Two of the top pitchers in last year's draft showed their stuff on Tuesday as Tim Lincecum and Luke Hochevar turned the knob to 11 in dominating outings. Lincecum struck out 11 Tacoma batters while evoking comparisons to Pedro Martinez and Felix Hernandez while Hochevar shut down San Antonio with 11 strikeouts of his own.
Augusta finally lost, but Dayton won its ninth straight, so there's still one unbeaten team in the minors, and Clearwater and Tampa played forever on an interesting Tuesday around the minors.
Tuesday's best performance was turned in by Fresno starter Tim Lincecum. Lincecum struck out 11, walked no one and allowed only three hits in 6 2/3 innings. As Ryan Divish writes, Lincecum showed a 93-96 mph fastball that touched 99 and an 85 mph curveball that left hitters helpless.
"When you can only throw one pitch for a strike, guys go up there thinking, '˜I'™m not going to swing at his curveball and make him throw a fastball in the zone,'™ " Lincecum said. "But I'™ve gotten to the point where I can throw my curveball for a strike on any count."
After the game Tacoma manager Dan Rohn compared Lincecum's stuff to Felix Hernandez', who he coached a couple of years ago.
Larry Broadway gave the Columbus Clippers some much needed offense on Tuesday. Broadway homered and double as the Clippers beat Durham 5-2. It was the third win of the season for the Clippers, and the five runs were half as many as the team had scored in the previous 10 games. Broadway has both of the Clippers home runs this season. Columbus starter Chris Michalak lasted only three batters before leaving with a strained quadriceps, but the Clippers bullpen pieced together a strong outing.
Nine games into the season, the Norfolk Tides starters are still looking for their first win. Tuesday's starter Tim Kester pitched well for five innings, but then watched from the dugout as Ryan Doumit's grand slam gave Indianapolis a 7-5 win.
J.A. Happ threw five scoreless innings to lead Ottawa past Charlotte.
Kendry Morales homered and doubled and Terry Evans extended his hitting streak to 12 games as Salt Lake pounded Tucson.
D.J. Houlton has business cards that read "former big league pitcher with a positive attitude, call anytime." The Las Vegas righthander told Matt Youmans that he got the cards printed over the offseason when he realized he needed to change his attitude–after going 6-9, 5.16 with the Dodgers in 2005, Houlton hasn't sniffed the big leagues since. Many more outings like Tuesday could change that–he struck out seven in seven scoreless innings on Tuesday night.
With Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens both playing in the majors, the Marlins have clearly taken the early lead in their offseason trade with the Mets. But Jason Vargas, one of the two starters the Marlins gave up, was spectacular in New Orleans on Tuesday. He allowed only one hit and one run in six innings. Carlos Gomez continued his outstanding start to the season–he singled in two runs to give him a hit in all 13 games this season.
With Royals general manager Dayton Moore in the stands, Royals prospect Tyler Lumsden had plenty of incentive to try to turn around what's been a slow start to the season. He pitched better, but was average at best as he gave up three runs in six innings. Lumsden's command has been the problem–he threw 49 strikes and 36 balls on Tuesday.
Reading's Landon Jacobsen told Roxanne Moses of the Harrisburg Patriot-News that he struggled to locate his offspeed stuff on Tuesday. You wouldn't have known it from the results. Relying largely on his sinker, Jacobsen allowed only one hit in six innings as he shut down the Senators.
Akron's Aaron Laffey shut down the Erie Seawolves 5-1 on Tuesday.
Manny Parra's long-road back from shoulder troubles took a step forward Tuesday. He took a perfect game into the fifth and struck out seven in seven innings. Brendan Katin's grand slam gave Parra all the runs he needed.
The Carolina Mudcats won on a walk-off home run for the second consecutive night. Grant Psomas was the hero last night, as he homered off A.J. Shappi.
Birmingham's Gio Gonzalez walked three of the first five batters he faced, but settled down to throw five solid innings, allowing only one unearned run.
Mark Holliman shut down Chattanooga and Brian Dopirak homered in Tennessee's 6-5 win over the Lookouts.
Eric Hurley stole the show in a matchup of 2004 first-rounders. Hurley allowed only one hit in seven innings. Chris Lambert matched Hurley pitch for pitch until the fifth, but then fell apart, giving up three home runs in the fifth.
Troy Patton proved hittable on Tuesday. The Astros prospect gave up 10 hits in seven runs to pick up the loss. Juan Morillo hit 101 mph on the scoreboard gun for Tulsa.
Luke Hochevar battled Tim Lincecum for pitcher of the night honors. The 2006 No. 1 pick allowed only two baserunners in 7 2/3 innings; he struck out 11.
High Class A
What a difference a year makes. Last year Aaron Jensen went 3-9, 7.19 as he battled shoulder pain. This season, the righthander has been one of the best pitchers in the league. Jensen allowed two runs in seven innings to pick up his second win of the season.
The Red Sox now have reason to start getting concerned. Daniel Bard walked five batters in four innings on Tuesday. The 2006 first-rounder now has 12 walks in 8 1/3 innings. Nine of the 20 batters Bard faced reached base. Lancaster did win the game, 15-12, as Bubba Bell hit his minor league best sixth home run.
Kyle Blanks homered and doubled to lead Lake Elsinore to a win.
Carlos Rosa was good, but Frank Hermann was even better as Kinston beat Wilmington 4-1.
Chorye Spoone took a no-hitter into the seventh in game one, and David Hernandez carried a no-hitter into the sixth in game two as Frederick swept Lynchburg. Salem's Sergio Perez and Chris Salamida were just as good against Potomac–neither allowed a run in an Avalanche sweep of a doubleheader.
So does Greg Golson feel good about his night? The center fielder drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI ground out in the 20th innings to help Clearwater outlast Tampa 4-1 in 20 innings, but Golson went 1-for-10 for the night to drop his average 32 points in one day. Each team used seven pitchers in a five-hour game that had more errors (7) than runs (5).
Jacob McGee struck out nine batters in only 5 2/3 innings, but Daytona rallied against the Vero Beach bullpen to win 5-4.
Adam Ottavino threw six more scoreless innings in a Palm Beach win. Cameron Maybin homered to lead Lakeland past Fort Myers. Fort Myers' beat writer David Dorsey has a feature on the Tigers uberprospect.
Low Class A
Fort Wayne starter Andy Underwood left the game with a no-hitter as he extended his scoreless innings streak to 11 in the Wizards' 2-1 win.
Bad weather has made it hard for Wisconsin's Tony Butler to get any kind of regular work this season. Butler finally made his first start of the season on Tuesday, and he didn't show any rust. He allowed no runs in five innings but was handed a no-decision when Beloit rallied for five innings against the Timber Rattlers' bullpen.
Dayton's Daryl Thompson was unhappy with his curveball location, but the Quad Cities hitters didn't notice. Thompson combined with two relievers on a shutout as Dayton remained unbeaten with their ninth win of the season.
In three starts, Chris Cody has yet to give up an earned run. His stats are pretty spectacular–19 2/3 innings, 1 unearned run, 12 hits, 5 walks and 21 strikeouts. As you would expect, West Michigan easily beat Clinton behind Cody's outing.
Columbus finally put a blemish on Augusta's perfect season. The Catfish handed the GreenJackets their first loss of the season, dropping Augusta to 12-1. Eight errors doomed Savannah to a 12-5 loss to Greenville. Only four of the 12 runs were earned.
Asheville's Jay Cox got to play the hero on Tuesday night as he hit a walk-off double to beat Rome. The loss was a return to form for the Braves who dropped to 2-11.