Left-handed pitching prospect Mike Prochaska allowed only one run on four hits to lead the Montgomery Biscuits to a 6-1 victory over Birmingham on Thursday night. Prochaska, a product of North Carolina State University, struck out five in a dominant complete-game performance to earn his sixth win at Double-A this season. The 27-year-old, who compiled a 1-1 recorded and a 2.55 ERA in five starts at Durham earlier in the summer, is now 6-7 with a 4.01 ERA in 103.1 innings pitched at Montgomery.
Reid Brignac and John Jaso, who finished the night a combined 4-for-8 with five RBIs, backed Prochaska with all the run support that he would need. Brignac, the Devil Rays' 2006 Minor League Player of the Year, collected two hits, including an RBI single and a double, in three at bats and scored two runs in the win. Jaso, an excellent catching prospect who is batting .320 this season with 67 RBIS, good for fourth on the team, finished the night 2-for-5 with his 12th home run of the season, a two-run shot with two outs in the first inning.
Second baseman Josh Asanovich, struggling through a rough season (.236 in 110 games), drove in the Biscuit's only other run when he blasted his first triple of the season. Asanovich, a former standout at Arizona State, also scored a run and made several outstanding plays for Montgomery in the win. But the 24-year-old infielder's triple was his only hit in four trips to the plate.
Durham Report (from Wednesday)
J.P. Howell allowed only one run, scattered four hits, and struck out nine in a dominant eight-inning performance, Jason Pridie had three hits, including a home run, and Justin Ruggiano continued his recent offensive hot streak with two doubles and two RBIs in the Durham Bulls' 8-2 victory over the Richmond Braves on Wednesday night.
Pridie -- a mid-season call-up to Durham after hitting .290 with 14 stolen bases with the Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League -- led the eight-run offensive attack for the Bulls. The 23-year-old center fielder, who went 3-for-5 to improve his batting average to .317 in 51 games at Durham and scored three runs, finished the night just a single short of the cycle, with a double, triple, and his ninth homer, a solo shot in the eighth inning. In his last 44 at bats, he has 15 hits, including four doubles and three home runs.
Ruggiano is hitting like a player who wants to be called up to the major leagues in September. On a recent tear of late, the slugging outfielder contributed two hits in four at bats, both doubles, two runs scored, and his team-leading 69th and 70th RBIs in Wednesday's win.
Following the victory, Howell, a former standout at the University of Texas, is now 6-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 19 starts at Triple-A. The 24-year-old left-hander -- Durham's leader in strikeouts, 129 -- has held International League opponents to a .231 batting average in 116 innings. Howell, a likely candidate to be recalled to Tampa Bay when big-league rosters expand to 40 players in September, was 1-4 with a 7.38 ERA in eight starts with the Devil Rays earlier this season.
More minor league info to come tomorrow.