Rangers Minor League Roundup – 8/31

The rookie-level Surprise Rangers captured the Arizona League championship with a 3-1 victory over the Phoenix Athletics on Friday. Lone Star Dugout takes a look at all of the day's minor league action in the Texas Rangers' system.

AAA: Round Rock 5 – (@) Oklahoma City 11
L - Jackson (7-13)
68-73, 10.0 GB

The Express closed out a successful August while beginning their final series of the season on Friday.

Although Round Rock has been out of serious playoff contention for some time––due to their slow start––they've played their best ball of the year through late July and August. In fact, since July 26, the Express are a league-best 25-12.

But one of those 12 losses came on Friday, as starting pitcher Zach Jackson (5.17 ERA/.303 BAA) was battered for 11 runs in 3.1 innings. The left-hander allowed six hits, walked eight, and plunked two. He threw only 42 of his 93 pitches for a strike.

Left-hander Ben Snyder (4.19 ERA/.253 BAA) followed with 3.2 innings of two-hit scoreless ball, striking out five without issuing a walk. But the damage had already been done for OKC.

Third baseman Matt Kata (2/4, 2B), second baseman Luis Hernandez (2/5, 2B), catcher Koyie Hill (2/4, 2B) and DH Brad Nelson (1/4, 2B) all doubled once.

Right fielder Joey Butler raised his batting average to .290 with a single and his first triple of the season in four at-bats. The 26-year-old Butler has a .316/.390/.491 slash line in 46 games since the Triple-A All-Star break.

Right-handed reliever Fabio Castillo worked around a single and a walk in a scoreless eighth inning for the Express.

Round Rock faced reliever Mark Hamburger, who tossed a scoreless inning on 13 pitches for Oklahoma City. Hamburger began this season with the Express but has been designated for assignment by both the Rangers and Padres.

Hamburger has a 6.28 ERA in 42 appearances (four starts) overall this season, including a 4.95 ERA in 20 innings with Oklahoma City.

Player of the Game: LHP Ben Snyder
3.2 2 0 0 0 5 0 4.19

AA: Frisco 4 – Corpus Christi 3
W - Grimm (9-3)
SV - Wolf (8)
HR - McGuiness (23)
37-30, 5.0 GB

Frisco starting pitcher Wilfredo Boscan (3.75 ERA/.249 BAA) didn't earn the victory in Friday's game despite carrying a no-hitter into the sixth inning.

After issuing a first-inning walk, Boscan settled down to retire the next 13 batters he faced. Overall, the right-hander yielded one run on two hits in 6.1 innings, walking two and striking out seven.

The 22-year-old Boscan has pitched relatively well with Frisco this season––98.1 ip, 92 h, 41 er, 28 bb, 89 k.

Slugging first baseman Chris McGuiness had another big game, as he went 3-for-4 with a home run––his 23rd––and two runs batted in.

Catcher Zach Zaneski (2/3, 2B) had a single and a double while Engel Beltre (2/4) and Leury Garcia (2/4) both singled twice. Beltre also picked up an outfield assist, gunning down a runner at home plate.

Making his return to Double-A, Justin Grimm came out of the bullpen and allowed an unearned run in 1.2 innings. He gave up two hits and struck out one without walking a batter.

Ross Wolf worked around a solo home run in the ninth inning to earn his eighth Double-A save.

Player of the Game: RHP Wilfredo Boscan
6.1 2 1 1 2 7 0 3.75

A+: Myrtle Beach – OFF
36-30, 5.0 GB

After clinching a spot in the Carolina League's postseason, the Pelicans lost four consecutive games in Wilmington and were outscored 28-12. Myrtle Beach will finish the regular season with three games at home (vs. Lynchburg) before taking Tuesday off and beginning a best-of-three playoff series at Winston-Salem.

A: Hickory 2 – (@) Greenville 7
L - Faulkner (5-5)
HR - Robinson (13), Selen (11)
37-30, 3.0 GB

The Crawdads were eliminated from postseason contention with Friday's loss at Greenville.

Hickory plated both of its runs on solo home runs, coming in the eighth and ninth innings. Drew Robinson went 2-for-2 with a solo shot and two walks. DH Alejandro Selen was 1-for-4 with a solo round-tripper in the ninth.

