Minor League Roundup - 6/20

The Spokane Indians not only overcame an early six-run deficit on Monday evening, but they turned it into an eight-run victory. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action.

AAA: Round Rock 8 – Omaha 5
W - Jackson (6-2)
SV - Strop (2)
HR - Davis (13, 14), Diaz (2)
40-31, 1.0 GB

Chris Davis (.364/.414/.869) got the Express on the board in the first inning, and he helped put the game away later in the contest. Overall, the 25-year-old was 2-for-3 with two homers, an intentional walk, and three RBI. It was his second multi-homer effort in his last three games.

Davis also played left field for the fourth time in six contests.

Catcher Robinzon Diaz, who was 2-for-4, launched a grand slam as part of a six-run attack in the fifth inning.

Starting pitcher Eric Hurley made his first start since suffering a small skull fracture and a concussion after being hit by a one-hop smash on April 18.

Just a little more than two months later, Hurley toed the rubber and threw 68 pitches over four innings. He allowed four runs on eight hits, striking out one without issuing a walk.

Lefty Zach Jackson piggybacked Hurley and pitched well enough to earn the victory, limiting Omaha to one run while scattering five hits in four innings.

Pedro Strop worked a perfect ninth inning––throwing seven of nine pitches for strikes––to earn his second Triple-A save of the season.

Esteban German played second base and batted eighth in his return from the disabled list. The veteran utility specialist had one single in four trips.

Player of the Game: LF Chris Davis
3 2 2 0 2 3 1 1 .364

AA: Frisco 10 – Midland 5
W - Erlin (4-0)
SV - Miller (5)
HR - Bianucci (16), Mendonca (15)
40-29, 8.0 GB

Rangers reliever Darren O'Day made the start in his scheduled one-inning rehab appearance. He threw eight of 15 pitches for strikes with the following results––groundout to second, home run, flyout to left, strikeout looking. The round-tripper was hit by A's prospect Grant Green.

While Robbie Erlin was good enough to earn his fourth Double-A win, he certainly wasn't at his sharpest. Erlin struggled against the RockHounds for the second consecutive outing. He worked 4.2 innings, giving up four runs and eight hits, walking one and striking out three.

But the offense gave Erlin plenty of support.

Leadoff hitter Davis Stoneburner (.288/.354/.441) kept his recent hot streak going with a 4-for-5 performance that included a triple and two stolen bases.

Since hitting a paltry .188 in April, Stoneburner has posted a .352/.400/.509 slash line over the last two months and 122 plate appearances.

Third baseman Tom Mendonca (2/3, HR, HBP) and left fielder Mike Bianucci (2/5, 2B, HR) kept pace with each other, as both sluggers went deep.

Engel Beltre (2/4, 2B) and Jonathan Greene (2/4, 2B) each singled and doubled once. The 21-year-old Beltre may be riding his first hot streak of the season, with multiple hits in three consecutive games.

Shortstop Guilder Rodriguez (2/4) singled twice and picked up his 13th stolen base.

With a lead in-tact, the Frisco bullpen made quick work of the Midland hitters in the late innings. Tyler Tufts (1.1 IP) worked around a hit and a walk while tossing scoreless ball. Closer Justin Miller (2.72 ERA/.216 BAA) sat down all six hitters he faced, striking out two.

Miller has posted the following line in his last seven appearances––11.2 ip, 7 h, 0 r, 2 bb, 14 k.

While Midland got to Erlin for the second straight outing, the RoughRiders really tagged Shawn Haviland once again. In his last two outings––both matched against Erlin––Haviland has coughed up 18 runs on 21 hits in eight total innings.

Player of the Game: 2B Davis Stoneburner
5 3 4 0 0 1 0 1 .288

A+: Myrtle Beach – All-Star break
40-29, 2.0 GU

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans wrapped up the first half as champions of the Carolina League's Southern Division. Four Pelicans––pitchers Robbie Ross and Joe Wieland, outfielder Ryan Strausborger, and catcher Zach Zaneski––will compete in the California-Carolina League All-Star Game on Tuesday evening in Modesto, Calif. Third baseman Mike Olt was also selected to the All-Star team but will not participate due to a broken collarbone.

A: Hickory – All-Star break
40-28, 1.0 GU

Like their High-A counterparts, the Hickory Crawdads were first-half division champions and will be participating in the South Atlantic League playoffs. Three Crawdads will compete in the Sally League All-Star Game on Tuesday––RHP Roman Mendez, 3B Christian Villanueva, and C Tomas Telis.

SSA: Spokane 15 – Salem-Keizer 7
W - Monegro (1-0)
HR - Rua (1)
3-1, 1.0 GU

After falling behind 7-1 by the middle of the third inning, the Indians came storming back––and then some. The offense busted out for five runs in the third before posting an eight-spot in the sixth inning.

Spokane scored its 15 runs with the benefit of only 10 hits. They also had 10 walks.

