Cota Homers Again; Montero Streak to 14 Games

Cota Homers Again; Montero Streak to 14 Games

With Tucson and South Bend off FutureBacks.com focuses on the Lancaster JetHawks, and Miguel Montero's incredible hitting streak, and the Tennessee Smokies, who's pitching has been incredible lately, but who's bats saved the day Wednesday.

Tucson had the day off

Chattanooga 9 @ Tennessee 15

In the top of the first inning Wednesday starter Clint Goocher gave up a lead off single.  He then proceeded to pick off the runner and throw a scoreless first frame.  It was a sign of things to come for the Smokies, they might not start off well, but they'll sneak up and get you eventually.

In a game marked by a lot of hitting, and a lot of poor fielding, the Smokies completed the sweep of Chattanooga, improving to 6-0 against them on the season.

For the second straight start Goocher failed to go five innings, as he gave up 10 hits and seven runs in four.  Goocher had given up just three home runs all season coming into the game, and a pair of fourth inning home runs didn't help his cause Wednesday, but neither did the three unearned runs that scored against him.  After six straight starts of at least five innings Goocher has failed to go more than four in his last two starts.

Dan Uggla has literally played every infield position this season, and done so without incident, but Wednesday at shortstop he made two errors, his seventh and eighth of the year, both on throws, allowing the three unearned runs.  It wasn't his best night in the field, but his bat came was right on.

Uggla was 2-3 with a double, two runs scored and two RBI on the night.  He raised his season average to .343 and has an RBI in seven of his last eight games.

In fact all the Smokies seemed to have it going with the bat.  Ten different Smokies players, including the pitcher Goocher and pinch hitter Adam Haley, collected hits on the night, four different players had more than one hit, and three hit home runs.

Jesus Cota hit his 10th homer of the season, a three run shot, to cap off a seven run eighth inning that gave the Smokies the lead and ultimately the win.  It was Cota's only hit of the game but raised his team leading RBI total to 35, and gave him six games with three or more RBI on the season.

Noochie Varner and Jaime D'Antona also chipped in with three RBI each, Varner on a pair of double that also found him scoring twice, and D'Antona on a three run homer of his own, his fourth this season.  For D'Antona it was his first home run, and his first RBI, in 12 games. 

Catcher Mike Dirosa had been mired in an 0-12 streak coming into Wednesday night, but turned that around with a 2-3 night that featured his first home run and first two RBI of the season.

While Goocher struggled the bullpen kept the Smokies in the game until the bats exploded in the eighth.  Justin Wechsler made his second appearances since coming off the disabled list and continued to struggle, giving up two runs (one earned) in two innings of work.  Wechsler has given up 15 earned runs in 16.1 innings this season, and allowed three home runs in his last four appearances.

After that lefty reliever Doug Slaten came on to shut the door on Chattanooga and earn the win with two sparkling innings of relief.  Slaten allowed just one hit and struck out two before handing the ball to Mike Schultz who pitched a perfect ninth inning, striking out one, Schultz has allowed just one earned run in his last 8.1 innings pitched.

Lancaster 4 @ Rancho Cucamonga 10

Right hander Chris Kinsey sailed through the first five innings Wednesday, giving up only one run and two hits, but ran into trouble in the sixth as the Quakes pushed three across the plate.  Kinsey dropped to 2-6 on the season.

Second baseman Erik Schindewolf continued to show he's more comfortable hitting in the two spot than lead off.  Schindewolf was 0-3 on Wednesday, though he did walk twice and score a run.  On the season Schindewolf is hitting .250 leading off, and .438 in the two spot, though his patience and batting eye certainly profile like a leadoff hitter.  His two walks Wednesday brought his season total to 40, still by far the most walks drawn in minor league baseball.

Catcher Miguel Montero extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a 2-3 day that included a walk and two RBI.  Montero has been far and away the best hitter for Lancaster this season, leading the team in hits, doubles (tied with Steve Garrabrants at 11), home runs, RBI, total bases, slugging percentage and batting average.

Garrabrants extended his hitting streak to six games the hard way, with a pinch hit single.  Garrabrants, who has seen virtually all his time in the outfield since the beginning of May, was getting the day off in favor of Lino Garcia, who came off the disabled list this week and was 1-3 on the day.

South Bend had the day off.

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