W - Meek (2-3)
SV - Yan (3)
47-36, 1.0 GU
The Express used 10 hits and eight New Orleans walks to breeze by the Zephyrs on Saturday evening.
Career reliever Evan Meek (4.12 ERA/.244 BAA) threw more than 90 pitches for his third consecutive outing (103 on Saturday), and dealt his third straight strong start. The former All-Star setup man allowed two runs on four hits in six innings, walking two and striking out four.
The 30-year-old Meek has the following stat-line in his last three starts––18.0 ip, 14 h, 6 r, 5 bb, 19 k.
Meanwhile, right fielder Joey Butler raised his batting average to .335 by going 3-for-5 with his 17th double and two RBI.
DH Yangervis Solarte, who batted cleanup, was 1-for-2 with his 22nd double and three walks.
Leury Garcia (2/3, 2B, 2 BB) singled, doubled, walked twice, and stole his third base in Triple-A.
Centerfielder Jim Adduci added two singles and his 19th stolen base. Although Adduci is a good athlete and plus runner, he's not a natural centerfielder. But the recent big-league promotion of Engel Beltre has left the Express without a true centerfielder.
Lefty Joseph Ortiz (1.2 IP) and righty Johan Yan (1.1 IP) combined to work the last three innings, keeping New Orleans off the scoreboard. The sidearming Yan was particularly impressive, as he retired all four batters he faced, fanning three.
W - Miller (1-0)
SV - Henry (1)
5-5, 0.0 GU (44-36)
The ‘Riders erased a three-run deficit through eight innings by busting out for a seven spot in the top of the ninth. After Northwest Arkansas starting pitcher Jason Adam limited Frisco to a run on two hits in seven innings, Frisco did serious damage against the Naturals bullpen.
To start the game, hard-throwing righty Neil Ramirez struck out nine batters in five innings but yielded four runs on eight hits. He walked one.
Ramirez has now fanned 106 and walked 37 in 86 frames this season.
Centerfielder Ryan Strausborger went 2-for-5 with his third triple and three RBI. Catcher Zach Zaneski (1/4, 2B) doubled for the ‘Riders only other extra-base hit.
Brett Nicholas reached base four times in five trips, getting three singles and a walk. Chih-Hsien Chiang (2/4, BB) and Hanser Alberto (2/4) both singled twice.
The 25-year-old Chiang has multiple hits in five of his last six contests. He's now hitting .258/.292/.416 on the season, including .309/.337/.447 this month.
Tall reliever Phil Klein turned in his best Double-A outing, as he fanned the side in a perfect sixth. After Jimmy Reyes (1 IP), Justin Miller (1 IP), and Alex Claudio (0.1 IP) all gave up one run apiece, Randy Henry slammed the door by recording two outs on two pitches.
4-3, 1.0 GB (44-32)
The Pelicans and Hillcats were washed out by rain on Saturday. They'll make it up with a Sunday evening doubleheader.
L - Burns (2-2)
6-4, 1.5 GB (45-35)
The Crawdads lost a well-pitched game on Saturday in walkoff fashion, as lefty Joe Burns yielded a two-out run-scoring single in the bottom of the ninth.
Although Hickory has pitched very well of late, the talented lineup has begun to scuffle. They've scored more than three runs just once in their last six contests.
Crawdads starter C.J. Edwards (2.01 ERA/.183 BAA) opened the game with five innings of one-run ball. He scattered five hits, walked two, and struck out six.
Jose Monegro, who recently came down from High-A Myrtle Beach, then retired all nine batters he faced in three perfect frames, striking out a pair. Joe Burns gave up the walkoff run in the ninth.
At the plate, first baseman Ronald Guzman (2/4, 2B), left fielder Nick Vickerson (1/3, 2B, BB), and right fielder Jordan Akins (1/4, 2B) all doubled once.
After going 0-for-4 on Saturday, slugging third baseman Joey Gallo is now hitless in his last five contests. Over that span, he's 0-for-19 with a walk and 10 punchouts.
L - Vasquez (0-1)
HR - Torres (1)
6-10, 8.0 GB
The first-place AquaSox improved to 14-2 with yet another victory over Spokane on Saturday. The Indians are 0-5 against Everett on the young season; they're 6-5 against all other Northwest League opponents.
The Indians were mowed down by Triple-A rehabber Andrew Carraway for four innings on Saturday. Carraway retired all 12 batters he faced, getting five strikeouts.
For Spokane, Dominican right-hander Kelvin Vasquez fanned nine batters in 4.2 innings, giving up two runs on five hits. He walked one.
The 20-year-old Vasquez began the season in the Single-A Hickory rotation but joined Spokane after posting a 6.49 ERA in full-season ball. Through four appearances with the Indians, Vasquez has walked five and fanned 17 over 12.1 frames.
Catcher Kevin Torres socked a solo home run, providing Spokane's lone score. He was 2-for-3.
Left fielder Saquan Johnson, who went 1-for-3, had the Indians' only other hit.
The Indians' pitching staff currently has a solid 3.60 ERA and a league-best 148 strikeouts in 142.1 innings. But through 16 games, the offense is hitting a punchless .196/.294/.289.
Relievers Alex de la Cruz (2.1 IP) and Mike Zouzalik (1 IP) both kept Everett off the scoreboard. De la Cruz, a Puerto Rico native, fanned three in his 2.1 frames.
4-4, 1.0 GB
The Rookie Rangers didn't play on Saturday. They'll return to action on Sunday against AZL Reds.
W - Beltre (4-1)
SV - Carvallo (2)
20-5, 5.0 GU
The Dominican Rangers moved five games ahead of the second-place Mets2 with their victory on Saturday. The Rangers have now won 20 of their 25 games this summer.
The Rangers took Saturday's contest on the strength of a solid pitching performance, as three hurlers combined to yield one run while fanning 11 without issuing a walk.
Right-hander Omarlin Lopez got the start and tossed five innings of one-run ball, yielding four hits and striking out seven.
Lopez, who signed with the Rangers for a reported $825,000 earlier this month, has impressed through five professional starts. The 19-year-old righty has the following stat-line––21.1 ip, 17 h, 4 er, 2 bb, 19 k.
Dario Beltre (1.20 ERA/.140 BAA) followed by fanning two in two perfect innings. Lefty Felix Carvallo (1.42 ERA/.224 BAA) closed out the game with two scoreless frames, giving up two hits and striking out three.
Carvallo, 19, has walked one and punched out 19 through 12.2 innings this summer.
At the plate, the Rangers got a double from left fielder Sherman Lacrus (1/4, 2B) and shortstop Luis Terrero (1/4, 2B). Terrero drove home both of the Rangers' runs in the top of the eighth.
Leadoff man Carlos Arroyo raised his batting average to .327 with two singles in four at-bats.
Lacrus, the Rangers' 27th-round pick in this year's draft, is 8-for-39 (.205) with a double and a home run through 11 professional games. He has drawn seven walks, whiffed six times, and stolen two bases in three attempts.
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