Lozkar Bounces Back for Wahoos

After returning from Tommy John surgery right-hander Kyle Lotzkar has been on a fast track in the Cincinnati organization. He was promoted to Pensacola early in the season. Since his arrival in AA he's kept a 3.16 ERA while holding opponents to a .202 average. He had a rough outing last time out, but bounce back last night by striking out eight in six innings while picking up a win.

Pensacola picked up their first win in the third a five game set at Jackson last night. The Wahoos took a seven run lead after three innings and cruised to a 7-3 victory. Mark Fleury went 2-4 with a walk, two doubles, and two RBI to lead their offense. P.J. Phillips added two more hits of his own and crossed the plate twice.

On the mound Kyle Lotzkar bounced back from a rough start against Mississippi and turned in a quality start by allowing two runs on five hits over six innings. He was good at missing bats by racking up eight strikeouts without a walk. Drew Hayes added two scoreless innings of relief.

Thus far Lozkar has been successful answering the call after his promotion to AA. In five starts the right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.16 ERA. He's had only one bad start and allowed two or fewer earned runs in his other four outings. Southern League batters are hitting .202 against him.

Since the promotion his K/BB ratio has fallen from 27/10 in high-A to 28/18 in AA. That's not surprising considering he's facing more disciplined hitters. His performance yesterday could be an indication that he's turned the corner. One snag in that assumption is that Jackson has drawn the fewer walks than any team in the Southern League. It will be interesting to see how he fares in his next start against Jacksonville whose hitters are second in the league in that category. The Suns also lead the league in strikeouts so one could expect the Wahoo staff to roll up high pitch counts in that series.

Overall this season Lotzkar is 5-1 with a 2.77 ERA in nine starts. The 22 year-old is playing "catch-up" after missing all or part of three seasons around Tommy John surgery in 2009. To protect against the Rule 5 draft the Reds added him to their 40-man roster while in single A before his early season promotion. Given his past history there are concerns over durability and his ability to use pitch counts effectively will be key to his development. One solution might be to convert him to a reliever. However, the Reds recognize the high ceiling on the 2007 supplemental first-rounder's potential and his performance right now gives them no reason to stop running him out to start every five games.

Other News from the Farm:

Louisville allowed the go-ahead run in the seventh and lost to visiting Syracuse 2-1. Cody Puckett went 2-3 with a walk and scored the only Bat run. Bret Tomko fell to 0-6 despite allowing only two runs in 6+ innings. Carlos Fisher threw two innings of scoreless relief.

Bakersfield took a 6-0 lead in the fourth and held on for a 7-5 win at San Jose. Dominic D'Anna filled in for injured Donald Lutz and went 2-4 with a walk and an RBI. Juan Duran had two hits and drove in two. He's now gone 14-35 (.400) over the past eight games. Justice French threw three scoreless innings before he ran into trouble and was removed in the fourth. Pat Doyle went 3+ innings without allowing a run to get his fourth win and Jamie Walczak pitched two scoreless for his first save.

Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:

Hamilton led off the first with a walk and swiped second before he was caught trying to steal third. He reached again on a RBI single in the fourth and advanced on the center fielder's throw. He's now stolen 55 bases in 67 attempts over 49 games.

Dayton crossed the plate five times in the fifth and hung on to beat visiting South Bend 9-6. Kurtis Muller continued swinging a hot bat, going 2-3 with a home run and three runs scored. He's now batting .459 in nine games since returning to Dayton. Joe Terry added two hits and drove in two. Radhames Quezada allowed only one run in five innings and picked up his second win. He managed to strike out eight while walking only two.

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