Rangers Minor League Roundup – 8/20

Triple-A Round Rock lefty Martin Perez tossed a 97-pitch complete game gem on Monday evening. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 2 – Oklahoma City 1
W - Perez (7-6)
60-70, 14.0 GB

Express starting pitcher Martin Perez (4.11 ERA/.249 BAA) tossed the second nine-inning complete game of his professional career on Monday.

The 21-year-old southpaw, who threw 71 of his 97 pitches for a strike, yielded just one unearned run. He scattered six hits and struck out five without walking a batter.

Perez retired 11 consecutive hitters during one stretch, beginning after Jimmy Paredes' one-out double in the first inning and ending in the fifth.

Efficiency was the name of the game for Perez on Monday. He threw 73 percent of his pitches for a strike, fired a first-pitch strike to 22 of the 33 hitters he faced, and had good stuff to boot. He induced 13 swings and misses out of the 97 pitches.

Prior to Perez's first big league call-up this season, Lone Star Dugout caught up with Rangers minor league pitching coordinator Danny Clark.

At the time of the interview, the prospect was coming off a complete game three-hit effort against the Iowa Cubs. Clark talked about his work in getting Perez to understand the importance of being efficient with his pitches.

"I think the three goals that were set for him four games ago––he has met all of those goals," Clark said in late June. "One was basically getting four pitches or less––getting contact in four pitches or less. His last outing, he was 28 out of 31 batters faced in that.

"The second thing was getting deeper into games. He has gone a 5.2, he has gone a six, he has gone a seven, and then he went a complete game.

"The third goal that was laid out for him is to basically leave your game with your team in order to get a win. And the last three games, he has left with that."

While Perez hasn't been perfect this season, he has battled well during his major league stints and is doing a better job of reaching Clark's goals in the minors. On Monday, the hurler had a low pitch count while working nine innings.

Perez has now worked at least seven innings in five of his last seven minor league starts. Prior to June 10, he'd lasted seven innings or more just four times in 95 professional starts.

There's still work to be done before the Venezuela native can become a full-time major league starting pitcher. But the recent results show that Perez is buying into the Rangers' plan, and that's certainly a promising development.

The Round Rock offense plated two runs on 10 hits, including five doubles.

Shortstop Luis Hernandez (.264/.305/.376) extended his hitting streak to 16 games by going 1-for-4 with his 21st double. The Venezuela native is now batting .402/.419/.575 in 19 games this month.

Veteran DH Matt Kata (2/3, 2B, BB) singled, doubled, and walked in four trips. Julio Borbon (1/4, 2B), Brad Nelson (1/4, 2B) and Brandon Snyder (1/3, 2B) also added one two-bagger apiece.

The 26-year-old Borbon is working on a nice stretch of his own––he has gone 14-for-30 with four extra-base hits during his modest seven-game hitting streak.

Through 113 Triple-A games this season, Borbon currently sports a .302/.344/.436 slash line with 21 doubles, eight triples, and nine home runs. He's drawn 30 walks, whiffed 63 times, and stolen 18 bases in 26 attempts.

After appearing in 215 big league games between 2009 and 2011, Borbon has spent the entire 2012 campaign at Round Rock.

Catcher Koyie Hill, recently signed to a minor league deal by the Rangers, had two singles in three at-bats. Hill is 6-for-19 (.316) with a home run in five games for Round Rock.

The game featured just 198 total pitches thrown between the two teams, and it took only two hours and twelve minutes to complete.

Express third baseman Alberto Gonzalez was ejected by the first base umpire in the second inning.

Player of the Game: LHP Martin Perez
9.0 6 1 0 0 5 0 4.11

AA: Frisco 6 – Northwest Arkansas 1
W - Buckel (4-5)
HR - Prince (11)
30-26, 5.0 GB

The red-hot RoughRiders finished off a three-game sweep over Northwest Arkansas, winning their sixth consecutive game.

The entire pitching staff has been the star of the winning streak. Frisco has permitted six total runs over its last six games. The staff's overall stat-line during the streak––50.0 ip, 30 h, 6 r (1.08 ERA), 13 bb, 46 k.

Frisco's winning streak has now lasted one turn through the starting rotation (including Carlos Pimentel's doubleheader spot-start), and no ‘Riders starter permitted more than one run.

That includes right-hander Cody Buckel (4.42 ERA/.244 BAA), who got the starting nod on Monday.

The 20-year-old Buckel limited Northwest Arkansas to one run on five hits (all singles) over six innings, striking out seven without walking a batter.

Command has been a slight issue in Buckel's Double-A stint thus far, as he entered the night having issued three or more walks in five of his 10 Texas League outings. But the young prospect consistently worked ahead of hitters on Monday, throwing 17 first-pitch strikes to 23 hitters. He also induced 13 swings and misses out of the 95 pitches.

