Rangers Minor League Roundup – 7/29

Four Spokane Indians pitchers teamed up on Sunday to toss a one-hitter, the club's second shutout in as many nights. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 4 – (@) Memphis 2 (7 innings – Game 1)
W - Grimm (1-0)
SV - Cotts (3)
HR - Borbon (8), Solarte (7)

Round Rock starting pitcher Justin Grimm helped deliver the Express a game one victory with his six strong innings. Throwing 105 pitches (69 strikes), Grimm yielded one run on five hits over those six innings, walking two and striking out eight.

Although the leadoff man reached base safely in four of Grimm's six innings, he did a good job of pitching out of trouble. The Redbirds went just 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position against the starter, stranding seven runners on base.

The 23-year-old Grimm has the following stat-line in Triple-A––21.0 ip, 14 h, 6 r (2.57 ERA), 8 bb, 16 k.

DH Yangervis Solarte paced the offense by going 2-for-3 with his 22nd double and his seventh home run. Leadoff man Julio Borbon added a solo homer––his eighth––and a sacrifice fly in four plate appearances.

Luis Martinez (1/3, 2B) doubled while Luis Hernandez (1/3) singled for Round Rock's only other hits.

Memphis starting pitcher and Oklahoma State product Tyler Lyons was the hard-luck loser in the complete-game effort, dropping to 1-7 despite striking out 11 batters in seven innings.

Lefty Neal Cotts (4.79 ERA/.250 BAA) permitted a solo home run in the ninth inning but fanned a pair to earn his third save. The 32-year-old reliever has pitched particularly well in his last five appearances––7.2 ip, 4 h, 1 r, 3 bb, 11 k.

Player of the Game: RHP Justin Grimm
6.0 5 1 1 2 8 0 2.57

AAA: Round Rock 8 – (@) Memphis 5 (7 innings – Game 2)
W - Hankins (5-7)
SV - Heilman (8)
HR - Butler (14)
48-61, 16.0 GB

While the Express are incredibly unlikely to reach the Pacific Coast League playoffs––they're 10 games back of third-place New Orleans and 16 out of first––the club is playing perhaps its best baseball of the season.

Round Rock swept Sunday's doubleheader at Memphis and won its season-best fifth consecutive game.

The Express jumped on the Redbirds early in the nightcap, plating all eight of their runs within the first four innings.

Right fielder Joey Butler (.280/.391/.457) broke out of his slump by going 1-for-2 with a solo home run and two walks. Julio Borbon (2/4, 2B), Ryan Spilborghs (1/4, 2B) and Brad Nelson (1/3, 2B, BB) all doubled once.

Borbon had two RBI while Spilborghs brought home three runs. The speedy Borbon has begun to catch fire once again, as he's 14-for-31 with three doubles, a triple, and a home run over his last seven contests.

Luis Hernandez (2/3, BB), Matt Kata (2/4) and Elio Sarmiento (2/4) all had two hits apiece in the nightcap. Hernandez stole his sixth base.
,br> Spot starter Derek Hankins (5.24 ERA/.295 BAA) gave the Express five innings, and he yielded four runs on five hits.

After Yoshinori Tateyama surrendered a solo homer in the sixth–-raising his Triple-A ERA to 0.62––Aaron Heilman closed the game out with a perfect seventh.

Player of the Game: RF Joey Butler
2 1 1 0 1 1 2 0 .280

AA: Frisco 9 – San Antonio 5
W - de los Santos (1-2)
HR - Beltre (12), Strausborger (4)
17-19, 7.0 GB

The Double-A Frisco RoughRiders also claimed their fifth consecutive victory with Sunday's 9-5 triumph over San Antonio. The ‘Riders have outscored their opposition 34-11 during the streak.

The Frisco bats tagged hard-throwing Padres prospect Adys Portillo for six runs (five earned) on four hits and five walks in 4.1 innings. Portillo, who threw only 49 of his 96 pitches for a strike, was making his second Double-A start after being promoted from Low-A Fort Wayne.

Left fielder Ryan Strausborger's (.252/.307/.368) two-run homer was the big blow in Frisco's four-run first inning. Overall, Strausborger was 2-for-3 with a double, the homer, a walk, and three RBI. He also stole his 20th base of the season––he's yet to be caught on the base paths.

Red-hot outfielder Engel Beltre (.319/.358/.602 in July) had a triple, a home run, and a walk in five plate appearances. After swiping his 30th bag in 36 attempts, he's now just one off his career-high of 31, which he set in 2008 at Single-A Clinton.

