See also: Thursday's Playoff Dish
Rochester 10, Toledo 4 (Rochester leads series 2-1)
The Red Wings again won on the strength of excellent pitching, this time by lefthander Glen Perkins, the Twins' 2004 first-round pick who spent much of his season with Double-A New Britain. Perkins struck out 10 Toledo batters through seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits. Toledo grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but Rochester got on the board in the third inning with a solo home run by catcher Jose Morales. The Red Wings took the lead in the fourth when first baseman Garrett Jones hit his third playoff homer and center fielder Andres Torres contributed a two-run single. Most of the damage was inflicted on Toldeo righthander Eulogio de la Cruz, who gave up five runs on eight hits in four innings. Rochester collected 17 hits in all as it moved to within a win of the IL title.
Montgomery 7, Huntsville 0 (Montgomery leads series 2-1)
Righthander Mitch Talbot has been ridiculous in the postseason for the Biscuits, and he put up another spectacular performance on Thursday allowing just five hits and striking out 10 in a nine-inning, 7-0 win against Huntsville. In two playoff starts, Talbot is now 2-0, 0.00 with a 24-2 strikeout-walk ratio, and has a 1.70 ERA in 74 innings overall with the Biscuits with a 93-20 K-BB ratio. On the offensive side, outfielder Jeremy Owens' three-run, inside-the-park homer capped off the scoring in the eighth, giving Talbot a nice cushion to get the final three outs.
Corpus Christi 9, Wichita 3 (Corpus Christi leads series 2-1)
Hooks outfielder Hunter Pence led the offense as Corpus Christi jumped all over 2006 No. 1 pick Luke Hochevar in a 9-3 victory. Pence accounted for three doubles–two against Hochevar, who allowed six runs on six hits and lasted just two innings before being pulled.
HIGH CLASS A
Inland Empire 13, Visalia 0 (Inland Empire leads series 1-0)
Inland Empire broke open a 1-0 game with two runs in the fifth, three in the sixth and seven in the seventh to roll over Visalia in the first game of the Cal League championship series. The 66ers, who had a day to rest while Visalia wrapped up its North Division playoff series against San Jose on Wednesday, got seven shutout innings from lefthander Justin Thomas, who yielded just three hits and three walks while striking out seven. First baseman Johan Limonta had four hits to lead Inland Empire, while center fielder Brent Johnson and third baseman Reed Eastley had three hits apiece.
LOW CLASS A
West Michigan 6, Kane County 3 (West Michigan leads series 2-1)
White Caps righthander Sendy Vasquez allowed three runs on five hits over six innings in West Michigan's 6-3 win against the Cougars. Outfielder Cameron Maybin tripled to spark a three-run inning that paced the West Michigan offense and leaves them one win away from the MWL title.
SOUTH ATLANTIC LEAGUE
Augusta 11, Lakewood 1 (Lakewood leads series 2-1)
Third baseman David Maroul contributed four hits to Augusta's 18-hit attack as the Greenjackets stayed alive in the SAL championship series. Maroul doubled three times and scored three runs in Augusta's first win in the series. Reliever Kelvin Pichardo dazzled with five scoreless innings, striking out seven.
NEW YORK-PENN LEAGUE
The decisive third game of the series, tied between Tri-City and Staten Island, was postponed by rain and will be played tonight.
Missoula 7, Idaho Falls 2 (Missoula wins series 2-0)
The Missoula Osprey rode the pitching of Osbek Castillo and Hector Ambriz and the hitting of Shea McFeely to their first Pioneer League title in eight years. McFeely, who helped lead Oregon State to the College World Series championship in June, hit a three-run homer in the fifth.
Castillo, a Cuban defector, and Ambriz, a fifth-round pick out of UCLA in June, combined on a four-hitter as Missoula beat Idaho Falls 4-2 in Game Two of the Pioneer League championship series. Missoula won all four of its playoff games this year.
Idaho Falls starter Blake Wood, the Royals' third-round pick out of Georgia Tech, picked up the loss. He ran into trouble in the first, as Missoula jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind singles by Sean Smith, Gerardo Parra and Daniel Perales and a throwing error by Brett Bigler.
Wood settled down until the fifth, when McFeely cranked a three-run home run. The Idaho Falls bullpen allowed only one run over the final 4 1/3 innings, but by then, the Osprey had given Castillo and Ambriz, who combined in August to throw a no-hitter, all the runs they needed.
Count The Rings
Here are the league championships that already have been decided:
Arizona: AZL Padres
Florida State: St. Lucie
Gulf Coast: Red Sox