Rangers Minor League Roundup – 7/20

The Triple-A Round Rock Express lost a wild game on Wednesday, but slugger Chris Davis belted another double and two more home runs. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 11 – New Orleans 14
L - Eppley (3-2)
HR - Davis (23, 24)
58-40, 7.5 GU

Round Rock came storming back into the game with a fierce rally that included eight runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. But they gave up the lead––and the game––by coughing up seven in the ninth.

Third baseman Chris Davis (.366/.404/.833) continued to mash the ball at Dell Diamond, going 3-for-5 with a double, two home runs, and five runs batted in. Davis now has 65 RBI in 46 Triple-A games this season.

The 25-year-old slugger has a .408/.447/.983 slash line in home games this season––with 20 round-trippers in 30 games.

All 18 players––every starter on each side––had at least one hit and reached base safely via hit or walk at least twice. Not surprisingly, the nine-inning game took three hours and twenty-nine minutes to complete.

Starting pitcher Ryan Tucker surrendered five runs (four earned) on 10 hits over four innings, throwing 68 pitches. He walked one and struck out three.

Second baseman Matt Kata (.385/.431/.769 in July) was 3-for-4 with two more doubles––giving him 18 on the season––and a walk. The veteran has 10 extra-base hits in his last eight games.

Brad Nelson (2/5, 2B) singled and doubled while Chad Tracy (2/5), Robinzon Diaz (2/4, BB) and Kevin Cash (2/4, BB) all singled twice. Shortstop Guilder Rodriguez had three knocks in five trips.

Reliever Cody Eppley worked a scoreless eighth and entered the ninth inning with an 11-7 lead. But he gave up six consecutive singles to begin the ninth. When the dust had settled, Eppley yielded six runs in 1.2 innings, ballooning his ERA to 3.63.

Left-hander Martin Perez is scheduled to make his second Triple-A start on Thursday evening at Dell Diamond.

Player of the Game: 3B Chris Davis
5 2 3 1 2 5 0 0 .366

AA: Frisco 0 – (@) San Antonio 1
L - Bleier (3-4)
14-11, 2.0 GB

Lefty sinkerballer Richard Bleier (5.45 ERA/.322 BAA) was the hard-luck loser on Wednesday. The 24-year-old held San Antonio to one run in 6.1 innings, scattering seven hits and walking one while striking out four. He also induced 10 groundouts.

Unfortunately for Bleier, the RoughRiders' offense never got a runner past first base in the game.

Padres prospect Casey Kelly limited Frisco to just one hit in five shutout innings en route to his 10th victory of the season. Shortstop Renny Osuna, who singled twice in four trips, was the only ‘Riders hitter with multiple knocks. He raised his average to .312.

Righty Justin Miller (2.19 ERA/.208 BAA) punched out two in 1.2 scoreless innings, yielding one hit. Miller has the following line since May 29––24.2 ip, 15 h, 1 r, 7 bb, 24 k.

Player of the Game: LHP Richard Bleier
6.1 7 1 1 1 4 0 5.45

A+: Myrtle Beach 3 – Wilmington 6
L - Boscan (3-7)
14-12, 1.5 GB

The Blue Rocks peppered Myrtle Beach starter Wilfredo Boscan for 11 hits in 6.1 innings. The Venezuelan right-hander allowed four runs, three of which were earned. He walked one and struck out one.

While the Pelicans had their six-game winning streak snapped, first baseman Jared Bolden (.301/.343/.467) kept his personal impressive streak alive. After going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk, Bolden now has multiple hits in each of his last eight contests. He is now batting .446 in 16 games this month.

Leury Garcia (2/5, 2B) added his 16th double and his 23rd stolen base. The speedy switch-hitter had 12 extra-base hits in 89 games at Single-A Hickory last season. In 85 games with Myrtle Beach this year, he already has 22 extra-base knocks.

Catcher Zach Zaneski (2/4) and centerfielder Jared Hoying (2/4) both singled twice.

Chad Bell (3.35 ERA/.248 BAA) gave up a single and punched out one in a scoreless ninth inning.

Player of the Game: 1B Jared Bolden
4 1 2 1 0 0 1 0 .301

A: Hickory 4 – Greensboro 9
L - Van Meter (5-2)
17-9, 2.0 GU

Hickory starting pitcher Cody Buckel (2.30 ERA/.218 BAA) entered the evening having allowed just one total hit in each of his last three starts, which lasted between 5.0 and 5.1 innings.

The 18-year-old righty got things out to a strong start on Wednesday, as he retired the first nine hitters he faced. Buckel eventually ran into trouble and yielded three runs in five innings, giving up six hits while walking one and striking out five.

Buckel has struck out 77 and walked 17 in 62.2 innings for Hickory this season.

Third baseman Christian Villanueva (.276/.336/.473) was 1-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two strikeouts. The double––his 24th of the season––was the Crawdads' lone extra-base hit of the game.

First baseman Andrew Clark (3/5) had three knocks while left fielder Jhonny Gomez (2/3, BB) singled twice and walked once.

The normally solid Hickory bullpen ran into trouble after Buckel left the game. Righties Joe Van Meter and Ben Henry each surrendered three runs in one inning of work.

Jorge Marban (3.51 ERA/.176 BAA) issued three walks but also punched out five in two innings of shutout ball. The former undrafted free agent has logged 33.1 innings, giving up 21 hits, walking 19, and striking out 41.

