There were a number of performances of note in the Oakland A's system this past week. We review…
Oakland A's MLN: High-Scoring Tuesday
2005 AAA All-Star Matt Watson had a perfect night on Tuesday, guiding the River Cats to a 11-6 win over Portland. Watson went 4-4 with a walk, a three-run homer, a triple and six RBI. Watson scored three runs and is now hitting .313 on the season. The six RBI gave Watson a team-high 23 season. Nate Espy celebrated his return to AAA with a 2-3 night and a double and an RBI. He had been down in A-Stockton, but he was brought back to Sacramento to take Bobby Kielty's spot on the River Cats roster.
Doug Clark also had a big game for Sacramento. The left-fielder went 3-4 with three runs scored. He also stole his seventh base of the season. He is hitting .365 on the season and has overtaken Jeremy Brown for the team lead. Keith Ginter had an unusual outing. He didn't record a hit, but he managed to score three runs thanks to two walks. Ginter is hitting .286 and has looked much better at the plate then he did at any point last season.
On the mound, starter Randy Keisler turned in another solid outing for Sacramento. The former Yankee, Padre and Red went five innings and allowed only one run on four hits. He struck out five and walked three. Keisler has a 3-1 record and a 2.30 ERA on the season. Marcus McBeth relieved Keisler in the sixth, but ran into a little trouble. He allowed a solo homer in the sixth and then gave up a grand-slam in the seventh. Matt Roney came on in relief of McBeth and finished the game with 2.1 scoreless innings. Roney has a 2.40 ERA on the season. Sacramento is now 11-13 on the season.
Midland Falls Just Short
Ronnie Merrill hit a grand-slam and Jason Perry added a two-run homer, but it wasn't enough, as the Rockhounds fell to the Tulsa Drillers by a score of 10-8. Starter Brad Ziegler had his first poor outing of the season, as he was roughed up for six homeruns in only three innings of work. All but one of the six homers were of a solo variety. Ziegler had allowed only one homer in 24.1 innings coming into the game.
Brad Knox relieved Ziegler and he allowed two earned runs in 3.2 innings. Knox, who was making his first relief appearance of the season, struck out seven and walked three in the outing. Justin Crowder was the only Midland pitcher to post a scoreless outing, working 1.1 shut-out innings.
On offense, Perry and Merrill led the way with their homeruns. The grand-slam was Merrill's first homer of the season and gave him seven RBI for the year. Perry continued his red-hot start with a 2-5 effort. His homer was his third of the season. He had three RBI. Vasili Spanos scored two runs and Brant Colamarino and Danny Putnam each walked twice. On the flip-side, Lloyd Turner had a rough outing at the plate. He struck out three times and went 0-4. He was the only Midland starter not to reach base at least once.
Stockton Drops High-Scoring Game
The Ports have had trouble scoring all season, so it has been their pitching which has kept them near .500. However, on Tuesday, Stockton had plenty of offense, but not nearly enough pitching. Stockton dropped their series opener with Lancaster, 13-7.
Starter Scot Drucker and reliever Brad Davis were roughed up by the JetHawks. Drucker allowed 12 hits and nine runs in five innings, including three in the third and five in the fourth. Davis came on in the sixth and saw his season-long scoreless streak end when Mark Reynolds touched him for a two-run homer. Davis would allow another two-run homer in the eighth. He allowed four runs in three innings of work, by far his worst outing of his short minor league career. Last season, Davis allowed only two runs all season for Vancouver.
On offense, there was a lot to be positive about for Stockton. Five Ports had multi-hit games and the Ports had five extra-base hits. Shortstop John McCurdy had his first homer of the season and two hits. He is now hitting .317 on the season. Gregorio Petit had a double and three RBI. Travis Buck and Richie Robnett each had a double and three hits. The Ports outfielders have both been hot lately. Buck is hitting .319 and Robnett is hitting .284. Luis Perez and Cameron Coughlan each had two hits.
First baseman Haas Pratt finally made his Ports debut after spending much of the season on the DL. The former Arkansas star went 1-4 with a walk and his first RBI of the year. Pratt spent last season in Vancouver and he hit six homers and drove-in 29 in 59 games.
Cougars Split A Pair
After two days off due to rain, the Kane County Cougars were busy pulling double-duty the last two days. The Cougars swept their double-header on Monday, thanks to two outstanding pitching performances. Kane County got some good pitching again on Tuesday, but were only able to get one win out of their efforts.
The first game of the double-header was a battle of wills, as Kane County and Clinton battled into the tenth inning without scoring a run on either side. The Cougars finally caved in the top of the tenth, as reliever Dan Fyvie got touched up for three runs (two earned). Kane County made a valiant run at tying the game in the bottom of the tenth, but fell a run short, losing the game by a score of 3-2.
Trey Shields started the game and went 6.1 shut-out innings. He struck out four and walked one while scattering six hits. He lowered his ERA to 4.75. Ronald Madej came on in relief and threw 2.2 scoreless innings. He struck out three and walked two. Madej has now worked 14.1 innings without allowing an earned run. He has walked 13 batters, but he has struck out 18.
There wasn't much offense for either team in the first game. Cougar catcher Anthony Recker was the offensive star of the game. He went 3-4 with a run and two doubles, raising his average to .312. Shortstop Justin Sellers collected both of the Cougars' RBIs with a two-out single in the tenth. The RBIs were Sellers eleventh and twelfth of the season.
In the second game, both teams picked up where they left-off in the first game, as each team scored a run in the first. That would be all of the offense for Clinton. Kane County went on to score a run in the second and fourth and two in the third to give them a 5-1 win.
Joe Piekarz got the start and he worked four innings, allowing only one run on three hits. He struck out four and walked none. Newcomer Joe Newby relieved Piekarz and worked two scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season. Newby had been in extended spring training. The 2004 non-drafted free agent spent last season with short-season A Vancouver. Brad Kilby worked the final inning to finish off the game. After a rough start to his season, Kilby has his ERA down to 3.68. He has struck out 17 in 14.2 innings.
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