Sacramento 16 @ Tucson 9
After making two appearances out of the bullpen, in order to get mandatory
work in for rehabbing relievers, lefty Bill Murphy has returned to the starting
rotation and had difficulty. Though he pitched 6.0 and 6.2 innings in each
of the two 'relief' outings, he lasted just 4.2 innings in his return to the
rotation and Wednesday was even worse. In just three innings Murphy
allowed a season high seven earned runs on eight hits and five walks. It
was the third time this season Murphy had walked as many as five in one game,
and once again highlighted Murphy's biggest weakness, his control.
Still the offense kept the Sidewinders in the game, and Murphy out of the
loss column, but things eventually got so out of control that the last man
Tucson manager Chip Hale called on out of the bullpen was catcher/first
baseman/third baseman Corey Myers. Prior to the position player Hale made
the call to the pen five times with drastically different results. Brandon Medders looked as if he'd stopped the bleeding, pitching a perfect fourth and
striking out one, then Matt Herges came on for his longest appearance of the
year, allowing just one run on three hits in three innings of work. By the
time Herges left the game the Sidewinders had fought back to tie the game, but
when Javier Lopez checked in to start the eighth inning the wheels started
coming off. Lopez walked two of the first three batters he faced and then
allowed a double to right center that would score two runs, and chase him from
the game. Kerry Ligtenberg would enter and retire the next two hitters to
end the eighth, but in the ninth Mike Koplove came in and the game would spiral
out of control. Koplove retired the first hitter of the inning on a
comebacker, but would then proceed to give up a walk and three straight singles.
He would strike out the next hitter but then walk two straight with the bases
loaded before mercifully being lifted for Myers who allowed two hits before
recording the final out. All told Koplove would walk three, allow three
hits and six earned runs.
Andy Green was a force as usual, acting as the designated hitter Green was
2-3 with two walks, and four runs scored. Green hit two home runs, both
solo shots as he led off the first and ninth inning. His 117 runs leads
all of the minor leagues by a full 20 runs scored. Third baseman Brian Barden had his second straight three hit night, going 3-4 with two doubles, two
RBI and a runs scored, and Josh Kroeger, getting the start in right, contributed
two RBI as well, going 2-4 with a run scored.
Tennessee 4 @ Montgomery 3 in 11 innings
Enrique Gonzalez had yet another strong outing, but earned the no decision,
as the Smokies bullpen couldn't hold, and their bats didn't come alive until
late. Gonzalez went 6.2 innings, allowing eight hits and two runs, only
one earned, while striking out a season high nine. It was the sixth
straight start where Gonzalez has gone at least 5.2 innings and allowed three
runs or less, and the fourth start in his last five where he struck out seven or
more. The bullpen came on to provide stellar work for most of the rest of
the night. Lefty Doug Slaten came on to get the last out of the seventh
inning for Gonzalez, finally doing it via the strikeout after walking two, but
running his streak to 17 out of his last 18 scoreless appearances. Mike Schultz and Bill White combined for a perfect eighth inning, and the Smokies
turned the ball over to closer Casey Daigle with a one run lead in the ninth.
A lead off single and subsequent sacrifice put the tying run in scoring
position, but Daigle got the second out of the inning on a strikeout before
Jason Pride came up and tripled home the tying run. Daigle would get the
next hitter looking, and go on to pitch two more perfect innings, eventually
earning the win after blowing his fourth save of the season.
Third baseman Adam Haley ran hit hitting streak to nine game with a 2-4 day,
and Chris Carter, starting as the DH, was 3-4 with a two run homer, but all eyes
were on the young shortstop, Stephen Drew, in his first game back from injury.
Drew was making his first appearance in more than a week after tweaking his quad
legging out a double in the first inning of a game August 9th. The line in
his return was an uninspiring 0-4, but as usual Drew would have a huge impact.
Drew led off the top of the 11th inning, drawing a walk. After a fly
out Carter singled, and Drew showed the quad was back at full strength, going
first to third easily. Catcher Miguel Montero, who was 0-5 on the day,
then hit a slow bouncer to shortstop, and digging hard, beat the relay throw to
avoid the double play. Drew scored what would end up being the game
Lake Elsinore 9 @ Lancaster 8
Coming into Wednesday night it appeared Matt Chico was unstoppable. The
lefty had won his last five starts, allowing just five runs total, and seemed at
the top of his game. Though Chico took a no decision Wednesday, and didn't
appear to have his 'A' game one scout in attendance said this might have been as
good a start as he's seen Chico make.
"He didn't have perfect location with the fastball, and the curve wasn't
snapping the way is usually is, but he battled. One of the problems he had
in Tennessee was that if he didn't have the good stuff he just seemed to give
up, here he was battling."
