In this edition of Oakland A's Minor League Notebook, we take our weekly trek around the A's system…
Oakland A's MLN: Starting Pitching Shines
Sacramento's Shane Komine has been pitching much better as of late and that progress showed itself in full on Thursday night, as the right-hander tossed his first complete game shut-out of the season, and the River Cats defeated the Fresno Grizzlies, 8-0. One start after Komine struck out 11 batters, the Hawaiian native scattered seven hits in nine innings of work. He walked none and struck out five. The win was his sixth of the year and it lowered his season ERA to 4.56.
Komine has now won three straight starts. During that run, he has lasted at least seven innings in each start and has allowed only one earned run in 23 innings. He has struck out 20 and walked two over that span.
Komine was helped on offense on Thursday night by Scott McClain, who went 3-5 with two homers and six RBI. The RBIs brought his season total up to 54 and all of his RBIs in Thursday's game came with two-outs. He now has 14 homers and has moved into a tie with Kane County's Jeff Baisley for the most in the Oakland A's system. Doug Clark also homered, his sixth of the year.
Knox Brilliant In 1-0 Nail-biter
Like Komine, Midland starter Brad Knox has been pitching much better as of late after struggling with inconsistency throughout much of the season. He went seven strong innings on Thursday night, allowing only two hits and no runs to lead Midland to a 1-0 win over San Antonio. The win moved Knox's record to 6-3 and lowered his ERA to 4.79. He has allowed 11 runs over his last 35 innings, a stretch that spans five starts.
The Rockhounds didn't have much offense on the night, but they got just enough. For the second straight game, second baseman Kevin Melillo drove home the winning run. On Wednesday, it was a pinch-hit homer. On Thursday, it was an RBI double that was part of a 2-3 night. Travis Buck and Brian Stavisky also had multi-hit games for the Rockhounds. Connor Robertson and Marcus McBeth each struck out two batters in their respective scoreless innings of work. McBeth earned his eighth save with a scoreless ninth.
Ray Shines In Stockton Win
The Stockton Ports received a strong starting pitching performance from Jason Ray and scored just enough to pull out a 4-1 win over rival Modesto. Ray, who was outstanding for the Kane County Cougars during the first half of the season, had his first great California League start on Thursday. He allowed only one run on three hits in seven innings of work. Ray struck out seven and walked three in the contest, earning his second win for the Ports and lowering his High-A ERA to 4.00.
Scot Drucker came on in the eighth and threw two scoreless innings of relief to earn his first save of the season. He allowed only one hit and struck out a batter in his outing. Drucker has been much more effective since moving from the rotation to the bullpen in mid-June. With the exception of one bad outing where he allowed four runs in one-third of an inning, Drucker has allowed only three runs in 9.2 innings of relief work in June.
On offense, Eddie Cornejo led the way with a 2-3 night and two RBI. Myron Leslie also doubled home a run and Brian Snyder had a double and two walks in four plate appearances.
Kane County Outlasts Dayton In 15-Inning Thriller; Jukich Shines In Debut
The Kane County Cougars played their longest game of the season and they came out victorious thanks in large part on the efforts of one of the team's newest members. Ben Jukich, a 2006 draft choice, was promoted from Vancouver to Kane County on Wednesday and he made his first appearance for the Cougars on Thursday night. Jukich had a rubber arm in college and he showed that durability on Thursday, recording the final out of the ninth inning and working the next five innings in scoreless fashion. He allowed only two hits and a walk and struck out five in a jaw-dropping debut.
Starter Ron Madej had been in-line for the win before reliever Jeff Gray allowed two game-tying runs in the ninth, his third inning of work. Madej was solid in his outing, allowing only one unearned run in six innings. He struck out six and walked four and allowed two hits. Brad Kilby earned the win by striking out the side in the top of the 15th inning.
Kilby became the winner when Steve Kleen singled home Jeff Baisley in the bottom of the 15th to give the Cougars the 4-3 victory. Baisley started-off the 15th with a double, his second of the night. He went 2-6 in the game with those two doubles and two RBIs. He now has 69 RBIs on the season. Jose Pineda went 3-7 with a triple and Justin Sellers, Isaac Omura and Kleen each had two hits. Chad Boyd entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the 9th and still had three at-bats, collecting one hit in the process.
Vancouver, Deal Blank Everett
The good pitching extended through the A's system to their short-season A ball team, as the Canadians shut-out the Everett Aquasox, 3-0. Scott Deal was fantastic once again, tossing five shut-out innings to earn his fourth win in as many tries. The 2005 draft choice has allowed only three earned runs in 22 innings for Vancouver this season. He struck out three and walked one, while allowing six hits on Thursday night.
Matt Manship and Earl Moore each worked two scoreless innings to ice the game for Vancouver. Manship struck out two and Moore whiffed three in their outings. Moore earned the save, his second of the season.
Jake Smith, Larry Cobb and Alex Valdez led the Canadians' hitting attack with two hits apiece. Cobb raised his average to .328 and drove in his third run of the season. Smith had his 12th RBI of the year in the contest. Catcher/DH Casey Myers appeared in his second game for the C's. He is rehabbing with the Canadians after missing the first half of the season with injury.
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