Drew Debuts in Lancaster; Bullpen Implodes In SB

Drew Debuts in Lancaster; Bullpen Implodes In SB

While new picks were being made all eyes were on last year's first round selection, Stephen Drew, as he made his debut with the Lancaster JetHawks; Steven Jackson pitched well in South Bend, but the bullpen let him down; Jesus Cota is heating up, but Enrique Gonzalez finally looked human in Tennessee; and Scott Hairston is taking to center in Tucson.

Colorado Springs 3 @ Tucson 2

Chris Michalak had lost three of his last four starts coming into Tueday's game, but in his lone win he pitched 6.1 innings, giving up eight hits, three runs, while walking two and striking out two.  Tuesday Michalak was right on those numbers, again going 6.1 innings, again giving up three runs, but this time the bats couldn't help him out and he dropped to 2-6 on the season.  Still, it was a major improvement over his last two outings, where he had given up a combined 11 earned runs in 11 innings, with six home runs allowed.  Michalak did not allow a home run on Tuesday.

The problem was the Sidewinders couldn't string together any runs either.  After a horrific slump that saw right fielder Carlos Quentin get just one hit in nine games he seems to be coming out of it.  Quentin has hit in his last three and Tuesday night quite literally provided all the offense, going 2-4 with a solo home run and both RBI for the Sidewinders.

Scott Hairston was once again patrolling center field in Tucson, and extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 1-3 day.  Hairston also stole his third base of the season and is hitting .424 when he plays center.

Birmingham 14 @ Tennessee 3/ Birmingham 6 @ Tennessee 5

After completing a game halted by rain on Monday the Smokies dropped game two of their double header as well.  Enrique Gonzalez had his worst start of the year, allowing six earned in four innings, and a late game rally came up just a run short of evening the score.

Gonzalez hadn't given up a home run in his last six starts coming in, but one of the eight hits he allowed would leave the ballpark, and despite striking out seven (tied for his second most in a game this season) and walking only one he wouldn't come out for the fifth inning.

In the bottom of the fifth the Smokies collected two walks and five hits to draw within one run but with Jarred Ball on second base Colorado Springs made their second pitching change of the inning after which Matt Morgan would strike out swinging to end the inning.

The Smokies sent 35 men to the plate on Tuesday and ended the game without even one extra base hit.  However four different players, including Ball, Jesus Cota, Dan Uggla, and Jerry Gil collected two hits on the night. 

It took Cota exactly four games to get his timing back.  After being held out of the starting lineup for nearly a week with a strained muscle Cota was just 2-16 in his first four games back in the starting lineup.  In the four since then he's gone 6-15 with three runs scored.

Lancaster 6 @ Bakersfield 5

It took six different pitchers for the JetHawks to finish off the Bakersfield Blaze Tuesday and Chris Carter hit his 14th homer of the season, but there was a buzz at the former Hangar on Tuesday, and it Drew people's attention. 

Just days after he signed at the last minute, Stephen Drew finally made his debut in Lancaster and while it seemed almost impossible for the young shortstop to live up to the expectations his long holdout, and sudden signing, have hoisted on him, he did his best to show he was worth the wait.

Drew was 2-3 with two singles, two runs scored, two walks, and a strikeout hitting clean up for the JetHawks, but it was the same old story, as Miguel Montero's ninth inning sacrifice fly brought home Brandon Simon with the lead run in the JetHawks win.

Chad Scarberry got the start, striking out seven and walking four in 5.1 innings of two run baseball, but perhaps the man getting the hardest workout Tuesday was the bullpen catcher.  After Scarberry Ryan Coffin came on to finish the sixth, giving up one run on two hits.  Jesus Silva got the next five outs, but in the process allowed two hits and a walk to plate another run for Bakersfield.  Reuben Kerbs came on and walked the only hitter he would face and then Billy Biggs allowed that run to score on a hit before recording the final out of the eighth.  After the Montero sac fly Dustin Glant finally nailed the door shut giving up just one hit in the ninth to earn his 13th save of the season.

Cedar Rapids 11 @ South Bend 8 in 11 innings

The Silverhawk bullpen has been one of the strengths of the team this year, but Tuesday it proved to be their undoing as Steven Jackson pitched well enough to win, but seven Cedar Rapids players would cross the plate after Jackson's departure on their way to the 11 inning win.

Jackson went 6.0 innings, giving up nine hits and two homers, but just four earned runs.  Jackson has at times been impressive, but opponents are hitting .300 off him on the year.

Josh Perrault, normally stellar, gave up only two hits and one walk in his 1.2 innings pitched, but the problem was that both hits were home runs.  On the season Perrault had made 18 appearances without giving up a long ball, and had walked only one batter in his last 12 outings.

Adam Howard, who hadn't allowed a run out of the bullpen in his last nine appearances, gave up four hits including a two run homer in the 11th to take his second loss of the season.

Two costly Silverhawk errors allowed runs to score, and one came off the glove of Javier Brito.  Coming into the game Brito was hitting .326, and it's obvious manager Mark Haley would like to keep his bat in the lineup, but since the return of Cesar Nicolas from the DL, Brito's natural position, first base, is taken.  Tuesday he would start in left, making one error, but his bat certainly justified taking the chance.  He was 2-4 with two doubles, two walks, three RBI, and a run scored. 

Every Silverhawk in the lineup reached base, and only shortstop Mark Reynolds failed to record a hit, though he did draw two walks.

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