Chico allowed four runs on seven hits, two home runs, in five innings
pitched, striking out seven. It was the fourth time in six starts Chico
had struck out at lest seven opponents. Kyle Bono came on after Chico and
after starting strong he struggled as well. Bono coasted through a 1-2-3
sixth inning, and appeared to have the first out of the seventh on a routine
ground ball to Kenny Perez, but Perez booted it, and Bono, and the JetHawks
squad, seemed to lose concentration. Bono threw a wild pitch, then gave up
a RBI single. Phil Avlas then threw the ball into center field when Juan Ciriaco stole second, allowing another run to score and sending Ciriaco to
third. Bono then walked another hitter, threw another wild pitch allowing
another run to score. Bono would get the next hitter to ground out, and
then be pulled in favor of Micah Owings.
In Owings last outing he tasted his first real adversity, allowing four hits
and two earned runs for the first time since being drafted by the Diamondbacks
this season. Wednesday things didn't get much better. He gave up a
single to the first hitter he faced, then got the last two outs of the seventh,
but in the eighth inning he gave up hits to three of the four hitters he would
face, scoring two runs, before giving way to Reuben Kerbs. Kerbs retired
the only hitter he faced, before Dustin Glant came in to get the final out of
the eighth, and then pitch a scoreless ninth.
The damage was done though, as the Elsinore bullpen was solid. The
JetHawks bats were hot early, scoring two in the first after Steve Garrabrants
and Jeff Cook both doubled, and three in the fourth as Avlas and Danny Richar
both had doubles. Three different JetHawks had two hits (Garrabrants,
Cook, and Avlas) and the JetHawks took advantage of both Lake Elsinore errors,
one in the fourth and another on a sacrifice bunt in the sixth that would lead
to two more JetHawk runs. After the sixth though the JetHawks would manage
only two baserunners, on a walk in the eighth and a solo homer off the bat of
Cook in the ninth. Cook's homer (his 17th), would pull Lancaster within
one, but that would be as close as they would get.
Peoria 2 @ South Bend 4
Koley Kolberg has got to be wondering what he needs to do to earn a win.
For the second straight start Kolberg would allow only one earned run but
receive a no decision. Wednesday Kolberg would allow seven hits and strike
seven out in his seven innings, but an unearned run, and quiet bats from his
South Bend squad, would leave Kolberg without a win. Both runs would score
in the first, after an error allowed the Peoria lead off man to reach base ahead
of Ryan Harvey, who would crush a homer to left field, and give Peoria a 2-0
lead that would last five innings.
In the sixth two consecutive singles, plus a throwing error, would put two
runners in scoring position with nobody out, and another single and then a
sacrifice fly would bring them home to tie the game. With Augie Murillo
(1-4 with an RBI) on second DH Orlando Mercado (2-3 with a walk and a RBI) would
single to left, and Murillo would be sent but Peoria left fielder Drew Larsen
would throw Murillo out at the plate to keep the game tied.
That's the way it would stay until the eighth inning. A lead off walk
to Emilio Bonifacio (1-3 with two runs scored), followed by a sacrifice bunt
from Wilkin Castillo (1-2 with a walk and a run scored), would put the lead run
in scoring position. After Murillo struck out swinging Peoria elected to
intentionally walk right fielder Carlos Gonzales (0-3), but unfortunately that
was followed by an unintentional walk to Cesar Nichols to load the bases and
then a very unintentional walk to Mercado that would plate the lead run.
Pitcher Jerry Blevins, clearly rattled, would then throw one to the backstop,
allowing an insurance run to score.
With a two run cushion closer Matt Elliott notched his 31st save of the
season with a 1-2-3 ninth inning that included a strikeout. Elliott has
struck out at least one hitter in eight of his last nine appearances.
Yakima 3 @ Everett 5
Lefty Ryan Schreppel took the hill for the Bears but it appeared the defense
decided not to take the field behind him, as the Bears committed three errors,
leading to three unearned runs, and Schreppel suffered his second loss of the
season. Schreppel allowed seven hits, and five runs, though only two were
earned, while walking one and striking out a season high five. Despite 2.1
innings of scoreless relief from Craig Pfautz and Jason Urquidez the Yakima bats
The Bears struck out 15 times as a team, with DH Manny Del Campo K-ing on all
four of his at bats, and only one Yakima hitter, shortstop Juan Olivares,
managed more than one hit on the day. Olivares 3-4 day continued a mini
hot streak he's been on, putting him on an 8-17 tear over his last four games,
but he scored only one run, as the rest of the Bears managed only four hits
combined. Two of those, one each off the bats of right fielder Jaen Centeno and third baseman Lester Contreras left the yard, but those dingers
accounted for all three runs the Bears would score.
Missoula was off Wednesday
Andy Green starts and finishes with homers, but a Mike Koplove implosion dooms the Sidewinders, and Corey Myers adds pitcher to his list of positions; Enrique Gonzalez is stellar but it takes extras, and the return of Stephen Drew to finish in Tennessee; Matt Chico finally falls short in Lancaster; Koley Kolberg is getting borderline ridiculous in South Bend; Strikeouts and defense prove the undoing of the Yakima Bears.