RoughRiders right fielder Jared Prince (.231/.299/.367) snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with his three-run homer, his 11th of the year. Prince went 2-for-4 with four runs batted in.

Leadoff man Engel Beltre (.261/.308/.429) had two singles and a walk in five plate appearances. He also added his 34th stolen base in 44 attempts.

Beltre raised plenty of eyebrows by posting a .308/.352/.592 slash line in July. While he hasn't lit the world on fire through 17 August games, he's continued to play well by hitting .296/.363/.408.

Jurickson Profar (0/2, 2 BB), Chris McGuiness (0/2, 2 BB), and Jared Hoying (1/3, BB) all reached base twice. Hoying picked up his ninth Double-A steal.

Second baseman Leury Garcia, who was 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, is now hitting .311/.376/.419 with 19 stolen bases in 20 attempts during 41 second-half games.

Making his second Double-A appearance, fireballing reliever Roman Mendez threw 17 strikes out of 19 pitches in two perfect innings. He struck out one.

Closer Ross Wolf (2.17 ERA/.237 BAA) worked around a single in an otherwise clean ninth inning to finish out the victory.

Player of the Game: RHP Cody Buckel
6.0 5 1 1 0 7 0 4.42

A+: Myrtle Beach 5 – Salem 1
W - Van Meter (3-5)
HR - Herrera (4), Grayson (3)
34-23, 2.5 GB

The Pelicans took another step towards ensuring a postseason berth with Monday's win.

Although Winston-Salem still sits 2.5 games ahead of second-place Myrtle Beach, the Dash already locked up a playoff spot with their first-half division title. The Pelicans, meanwhile, are in a race with third-place Carolina, who have dropped to 6.5 games behind Myrtle Beach.

The Pelicans have only 10 regular-season games remaining.

Joe Van Meter (1.85 ERA/.203 BAA) has performed admirably since returning to the Carolina League and slotting into the Pelicans' starting rotation.

The 23-year-old righty continued his consistent ways on Monday, as he tossed 5.2 innings of one-run ball. He surrendered three hits, walked three, and struck out six.

Van Meter earned a promotion to Double-A Frisco in July but was quickly sent back to Myrtle Beach due to roster reasons. After pitching the entire season as a reliever, he has been excellent in four starts––21.2 ip, 15 h, 3 r, 6 bb, 23 k.

The Pelicans' bats went up against Red Sox prospect and UConn product Matt Barnes. Myrtle Beach second baseman Odubel Herrera (.285/.337/.379) belted a solo home run for the only damage against Barnes in four innings.

Although leadoff man Chris Grayson had just one hit in five at-bats, the knock was a two-run homer in the fifth inning.

Between the Low- and High-A levels this year, Grayson has appeared in 115 games and posted a .253/.362/.437 slash line. He has 26 doubles, six triples, and 13 home runs. He's drawn 63 walks, struck out 111 times, and stolen 31 bases in 39 attempts.

Right fielder Josh Richmond raised his batting average to .175 by going 3-for-4 with two doubles. He stole his eighth base.

DH Brett Nicholas (2/4) and left fielder Jeremy Williams (2/3, BB) both singled twice and stole a base.

Recently promoted relievers Phil Klein (2.1 IP) and Daniel Lopez (1 IP) kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard through the final 3.1 innings.

Klein, who was making his third Carolina League appearance, was particularly impressive. He's yielded one hit in 6.1 scoreless innings thus far, walking one and striking out seven.

Player of the Game: RHP Joe Van Meter
5.2 3 1 1 3 6 0 1.85

A: Hickory 5 – Rome 1
W - Faulkner (5-4)
SV - Payano (1)
32-25, 0.5 GB

Crawdads cleanup hitter and centerfielder Zach Cone went up against left-hander Alex Wood, his former University of Georgia teammate.

Cone got the best of Wood, going 2-for-4 with his 25th double of the season.

The Crawdads tagged Wood, Atlanta's second-round pick in this year's MLB Draft, for five runs on nine hits and three walks in 4.2 innings. Shortstop Luis Sardinas was also 2-for-4 with his 13th double.

Alejandro Selen (2/4) singled twice while Kellin Deglan (1/3, BB) singled once and walked once.

On the mound, Hickory starter Andrew Faulkner (3.96 ERA/.258 BAA) limited Rome to one unearned run in six innings, giving up four hits, walking one, and striking out two.

Victor Payano (4.62 ERA/.245 BAA) closed out the game with three frames of scoreless long relief. The 6-foot-5 lefty yielded one hit and struck out four.

Payano, 19, was showing signs of fatigue when working out of the starting rotation in July. But he's found more success after moving into a long relief role to manage his innings. His stat-line in three relief appearances––8.0 ip, 6 h, 1 r, 0 bb, 10 k.

Player of the Game: LHP Andrew Faulkner
6.0 4 1 0 1 2 0 3.96

SSA: Spokane 4 – Tri-City 3
W - Asher (2-3)
12-15, 5.0 GB

Joe Maloney (.256/.342/.444) put the Indians ahead for good with his two-out two-run triple in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Pennsylvania native was 2-for-4 on the evening with those two RBI.

Earlier in the game, starting pitcher Eric Brooks (3.61 ERA/.278 BAA) tossed four innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He struck out three and walked one.

Abel de los Santos, who recently moved into a piggyback role with Brooks, followed with three innings of one-hit shutout ball, walking one and fanning three.

Alec Asher then yielded a run in two innings to earn his second victory.

Shortstop Gabriel Roa (1/3, 2B, BB) doubled once and walked once while Royce Bolinger (2/4) and Ryan Rua (2/4) both singled twice.

The 22-year-old Bolinger extended his hitting streak to 21 games on Monday, and he's now hitting .297/.343/.375 in 57 contests this summer. After getting out to a slow start, the Rangers' sixth-round pick is batting .381/.435/.440 this month.

In four plate appearances, Joey Gallo singled, walked (intentionally), and struck out twice.

The slugging third baseman is now 6-for-19 (.316) with a double, two homers, three walks, and 12 strikeouts through five games with Spokane.

Player of the Game: DH Joe Maloney
4 0 2 0 0 2 0 2 .256

RK: Surprise Rangers 2 – (@) Peoria Mariners 0
W - Parra (4-6)
SV - Shiver (6)
HR - Brinson (5)
29-20, 1.5 GU

One night after the Rookie Rangers surrendered 11 runs to the second-place Mariners, three pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout of the club.

Dominican southpaw Luis Parra (4.22 ERA/.275 BAA) started the game with 5.2 frames of three-hit scoreless ball, walking three and striking out six.

Relievers Ryan Bores (2.1 IP) and Casey Shiver (1 IP) then came on to throw 3.1 total innings of no-hit ball. A starting pitcher at Kent State this spring, Bores struck out two batters and induced five groundouts in 2.1 innings. Shiver pitched around a walk in the ninth, earning his sixth save.

Rangers first-round pick Lewis Brinson (.299/.362/.540) led off Monday's game with a home run, his fifth of the summer and his 34th extra-base hit in 48 professional games.

The 18-year-old Brinson, who was 1-for-2 with a homer and two walks, now has eight extra-base hits in his last eight games.

DH Nick Williams went 2-for-3 with his sixth triple.

Rehabbing Triple-A first baseman Mike Bianucci, making his first rehab appearance, doubled for the Rookie Rangers' only other hit. He was 1-for-2 with a strikeout.

Player of the Game: CF Lewis Brinson
2 2 1 0 1 1 2 0 .299

DSL: DSL Rangers 6 – DSL Marlins 5 (10 innings)
W - Carvallo (7-1)
41-26, 1.0 GB

The Dominican Rangers won a big extra-innings affair with the DSL Marlins on Monday, keeping them a game out of first place with five regular-season contests remaining.

The Rangers will play the Marlins once more on Tuesday before facing the Mets2 for two games and finishing off the campaign with a two-game set against the Pirates1. The Mets2 are currently in first place while the Pirates1 are tied with the Rangers in second.

DH Belarmino Campos, who went hitless in five at-bats, provided the walkoff, as he reached on a fielding error by the Marlins' first baseman. The error allowed centerfielder Jose Cardona to score with just one out.

The Marlins had a walk, two errors, and a wild pitch in their disastrous bottom of the 10th.

The switch-hitting Cardona (.264/.382/.332) led the offense by going 2-for-3 with a double and two walks. He has 45 walks and 49 strikeouts in 66 contests this summer.

Cardona's double was the Rangers' only extra-base hit. Eduard Pinto (2/4, BB) raised his batting average to an even .400 with two singles. Elio Castillo (0/2, BB, HBP) and Carlos Garay (1/3, 2 BB) also reached multiple times.

Hard-throwing starter Kelvin Vasquez (3.42 ERA/.256 BAA) allowed three runs (two earned) in 4.2 innings, giving up five hits, walking one, and striking out three.

Relievers Jose Gomez (3.1 IP) and Felix Carvallo (2 IP) yielded one run apiece in relief. Carvallo was stuck with the blown save but also earned his seventh victory in eight decisions.

Player of the Game: CF Jose Cardona
3 2 2 1 0 0 2 0 .264

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