It was a typically busy Monday around the minors as we say good-bye to Philip Hughes, watch Ryan Braun continue to crush the ball and find West Michigan protesting their loss.
Andy Sonnanstine was a true tough-luck loser on Monday. The Durham starter allowed one run in seven innings (a Kory Casto home run), but Columbus starter Joel Hanrahan was even better. Hanrahan shut out the Bulls for five innings then handed things over to his bullpen. Winston Abreu and Chris Booker finished out the shutout in the Clippers' 1-0 win.
Rochester starters have a 1.17 ERA this season. Not coincidentally, the Red Wings are 9-3 and atop the International League's Northern Division. Emergency starter Jason Miller kept up with the Red Wings' trend of outstanding starting pitching and Tommy Watkins doubled and drove in two as Rochester handled Syracuse.
It's not often that your Pacific Coast League home run leader is an actual prospect, but Ryan Braun fits the bill. The Brewers No. 2 prospect hit his seventh home run of the season, tying him for the overall minor league lead. He also added a single and a double as Nashville handled Iowa.
Phil Dumatrait put together his fourth consecutive outstanding start, lowering his ERA to 0.38 as the Louisville Bats beat Norfolk.
Sean Burnett struggled as Indianapolis lost its third consecutive game.
The Scranton Times-Tribune says farewell to Phil Hughes, who is heading up to New York ahead of schedule to try to stablize the rotation and save a battered bullpen.Brothers Casey and Colby Smith both scored as Salt Lake defeated Tacoma.
Billy Butler hit his sixth home run of the season, but that was the only damage done to Memphis starter Chris Narveson. Narveson threw a complete-game five hitter for a Redbirds' win.
Jack Cust homered twice and doubled as Portland pounded Colorado Springs 13-7.
If the Mets need a fill-in starter, Jorge Sosa is making his case for the job. Sosa allowed two runs in seven innings to raise his ERA to an outstanding 1.38 as he picked up his third win of the season. Ruben Gotay drove in five on a pair of doubles, but there was bad news for the Zephyrs–Lastings Milledge left the game in the second with a bruised right foot.
A pitch limit meant Tim Lincecum left Monday's game against Tucson two outs short of a no-hitter. Struggles with command (six walks) meant that he also gave up his first run of the season, raising his ERA to 0.36, but he still picked up his third win of the year. Tucson bounced back to win the second game of the doubleheader. Giants general manager Brian Sabean told Baseball America correspondent Andy Baggarly that Lincecum is earning his way onto the major league roster sooner than later with his amazing start (25 innings, nine hits, 11 walks and 32 strikeouts). Matt James from the Fresno Bee has a very good feature on the Giants' top prospect as well, including the story of how he wasn't even five feet tall as a high school freshman, and how his velocity jumped from 80 to 91 mph during his senior year of high school.
Colby Lewis seemed inspired by the promotion of teammate Dallas Braden to the big leagues. The Sacramento starter struck out 12 in six innings as the River Cats beat Las Vegas 4-3 in 10 innings. Included in the Sacramento Bee's game story is a note about Brad Halsey being unhappy that the A's chose to promote Braden instead of him. The puzzling part is that Halsey is angry despite the fact that he'll miss his next start in Sacramento to get an MRI on his sore throwing shoulder.
Yoslan Herrera's third start in the U.S. was easily his worst. Herrera allowed 10 hits and seven runs in five innings and added a pair of balks for good measure as Altoona quickly fell behind 7-1. The Curve made it interesting however, as they rallied to trail 8-7 in the eighth before Bowie closer James Hoey closed the door with a series of high 90s fastballs in the ninth. Andrew McCutchen continues to thaw out for Altoona–he went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a triple and four runs scored. Cory Giger's very good game story has all the details.
Trenton has had Connecticut's number all season. Even with reliever Scott Patterson making an emergency start, the Thunder shut out Connecticut for eight innings, extending their scoreless streak against the Defenders to 39 innings before Connecticut finally got two runs in the ninth. Fresh off his four consecutive home run start for New York, Chase Wright is returning to the Thunder, but his Friday start will be bumped for Mike Mussina's rehab appearance.
Eight of Erie's 12 hits went for extra bases (including a home run by Michael Hollimon). Not surprisingly the SeaWolves handled Akron 9-4.
New Hampshire made quick work of Binghamton as Sergio Santos homered twice and David Purcey allowed one hit (a Brett Harper home run) in seven innings of work.
Cuban defector Francisley Bueno shut down Birmingham for 5 2/3 innings, and relievers Charlie Morton, Joe Winkelsas and Joey Devine finished off the shutout for Mississippi. Jarrod Saltalamacchia's double scored Brandon Jones from first for the only run the Braves needed.
John Lindsey's three-run homer in the 10th gave Jacksonville an extra-innings win over West Tenn.
