Thursday’s action included two games that went more than 15 innings, a three-home run day for John Mayberry and Augusta’s amazing pitching.
Jason Botts drove in four runs to lead Oklahoma over New Orleans. New Orleans was playing without outfielder Lastings Milledge, who was placed on the disabled list with a sprained foot. There was some good news for New Orleans–Carlos Gomez extended his streak of reaching base in all 21 games this season.
While Philip Hughes was struggling in the majors, his former teammates in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rolled to a win thanks to outstanding pitching by Matt DeSalvo.
Four Richmond pitchers combined to six hit Norfolk. Manny Acosta struck out four in 2 1/3 scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.71 and pick up his third win of the season.
It wasn’t a great start, but considering his early season struggles, Ubaldo Jimenez will take several more outings like the one he had Thursday. Jimenez allowed allowed two runs in six innings to lower his ERA to 10.90 and Joe Koshansky homered as Colorado Springs beat Fresno.
Former big leaguers Joey Gathright and Angel Berroa each had three hits and rehabbing big leaguer Scott Elarton took advantage of plenty of run support in Omaha’s 8-4 win over Nashville. Brad Nelson’s rebirth continued with his fourth home run of the season for Nashville. Included in the Omaha World-Herald’s game story is the note that Billy Buckner has been promoted to Omaha and will work out of the bullpen in a move that probably speeds his ascent to Kansas City.
Joe Saunders struck out six in 6 2/3 innings in his first start for Salt Lake. Saunders was understandably disappointed in being sent back to Salt Lake–he had gone 2-0, 1.96 with the Angels, but was still sent down when Bartolo Colon was activated off the disabled list.
Matt Kemp tripled and homered in his rehab outing with Las Vegas.
Round Rock topped Albuquerque as Jared Goethreaux allowed two home runs but only three other balls left the infield.
Justin Germano handcuffed Tucson’s lineup Thursday night. Germano allowed three hits over seven innings. First baseman Chris Carter returned to the lineup after missing two games with a hamstring injury.
Rick Ankiel’s season has been largely all or nothing as he’d shown great power but little else. The former pitcher turned center fielder went about changing that on Thursday with a 3-for-4 night that raised his batting average to .264. Blake Hawkworth’s night didn’t go nearly as well. He was lit up for five runs (three earned) in five innings as he dropped to 0-4.
Speaking of all or nothing, Chip Cannon has 29 strikeouts in 57 at-bats this season. But he was the hero on Thursday night for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Cannon doubled and scored in the Fisher Cats’ three run rally in the ninth that sent their game with Binghamton to extra innings and hit a walk-off home run in the 13th. Sergio Santos continued his hot hitting with two doubles and a home run.
Erie fans were treated to a calvacade of pitching prospects in a Thursday morning doubleheader. Jair Jurrjens took a no-hitter into the sixth inning of the second game, but everything fell apart at that point when he gave up five runs in the sixth.
“I was beginning to get some pitches up and when you do that, they’re going to make contact,” Jurrjens said. “I had a chance to get my team off the field with the game tied and it was nobody’s fault but mine. I made some bad pitches and I got hurt. I think I was trying to do too much and tried to overthrow. When that happens, some balls are going to get flat and I got hurt.”
Jurrjens teammate Dallas Trahern had a better day. He outdueled Akron ace Chuck Lofgren to improve to 4-0 on the season.
Alay Soler pitched six solid innings, but Bowie jumped on reliever Justin Vaclavik for four runs in 1/3 of an inning for a come-from-behind 7-2 win.
Alan Horne continued the Trenton run of dominating starts. Horne allowed one run in six innings and struck out six as the Thunder lowered their team ERA to 1.76. Horne now has 28 strikeouts in 22 innings.
Luke Hughes hit a three-run walkoff home run and Trevor Plouffe also homered in New Britain’s 11-8 win over Portland.
The Carolina Mudcats feasted on the Tennessee Smokies bullpen Thursday night. Starter Sean Gallagher lasted only two innings, but when things were turned over to the Smokies pen, Carolina’s hitters went crazy. Jai Miller hit two home runs and Brett Carroll, Lee Mitchell, Chase Lambin and even pitcher Scott Nestor all hit homers as well.
Joe Mather took over the minor league home run lead with a 433-foot shot to straight center field Thursday night, and catcher Bryan Anderson added a two-run home run. Mather’s home run was the only run Springfield starter Mitchell Boggs needed–Boggs shut out Wichita for six innings. In addition to the game story, Springfield News-Leader beat writer Kary Booher has a good feature on former first rounder Chris Lambert’s new attitude this season.
Corpus Christi had some unlikely heroes Thursday night. The Hooks bullpen had allowed 15 runs in the past two games, so it was pretty shocking when Hooks relievers combined to not allowed an earned run in 11 innings last night. Midland’s bullpen was nearly as good, even if they were relying on position players–third baseman Myron Leslie entered the game in the 14th and threw two scoreless innings. Outfielder Vince Faison followed him to throw two hitless innings, although the two men he walked both scored. Infielder Brian Snyder followed Faison and was charged with the loss when Tim Raines Jr. singled in a run in the bottom of the 18th. For more details on one of the wildest games of the season, read Greg Rajan’s game story.
