Sacramento stumbles against Vegas, 5-4
The Bees dropped their third straight game Tuesday, falling to Las Vegas on a night when starter Joe Saunders couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning and the team left 10 runners on base.
Dallas McPherson hit his first homer of the year, launching a two-run shot to right-center on a 2-2 pitch from top Dodger prospect Chad Billingsley. Unfortunately, McPherson also struck out three more times on the night, and now has 15 whiffs in his first six games after a rocky spring training. It’s the second straight year the third baseman has gotten off to a rough start in the PCL.
At the other end of the spectrum, Howie Kendrick continued his torrid start, going 2-for-5 with an RBI on the night. The righty has hit in six games to start the year, with multiple hits in five contests. Despite reaching base 13 times hitting second in the lineup however, Kendrick has scored only two runs.
After earning the win with six effective innings in the Bee’s season opener, Saunders struggled on Tuesday, giving up four earned runs over just 4.2 innings in which he threw 92 pitches. The lefty gave up back-to-back doubles to open the fifth, and surrendered five of his eight hits in the frame.
Matt Wilhite, who took over for Saunders and got out of a two-on, two-out jam, took the loss after surrendering a seventh-inning homer to Delwyn Young. It was his second consecutive outing in which he went at least two innings.
Travelers down Wranglers 7-4
Matthew Brown and Jason Aspito homered in the 10th inning to down Wichita and snap the Trav’s short two-game losing streak. The extra-inning heroics capped of a night when Arkansas came back after spotting the Wranglers a 3-0 lead in the second inning.
Brandon Wood picked up two more doubles and his second homer of the short season Tuesday night on the way to a 4-for-5 night with three runs scored. Through five games, six of his eight hits have gone for extra-bases to prop up a 1.000 slugging percentage.
Mike Eylward, returning to the Texas League for the third straight year, had a double and a triple on the night to take his average up to .450 early on the year. Aspito, who also homered Friday, needed 102 at-bats to get his second homer of the year for the Trav’s last year.
Jesse Smith, a sixth-round pick in 2003, made his first Double-A appearance and gave up four runs in six innings for Arkansas. Smith is trying to reclaim a starting role after moving to the bullpen last year. Rich Thompson got the win with three innings of hitless relief.
Quakes drop second straight to High Desert, 5-2
Sloppy defense and strong opposing pitching cost Rancho Tuesday night as Billy Buckner and Justin Barnes teamed up to strike out 11.
Quakes shortstop Sean Rodriguez, trying to keep up with the top prospects ahead of him in the system, extended his season-opening hitting streak to six games, and now has a .421 average. The 20-year-old out of Miami, Fla., hit only .219 in the second half of last season for Cedar Rapids, but is a good pick for a breakout season in the Cal League this year.
Righty Karl Gelinas took the loss in his first start of the year for Rancho, although only two of the five runs he surrendered in 5.2 innings were earned. In a refrain that should become familiar to Quake fans, Gelinas allowed now walks on the night. Coming into the year, he has issued only 38 free passes in 243.2 innings of work.
Kevin Lynch and Miguel Gonzalez pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief, continuing a strong debut for the righties in the Quakes’ bullpen. The four righthanders have posted a 2.38 ERA for the squad through 11.3 innings.
Rapids blank Peoria 6-0
Thomas Mendoza blanked the Peoria Chiefs over six innings in which he struck out four, leading the Kernels to their second victory of the year. The 18-year-old righty, who was the Angels’ 5th-round pick out of Miami’s Monsignor Pace High School last year, rebounded nicely from a shaky debut in the season opener.
Third baseman Travis Schlichting hit a two-run homer in the sixth, his first of the year, and singled and scored in the eighth to lead the Kernels’ offense. It was his second two-hit performance of the season for his new organization.
For the third time in four games, Patrick Reilly had multiple hits and a stolen base on the night. The 24-year-old out of the University of Arizona, now hitting .471 on the year, has already matched his season total in stolen bases from Orem last year.