Mobile hung on to beat Tennessee 8-5 despite a three-run ninth by the Smokies. Mark Reynolds hit his third home run of the season for Mobile.
Starters Dan Meyer and Troy Patton were unspectacular, but in the battle of bullpens, Corpus Christi came up short as Midland rallied to win 4-3 on Monday. As George Vondracek reports, the Hooks bullpen's ERA is an unsightly 6.43.
Sean Thompson lowered his ERA to 0.40 for San Antonio. Not surprisingly, he also picked up his third win of the season.
Franklin Morales struck out six in six innings as Tulsa beat Arkansas.
High Class A
Daytona leads the Florida State League in runs scored despite having only three home runs. Games like Monday are the reason why. Tyler Colvin had three hits including a double as part of Daytona's 12-hit attack. The Cubs beat up on Palm Beach starter Adam Ottavino, who walked five in 4 2/3 innings.
Bubba Bell hit his seventh home run of the season as Lancaster topped Inland Empire.
Chaz Roe allowed one hit in six innings, while Edinson Volquez' long road back took another setback–he walked five, although he did allow only one hit in five innings.
Shortstop Jesus Guzman and first baseman Johan Limonta had four hits apiece as High Desert routed Lake Elsinore 10-1.
Aaron Cunningham has hit wherever he's gone. It's no different in Winston-Salem. Cunningham had three hits and a triple to raise his average to .375. Kyle McCullough, the White Sox' 2006 first-rounder, allowed one run in six innings.
Carlos Rosa lowered his ERA to 0.39 with six scoreless innings for Wilmington.
Steven Pearce homered twice and Brad Corley doubled twice as Lynchburg topped Kinston 8-4.
Sergio Perez showcased a fastball that touched 96 mph during six shutout innings helping Salem shut out Myrtle Beach 2-0.
Good game stories from Florida State League cities' newspapers are hard to find, so here's some short wrapups. Deolis Guerra turned 18 last week. As an adult, he's just as effective. Guerra allowed only two hits and struck out four over six innings in a St. Lucie victory. Josh Outman allowed four hits and one run to pick up a win for Clearwater, making a tough-luck loser of Fort Myers starter Ryan Mullins, who struck out 10 and walked one in seven innings. Rafael Lluberes outdueled Jacob McGee as Brevard County beat Vero Beach.
Sarasota's Johnny Cueto lowered his ERA to 3.60 by allowing one run in six innings on Monday as the Reds beat Lakeland. Cameron Maybin had two hits including a triple in the loss for Lakeland.
Low Class A
If you go back to the 2006 Prospect Handbook, you can read about how Rafael Gonzalez' stuff is only a tick or two behind Homer Bailey's. But Gonzalez has never lived up to his potential because of conditioning and command problems. Thanks to those issues, Gonzalez was sent back to Dayton for a third tour with the Dragons. But now the weight is coming off–he's 20 pounds lighter–and he's learned to control his fastball. The results have been impressive. Gonzalez picked up his third win of the season as a two run, six inning outing raised his ERA to 1.04.
Omar Poveda and Anthony Barnette matched up for seven scoreless innings Monday. Barnette's South Bend bullpen outdid Poveda's relief to lead South Bend to a 2-0 win.
Craig Italiano's return from labrum surgery is a struggle. Italiano was pulled in the first inning on Monday when he reached the A's mandated limit of 35 pitches in one inning. By then, he'd allowed four hits and four runs. But the Cougars' bullpen pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings giving the Kane County bats time to catch up for a 6-4 win over Peoria.
Travis Snider's two hits helped Lansing beat Beloit.
Cedar Rapids' Tim Schoeninger struck out eight in a complete-game shutout of Great Lakes.
West Michigan filed a protest with the Midwest League after umpire Joel Hospodka changed his call on a deep fly ball after West Michigan had already left the field. Hospodka originally ruled that the ball was caught, but later changed it to a hit, which proved to be the difference as Wisconsin beat West Michigan. Brian Vanochten tries to sort everything out in an interesting game story.
At this point, the Rome Braves bullpen is completely gassed. A day after losing a 16-inning game, the Braves lost in 12 to drop to 1-10 at home. Jordan Schafer did have three hits for the Braves.
The West Virginia Power have won 10 straight, largely on the strength of the team's hitting. The bats were busy again on Monday–Steven Chapman homered, Brent Brewer had two hits and Charles Caufield had three to pace a 16-hit attack.
Pedro Beato couldn't find the strike zone on Monday. The Delmarva starter walked five and struck out only one in three innings before being lifted after hitting his pitch limit.
Augusta missed its eighth shutout in 19 games by one unearned run. Clayton Tanner and Henry Sosa shut down Kannapolis for a 4-1 win.
Lars Anderson and Jason Place homered for Greenville, but it wasn't nearly enough as Asheville won 6-2.