Half of the free passes went to two-hole hitting outfielder Hirotoshi Onaka, who didn't have an official at-bat despite playing the entire game. The 22-year-old Japan native went 0-for-0 with five walks, four runs scored, and two stolen bases.

The switch-hitting Onaka was signed by the Rangers last offseason after going undrafted out of college in his native Japan. While he certainly may not be a top prospect, he does provide above-average speed and a very mature approach to hitting. He now has eight free passes and only six official at-bats in his first three contests.

Though starter Richard Alvarez fanned six batters in 2.1 innings, he was knocked around for seven runs on eight hits. He walked one.

Right-hander Jose Monegro, a reliever with a full four-pitch repertoire, gave the offense time to come back by hurling 3.2 shutout frames. He permitted two hits and struck out four without issuing a walk.

Chance Sossamon (1 IP) and Chris Hanna (2 IP) followed and finished it off with three blank frames.

While the bullpen was keeping the Volcanoes off the scoreboard, the Indians' bats did plenty of scoring.

Centerfielder Ruben Sierra went 3-for-5 with a double and a career-high five runs batted in. Catcher Brett Nicholas (1/3) and third baseman Ryan Rua (1/4, HR, BB) both knocked in three apiece.

Hanser Alberto (2/4, 2B, HBP) and Trever Adams (1/4, 2B, BB) teamed up to add a pair of two-baggers.

Spokane wraps up its series with Salem-Keizer on Tuesday evening. Through the first four games, Giants first-rounder and St. John's product Joe Panik has worn out the Indians' pitching. He is 10-for-17 (.588) with a double, a homer, and three walks.

Player of the Game: CF Ruben Sierra
5 2 3 1 0 5 0 0 .462

RK: AZL Rangers 8 – AZL Royals 7
W – Rojas (1-0)
SV - Haase (1)
HR - Leeds (1)
1-0, 0.0 GU

The Surprise Rangers led throughout, although it was a bit of an ugly affair on both sides. Monday's season opener saw the two clubs combine for nine errors, five hit batters, seven wild pitches, and 11 walks.

Rangers starter Luis Parra, a 19-year-old southpaw, made his official state-side debut. The Dominican Republic native spread seven hits over four innings, giving up two runs, walking two, and striking out six.

Both of Parra's runs allowed came on wild pitches. After allowing three consecutive singles to begin the fourth, he got out of the bases-loaded, no-out jam with two strikeouts followed by a groundout. Needless to say, it was an eventful debut.

Righty Jonathan Rojas picked up the victory despite getting tagged for five runs (four earned) in 2.2 innings of relief.

In his professional debut, cleanup hitter and first baseman Matt Leeds struck out three times but also knocked a two-run homer. The 31st-round pick hit 18 homers at College of Charleston this past season.

Catcher Joe Maloney had an up-and-down day. Behind the plate, he committed a throwing error and had a passed ball. Offensively, he singled twice and was plunked once in four trips.

Drew Robinson (1/3, BB) and Kevin Torres (1/3, BB) both singled and walked. Robinson, who stole two bases, is returning to action after suffering a broken finger while fielding a ground ball during extended spring training. After he gets back into game shape in Arizona, he figures to join and play third base for the short-season Spokane club.

The lineup's top two hitters––CF Jordan Akins (0/4, BB) and SS Nick Urbanus (0/5)––both went without a hit.

Right-handed relievers Arlett Mavare and Anthony Haase worked one scoreless inning each to finish off the season-opening victory for the rookie Rangers.

Player of the Game: 1B Matt Leeds
4 2 1 0 1 2 0 3 .250

DSL: DSL Rangers 2 – DSL Cubs2 8
L - Pena (0-2)
11-6, 0.5 GB

Starting pitcher Richelson Pena suffered the loss despite yielding just one run in four innings of work. The 17-year-old righty scattered four hits, walked one, and struck out four. Monday's performance was an improvement his first two professional outings, when he combined to yield eight earned runs in 1.2 innings.

None of the Dominican Rangers hitters had multiple knocks, but third baseman Smerling Lantigua (1/4, 3B) and left fielder Esdras Abreu (1/3, 2B, BB) provided a pair of extra-base hits.

Shortstop Luis Marte singled once and walked once in three trips, raising his average to .309 through 15 games.

Catcher Fernando Vivili fanned three times in four hitless at-bats. While the 17-year-old catcher is strong and has some raw power out of his 6-foot-3 frame, he has struck out 17 times in his first 34 official at-bats.

Relievers Jorge de Jesus (0.1 IP, 3 R) and Luis Moreno (0.2 IP, 2 R) combined to cough up five runs in the sixth inning, and that's when the game got away from the Rangers.

Left-hander Luis de la Torre followed with two hitless, scoreless frames before Geuris Grullon struggled with control in the ninth. He yielded a run on two hits, two walks, and two wild pitches.

Player of the Game: RHP Richelson Pena
4.0 4 1 1 1 4 0 14.29

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