Gio Gonzalez continued his Jekyll and Hyde routine, Dustin Nippert threw a seven-inning no-no, Jed Lowrie homered from both sides of the plate, Alan Horne left the game under mysterious circumstances and Brett Gardner got the call . . . but not before manufacturing a run.
PACIFIC COAST LEAGUE
Prospect Of The Day
In keeping with the script, Sacramento lefthander Gio Gonzalez (Athletics) followed a poor start with a good one yesterday, giving up one run in six innings in a 10-1 victory against Tucson. He struck out seven, walked four and allowed three hits. And though Gonzalez’s ERA stands at 5.24, his 90 strikeouts rank second in the league—but then his 46 walks rank fifth, too.
It’s been a mixed bag for Gonzalez, the centerpiece of the Nick Swisher trade, in his first Triple-A season, as evidenced by his strikeout and walk totals above. Prior to yesterday’s game, Gonzalez, 22, had alternated good turns with bad over his previous eight appearances, dating back to May 18. The Good Gio was 3-1, 1.08 with 31 strikeouts, nine walks and no home runs allowed in 25 innings. Standing in stark contrast, the Bad Gio was 0-3, 13.25 with 22 strikeouts, 11 walks and seven homers in 17 2/3 innings.
Round Rock RHP Chad Reineke (Astros) moved to 4-8, 5.15 with seven strong innings in a 7-2 win against Nashville. He struck out six, walked one and allowed two runs on five hits, two of which were solo homers. Several more outings like this may garner him an audition in the Houston bullpen. But despite standing 6-foot-6 and having good plane on a 90-ish fastball, the 26-year-old Reineke has managed a meager groundout-to-fly out mark of 0.80, and because of a below-average changeup, lefties have hit him very hard at .312/.367/.514. . . . Oklahoma RHP Dustin Nippert (Rangers) completed a seven-inning no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader with Omaha, striking out five and walking two. RedHawks LF John Mayberry scored one of Oklahoma’s two runs in the game, and then scored another one in game two, a 10-8 loss. On the day, he was 2-for-6 with two doubles (19), a walk and two strikeouts. . . . Iowa RHP Jeff Samardzija (Cubs) matched up with Albuquerque again after making his Triple-A debut against the Isotopes last week. This time, though, the game was played in Iowa—but the results were similar. Samardzija was again solid, going six innings and giving up a run on four hits and six walks. He struck out four and induced nine groundouts compared with three fly outs.
What To Watch For Today
After Gio Gonzalez’s performance yesterday, the Sacramento pitching staff ranks second in the PCL in ERA (4.26), just two-hundredths of a point off league-leading Iowa. In fact, the River Cats are the only Pacific Conference club to rank in the top seven, an impressive feat considering they spend most of their time in the West’s hitter’s parks. In terms of ERA, LHP Dallas Braden, who starts tonight against Portland, has been the Cats’ top starters. He’s 2-0, 2.65 in 37 1/3 innings, with 36 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Prospect Of The Day
Switch-hitting Pawtucket shortstop Jed Lowrie (Red Sox), who played DH yesterday, connected for two-run home runs from both sides of the plate in a 10-0 drubbing of Rochester yesterday. The game was called after eight innings because of rain. The 24-year-old Lowrie, who went 2-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs, now has a hit in nine straight games.
Lowrie took Twins lefty Brian Duensing (5 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 SO, 2 HR) deep in the first inning and then touched up righthander Casey Daigle in the seventh. On the season, he has three home runs batting righthanded, or one more than he does batting left, in 70 fewer at-bats.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RHP Alan Horne (Yankees) left yesterday’s game, a loss to Buffalo, after 32 pitches (2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 3 BB) with . . . well, it’s not immediately apparent with what. The Buffalo News’ David Briggs did an excellent job tracking down the story, and got the following cryptic quotes from Horne, who missed two months this season with a strained biceps:
"Nothing hurts. But my arm especially, and my whole body in general had no life and no drive to do anything."
"I did all the physical tests—shoulder and elbow—and everything’s strong. It’s not anything where I think I’ll be shut down. I have to figure out how to get that drive and aggressiveness back. . . . I have to believe that I’ll turn the corner."
Louisville LHP Matt Maloney (Reds) is back on track after a four-start slump. To prove it, he went the distance yesterday (117 pitches), striking out eight, walking none and allowing just two runs on three hits in a 4-2 road win at Toledo. . . . Scranton CF Brett Gardner (Yankees) did his leadoff man thing yesterday, going 0-for-4 but drawing a walk, stealing second and third base (giving him 34 of the year) and then coming around to score on a Bernie Castro home run. After the game, Gardner, 24, was called to the big leagues for the first time, where he’ll help fill in for the injured Hideki Matsui. . . . Buffalo 1B Jordan Brown (Indians) missed time in May with a knee injury, but he’s back at full speed now, and after going 2-for-3 with a home run (three) and a double (20) yesterday, he’s now batting .291/.340/.435 on the year.
What To Watch For Today
Maloney’s eight strikeouts yesterday put him in the thick of the IL race, as his 93 whiffs trail the league leader, Lehigh Valley’s J.A. Happ (Phillies), by 11. Astonishingly, the top six spots on the list are occupied by lefthanders: Happ, David Purcey, Maloney, John Parrish, Bill Murphy and Kei Igawa. Purcey, Parrish and Murphy all pitch for Syracuse.
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