BAPR Plus: April 25

Joey Votto is finally heating up, former power pitcher Rick Ankiel is showing he has significant power at the plate as well and the Augusta GreenJackets continue to be baseball’s most successful pitching staff.

Triple-A

The ex-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons beat up on the current Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees on Tuesday night. As Chad Jennings explained, nine of the 10 Ottawa starters on Tuesday night played for Scranton last year before the Phillies swapped affiliates during the offseason. They were more than enough to send the Yankees to their sixth straight loss.

Abraham Nunez had four hits including a home run and Manny Alexander hit the bull with a home run as Columbus shellacked Durham 12-6.

Jason Stanford gave up his first two runs of the 2007 season, but still led Buffalo to a 10-5 win over Syracuse.  For the season, Stanford has allowed two runs in 18 innings. Brad Snyder and Ben Francisco each doubled and stole a base for the Bisons.

Kevin Slowey also gave up his first two runs of the season. The control freak (in a good way) actually walked his first batter of the season as well–Brandon Moss worked him for a walk after a 12-pitch at-bat, which set up George Kottaras’ two-run home run. That was the only blemish on Slowey’s night as the righthander put on another pitching clinic to pick up his third win of the year. Rochester hitters jumped on Pawtucket starter Devern Hansack for five runs in six innings to give Slowey more than enough run support.

Joey Votto showed signs he’s broken out of his early-season slump. The Louisville first baseman doubled twice and homered on Tuesday, helping Louisville to a 6-5 win over Richmond. C.L. Brown’s game story includes this nice bit of inside baseball, as Dewayne Wise explained how his base-running antics led to a Manny Acosta balk which set up Anderson Machado’s game-winning single in the 10th.

“I was timing him — he went home every time on one-thousand three,” Wise said. “So when I stole second I kind of got a great jump. I left before he picked his leg up.”

Like Votto, Josh Fields has struggled this April. Fields came into Tuesday’s game with only two extra-base hits in 60 at-bats this season. But he also showed that he might be thawing out. After doubling to drive in a run early in the game, Field’s two-run home run in the 11th gave Charlotte a 4-2 win over Toledo. Starters Lance Broadway and Yorman Bazardo matched up for six solid innings before handing the ball over to their bullpens.
Bryan Bullington improved to 3-0 for Indianapolis.

Fred Lewis’ bases-loaded single in the 14th ended a nearly four-hour game as the Grizzlies beat Tucson. Kevin Fransden had two doubles and four hits for Fresno.

Ricky Ledee hit a grand slam and drove in seven runs as New Orleans set a team record with 23 hits in a 17-8 laugher over Albuquerque.

Round Rock doubled their pleasure on Tuesday. Hunter Pence hit three doubles and Eric Munson and Mark Saccomanno doubled twice as the Express set a team record with nine doubles. Oklahoma added four doubles in the loss.

Sacramento manager Tony DeFranceso called for the first suicide squeeze of his five years as the RiverCats manager. It worked out perfectly as J.J. Furmaniak got down the bunt and Donnie Murphy scored from third for a 6-5 Sacramento win. Etanislao Abreu doubled and triple as part of a four-hit night for Las Vegas.

Rick Ankiel hit his seventh home run of the season as Memphis rallied from a seven-run deficit to beat Omaha.

Yovani Gallardo had his fastball and curveball working on Tuesday. The Brewers prospect held Iowa to one hit and one run in six innings. Chris Barnwell homered twice to give Gallardo more than enough run support.

Jeff Mathis and Matt Brown had three hits apiece for Salt Lake, but Tacoma got four hits including two home runs from Wladimir Balentin and three hits apiece from Gookie Dawkins, Rob Johnson and Bryan Morse to win a 12-11 slugfest.

Double-A

Jeff Marquez retired the last 10 batters he faced and Justin Christian had three hits to lead Trenton past Connecticut.

This was supposed to be the year that Kyle Sleeth got back on track, now that he’s had two years since his Tommy John surgery. It’s not happening yet. The 2003 first-rounder threw four wild pitches, gave up six hits and six runs, but only two earned, to raise his ERA to 14.21. Sleeth has given up 14 hits in 6 1/3 innings. Erie did have one bright spot–first baseman Jeff Larish continued his hot hitting. Larish homered and doubled for the SeaWolves.

Neil Walker made a great diving play to his left early Tuesday night. It was a sign of the former catcher’s potential at third base. But in the 11th, Walker’s inexperience at the position showed. His throwing error was what Bowie needed to finish off Altoona 6-3.

Kyle Kendrick put on a pitching clinic and Mike Costanzo homered to give Reading a win over Harrisburg.

Rashad Eldridge’s second hit of the season was big one. Eldridge tripled and then scored in the 10th to lead New Britain past Portland.

Sergio Santos can’t be thrilled to be back in Double-A, but he’s handling it the right way. The former top prospect hit two doubles on Tuesday, and he has seven extra base hits in his last three games.

