Minor League Round-Up: 4/12/05

Dan Johnson is on pace for another MVP year.

Dan Johnson, Andre Ethier, Andrew Beattie and Brant Colamarino continue to pound the baseball. Read about that and the rest of the A's minor league activity on Tuesday in this edition of <i>Minor League Round-Up...</i><br> <b>This is a free preview of premium content.</b><br><br>

Streaking River Cats take it in the 9th

Sacramento's back-up catcher Steve Jackson dropped a single into center with the bases-loaded in the bottom of the 9th inning to drive in the winning run in a 5-4 River Cats victory over the Tacoma Rainiers. The win was the River Cats third straight and fifth out of six. Sacramento's 5-1 start is the second best in team history. The inaugural 2000 River Cats squad started the season 6-1. Sacramento will take on Seattle starting pitching phenom Felix Hernandez tomorrow in an effort to match the 2000 team's accomplishment.

River Cats starter John Rheinecker wasn't as effective as he was on Opening Night, when he went eight shut-out innings. However, the rangy lefty was effective enough, as he scattered seven hits and two walks over six innings, allowing three runs. Rheinecker's scoreless streak ended in the first inning when he allowed two runs. He would allow only one more run in his six innings, that coming in the 4th. Rheinecker struck out three on the night.

The lefty would not factor in the decision, however. Down 3-0 in the bottom of the 4th, the River Cats crawled back to 3-2 on a Dan Johnson two-run homer. The homerun was Johnson's third on the year. Sacramento would pick up two more runs in the bottom of the 5th to temporarily take a 4-3 lead. Adam Morrissey walked to lead off the 5th and scored on a triple by Steve Jackson. Jackson scored one out later on a sacrifice fly by Jermaine Clark.

Sacramento would lose the lead in the top of the 7th when lefty reliever Ron Flores allowed a solo homerun to Ramon Santiago. Flores would pitch a scoreless 8th and then closer Chris Mabeus worked a shut-out top of the 9th to put the River Cats in a position to win the game in the bottom half.

The River Cats game-winning rally started with a one-out walk to DH Jack Cust off of reliever George Sherrill. Cust had been 0-3 with three strikeouts up to that point, but he used his famously discerning eye to reach base. Shawn Garrett pinch-ran for Cust and advanced to second on a sharp single to right by Matt Watson. Morrissey worked a walk on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases, setting the table for Jackson's game-winning hit. Mabeus picked up the win for his scoreless inning of work. Rainiers starter and Mexican League star Jorge Campillo struck out 10 in what was eventually a losing cause.

Johnson upped his average to .357 and added his 9th and 10th RBI of the season. Watson went 2-4, including his key hit in the 9th. Jackson, who received a rare start in the place of starting catcher John Baker, took advantage of the playing time with a 2-4 night and two RBI.

Midland's Bats Break Out in 10-8 Victory

The Midland Rockhounds withstood a rough outing from starter Mike Ziegler to take the first game of the three-game series against the San Antonio Missions. Third baseman Andrew Beattie homered and drove in two to pace a Midland offense that saw every player either collect a hit or drive in a run. Andre Ethier and Brant Colamarino continued their hot streaks, collecting two hits each.

The Rockhounds fell behind 3-0 in the top of the 1st, helped in part by two errors by Beattie. San Antonio would tack on single runs in the 2nd and 3rd and held a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the 3rd. Midland erased that lead with a three-run 3rd and a three-run 4th to take control of the game. Catcher Jeremy Brown had a two-run double in the third. Beattie started the 4th with a solo homerun to give the Rockhounds a 6-5 advantage. Jason Perry followed with a walk and he came around to score on Ethier's one-out double. Brian Stavisky drove Ethier home with a single to up the Midland advantage to 8-5. Midland finished the game with 13 hits and seven walks. Ethier, Beattie and Colamarino are all hitting well above .400 in this early season.

Midland would tack on their final two runs in the bottom of the 7th. Brown collected his second hit of the game, a lead-off single. The Alabama alum is hitting .333 on the year. Brown advanced to third on a double by 9th place hitter Lloyd Turner. He scored on a single by Beattie and Turner scored on an RBI groundout from Perry. Reliever Shawn Kohn was touched up for two runs in the 9th, but he held on to close out the 10-8 game. Middle reliever Evan Fahrner chipped in with three scoreless innings of relief. Midland is now 3-2 on the season.

Stockton Slammed in the 9th, Drop Series Opener To Lake Elsinore

The Stockton Ports erupted for five runs in the top of the 2nd inning and managed to use that big inning to hold the lead until the bottom of the 9th when the Lake Elsinore Storm scored five off of Ports reliever Jeff Muessig to win the game. The final four runs came on a game-winning, walk-off grand slam by Storm first baseman Michael Johnson.

The Ports built their early lead on the strength of a Francis Gomez three-run homer and a two-RBI single by Richie Robnett. Daric Barton began the inning with a walk and he moved to third on a single by Danny Putnam. They both came in to score on a homerun from Gomez. Dustin Majewski followed Gomez with a ground-rule double. John McCurdy was hit by a pitch and both runners advanced to second and third on a grounder by Luke Appert. Robnett came through with a two-out hit to drive in both runs.

Starter Jason Windsor had a solid second start for the Ports. He went five innings, striking out seven and walking none. He allowed two runs over those five innings. Jared Burton relieved Windsor in the 6th and allowed two runs in that frame to cut the Ports lead to 5-4. Justin Crowder and Chris Shank combined to keep the Storm off the board in the 7th and the 8th. However, Muessig quickly gave away the lead in the bottom of the 9th. He allowed a lead-off double to Peeter Ramos and Ramos scored the tying run on a triple by Drew Macias. Muessig intentionally walked Fernando Valenzuela, Jr. and Brett Bonvechio to load the bases. That strategy did not pay off, as Michael Johnson made the Ports pay by homering to right to end the game. Stockton is now 2-3 on the season.

Kane County Rained Out

The Kane County Cougars home opener was rained out on Tuesday. The Cougars will play a double-header on Wednesday.

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