Limonta And Johnson Heating Up In AA

It was a rough night for pitching in the Mariner organization, so the minor league roundup focuses instead today on two guys sparking the West Tenn offense and an improving youngster in Wisconsin.

Three Up

1. Johan Limonta, 1B, West Tenn

Johan has a swing that has been described to me as "effortless," and he has been slaying pitching at every level he's been at. Since Marshall Hubbard went down to injury last month, Limonta has been perhaps the Diamond Jaxx's best player. Johan was 3-for-5 last night with two RBI to raise his average to .330 at the AA level. He is slugging .580 since moving up to West Tenn, and his OPS is closing in on 1.000 (it's currently at .994). He is 15-for-36 in his last 10 games (.417) with a home run, six doubles, and 10 RBI.

2. Brent Johnson, CF, West Tenn

Johnson started the year at Tacoma, but was sent to West Tenn after a dreadful 3-for-48 (.063) start with the Rainiers. Brent has found his stroke since moving to the Jaxx. After last night's two-hit performance, Johnson is working on a nine-game hitting streak. Over that span, he is 17-for-38 (.447) with six doubles, nine runs scored, and twice as many walks (six) as strikeouts (three).

3. Denny Almonte, OF/DH, Wisconsin

The Mariners' second-round draft pick in 2007 is starting to come into his own. Just 19 years old, Almonte struggled in his first pro season last year. This year he has improved steadily since joining the Timber Rattlers about a month ago. He struck out 28 times in his first 59 at bats this year, but is cutting down on the bad plate appearance as of late. He was 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI last night, and he's 7-for-15 with four doubles, a triple, and six RBI in his last four games. He's struck out just once in that span.

The Lowdown

Salt Lake 8, Tacoma 7

The Rainiers blew a 7-4 seventh-inning lead and lost to the Buzz on Monday. Yung Chi Chen and Tug Hulett each had two hits and scored twice. Shawn Garrett was 3-for-5 with an RBI. Jeff Clement hit is third home run in four games, and Bryan LaHair added a two-run shot. Andrew Baldwin gave up four earned runs on six hits in six innings. Jake Woods and Tracy Thorpe each gave up two runs in an inning of work.

Huntsville 8, West Tenn 6

The Diamond Jaxx made three errors that led to five unearned runs in a loss to the Stars. Huntsville won the five-game series 3-2 and have a one-game lead over the Jaxx in the division. Mike Wilson and Adam Moore had two hits each, and Mark Kiger scored twice. Matt Mangini had an RBI double. Denny Stark started and went four innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. Craig James was touched up for five runs in two innings, but only one was earned.

Lake Elsinore 21, High Desert 4

It was a disaster in the desert last night for the Mavs as the Storm pounded out 25 hits on the way to easy victory. It was such a rough night that infielder Erick Monzon pitched the ninth inning for High Desert. Keith Renaud took the loss, giving up 10 earned runs on nine hits in four innings. Julio Santiago and David Asher didn't fare much better, combining to get beaten up for nine runs in 2 1/3 innings. Only Aaron Cotter was unscathed, throwing 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Carlos Peguero was 2-for-4 with two RBI, and Kuo Hui Lo went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Leury Bonilla scored two of the Maverick runs.

Burlington 6, Wisconsin 4

Phillippe Aumont was humbled on the mound for the first time in his young career as the Burlington hitters got to him early and often. Aumont allowed six hits in the first inning, including five consecutive with two out, and was down 4-0 early. Unfortunately, things didn't improve much, as two walks and a two-run double in the second inning chased Aumont from the game. For the day, he gave up seven hits and six runs while recording only five outs. He gave up nearly as many earned runs yesterday (six) as he had in his first 37 1/3 innings (seven). Jacob Wild, Ryan Moorer, and Jose Escalona did a nice job of shutting the door, though, as they didn't allow a run. Wild struck out four in 3 1/3 innings and Moorer and Escalona didn't allow a hit. Ronald Garth was 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Rattlers.

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