Oakland A's MLN: Knox, Madsen Back On Target

Brad Knox has been nearly unhittable in July.

The schedule was light in the Oakland A's system on Tuesday, as both the Oakland A's and the Sacramento River Cats were on their respective All-Star breaks and the Kane County Cougars and Vancouver Canadians were enjoying a rare day off. The three A's affiliates in action were able to come away with impressive wins on Tuesday. We have the details inside...

Knox Continues Red-Hot Run

Brad Knox is back. The Texas native appears to be at or near the form that he displayed in 2004 when he was one of the A's top pitching prospects. The right-hander won his third straight game and had his fourth consecutive impressive outing on Tuesday night, as he blanked the Wichita Wranglers over eight innings in the Rockhounds' 2-0 win.

Knox stifled an offense that included Futures Game stars Billy Butler and Alex Gordon in out-dueling Royals pitching prospect Bill Buckner. The win moved Knox to 7-3 on the season and lowered his ERA to 4.41.

In the game, Knox allowed only five hits and two walks in eight innings of work. He struck out five. Knox is now 3-0 in July with an 0.78 ERA in 23 innings. He has allowed only 13 hits over that span.

Knox didn't get much offensive support, but what he did receive was just enough for the win. Brant Colamarino cranked his eighth homerun of the season in support of Knox and Vasili Spanos drove-in the other run and collected two hits. The RBIs were the 51st of the season for each player.

Colamarino and Spanos are tied for the team lead in RBIs and are in a four-way tie with Kevin Melillo and Matt Allegra for the team-lead in homers with eight. Melillo tripled in three at-bats in the game. The triple raised his July average to .314 in 11 games. He also helped Knox on defense, starting two 4-6-3 double-plays.

The Rockhounds combined to strikeout 11 times in the game, 10 times off of Buckner, but they were able to drive Buckner out of the game after the sixth inning, as they drew five walks against the Royals' prospect to drive up his pitch count. The free swinging Allegra walked twice, raising his season-total to 19 in 212 at-bats.

Closer Marcus McBeth came on in the ninth inning and nailed down the win for Knox. McBeth allowed one hit and he recorded a strikeout in his scoreless frame. The save was his ninth in AA and his 16th overall for the season. He now has 32 strikeouts in 30.2 innings of work in AA this season and 52 strikeouts in 45.2 innings overall.

Madsen Improving; Leslie Powers Ports To Win

Mike Madsen has had a rough go of it since the start of June. After posting a 3.57 ERA in May, Madsen collapsed in June, going 0-3 with a 18.26 ERA for the Ports and allowing 15 runs in 7.1 innings for AA-Midland. July, however, has been a different story for Madsen, as he has allowed only three runs in 10.2 innings of work. On Tuesday, he broke a personal four-game losing streak, tossing 5.2 innings of scoreless baseball in the Ports' 6-1 win over High Desert.

Madsen allowed five hits and two walks in his 5.2 innings of work. He struck out four. The effort bumped his record up to 4-6 and lowered his High A-ERA to 6.01. Madsen was the Ports Opening Day starter and if you take out the month of June, he has had a decent season, compiling a 4-2 record with a 3.68 ERA in 58.2 innings of work.

Madsen had plenty of early run-support, as the Ports posted three runs in each of the first two frames. All six of those runs came with two-outs. In the first, Tom Everidge doubled with two-outs and Myron Leslie followed with a two-out bloop single. Landon Powell then followed with a single and Everidge and Leslie came all the way around to score on a fielding error by High Desert centerfielder Juan Senreiso. Brian Snyder then doubled home Powell to give the Ports the early 3-0 advantage.

Stockton would double that advantage in the second when Milton Bradley (rehabbing with the Ports until the A's return to action on Thursday) reached base on a walk and Nick Blasi followed by being hit by a pitch. After Everidge forced Blasi at second to make it two-outs in the inning, Leslie once again provided the Ports with some two-out magic, crushing a three-run homer.

The homer was Leslie's 12th of the season and his ninth since June 1. He hit .330 in the month of June and is batting .282 thus far in July with three homers in only 39 at-bats. The four RBIs gave Leslie 61 for the season, the most on the Ports. The switch-hitter has been especially effective from the left-side this season, hitting .306 with eight of his 12 homeruns. He is hitting only .244 from the right-side.

Trent Peterson took over for Madsen in the sixth inning and worked 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball. He then turned the game over to Brad Sullivan, who had his first solid outing in roughly three weeks. The former 2003 first rounder allowed one unearned run on two hits in two innings of work. He induced double-plays in each of his two innings on the mound and he struck out a batter. The outing broke a run that had seen Sullivan give up 13 earned runs in 4.2 innings of work after allowing only seven earned runs in his previous 17 innings.

Bradley finished the game 0-3 with that walk and a run scored. He played all nine innings after playing only six innings in his last outing with Sacramento on Sunday. Bradley appears on-track to join the A's in Boston on Thursday. A's reliever Jay Witasick will also be making a rehab appearance with the Ports this week. He is likely two outings away from returning to the big leagues. Witasick has missed more than two-thirds of the season with a severely sprained ankle.

Arizona A's Crush Brewers' Affiliate In 18-6 rout

The big league A's can't seem to buy a hit these days, but their Rookie League version was collecting them in bunches on Tuesday. Every hitter in the A's line-up had at least one hit and six hitters had multi-hit games in the A's trouncing of the Brewers in Arizona.

The A's offense was so good that in addition to their 16 hits, they also collected 10 walks. Lorenzo Macias had three walks and Carlos Gutierrez had two. Macias also had two RBIs and a hit, raising his average to .318 and his RBI total to 14. The younger brother of Drew Macias, Lorenzo is off to a fast start with the A's Rookie League squad. He leads the team in RBIs and in slugging percentage (.455) and is second on the team in batting average. He also has a .370 on-base percentage. Gutierrez, who also had two hits to go along with his two walks, leads the team in on-base percentage with a .475 mark.

Marcos Luis had three hits, raising his average to a team-leading mark of .327. He also collected his 10th RBI of the year. Seventeen year-old Angel Sierra stole his sixth base of the season in seven attempts. The former high school track star leads the team in that category. Julio Rivera, Carlos Morales, Ramiro Mendez and Carlos Arrieche each collected two hits in the game.

Steven Bondurant started the game and had a rough first inning, allowing three runs. He would work the next 1.1 innings in scoreless fashion in his second outing of the season. Carmelo Reyes earned the win with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. It was his first win of the season.

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