Oakland A's MLN: Opening Night!

Michael Spina had a huge night.

The 2011 minor league season is officially underway. Two of the Oakland A's four full-season affiliates came away with commanding wins, while one affiliate was shut-out and another saw its game suspended due to inclement weather. We have all of the details inside...

Spina, Green Bash Travelers In Opener

The Midland Rockhounds wasted no time jumping into the swing of things in 2011, pounding the Arkansas Travelers in their season opener by a score of 10-2. Michael Spina connected for a grand slam and Grant Green hit a solo homerun to pace the 'Hounds.

The 'Hounds collected 10 hits and seven walks off of a trio of Travelers' hurlers. Spina led the way with three hits and a walk and those four RBIs. Shane Peterson had two hits and a walk and he scored three runs. Green finished with two RBIs and Stephen Parker, Jeremy Barfield, Petey Paramore and Tyler Ladendorf also chipped in with RBIs.

Graham Godfrey got the start for Midland. The right-hander was on his game, scattering three hits and a walk over four innings of work. He was touched for two unearned runs, but he struck-out six, including Angels' top prospect Mike Trout. Trout was hitless with two strike-outs and a sacrifice in three official at-bats in his Double-A debut.

Reliever Mickey Storey earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief. He struck-out two, walked one and didn't allow a hit. Neil Wagner also had two scoreless innings of relief, allowing one hit and striking out three. Trey Barham finished off the impressive win with a perfect ninth inning of work.

While much of the country shivered through Opening Night, the 'Hounds enjoyed a first-pitch temperature of 89 degrees at Citibank Ballpark.


'Cats Cruise To Opening Night Win

Exacting some measure of revenge for their Pacific Coast League semi-final playoff series loss last season, the Sacramento River Cats defeated the Tacoma Rainiers, 6-2, on Opening Night.

The River Cats scored four times in the second and twice in the third and that was all the pitching staff would need. Jemile Weeks had the big blow for Sacramento. He tripled with the bases-loaded in the second and he scored on the play on an errant throw. The second baseman went 2-for-5 with three RBIs in his Triple-A debut.

Matt Carson homered and doubled and was hit-by-a-pitch, while Adrian Cardenas, DHing in the game, went 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Eric Sogard and Steven Tolleson each had two hits. The River Cats had 13 hits in total. Chris Carter had a rough opener, striking out three times and going 1-for-5.

Josh Outman got the start in place of Tyson Ross, who was promoted to Oakland on Wednesday to take Michael Wuertz's place in the bullpen. Outman struggled with his command, walking four in four innings. He was able to minimize the damage to two runs allowed (one earned). He struck-out three and allowed two hits.

Vinnie Chulk got the win and was outstanding in his Sacramento debut. He was perfect in two innings and he struck-out four. Willie Eyre also had a strong performance, striking out three and allowing only a hit and a walk in two innings. Fernando Cabrera finished off the game with a one-two-three ninth inning.


Stockton Bats Quiet In Opening Night Loss

The chill in the air and the pitching of Colorado Rockies' prospect Chad Bettis froze the Stockton Ports' bats on Opening Night, as Stockton lost to their rivals, the Modesto Nuts, 8-0.

Bettis didn't allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth inning when Juan Nunez, starting at catcher, singled. The Ports would collect only three more hits. Conner Crumbliss, Leonardo Gil and Kent Walton each had a hit. Crumbliss reached base three times, as he walked twice. He led the entire minor leagues in walks in 2010.

In his California League debut, Michael Choice went 0-for-2 with two walks and a strike-out. Max Stassi did not play in the game.

Left-hander Fabian Williamson had allowed only one run in three innings until he ran into trouble in the fourth. With two-outs, Mike Zaunich homered, Kent Mattes doubled, Orlando Sandoval singled and then stole second and Scott Robinson brought him home with a single. Williamson would allow the first two runners on in the fifth and both would eventually score off of reliever Justin Murray. Williamson allowed six runs on eight hits and one walk in four-plus innings. He struck-out four.

Murray was touched for two runs in 2.2 innings, while Scott Deal had a perfect season debut, striking out two in 1.1 innings.

The Stockton defense was shaky, as Kent Walton, Rashun Dixon and Leonardo Gil were each charged with errors and three Nuts' runners were successful stealing bases in four chances.


Burlington Suspended By Rain In Opener

The Burlington Bees were only able to get three innings in on Opening Day before the rains came in Clinton and suspended the game. The Bees and Lumberkings will attempt to finish the game on Friday before playing the regularly scheduled second game of the season.

At the time the game was called, the Bees and Lumberkings were locked in a 4-4 tie. The Bees struck first in the first inning with three runs and they added on another run in the third. Clinton scored twice in the second and third innings to tie the game.

Tyreace House began the game with a walk and he was later hit-by-a-pitch. Nino Leyja and Douglas Landaeta each had RBI doubles and Jose Rivero had an RBI as well. A.J. Kirby-Jones had a single and a walk in his two plate appearances.

Seth Frankoff was hit hard in his first outing for Burlington. In three innings, he allowed four runs on six hits and four walks. He was helped by his defense, which turned a double-play and threw-out a runner at home plate (Landaeta got the assist).


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