On the season, the 22-year-old Beltre sports a .257/.299/.433 slash line in 101 games. He has 12 doubles, a league-leading 14 triples, and 12 home runs to go along with 18 walks and 91 strikeouts.

The top four triples men in the Texas League are all RoughRiders––Beltre, Leury Garcia (8), Jurickson Profar (7), and Strausborger (7).

Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland, playing in his fifth rehab game and his third with Frisco, had a single and a strikeout in five at-bats.

Mike Olt (1/2, 2B, 2 BB), Chris McGuiness (1/3, 2B, BB) and Jared Prince (1/4, 2B) all doubled once.

Although second baseman Jurickson Profar was 0-for-4 with a walk, he stole his 12th base of the campaign.

Starting pitcher Wilfredo Boscan (4.27 ERA/.254 BAA) didn't factor in the decision after he surrendered four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings, walking three and striking out five.

Miguel de los Santos (5.57 ERA/.233 BAA) worked around two hits and a walk in 2.2 shutout innings, striking out three. The southpaw has pitched well in his last three appearances––8.1 ip, 4 h, 0 r, 5 bb, 9 k.

Player of the Game: LF Ryan Strausborger
3 2 2 1 1 3 1 1 .252

A+: Myrtle Beach 2 – Winston-Salem 8
L - West (0-3)
22-15, 1.0 GU

The Pelicans and Dash entered the ninth inning of Sunday's game locked in a 2-2 tie, but Winston-Salem ran away with it by plating six runs in the top of the ninth.

Right-handed pitcher Kyle DeVore got the starting nod for Myrtle Beach, as Kyle Hendricks had his start skipped to limit his innings count. Hendricks, who is in his first full professional season, has already logged more than 130 innings this year with more than a month to play.

DeVore pitched well in the spot start, limiting Winston-Salem's strong offense to one run over four innings. Reliever Nick McBride gave up one run over the next 3.1 frames, working around four hits and three walks. He struck out one.

After posting a 2.41 ERA in 52.1 innings at Single-A Hickory this year, the 21-year-old McBride has surrendered only one run in his first eight Carolina League frames.

Matt West came on in relief of McBride with one out in the eighth. Despite issuing a walk, he got out of the jam with a flyout to center and a popout to second.

But West was hit hard when he came back out for the top of the ninth. After beginning the stanza with a strikeout swinging, his outing went as follows––single, single, balk, double, single, triple.

Francisco Mendoza, who came on for West, then coughed up a two-run homer––letting West's inherited runner score.

When the dust had settled, West was socked for five runs on five hits in one inning, walking one and striking out one. He now has the following line on the season––13.1 ip, 11 h, 12 er, 10 bb, 8 k.

The Pelicans' offense managed only two runs on four singles in the nine innings. Tomas Telis (1/4), Christian Villanueva (1/3, BB), Hanser Alberto (1/4) and Santiago Chirino (1/3, BB) had the hits.

Villanueva extended his hitting streak to eight games, and he's reached base safely multiple times in all eight of those contests.

Player of the Game: RHP Kyle DeVore
4.0 3 1 1 2 1 1 4.42

A: Hickory 1 – (@) Augusta 7
L - Faulkner (3-4)
20-17, 1.0 GB

Augusta finished off the three-game sweep of Hickory, dropping the Crawdads to a game out of first place in the Sally League's Northern Division.

Coming off a seven-inning start––by far the longest outing of his young professional career––lefty Andrew Faulkner (4.50 ERA/.265 BAA) surrendered five runs (three earned) in 4.1 innings. He gave up three hits, walked four, and struck out four.

The 19-year-old prospect has produced a mix bag of results with each of his three starts since moving into the Crawdads' rotation. Regardless, he's still shown vast improvement as his first full season has progressed. After posting a 5.70 ERA in 36.1 first-half innings, Faulkner has a 2.93 ERA since the All-Star break.

Streaky third baseman Drew Robinson (.273/.408/.434) had three hits in four at-bats, extending his modest hitting streak to five games. DH Jorge Alfaro went 2-for-4 with a double.

In 47 games this season, the 19-year-old Alfaro has an impressive .295/.355/.483 slash line. He's belted 14 doubles, five triples, and three round-trippers.

Trever Adams (1/4, 2B) also doubled while Alejandro Selen (1/3, BB) and Nick Urbanus (1/3) both singled once.

Player of the Game: DH Jorge Alfaro
4 0 2 1 0 0 0 1 .295

SSA: Spokane 3 – Yakima 0
W - Alvarez (1-2)
SV - McElwee (6)
4-2, 0.0 GU

With one out in the top of the fifth inning, Yakima left fielder Yogey Perez-Ramos lined a single to center field. That would be the Bears' only hit of the contest, as Spokane kept Yakima off the scoreboard for the second consecutive game.

