With 45 of his 58 pitches going for strikes, Enrique Gonzalez breezed through four scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out four. It was his second start since June 6, placed in the role with the promotion of Clay Hensley in Portland. The right-hander entered play with a 6.75 ERA in nine starts for the Beavers, giving up 53 hits and 25 walks in 41.1 innings. He posted a 3.16 ERA in 13 relief appearances.
Peter Ciofrone reached base three times in four trips, gathering a pair of walks and hitting a solo homer in the opening frame – part of back-to-back jacks after Brett Dowdy led off the game with a dinger. Ciofrone extended his hitting streak to 16 games and homered in back-to-back games for the third time this season. He has scored a run in four straight games and has an RBI in six of his last eight.
Will Venable reached base three times with a pair of singles and a walk. He also scored twice and stole his fifth base of the season in six attempts. The outfielder is hitting .328 over his last 16 games with 16 runs scored and 10 extra base hits. Venable has a hit in 16 of his last 17 games. He has had an average of over .300 in every single month this season.
San Antonio (15-13) won 4-0 over Midland (A's)
Stephen Faris pitched six innings en route to the Missions 16th shutout of the year – more than twice as many as any other team in the Texas League. The right-hander yielded seven hits and walked one while fanning four in his 101-pitch effort. It is the eighth time in nine starts he has given up two runs or less and seventh time over that same span that he has yielded one run or fewer. Faris has a 1.73 ERA over his last nine games.
Philip Barzilla worked two scoreless frames and struck out four while allowing a pair of hits. The Missions are the only team in the league with an ERA under 4.25 and actually sit under the 3.50 mark as a team. The left-hander has allowed runs in four of his 17 appearances with the Missions, giving up a long ball in three of those games. He has kept the opposition to a .167 average with runners in scoring position.
Mauro Zarate closed the game and the shutout with a perfect ninth. The right-hander fanned a pair and getting a ground ball out on 13 pitches. The Venezuelan native has given up just one run through 16 innings of work in the Texas League and has a 3.46 ERA across two leagues. Zarate has struck out 12 in his last 11 frames.
Lake Elsinore (14-15) won 7-6 over Rancho Cucamonga (Angels)
Ernesto Frieri allowed more hits in the sixth inning than he did in the first five, as all three runs allowed came across on four hits, including three straight doubles. The right-hander allowed seven hits for the game and walked one while striking out five in 5.2 innings to pick up the win. Frieri has won three straight starts. In 13 starts this season, he has posted a 5.07 ERA – compared to a 2.45 mark in 15 relief appearances.
While Cedric Hunter pushed his hitting streak to 15 games, it was Sam Carter who became the first minor leaguer in the system to net 70 RBIs. The outfielder went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. He did, however, get picked off first base. Carter has collected at least 18 RBIs in every month heading into July but has just six this month through 16 games, despite a .328 average.
Kellen Kulbacki added another two hits and a walk to an already impressive turnaround, scoring once. He has 28 hits in his last 71 at-bats, a .394 average over his last 18 games, and has scored 16 runs over that span. Over his last 41 contests, Kulbacki is batting .359 with 35 runs scored and 33 RBIs. His .420 on-base percentage now leads the team.
Fort Wayne (13-16) won 14-3 over Quad Cities (Cardinals)
Yefri Carvajal collected three hits in five at-bats, hitting a three-run homer in the fourth inning and ending the night with five RBIs and two runs scored. It was a career-high for the outfielder; he previously had notched four RBIs in a game twice during a pro career that began in 2006, the last coming on May 31 this year. Those two games account for more than 20 percent of his season total of 41. He is hitting .312 over his last 66 games.
Lance Zawadzki reached base three times in four trips before being removed from the game in the blowout. The shortstop doubled twice, drove in one, scored twice and added his 21st stolen base of the season. Zawadzki has reached base safely in 13 straight games, going 16-for-43 over his last 11 games, a .372 average. He has stolen five bases in his last five games and has only been caught stealing once this year.
Cory Luebke picked up the win – his first in the Midwest League – after allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits and a walk. Both runs came home in the fifth, one on a solo homer, as he induced 10 ground ball outs. Luebke's last win came on June 9 with Lake Elsinore. The left-hander had given up four or more runs in nine of his 15 starts with the Storm. It is only the second time he has gone at least five innings and allowed three hits or less.
Eugene (12-20) lost 11-9 to Vancouver (A's)
Gary Poynter fell apart in the first inning after a passed ball scored a run. While the right-hander got to home in time to receive the ball from Logan Gelbrich, he missed on his tag, slapping the back half of the plate and missing the runner's foot. The next pitch sailed out of the park, putting three first inning runs on the board. A wild pitch in the second plated another run as he was on the hook for five runs, four earned, on four hits and four walks across two innings.
