Albuquerque 9 @ Tucson 6
Mark Freed took his first loss since joining the Sidewinders' starting rotation Thursday, giving up six runs (five earned) in five innings of work Thursday, but it was the Sidewinders defense, which allowed four unearned runs on two errors, and not the pitching that caused the problems.
One of those errors came off the glove of first baseman Conor Jackson, though he did his best to make up for it with his bat. Jackson was 2-4 with his league leading 34th walk and his fourth homer of the year, a solo shot. Jackson has had more than one hit in 20 of his 45 games this season.
The other error came at the expense of second baseman Brian Barden, but like Jackson, he did his best to redeem himself at the plate. Barden had his third straight multi-hit game, going 3-5 with a double, RBI, and run scored.
In the last week catcher Kelly Stinnett is finally showing signs that he's fully recovered from the shoulder problems that prompted the Mets to cut him earlier this month. Stinnett was 2-5 with a double and his first home run of the year on Thursday, and has gone six for his last 14 with two doubles and a home run in his last four games.
Birmingham 7 @ Tennessee 3
Adam Bass dropped his second straight start but did not pitch poorly, giving up four runs in six innings of work.
After having his nine game hit streak snapped the night before Dan Uggla started at first base for the third consecutive game and came back with a vengeance, going 3-4 with his eighth homer of the year, a two run shot in the eighth inning that pulled the Smokies to within one run.
Left fielder Noochie Varner continued his hot hitting ways, collecting a double, walk, and run scored in his three trips to the plate. During Varner's 10 game hit streak he's raised his average more than 20 points.
Marland Williams was 1-5 on the day with a run scored and his 19th stolen base of the season. The steal moved Williams into a four way tie for the most in the Southern League
Rancho Cucamonga 7 @ Lancaster 11
Brilliant he was not, but in his second start since joining the JetHawks Jesus Silva collected his second win by giving up six runs (five earned) in five innings. After his eight strikeout debut Silva collected only two K's on the night but is sitting pretty at 2-0. Three JetHawk relievers combined to allow only one run in four innings of work.
The JetHawks won with power, as four different players hit a total of five home runs for Lancaster. The biggest bat was that of left fielder Jay Garthwaite, who had a pair of two run homers. The first shot, in the second inning, was Garthwaite's first in over a month.
Like Garthwaite, first baseman Chris Carter was also 3-4 with three runs scored, and his ninth homer of the season puts him in a tie for fourth best in the California League.
Catcher Brian Rose was the DH Thursday and cracked his second homer of the year, while second baseman Derek Bruce also hit his second of the year, a solo shot.
Burlington 3 @ South Bend 6
Ross Ohlendorf made his first appearance out of the bullpen this season, tossing four innings of two hit, one run ball and collecting his third win of the season in relief of starter Kellen Raab. Despite four strikeouts Ohlendorf remains second in the Midwest League with 63 strikeouts on the season.
Catcher Allen Mottram was 2-4 on the day with a pair of doubles, a pair of RBI, and a pair of runs scored. Mottram continues to be more comfortable at the plate when he's spending the other halves of the innings behind it. Though he has seven more at bats as a DH this season Mottram is hitting nearly 100 points higher as a catcher, has more doubles as a catcher, and four of the five home runs he's hit on the season have come when he's been catching.
Third baseman Augie Murillo is officially in a slump. Over his last five games Murillo is just 2-21 with zero extra base hits and one RBI. Still he is third in the Midwest League in batting average, first in hits, first in home runs, RBI, and runs scored. He's sitting in second in slugging percentage and extra base hits...so we'll let him have a bad week.
Though he took a no decision, Raab continues to pitch well. The 6'6" lefty has given up two runs or less in four of his last five starts and has 43 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched.