TMLN: Oeltjen Hits First AAA Dinger

In this edition of Twins Minor League Notebook, the Red Wings drop another game at the hands of the Toledo Mud Hens, the Rock Cats erase a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3, the Miracle muster only one run, but get a solid start from Kyle Waldrop in a 1-0 victory, and the Snappers bats continue to stay cold, as they are shut out by Great Lakes.

Rochester Red Wings: The Wings lost again on Monday, dropping a 9-4 decision against the Toledo Mud Hens. Matt Garza, who is usually about as solid as they come, was roughed up in this outing, notching his second loss of the season. The 23-year old right-hander allowed seven earned runs in only 4.0 innings of work, though he did strikeout eight Mud Hens. The first five outs of the game came via the strikeout, but Toledo scored seven runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings combined. Brian Bass pitched very effectively in relief, tossing three innings of two-hit ball. He allowed one earned run before handing the ball off to Carmen Cali. Cali was spectacular once again, allowing only an unearned run in his 2.0 innings of relief. Cali has allowed an earned run in only one of his seven appearances this season, and batters are hitting only .154 against him this month.

Denard Span continues to get used to International League pitching, and has looked good so far this month. He is batting .281 in May, and has swiped three bags through the first eight games. In this contest, Span had two hits, including a double, and gunned out Timo Perez at third base. Outfielder Trent Oeltjen, who had a breakout season in 2006, hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot in the third inning. Oeltjen is having a nice season in his first year of Triple-A, and is batting .316 at press time. Oeltjen and designated hitter Jose Morales each drove in a run, while Span knocked in two. Matt Tolbert, who is batting a robust .379 this season, scored twice, and continues to produce from the number nine hole.

New Britain Rock Cats: The Rock Cats erased a 3-0 deficit on Monday, scoring twice in the fifth and sixth innings respectively, en-route to a 4-3 victory. Jesse Floyd got hit pretty hard in his fifth start, as he has moved into the rotation because of necessity. Floyd allowed eight hits in 4.1 innings of work, and allowed all three Mud Hens runs. He did not strike a batter out for the first time in six appearances this season. Jay Sawatski picked up the win in relief, his first victory of the season, tossing 1.2 innings of relief. After losing his last two appearances, Sawatski finally did not allow an earned run for the first time since May 1, and struck out two as well. Jonathan Martinez continues to pitch well, and Monday was no change. Martinez pitched 1.2 innings of relief as well, striking out two along the way. J.P. has allowed an earned run in only one of his nine appearances this season, that coming way back on April 22. Jose Mijares picked up his fourth save of the season, tossing 1.1 innings of no-hit ball. He has yet to blow a save opportunity this year.

The infielders put in some serious work at the plate on Monday, as second baseman Felix Molina continues to stroke a hot stick. Molina extended his hitting streak to 13 games, as he drove in two in the contest. During the streak, Molina has bumped his batting average from .083 to .333. Brian Buscher has been a big-time surprise for the Twins organization this season, and his two hits on Monday upped his batting average back to .300. The third baseman drove in two runs, and is now hitting .308 in May. Trevor Plouffe, though he did not record a hit, walked twice, and picked up his second stolen base of the year. Outfielder Brandon Roberts appears to be headed in the right direction, as he picked up his first three-hit game of the season. He also stole his first base of the year, scoring twice, and looked like the prospect he did in 2006. Matt Allegra had two knocks in the game, as he tried to battle out of his slump.

Fort Myers Miracle: The Miracle got another outstanding start from top prospect Kyle Waldrop on Monday, as they rode his right arm to a 1-0 victory. Waldrop, who put on added muscle in the off-season, pitched 5.2 innings of shutout ball to earn his fourth victory of the season, which leads the Twins farm system. Waldrop also struck out two, and his 32 strikeouts this season are fourth best on the farm. Frank Mata, who has been exceptional out of the Miracle pen in 2007, pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief of Waldrop, striking out two. Mata has allowed earned runs in only two of his 11 appearances this season. Eduardo Morlan nailed down his fourth save of the season, as he worked two innings to seal the victory. In his last five innings of relief, Morlan has struck out 11 batters, and has not allowed an earned run.

The Miracle could only muster four hits on the day, with two coming off the bat of Matt Betsill, who was making his fourth straight start at shortstop. Betsill has been used at first, third, and short this season, though he hits better when he is playing shortstop. Catcher Jeffrey Christy drove in the only run of the contest, as he doubled, and the run batted in was his second of the season. Christy has struggled this season, and is batting only .173 on the year. Leftfielder Erik Lis scored the only run of the night, as he was driven in by Christy, and he also had an outfield assist in the game. Javier Sanchez had the only other hit for the Miracle, as he went 1-3 in the game.

Beloit Snappers: Great Lakes scored three times in the first inning off Snappers starter Jose Lugo, and it was more than enough, as the Loons defeated Beloit 4-0. Lugo did not pitch badly after that first inning, and would throw zeroes for the next five frames. In all, he went 6.0 innings, allowed nine hits, and struck out seven. He did not walk a batter. In six starts this season, Lugo has struck out six or more three times. He has been dominant at times, but batters are hitting the ball well off of him to the tune of a .292 batting average. Armando Gabino allowed an earned run in his two innings of relief, the first runs he's allowed since his first appearance on April 10. Gabino has been a great workhorse out of the Snappers bullpen this season, and he has struck out nearly a batter per inning in 2007.

Only three hits in the game for the Snappers on Monday, as they continue to struggle as a team with the sticks. The team left 16 runners on base, and got hits from only Daniel Berg, Brian Dinkelman, and Yancarlos Ortiz. Johnny Woodard walked twice in the game, and Garrett Olson and Danny Valencia combined to stranded seven runners. Berg has hit safely in four of his last six games, and Dinkelman currently has a six-game hitting streak.

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