On a night of sparse big league action, three first-year players stood out. Jason Kipnis went 3-for-5 and cracked his second home run for Cleveland, the Mets' Lucas Duda went 1-for-4 but connected for a game-tying two-run homer, his third of the year, and Dustin Ackley continued his hot start for the Mariners, going 2-for-4 with a double and a triple. Not sold on the power? Ackley's slugging .556 through 37 big league games.
On the pitching side of things, White Sox lefty Chris Sale tossed two scoreless innings of relief against the Yankees, while Mariners righty Blake Beavan demonstrated why Doug Fister was expendable. The 22-year-old Beavan allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings to the Athletics. While not overpowering, he's gone at least 6 1/3 in all five of his big leagues starts without allowing more than three runs in any of them, and he's faced some heavy hitters such as the Red Sox, Rangers and Angels.
Around The Minors
• Neftali Soto ranks a distant third on the Reds' first-base depth chart behind Joey Votto and Yonder Alonso. He hasn't let that distract him this season with Double-A Carolina. The 22-year-old Soto cranked two homers yesterday, giving him 22 on the year, as part of 4-for-6 day that included six RBIs. He mashed 10 homers in July and actually has an outside shot of catching Paul Goldschmdit for the Southern League lead. Goldschmidt hit 30 bombs for Mobile prior to his callup to Arizona yesterday.
• Making his Mets debut, righthander Zack Wheeler allowed four runs on seven hits in a four-inning start for high Class A St. Lucie. So much for the California to Florida State league conversion rate. At least Wheeler struck out four and walked none.
• Going the other direction, from the FSL to the Cal League, Jonathan Singleton has made the most of his time with Lancaster. The 19-year-old hitting phenom went 2-for-5 with a double yesterday, one day after going 1-for-1 with a double.
• Tigers low Class A righthander Kevin Eichhorn threw a complete-game four-hitter against South Bend yesterday. The 21-year-old took a no-hitter into the sixth inning. Detroit acquired him from the Diamondbacks for Armando Galarraga in January.
• The Angels' top two picks in the 2009 draft played in the minor leagues at the same time for the first time this season. Right fielder Randal Grichuk hit his first homer of the season for low Class A Cedar Rapids and went 2-for-5. He missed the first three months while recovering from a broken kneecap. Center fielder Mike Trout returned to Double-A Arkansas, going 2-for-4, after a one-month spin in Anaheim. The 19-year-old went 7-for-43 (.163) for the Angels and hit his first big league homer on July 24.
• The Athletics shifted 2009 first-rounder Grant Green from shortstop to center field on July 15 because they felt his bat would be ready to assist the big league club well ahead of his glove. Playing for Double-A Midland, Green went 2-for-4 and struck his 27th double (to rank second in the Texas League), though he's hit just .273/.317/.416 with two homers and five doubles in 77 at-bats since the position switch.
• Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for Orioles pitching, short-season Aberdeen righthander Matt Hobgood, the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, got hammered for nine runs in 2 2/3 innings yesterday. His ERA for the IronBirds: 13.86 through 12 1/3 innings. A bit of good news regarding lefty Brian Matusz . . . he tossed seven effective innings for Triple-A Norfolk against Columbus on Sunday, permitting three runs on six hits. He struck out only one, however, and the outing followed a pair of thrashings that resulted in 12 runs in 8 2/3 innings.
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