Nick Green allowed one hit in seven innings as Arkansas beat Tulsa 7-0. There was a scary moment in the game when Aaron Peel’s liner hit Jon Asahina in the head. Asahina was taken to a hospital for precautionary measures, but he was able to leave the field under his own power.
High Class A
On an night where Corpus Christi and Midland went 18 innings, Rancho Cucamonga and High Desert took 16 innings to finish what they started. Rancho Cucamonga’s Brok Butcher lowered his ERA to 0.99, but he was long gone by the time High Desert finished off the Quakes 3-2.
As a 26-year-old in high Class A, Luke Appert isn’t a prospect. But he is one of the minors most productive hitters this season. Appert’s three-run home run extended his hitting streak to 16 games and made Stockton a winner on Thursday.
When the Rangers drafted John Mayberry, the biggest question was whether the outfielder would ever tap into his immense raw power–he only hit eight home runs with a metal bat as a junior at Stanford. Those questions are starting to disappear. Mayberry hit three home runs on Thursday, overshadowing Justin Upton’s continued hot hitting. Upton homered for the second consecutive game for Visalia.
Not every Lancaster pitcher is spooked by the JetHawks home park. Michael Bowden lowered his ERA to 2.33 by allowing six runs in three innings. From Bowden’s four starts in Lancaster you would never know it’s a hitter’s paradise–he’s 1-0, 2.95 there with 23 strikeouts and six walks in 21 innings. No other Lancaster starter has an ERA under 5.50 at home.
Justin Cassel’s great start was nearly forgotten after a bench-clearing brawl marred the ninth inning of Winston-Salem’s 5-2 win over Potomac. Cassel allowed one run in seven innings to improve to 4-0 and lower his ERA to 1.03. The brawl occurred after Matt Rogelstad slid hard into second baseman Victor Mercedes on a potential double-play. The benches cleared and the police eventually helped break up the fight and both managers said they know there will be plenty of suspensions. John Dell tries to get to the bottom of what happened.
Brandon Erbe has gone from being a fan in the stands at Frederick to the team’s ace. Erbe struck out seven and walked no one in six strong innings to lead Frederick past Wilmington.
Brian Bogusevic and Salem overwhelmed Myrtle Beach 9-1. Elvis Andrus hit his first home run of the season for the Pelicans.
The hottest hitter in the minors is Steven Pearce. Pearce hit a home run for the fifth consecutive game, setting a franchise record, but Kinston still beat Lynchburg 10-6.
Jeremy Slayden homered and Drew Carpenter improved to 2-1 with six solid innings as Clearwater beat Lakeland.
Matt Walker, Wade Davis and Jacob McGee battled for the title of team ace last year in Southwest Michigan. Walker’s been left behind in that race this year. McGee has a 1.93 ERA, and Davis has a 2.82 ERA, but Walker saw his ERA rise to 10.29 with his 1 1/3 inning outing on Thursday.
Dunedin shut out Fort Myers in both ends of their doubleheader on Thursday.
Low Class A
Gorkys Hernandez raised his average to .345/.413/.418 with a three-hit night as West Michigan defeated Peoria.
Nathan Culp left with a shutout for the third time in four starts, lowering his ERA to 1.46. LaMond Pope explains the reasons for Culp’s success.
Burlington beat Quad Cities 7-3. Mario Santiago gave up two runs in the first three innings but then settled down to retire the last 12 batters he faced.
Nothing’s going right for Kane County. James Heuser struck out 11 in a dominating performance, but his bullpen couldn’t hold the lead as the Cougars dropped to 3-14 on the season.
Beloit’s Alex Burnett did what few pitchers have been able to do by slowing Dayton’s bats. Burnett settled down after a rough first inning to retire 20 of the last 21 batters he faced.
Columbus ended Charleston’s seven-game winning streak when Heath Rollins, Wilton Noel and Brian Baker combined to strike out 12.
Augusta’s pitching staff is starting to defy explanation. The GreenJackets missed another shutout when Greenville got a run in the ninth, so Augusta (18-3) had to settle for an 8-1 win. Augusta’s pitchers have now allowed one run or less in 14 of their 21 games. Adam Cowart was the hero on Thursday–he pitched six scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 0.60.
Jeff Lyman’s first solid start of the season wasn’t enough to stop Rome’s slide. Lyman lowered his ERA to 5.91 with five scorless innings, but the Rome bullpen couldn’t hold on to the lead. Rome dropped to 3-18 with the loss.
Hickory pitchers walked 13 batters in their 9-2 loss to Greensboro.
West Virginia won its 13th straight game–the longest winning streak in the minors this year–thanks to Darren Ford’s five-hit game that included a home run.