With Triple-A players enjoying their brief respite of the all-star break and the Southern League playing its all-star game as well, there was a reduced schedule around the minors, but that didn't prevent a Red Sox prospect from making a strong Double-A debut.
Matt Allegra homered twice, but then lined out with the bases loaded to end the game as New Britain fell to Reading 8-5.
Lastings Milledge homered twice in his final tuneup with Binghamton. Milledge destroyed Double-A pitching during a five-game rehab stint to the tune of a .435/.458/.957 line. He told the Binghamton paper that he's been assigned to short-season Brooklyn to continue his rehab, but it's more likely that he'll be added to the major league roster as soon as the all-star break is over.
The may be fans of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, but any time the Portland Sea Dogs are in town, Fisher Cats fans find themselves with divided loyalties, since most all are also Red Sox fans. That explains why Justin Masterson got a loud round of applause when he left with a no-hitter after 6 2/3 innings. Masterson was pulled because he reached his pitch limit in his Double-A debut. Hunter Jones gave up one hit in 2 1/3 innings of relief. According to the Manchester Union-Leader, Masterson's sinkerball was working extremely well. He struck out nine and recorded eight ground ball outs out of the 11 outs put in play. In other Portland news the Boston Globe is reporting that top pitching prospect Clay Buchholz has been promoted to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Manny Ayala picked up his first Double-A win with five solid innings. Ayala gave up three hits and a run in his second start for San Antonio.
High Class A
Jake McGee struck out 11 in six innings, but Daytona still rallied to win the opener and Matt Walker gave up four runs in 2/3 of an inning thanks to four walks and a wild pitch as Daytona swept Vero Beach.
Austin Jackson may have struggled in low Class A Charleston, but he's finding the Florida State League much more to his liking. Jackson went 4-for-5 with a home run on Monday raising his high Class A numbers to .426/.447/.662 in 17 games.
Kyle Blanks hit a pair of home runs and Matt Antonelli added a homer of his own as Lake Elsinore topped Rancho Cucamonga 12-7. The two home runs gave Blanks 17 for the season as he's now hitting a robust .327/.406/.589.
Low Class A
Now that June is gone, Heath Rollins is back on a roll. The Columbus starter has not allowed a run in two July starts. He allowed five hits in six scoreless innings to beat Rome last night. Rollins had an 0.23 ERA in May and has a O.00 ERA this month as he's returned to form after a brutal June where he went 2-3, 6.60.
Dayton's bid for its first-ever nine-inning no hitter fell apart when Kevin Gunter gave up back-to-back singles in the eight, but Anthony Gressick and the Dragons still rolled to a 3-1 win.
Kasey Kiker had a rare rough start as Clinton fell to Burlington. Kiker gave up five runs in three innings, snapping a 12-inning scoreless streak.
Short Season/Rookie Leagues
Jimmy James is having little trouble with New York-Penn League hitters. James allowed one unearned run in five innings for Lowell on Monday, cutting his ERA to 0.47 in 19 innings. He now has a 19-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The 22-year-old Venezuelan was signed by the Red Sox in 2002, but missed all of the 2003 season thanks to a stress fracture in his pitching elbow. He's been slowly moving up the ladder since then, spending the past two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, but he has had success wherever he's pitched.