Indians pitchers Connor Sadzeck, Richard Alvarez, Joseph Burns, and Josh McElwee teamed up on the one-hit, 14-strikeout effort.

Sadzeck (3.89 ERA/.180 BAA) was a bit erratic in four innings, issuing four walks, plunking two, and uncorking a wild pitch. But the four innings were both hitless and scoreless, and he struck out a season-high seven batters.

Through 37 innings this summer, Sadzeck has allowed 23 hits, walked 26, and struck out 39. He's pitched particularly well in three home starts, giving up two hits in 14 innings.

Alvarez (3.49 ERA/.286 BAA) followed Sadzeck's performance with three innings of one-hit shutout ball, fanning four without issuing a walk. Burns (1 IP) and McElwee (1 IP) teamed up to retire the game's final six batters in order.

Burns, the Rangers' 28th-round pick in this year's MLB Draft, is a 6-foot-0, 200-pound southpaw from Samford University. In 20.1 innings for Spokane, he's yielded four runs on 12 hits, walking five and striking out 15.

Third baseman Ryan Rua (.263/.349/.388) went 3-for-4 with his eighth double in 42 games. He also stole his second base.

Oral Roberts product Cam Schiller (2/4) singled twice while leadoff man Gabriel Roa had a single, a walk, and a hit-by pitch in his four plate appearances. The 5-foot-8 Puerto Rico native is 16-for-37 over his current nine-game hitting streak.

After a disappointing last-place finish in the first half, Spokane was happy to clear the slate and begin another chase for the Northwest League postseason. While it's still early, the Indians are 4-2 to begin the second half.

The offense and pitching both have begun to pick up the pace. The Indians' bats now rank sixth in the eight-team circuit in hitting (up from eighth), and the pitching is fifth with a cumulative 3.76 ERA.

Player of the Game: RHP Connor Sadzeck
4.0 0 0 0 4 7 0 3.89

RK: Surprise Rangers 7 - Peoria Mariners 3
W - Wiles (1-0)
18-13, 0.0 GU

The Rookie Rangers regained a share of first place with Sunday's win over the Peoria Mariners.

According to the box score, the game was played under interesting conditions. While it was a predictably hot 104 degrees at first pitch, there was also apparently a 30 mph wind out to left field in Surprise. And perhaps surprisingly––there was only one home run in the game.

Rangers starting pitcher Ryne Slack (6.75 ERA/.311 BAA) cruised through the first two innings, striking out five while retiring all six batters he faced. But he scuffled from there.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound non-drafted free agent ultimately allowed three runs on four hits in 3.2 innings while striking out six. A 20-year-old junior college product, Slack has been hit hard at times this summer, but he's also struck out 23 batters in 17.1 innings.

John Niggli, the Rangers' ninth-round pick in this year's draft, came on to finish the fourth inning. He allowed a hit before getting a strikeout.

Niggli began the summer as a starting pitcher but has dealt with some minor injury issues since. The club is bringing him along slowly, as he's making about one short relief appearance per week for the time being.

Rangers supplemental first-round pick Collin Wiles followed Slack and Niggli with perhaps the best outing of his young pro career.

Wiles (6.08 ERA/.302 BAA) hurled four shutout innings while yielding two hits and striking out six. He didn't walk a batter.

The 18-year-old Wiles scuffled in his first six appearances––15.0 ip, 24 h, 16 er, 6 bb, 10 k. But he's found more success in his last two games––8.2 ip, 5 h, 0 r, 1 bb, 10 k.

Righty reliever Chance Sossamon closed out the game with a scoreless ninth, working around one hit and fanning one.

At the plate, the normally slugging Rangers went without an extra-base hit but still managed to score seven runs.

Third baseman Joey Gallo (2/3, BB) and second baseman Alberto Triunfel (2/4) both singled twice. Nick Williams (1/4, BB) and Nomar Mazara (1/3, BB) singled once and walked once.

Catcher Fernando Vivili, who was 1-for-3, drove home a pair of runs.

Although centerfielder Lewis Brinson was just 1-for-5 in the game, he did pick up an outfield assist by gunning down a runner at home plate.

Player of the Game: RHP Collin Wiles
4.0 2 0 0 0 6 0 6.08

DSL: DSL Rangers – OFF
32-15, 4.0 GU

The first-place Dominican Rangers, who currently have a four-game lead in the Boca Chica North Division standings, were off on Sunday. They'll return to action on Monday morning.

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