Player of the Game: 1B Andrew Clark
5 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 .307

SSA: Spokane 6 – Boise 4
W - S. Perez (4-1)
SV - Hendricks (3)
HR - Cone (3)
18-15, 0.0 GU

Spokane finished off the sweep of the division-rival Boise Hawks with the help of a five-run outburst in the fifth inning.

Boise starting pitcher Su-Min Jung actually failed to get out of the first inning. After he fanned Hirotoshi Onaka to begin the game, Jung issued walks to five consecutive batters before being lifted.

Though Onaka didn't walk in that particular plate appearance, he did walk three times in five trips to give him 25 walks in 19 games this year.

Tall righty Santo Perez (3.67 ERA/.260 BAA) battled in and out of trouble all game. Overall, the 22-year-old gave up four runs in 5.1 innings, working around eight hits allowed. He fanned two without issuing a free pass.

After the Indians' offense took the lead in the fifth, the bullpen shut the door on the Hawks.

Left-hander Chris Hanna fanned two in 1.2 scoreless frames. Closer Kyle Hendricks finished off the game––picking up his third save––by going six up, six down with five strikeouts. The ninth-round pick has 14 strikeouts and one walk in his first 14 pro innings.

Centerfielder Zach Cone launched a solo home run for his only hit in four official at-bats. He also walked once.

First baseman Brett Nicholas (2/3, 2B, 2 BB) reached base four times in five trips.

Hanser Alberto, who has been scuffling and moved into the nine-hole, went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.

Third baseman Drew Robinson committed two more errors in the field, giving him six in his last six games. The prospect has been marred in an all-around funk since joining the Indians. In addition to the errors, he is only 9-for-66 (.136) at the plate.

Catcher Carson Vitale was injured during a collision at home plate and was forced to leave the game.

Player of the Game: RHP Kyle Hendricks
2.0 0 0 0 0 5 0 1.93

RK: AZL Rangers 5 - AZL Giants 13
L - Castro (1-1)
16-7, 3.5 GU

Wednesday's meeting between the clubs with the two best records in the Arizona League went to the Giants by a relatively large margin.

Because of the injury to Luis Sardinas' left shoulder on Tuesday, the Rangers were forced to put third baseman Ryan Rua at shortstop. This left the club without a third baseman, meaning that catcher Carlos Oropeza had to fill in at third.

As luck would have it, the ball found Oropeza early and often at third base, and he committed three errors in the game while going 0-for-4 with a strikeout at the plate.

Left-hander Andrew Faulkner got the start for the Rookie Rangers and gave up three runs (one earned) on two hits in two innings. He fanned two without issuing a walk.

First-round selection Kevin Matthews permitted just a solo home run in his two innings. He also struck out two and didn't walk a batter. The third rounder, Kyle Castro, suffered the loss after he gave up two runs in one inning.

In all, the Rangers threw seven different pitchers in the game. Marshall product Greg Williams was the only one that didn't yield a run––he fanned one and gave up two hits in 1.2 shutout innings.

Ryan Rua was 2-for-3 with a triple and a base on balls. The infielder has a .492 on-base percentage in 16 games since joining the rookie club from short-season Spokane.

Guy Edmonds (2/4, 2B) and Matt Leeds (1/4, 2B) both doubled once while Jeremy Williams (2/4) and Kevin Torres (2/4) logged two singles each.

Player of the Game: SS Ryan Rua
3 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 .423

DSL: DSL Rangers 4 – (@) DSL Mets1 5 (7 innings – Game 1)
L - Fandino (1-1)
HR - Lantigua (1)

Third baseman Smerling Lantigua (.265/.351/.364) socked his first professional home run––a solo shot in the third inning. He also walked. The 17-year-old Dominican Republic native has walked 15 times with 36 strikeouts in 38 contests this summer.

Starting pitcher Aliangel Lopez (2.03 ERA/.180 BAA), who is also 17, surrendered four runs in three innings pitched. He hadn't allowed more than one earned run in any of his previous seven appearances (six starts).

Leadoff man and centerfielder Chris Garia went 2-for-4 with a walk and his 20th stolen base. Elio Castillo (2/3) also singled twice.

Player of the Game: 3B Smerling Lantigua
3 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 .265

DSL: DSL Rangers 2 – (@) DSL Mets1 1 (7 innings – Game 2)
W - J. Leclerc (2-1)
SV - Montero (2)
27-17, 2.5 GU

Second baseman Alex Gonzalez helped carry the Dominican Rangers to victory in game two with his run-scoring double in the top of the seventh inning. Overall, the veteran DSL-man was 3-for-4 with that double (his eighth) and a stolen base.

Speedy Curacao native Chris Garia (.327/.432/.395) singled three times in four at-bats.

After hitting just .205/.304/.258 in 60 DSL games last season, the 18-year-old switch-hitter has improved tremendously across the board. He has 25 walks, 28 strikeouts, and 20 stolen bases in 29 attempts.

Both Leclerc brothers––Anyelo and Jose––contributed to the victory by combining for six strong innings.

Anyelo Leclerc (0.64 ERA/.154 BAA) worked the first four innings and gave up one run while striking out five. He worked around three hits and three walks. Jose Leclerc (2.22 ERA/.239 BAA) followed with two shutout frames. Anyelo is 19 years old and Jose is 17.

Centerfielder Jose Gonzalez (1/1, 2 BB) and first baseman Elio Castillo (1/2, BB) both reached multiple times.

Talented shortstop Luis Marte has fallen into his first professional slump. After a hitless performance in the nightcap, the 17-year-old is now 2-for-26 over his last seven games, dropping his average to .290.

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