Tucson 4 @ Sacramento 0
After a disastrous June that saw Mark Freed post a 8.44 ERA and get dropped from the rotation, things are starting to look up for the right hander. After two bullpen appearances at the start of the month Freed was moved back into the starting rotation and has responded like a pitcher who wants to stay there. Saturday Freed posted his third straight strong start, giving up just five hits and one walk in seven innings and striking out seven. It was a season high in strikeouts for Freed, and the second time in his last three outings he's gone seven innings.
Meanwhile Andy Green continues to be a one man wrecking crew for the Sidewinders. Green led off the game with a home run, and then hit another solo shot in his next at bat in the third inning. As if the two home runs (and a walk) weren't enough Green, who got the start in left field, added an outfield assist to his stat sheet. If you are looking for an impressive month, Green's the go to guy. This July he's hitting .422 with nine doubles, nine home runs, and 21 RBI, he's had at least one hit in 18 of the 19 games he's appeared in and more than one hit in 14 games.
Shortstop Sergio Santos was 1-4 with an RBI double Saturday, but he also extended his streak to seven straight games with a strikeout.
Chattanooga 9 @ Tennessee 3
For only the second time in his last 12 starts lefty Clint Goocher did not allow an opponent to leave the yard, but it still wasn't enough as Goocher's bullpen failed him. Goocher went five innings, giving up six hits and three runs (two earned), and got the no decision after leaving with the game tied.
Justin Wechsler, who had given up only one earned run in his last ten appearances coming in, threw a tough two innings of relief, allowing two runs on four hits and a wild pitch. Wechsler, who's ERA is an astronomical 7.05, has shown signs that he might be returning to form, posting a 4.50 ERA in June, and even after the two run outing Saturday his July ERA is a tidy 3.24.
After Wechsler left the game he apparently took the Smokies gloves with him. Two errors accounted for the two unearned runs Pete Sikaras allowed in his two-thirds of an inning, but things didn't get any easier for reliever Bill White. He got the last out of the eight by getting D'Angelo Jimenez to ground out to shortstop, but in the ninth Jaime D'Antona's second error of the game, coupled with three ninth inning walks, allowed two more unearned runs to score, and a difficult-to-overcome-lead became a nearly-impossible-to overcome lead quickly.
D'Antona attempted to make up for his fielding woes with a two run homer, part of a three run fourth inning, but it wasn't enough. The homer was just D'Antona's sixth on the season.
Lancaster 2 @ Stockton 4
Chad Scarbery was solid, though unspectacular, in his six innings of work Saturday, allowing seven hits and four earned runs, but for Scarbery it appears to be progress. The right handed starter has now given up four or more in four of his last six starts.
Stockton jumped out early, as the first two hitters singled in both the first and second innings. They scored a run in the bottom of the first on a safety squeeze, and two in the second after a sacrifice put both runners in scoring position and the third single of the inning plated them both.
Though they would tack on another run, it wasn't needed, as the JetHawks bats couldn't seem to string anything together. All but one of the starters reached base, but the clutch hitting just wasn't there. The team left 11 on for the game, including leadoff hitter Steve Garrabrants three times. Garrabrants was officially 0-2 on the day, but walked three times and has settled into the leadoff spot nicely. Since returning from the DL on July 1st Garrabrants is hitting .316 with four homers, 15 RBI, and 23 runs scored, and when he's in the lead off spot he show great patience, hitting .327 with 15 walks in less than 100 at bats.
While Garrabrants, and left fielder Jay Garthwaite, drew multiple walks on the day, only Stephen Drew was able to collect multiple hits, going 2-4 with a walk and a strikeout…the two Lancaster RBI went to right fielder Jeff Cook (1-4) and Edgar Varela, who was 1-3 with a walk, and had Lancaster's only extra base hit, a third inning double.
South Bend 9 @ Dayton 5
Though he's alternated wins and losses all month, for the most part right hander Ross Ohlendorf has been pretty consistent in July. Ohlendorf has given up four or five earned runs in four of his five July starts, including a seven hit, four earned, five inning stint on Saturday. In fact the most remarkable thing about Ohlendorf yesterday was his eight strikeouts, a number he hasn't reached since the second week of May, when he struck out 9. It was the fourth time this season Ohlendorf has struck out eight or more.
As consistent as Ohlendorf was, the Silverhawks bullpen was exceptional, with Hipolito Guerrero picking up the win after three innings of one hit, zero run, five strikeout ball, and Ryan Coffin continuing to impress in South Bend with an inning of one walk, two strikeout relief.
After Dayton jumped out with three first inning runs the Silverhawks came back to tie the game in the top of the second thanks to two singles a wild pitch and third baseman Mark Reynolds' 13th homer of the year, a two run shot. Dayton regained the lead in the bottom of the second, scoring once, and tacked another run on in the bottom of the fifth, while the Silverhawks bats were held silent by Dayton starter Camilo Vazquez and a rehabbing Ben Weber.
In the eighth inning though the Silverhawks finally strung together some good fortune and put a five spot on the board to take the lead. A single by second baseman Billy Lockin (1-5, 1 run scored), was followed by an out, and then five straight Silverhawks reached base, capped off by a pair of RBI hits from Reynolds (2-4, two runs and four RBI on the day) and catcher Orlando Mercado (2-4 with a double and RBI).
Center fielder Jereme Milons had his second straight three hit game, going 3-4 with a double, RBI, and two runs scored. During Milons current seven game hit streak he has been as productive as they come, he's 12-28 with three homers, five doubles, a triple, seven RBI and seven runs scored.
Yakima 4 @ Boise 2
Chris Kemlo has been good enough that the Diamondbacks have had trouble figuring out what to do with him. Since coming over from the Yankees organization in the middle of last season Kemlo has been a long reliever, closer, and this season, a starter. Saturday he made a case to stay in the rotation, going seven innings, allowing as many hits (four) and he had strikeouts, and giving up no earned runs. It was an impressive display for Kemlo, but by no means out of the ordinary. Kemlo has now allowed two runs or less in five of his seven starts this season.
When you get that kind of pitching it just seems like it's easier to hit the ball, and the Bears did early and often. Derek Bruce got the Bears on the board in the first inning with his second homer of the season, and Trey Hendricks followed Bruce's solo shot with a triple of his own, scoring one batter later on a Ricardo Sosa sacrifice fly.
Hendricks and Sosa would also be right in the middle of the Bears' third inning rally, singling with one out, moving to third on Sosa's double and scoring on a ground out by DH Ramon Downing. Sosa would score one batter later on a throwing error, giving the Bears more than enough offense behind Kemlo.
Missoula 8 @ Ogden 10
It's been a tough year for the Diamondbacks 2005 second round pick, University of Louisiana-Monroe right hander Matt Green. In his fourth start of the year Saturday Green failed to get out of the fourth inning for the third time, logging 3.2 innings, giving up nine hits and six runs, walking two and striking out four. The Missoula bats would come back and get Green off the hook, but it showed that despite Green's age (he's 23) he still got a significant amount of work to do.
The bats on the other hand were clicking for Missoula. Three different Osprey had three hit games. Ricardo Cruz had his first three hit game of the season (3-5 with a double and a RBI), Greg Thomson had his second three hit game of the season (3-5 with a double and two runs scored), and red hot third baseman Rusty Ryal had his fourth three hit game in his last five, going 3-5 and extending his hitting streak to six games. First baseman Steve Mena was also big, going 2-4. Though Mena has only three hits in his last two games, two of those have been round trippers and his four RBI Saturday matched his total from Friday.
Every year pitchers come into the season having made minor changes from the year before. The best…