BAPR Plus: May 31

The minor leagues’ longest hitting streak in 18 season reached 36 games when Mitch Hilligoss laid down a bunt for a single in the seventh inning. Gio Gonzalez racked up more strikeouts and Chance Douglass continued to turn around his season on Wednesday night.

Triple-A

Josh Hamilton seems to be proving he’s ready to return to the majors. In the second game of his rehab stint in Louisville Hamilton hit two more home runs–his second and third with the Bats. Jeff Keppinger, Chris Dickerson and Mark Bellhorn also homered for Louisville.

Jordan Tata made his first appearance of the season after missing two months with a sore shoulder. Tata was nearly perfect allowing only a walk in three innings. Ron Chiavacci followed up by throwing six scoreless innings in his hometown to beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Jeff Niemann lasted only five innings, but they were five effective innings as Niemann allowed only one run to pick up his fourth win.

Tacoma’s Justin Lehr threw eight scoreless innings to improve to 6-0 while dropping his ERA to 2.34.

Joe Koshansky homered in the first game of Colorado Springs’ doubleheader, but Philip Humber adeptly danced around trouble for his fourth win of the season. Humber allowed 10 hits, but only two runs in six innings.

Double-A

The jump from low Class A West Michigan to Double-A Erie has been a steep one for Matt Joyce. The outfielder is hitting .190/.271/.323, but he homered to give the SeaWolves a 9-4 win over Harrisburg on Wednesday. Erie starter Jair Jurrjens was forced to leave after 5 2/3 innings with a strained groin.

Mike Costanzo hit his 10th home run of the season while Chris Coset added his second home run as Reading edged Bowie 6-5.

Brandon Jones doubled and homered and Brent Lillibridge tripled to lead Mississippi past Chattanooga. Mississippi starter Jo-Jo Reyes allowed four earned runs in six innings, but he did strike out 10.

Drew Anderson and Adam Heether each had four hits including home runs as Huntsville pounded Montgomery 19-4.

Gio Gonzalez kept on piling on the strikeouts in the annual Rickwood Classic. Playing at 97-year-old Rickwood Field, Birmingham topped Jacksonville 3-2 as Gonzales struck out eight in seven innings.

Chance Douglass has pulled off quite a turnaround. The Corpus Christi starter had a 7.08 ERA in four April starts, but he threw nine scoreless innings for the second consecutive start on Wednesday. Douglass, who has a 0.56 ERA in his last four starts, wasn’t involved in the decision because Amalio Diaz matched him pitch for pitch with nine scoreless innings of his own. Noochie Varner drove in the game’s only run in the 11th to hand the Hooks a 1-0 win.

Will Venable hit for the cycle as San Antonio topped Springfield 6-3. Venable singled in the third, tripled in the sixth, hit a three-run home run that broke open the game in the seventh and doubled to complete the cycle in the ninth. Baseball America’s Non-Prospect Diarist Dirk Hayhurst picked up the win.

High Class A

Jason Schmidt was better than expected him a rehab start with Inland Empire. Schmidt struck out seven in six scoreless innings. He touched 92 mph, which is still below his normal velocity, but was improved over his last couple of starts before going on the disabled list with a sore shoulder.

Cyle Hankerd’s 4-for-4 night with a home run led Visalia to a 5-2 win over Modesto. Lake Elsinore’s David Freese did Hankerd one better, going 5-for-5 with three doubles to lead the Storm to a 6-2 win over Lancaster.

It’s hard to know what to think about John Mayberry’s season. Mayberry hit his 15th home run of the season on Wednesday night, but he is also hitting .234 with 49 strikeouts in 53 games.

Josh Rodriguez hit a grand slam as he drove in six runs as Kinston topped Wilmington 10-8.

Jairo Cuevas fell to an ugly 0-8 when Winston-Salem beat Myrtle Beach on Wednesday. Jordan Schafer homered for the Pelicans.

Bobby Parnell and Jacob McGee both pitched well, but neither was around when the game was decided as Chris Cunningham doubled in two runs in the 11th as Vero Beach topped St. Lucie 6-4.

John Urick hit two home runs as Clearwater topped Dunedin.

Jay Bruce hit his 10th home run of the season, but it wasn’t enough for Sarasota, as Fort Myers’ Oswaldo Sosa outdueled Darryl Thompson in a 5-3 Fort Myers win.

Low Class A

Beloit’s Chris Parmelee’s walk-off three-run home run gave Beloit a 5-3 win over Kane County.

Rafael Gonzalez came into this season with a 10-17 career record and a history of failing at low Class A Dayton. But he improved to 8-1, 2.47 this season with seven solid innings on Wednesday. Juan Francisco hit his 11th home run of the season and Chris Valiaka had four hits to give Gonzalez plenty of run support.

Sean O’Sullivan allowed one earned run in 6 2/3 innings, Matt Sweeney had four hits and Hank Conger hit his seventh home run of the season as Cedar Rapids topped Peoria.

The ball was flying out of Burlington’s Community Field. Kuo Hui Lo, Alex Liddi, Carlos Peguero and Gerardo Avila homered for Wisconsin, but that wasn’t enough as Burlington got home runs from Kurt Mertins and Jeff Howell.

Mitch Hilligoss’ bunt single extended his hitting streak to a South Atlantic League record 36 games. When Hilligoss came up in the seventh inning, he saw that the third baseman was playing back, which set up the opportunity.

“(Manager Torre Tyson) mentioned (the bunt) to me in the dugout. I didn’t think so at the time, but I saw the third baseman playing back and I thought about it again,” Hilligoss said. “I looked at third base and Tys gave me a shrug, so I figured why not. (Frontz) threw an outside fastball and once I got it down, I knew I was in good shape.”

Rome got four solo home runs but it wasn’t enough as every Savannah batter recorded at least one hit. Francisco Pena hit a two-run home run to lead the Sand Gnats to a 9-5 win.

Taylor Green’s outstanding season continues to get better. Green went 4-for-4 with three doubles and Charles Caufield homered as West Virginia topped Kannapolis 9-8.

Adrian Cardenas homered, Gus Milner cleared the bases with a triple and Quintin Berry added three more hits as Lakewood topped Delmarva 9-7.

Keith Weiser, the Rockies third-round pick in 2006, improved to 8-1 with seven shutout innings against Lexington.

Minors |

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