"He didn't gather himself and get under control when he got there," manager Greg Riddoch said. "He winded up getting carried past the plate and tried to swipe at it. If he would have gotten under control, he would have had him."
Bobby Verbick pounded out three hits and drew a walk, smashing a pair of doubles and hitting a homer. The designated hitter drove in four runs and scored twice to pace the offense. Verbick came into the contest with two hits in his previous 25 at-bats with both hits coming in one game and had played sparingly since starting the first six games of July. He had also gone 10 games without an RBI, striking out 16 times in his previous 21 at-bats.
"I was looking fastball in that situation and just to put good wood on it because I have kind of been struggling lately," Verbick said of his approach with the bases loaded. "As a hitter, it is fun to play these games. A lot of hits and a lot of things going on."
Dan Robertson added another two-hit game to his resume and added a walk, scoring a pair of runs. He also saved a run in the sixth inning with a diving catch on a ball that was tailing towards the left field line. It is the eighth time in 11 games that Robertson has secured a multi-hit game and the 16th time in 30 games overall. He has struck out just 10 times all season while drawing 14 walks.
"He has made three plays like that this year," Riddoch said. "He is a throwback to the old school the way that guy plays. He only knows one way – to play hard."
AZL Padres (11-10) lost 5-4 to AZL Giants in 10 innings
Chris Hardin collected three hits, including a double, and plated two runs for the AZL Padres. It was his second consecutive game with multiple hits and multiple RBIs. He has four games with two or more RBIs, accounting for all but one of his 13 RBIs for the year. Hardin has reached base safely in all 19 games to open the year, hitting .328 with a .436 on-base percentage. He is hitting .440 with the bases empty and .256 with runners on base.
Colin Lynch suffered his third blown save of the year and his second loss, giving up three runs on five hits over two innings of work, hitting a batter and tossing a wild pitch. The right-hander has blown his last two save opportunities after converting four of his first five, giving up nine runs on nine hits over his last 2.2 innings. He has allowed runs in four of his 10 appearances.
Eric Gonzalez saw action in his second game for the AZL Padres, pitching a scoreless inning and retiring the side in order. He has pitched two run-free frames since being selected in the 24th-round by the Padres. The right-hander out of South Alabama went 7-6 with a 6.21 ERA in his final year with the Jaguars, striking out 87 and pitching a team-best 84 innings. His control was his biggest asset, as he yielded only 24 walks, for K-to-BB ratio of 3.6-to-1. Gonzalez made 14 appearances as a senior, starting all but one of those. For his career, Gonzalez was 12-9 with a 5.93 ERA. He fanned 136 batters, while walking just 39, in 136.2 innings.
DSL Padres (19-23) lost 6-4 to DSL Nationals 2 on Friday
Carlos Garcia had two hits in four trips, including a double, and scored twice to pace the offense. He was charged with his first error of the year, which helped lead to an unearned run. It was the first time in 32 games played that he has scored multiple runs. Garcia is 8-for-27 over his last 10 games, a .296 average. He began the year hitting .185 over his first 22 contests.
Erick Ojeda was charged with three runs but none of those were earned, as he dropped to 1-2 on the year. He allowed four hits and two walks while tossing two wild pitches and striking out five over four innings. Six of the eight runs he has allowed over 14.2 innings have been unearned and all have come over his last two appearances – both starts. The right-hander has limited left-handed hitters to a .158 average this year.
Javer Diaz pitched two scoreless frames, yielding three hits and tossing a wild pitch while also inducing his first double play grounder of the season. Coming in with nobody out and a runner on in the seventh, he stranded the inherited runner. The right-hander has stranded 14 of the 21 runners he has inherited on the year. Diaz has given up one run over his last 13.2 innings, walking just one over that span and two all year.
DSL Padres (19-24) lost 10-6 to DSL Nationals 1
Jhonaldo Pozo reached base four times via two hits, including a double, and two walks. He scored a run and plated one while adding his third stolen base. He extended his hitting streak to 12 games and his RBI streak to four. Pozo was, however, unsuccessful in catching five base runners attempting to steal on Saturday and was credited with his 11th passed ball of the year. He is 13-of-64 in snaring runners attempting to steal off him on the year.
The run of Deiber Sanchez ended abruptly on Saturday. The right-hander came into the game without a hit or earned run allowed in nine innings of work and 13 strikeouts to his name. In two-thirds of an inning, Sanchez was tagged for six runs, all earned, on four hits, a walk, a hit batsman and two wild pitches. He had seen just three base runners all season via two walks and a hit batter.
Juan Herrera was on the hook for one run on one hit, a hit batsman and three walks over three innings, striking out four in a no-decision. Herrera has not allowed a run over his last 5.1 innings, giving up one hit over that span. The right-hander has, however, walked three or more in all but one of his outings on the year with only one lasting more than 3.1 innings. He has issued 28 free passes in 22 innings.
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