled home Emerson Frostad. A Brandon Cashman RBI single added another run in the second, making it a 3-0 lead for the home team.

Wisconsin scored its first run in the third on a groundout by Brent Johnson, but dug a deeper hole for itself two innings later Jim Fasano hammered a three-run shot off of Nottingham.

Trailing 6-1, the Timber Rattlers began chipping away. They scored two in the sixth on Clement's first homer of the game. Then, after giving up one run in the seventh to make it a 7-3 game, they put up a three-spot in the eighth inning, the final two coming on a Clement single.

That set the stage for Colton in the ninth, tying the score, and leading to Clement's clutch blast.

Johnson, Jack Arroyo and Josh Womack had two hits apiece for the T-Rats.

Wisconsin returns home on Sunday for game two of the series.

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