Madison Bumgarner returned to the mound for Triple-A Fresno with six workmanlike innings against Portland. Bumgarner missed his previous start when he was suspended by the Pacific Coast League for three games after he was ejected from Fresno's June 7 game with Sacramento for arguing with an umpire and then hurling the baseball into the outfield.
"Madison's an emotional guy," Fresno manager Steve Decker told the Fresno Bee. "That's what makes him good. He pitches with passion and you want competitors like that. … It can't be out of control, though."
Bumgarner wasn't in top form on Tuesday, but the Giants lefthander was able to get through six innings allowing only one run, winning his seventh straight decision and improving to 7-1, 3.12 in 75 innings. He's 7-0, 1.99 since his disastrous first two starts of the year in which he gave up a combined 11 earned runs in seven innings.
The night was hardly smooth sailing for Bumgarner though. On the bright side, he didn't issue any walks, but he did give up eight hits and registered only one strikeout—and that lone victim was opposing pitcher Cesar Carrillo.
"I was just treating it like any other start," Bumgarner told the Bee. "One of those days where you don't have your best stuff but still have to get through it."
Betances Hits The Ground Running
Yankees righthander Dellin Betances just about fell off the prospect radar entirely after 2009. He went 2-5, 5.48 in 44 innings for high Class A Tampa before getting shut down last June for Tommy John surgery. He finally got back on the mound for Tampa last week and while it's too soon to jump to any conclusions, early indications are that a return to health has helped Betances regain a feel for his stuff.
The 6-foot-8, 215-pound Betances has made two dominant starts for Tampa, powering through opponents with his mid-90s fastball. He struck out six in six innings in his season debut last week and was even better Tuesday night against Dunedin, whiffing seven hitters over six scoreless innings while allowing just two hits. While it's only two starts, Betances' 13-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio is a welcome improvement from the 5.52 BB/9 from his injury-plagued season last year.
Just Another Night In High Desert
It's not every day that a team hits six home runs in a game … and still loses. But such is the plight of the high Class A High Desert Mavericks, whose park has a well-earned reputation as a hitters' park in a hitters' league. High Desert got two home runs apiece by Dennis Raben and Denny Almonte as well as blasts by Rich Poythress and Johermyn Chavez in Tuesday's game with the Giants' San Jose affiliate. They needed a couple more though, as San Jose got a pair of homers by Brandon Belt and won the game 15-11.
Raben has made the most of his time in High Desert since being promoted in late May from low Class A Clinton. The 22-year-old first baseman had gotten off to a slow start with the LumberKings with a .221/.320/.450 line though 149 at-bats, as he's coming off surgery on his right knee that caused him to miss the entire 2009 season.
Raben, who was the Mariners' second round pick in 2008, never batted over .300 in his college career at Miami but has gotten off to a sizzling .392/.451/.722 start through 79 at-bats since being moved up to High Desert. He's collected hits in 16 of the 19 games he's played in and has six home runs, though those come with the notable caveat that he's hit all six at home.
Meanwhile, it was just another night at the office for Belt, who went 4-for-5 and drove in six runs. The 22-year-old out of Texas reworked his stance in the offseason and leads the Cal League in average (.394), on-base (.509), doubles (25) and walks (52). He's not a classic power-hitting first baseman, as he had only six homers all season before setting foot in High Desert, although his slugging percentage was still a robust .633 thanks to all those doubles. Even so, his stock continues to rise as he has hits in 12 of his last 13 games, eight of which were multi-hit efforts.
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