Tucson 11 @ Fresno 10
A pitcher's duel it wasn't, a 'W' is was for the Sidewinders Wednesday. Michael Gosling was roughed up for the third time in his last five starts, giving up six earned in just four plus innings of work. Gosling was pulled after the fourth run of the fifth inning crossed the plate, and his replacement in the fifth, Phil Stockman, didn't even finish the frame, getting just two outs but allowing three runs to score, for a horrific seven run Fresno fifth. But the Sidewinders bench, and bullpen, responded for the come from behind win.
After allowing only one home run in his first five starts, Gosling has given up four in his last three, including two Wednesday.
For Stockman the news is even worse. In his last three outings he's lasted only 2.1 innings, and given up five earned runs.
The Sidewinders hit four homers in the game, the most notable coming off the bat of Koyie Hill. Hill was making his first start in Tucson after being sent down over the weekend and responded well, going 4-5 in the game with two RBI and three runs scored.
Shortstop Sergio Santos also continued the long trip back from slumpsville, going 2-4 on the day with a double and his eighth home run of the year. Santos has now hit in 11 of his last 13 games, and six of those 11 have been two hit days.
Scott Hairston and Conor Jackson both added solo shots to the Sidewinder's tally, but the biggest offensive star for the Triple-A squad was left fielder Doug DeVore, who reached base four times, going 3-4 with a double, three RBI and two runs scored.
West Tennessee 12 @ Tennessee 8
There have been more than his share of days this season when Adam Bass pitched well enough to win but took a no decision, or worse, a loss. Wednesday was not one of those days. Bass gave up six runs on 12 hits in six innings, taking the 'L' and dropping his record to a dismal 1-6 on the season. It wasn't the kind of start to June Bass was looking for after posting a 2.25 ERA in May.
After Bass was lifted things didn't get much better for Smokies hurlers. It took three pitchers to give up another six runs in the seventh and eighth before Sergio Lizarraga finally came on to pitch a scoreless ninth.
The bats on the other hand were most definately top heavy, as in top-of-the-order heavy. The one, two, and three spots in the lineup were occupied by Jarred Ball, Adam Haley, and Dan Uggla. The threesome combined to go 13-15 with two doubles, seven runs scored and seven RBI. Uggla was on fire, going 4-5 with a double and six RBI on the day, while Haley went 5-5 with a double and two runs scored.
Jarred Ball though was the catalyst. Ball hadn't seen much action in the leadoff spot this season, and what little he had wasn't promising. Ball came into Wednesday 1-17 when hitting lead off, but turned that around with a 4-5 day that included a walk and four runs scored.
Ball also made the start in center field, thus bumping Marland Willams from center to left field, and from lead off to seventh in the batting order. Williams was 0-5 with three strikeouts on the day.
High Desert 3 @ Lancaster 9
Consistency has not been JetHawks starter Sam Smith's strong suit this season, but he's shown improvement in the last few weeks. Smith was fantastic Wednesday, throwing his best game of the season by giving up only one run in seven innings. It was the second time in his last three starts that Smith has gone seven.
"He got some double play balls and the defense played good behind him. It was a great ballgame for him. He came up with some key outs with men in scoring position." JetHawks skipper Bill Plummer said after the game.
For Smith it comes down to following the game plan.
"I started off with the four seam fastball then the change up then as the game went on. The second and third time through the line up I tried to mix in the breaking pitches and get first pitch strikes. I was told to keep the ball down and let the defense work behind me." Smith confirmed.
The bats were certainly working, as the JetHawks hit four home runs and seven different players had RBI in the game. First baseman Chris Carter continued to mash, going 2-3 with a walk and two solo homers in the game. Right fielder Jeff Cook hasn't cooled down at all, he was 3-4 with his seventh homer of the season. Cook is carrying an eight game hitting streak, and in four of the last five he's had at least two hits.
South Bend 7 @ Dayton 1
In his third start since being called up from extended spring training former University of Arizona alum Koley Kolberg was fantastic, tossing five innings of shutout ball. Kolberg walked two, struck out six, and allowed only four hits. A seventh round pick in last year's draft, the only thing holding Kolberg back now is arm strength, something that's limited him to only 14.1 innings pitched in three starts. Expect the Silverhawks to start letting him stretch things out in the coming weeks.
It took right fielder Carlos Gonzales 20 games to hit his first home run of the season, another seven game for number two, and he didn't hit his third until his 48th game of the year. Wednesday was number 50, and Gonzales has apparently decided enough is enough. Gonzales' homer was his only hit in five trips to the plate, but the Silverhawks have got to be pleased.
Wilkin Castillo has got to know that once first baseman Cesar Nichols and catcher Orlando Mercado Jr. come back from injury, his playing time will get cut, but he appears to be trying to make that a tougher decision than it might have been when those players went down. Castillo was 2-3 Wednesday with a double and two runs scored, and has now hit in eight of his last nine. He also drew his 12th walk of the year, and hasn't struck out in his last 32 at bats.
Lancaster Bureau Chief Thomas Fitzgerald contributed to this report.