Left-hander Andrew Faulkner (4.31 ERA/.262 BAA) surrendered five runs on five hits in five innings, walking two and striking out five. Another lefty, Victor Payano, followed by yielding a run in two-thirds of an inning.

Coby Cowgill worked around two walks in 1.1 hitless, scoreless innings. Jose Monegro gave up a run while pitching the the eighth.

Player of the Game: 3B-2B Drew Robinson
2 1 2 0 1 1 2 0 .273

SSA: Spokane 3 – (@) Eugene 1
W - Kukuruda (4-4)
SV - Asher (5)
16-22, 8.0 GB

The Spokane Indians finished their 2012 campaign on a high note with a victory over Eugene.

Spokane pitchers John Kukuruda, Shawn Blackwell, and Alec Asher teamed up to hold the Emeralds to a run on four hits. They gave up only one run despite the Indians' defense committing five errors. The hurlers got some help from four double play balls in nine innings.

Kukuruda (4.50 ERA/.280 BAA) induced 14 groundouts and only one flyout in six innings of work. The 20-year-old righty permitted a run on four hits, walking two and striking out one.

The 6-foot-4 California native finished the summer with the following stat-line––56.0 ip, 61 h, 28 er, 16 bb, 31 k. He induced more than 2.7 groundouts per airout.

Blackwell (3.55 ERA/.241 BAA) struck out one in a scoreless seventh inning. Asher (3.09 ERA/.211 BAA) ended the game by fanning five batters in two hitless, scoreless frames.

Asher, who turns 21 in October, was the Rangers' fourth-round pick in this year's MLB Draft. He struck out 50 batters in 35 innings for Spokane this summer.

While right fielder Preston Beck (.251/.330/.352) scuffled for much of the summer, he finished strong by going 4-for-5 with his 10th double. The Dallas native also stole his sixth base.

Left fielder Brandon Garcia went 2-for-4 with a double while Ryan Rua (1/4), Pat Cantwell (1/2) and Smerling Lantigua (1/4) had the club's other knocks.

Joey Gallo, who struck out twice and walked once, was ejected by the home plate umpire in the sixth inning. He also committed a pair of errors at third base.

Player of the Game: RF Preston Beck
5 2 4 1 0 0 0 0 .251

RK: Surprise Rangers 3 – (@) Phoenix Athletics 1
W - Lopez (1-0)
SV - Claudio (1)
Arizona League Champions

The Rookie Rangers captured the Arizona League title with a 3-1 victory at the Oakland Athletics' minor league complex in Phoenix.

Left-handed starter Aliangel Lopez came through in a big way for the Rangers, as he began the game with five innings of three-hit shutout ball. The Venezuelan hurler struck out nine without issuing a walk.

Meanwhile, the Rangers scored all three of their runs in the top of the sixth inning. After Luis Marte led off the frame with a single, Lewis Brinson legged out a bunt single. Luis Mendez then laid down a sacrifice bunt, and the Rangers' first run scored on a balk.

Nomar Mazara brought home another run with a fielder's choice following Nick Williams' infield single. And Ronald Guzman capped off the scoring with a ground-rule double down the right-field line.

Guzman, who was 1-for-4 with a double, had the Rangers' only extra-base hit of the game. Marte (3/4) singled three times while Williams (2/4) singled twice. Brinson and DH Janluis Castro each singled once and walked once.

Sidearming southpaw Alexander Claudio came on to protect the lead in the bottom of the sixth. The Puerto Rico native had to work out of some trouble in the bottom of the ninth.

Claudio surrendered a one-out solo home run to the Athletics' Renato Nunez. The A's then got a two-out single followed by a hit-by pitch, but Claudio induced a groundout to end the game and secure the championship.

Overall, Claudio gave up just one run in four innings, walking one and striking out five.

Lopez and Claudio combined to punch out 14 A's hitters in the game. AZL Athletics cleanup hitter and first baseman Matt Olson, one of the circuit's top hitters, struck out in all four of his plate appearances.

Player of the Game: LHP Aliangel Lopez
5.0 3 0 0 0 9 0 0.00

DSL: DSL Rangers – Season Over
42-28, 2.0 GB

The Dominican Rangers had their final two games of the season canceled by Tropical Storm Isaac. The club finished the season in third place with a 42-28 record, two games out of a playoff berth.

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