Mobile’s Matt Green lowered his ERA to 0.86 with six scoreless innings; Tennessee’s Donald Veal gave up six runs to raise his ERA to 10.57. As you would expect, Mobile went home winners on Tuesday. The Cubs have plenty of reasons to be worried about their No. 2 prospect. Veal has now given up 18 earned runs and 18 walks in 15 1/3 innings–he gave up only 15 earned runs in half a season at high Class A Daytona last year.

This is the Jarrod Saltalamacchia we expected to see. The catching prospect homered twice on Tuesday and now has six for the season. He’s making everyone forget last year’s brutal .230/.353/.380 season; he’s now hitting .379/.471/.776 this year.

Brian Akin threw three hitless innings of relief, striking out six, which gave the Jacksonville Suns enough time to finally finish off West Tenn, 5-3, in 13 innings.

Chris Mason shut out Huntsville for six innings and Chris Nowak and Fernando Perez provided two of the Biscuits four home runs. Montgomery easily handled Huntsville 13-6.

Tulsa handed Nick Adenhart his first loss of the season.

High Class A 

Justin Upton had his fourth three-hit game of the past week, raising his average to .323. Upton’s hitting helped hand Bakersfield its ninth-straight loss.

Steven Marek’s six shutout innings led Rancho Cucamonga past High Desert. Bubba Bell hit his eighth home run of the season in a Lancaster win.

Modesto’s Dexter Fowler was forced to leave Tuesday’s game with a sore shoulder after slamming into the wall while making a catch. His Nuts fell to Lake Elsinore 15-6 as David Freese had four hits and Matt Antonelli added two hits and a stolen base.

Lynchburg’s Steven Pearce hit his fifth home run in his last five games, but that was the only hit Kinston’s David Huff gave up as he picked up his second win.

Myrtle Beach has long been the Carolina League’s best pitcher’s park. To try to moderate the park’s propensity for pitchers, the team’s new owners installed a shorter left field fence. That finally paid off in a home run over the short porch on Tuesday. Pelicans catcher Clint Sammons christened the new fence with a second-inning home run.

The arrival of rehabbing major leaguers Jaret Wright and Ramon Hernandez wasn’t enough for Frederick to beat Wilmington. Wilmington’s Kila Kaaihue homered on the same night that his brother Kala Kaaihue homered for Myrtle Beach.

Michael Hernandez had two doubles and four hits and Cameron Maybin stole his eighth bag of the season in Lakeland’s win over Sarasota.

With Will Inman and Wade Davis on the mound, it was no surprise that Vero Beach and Brevard County went to extra innings tied 2-2. Chris Errecart’s ninth-inning home run forced extra innings, and Brevard County scored two runs in the 11th for a 4-3 victory.

Jeff Samardzija’s three walks came back to haunt him on Tuesday. Two of the three walks scored while Trey Hearne and two relievers shut out Daytona. Samardizja did lower his ERA to 2.21 in the loss.

Aaron Thompson shut down St. Lucie with eight scoreless innings. St. Lucie starter Jon Niese wasn’t nearly as effective–he was beaten up for 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Tuesday’s matchup of prospects Carlos Carrasco and Oswaldo Sosa didn’t live up to the expectations. Sosa lasted only 2 2/3 innings as he was chased after giving up four runs and nine hits and Carrasco lasted only four innings himself. Greg Golson stole two bases and scored two runs for Clearwater.

Low Class A

The Augusta GreenJackets’ pitching staff has been better than anyone could possibly expect this season. Augusta picked up its eighth shutout of the young season on Tuesday as Kevin Pucetas and Robert Grace blanked Kannapolis. Pucetas allowed only one hit in six innings. Augusta’s team ERA of 1.69 is more than a run better than anyone else in the league and eight different GreenJacket pitchers have ERA’s under 1.00.

Dayton has been winning with strong pitching performances and some hitting heroics. On Tuesdya they found another way to win–back-to-back catcher’s interference calls helped Dayton defeat Burlington 5-2. Third baseman Juan Francisco had three hits and a home run for Dayton.

Clinton starter Zach Phillips was effectively wild on Tuesday–he walked four batters but managed to dance out of trouble to pick up the win. Jason Neighborghall was just wild. The South Bend reliever faced four batters in the ninth–he walked two of them and hit the other two, which raised his ERA to 72.00.

Fort Wayne’s Drew Miller was commanding all three of his pitches on Thursday–that was bad news for Quad Cities. Miller three seven hitless innings, striking out 11, and the Wizards carried the no-hitter into the ninth before a bloop double landed just in front of Kyler Burke.

Chase Lirette allowed his first run of the season, but that was enough to get handed the loss on a day when Jeff Manship and three relievers shut out Lansing.

Great Lake’s first runs in 18 innings came just in time to save Clayton Kershaw from a tough-luck loss. The Loons scored twice in the ninth to beat Cedar Rapids 2-1. Kershaw had dominated during his six innings of work–he allowed three hits, one walk and one run while striking out 12.

Jonathan Hovis picked up his fourth save in four chances as Charleston won its seventh straight.

Jeremy Hellickson showed off a plus fastball and the ability to work down in the zone to dominate Rome. Hellickson allowed one hit in six innings as Rome dropped to 3-17.

Minors |

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