Salt Lake opened a four-game series at Tacoma with a convincing win, downing the Rainiers 3-to-0 behind great pitching and some timely two-out offense.
Joe Saunders dominated Tacoma batters for seven innings Thursday night, allowing just one hit while striking out nine. The former first-rounder last limited an opponent to two baserunners in April, 2004 when he was pitching in the California League.
Kendry Morales entered the game with one walk in 75 at-bats, but drew a base-on-balls in back-to-back plate appearances in the middle innings. The aggressive switch-hitter scored on Curtis Pride's first home run of the year in the sixth.
The middle of the lineup, consisting of Morales, Dallas McPherson and Mike Napoli, was supposed to be the strength of the Bees, but after the trio went a combined 1-for-10 on the night, they are hitting just .241 with a .444 slugging percentage.
Travelers' comeback falls short
Trailing 4-to-2 in the eighth inning, Arkansas used a pair of doubles and a walk to pull within one and put the go-ahead run on second base. But, as has frequently happened as they have dropped nine of their last 12 games, their offense couldn't come through in the clutch and the club went on to lose 4-to-3.
Matt Brown had a double and a homer to drive in a pair of runs for the Trav's. Six of his last eight hits have gone for extra bases. Unfortunately, his performance in the field wasn't as impressive as he dropped a foul pop in the third inning and booted a grounder to open the fourth. The second miscue set the table for one of the two unearned runs the Missions scored on the night.
For the second consecutive outing, starter Daniel Davidson pitched effectively over seven innings – and took the loss. On the night, he allowed two earned runs on eight hits and one walk. Although he struck out three and walked only one, his season ratio of 15 K's against 10 walks is concerning.
Quakes drop third straight to Storm
Rancho Cucamonga snapped their 17-inning scoring drought when Matt Pali poked a single to left in the second inning to plate Michael Collins, but it wasn't enough as they fell to Lake Elsinore 6-to-3 to wrap up their four-game series.
Micah Posey, making his second start of the year after beginning the season in the bullpen, extended himself to 5.2 innings of work, allowing just one earned run on four hits and no walks. The lefty fanned the first three batters he faced, but didn't record another strikeout on the night.
Posey was pulled with two outs and nobody on in the sixth when Storm catcher Colt Morton was coming up. In Morton's previous at-bat, he had hit a towering shot foul on the first pitch, then Posey threw one over his head and then drilled him in the hip with the next pitch.
Sean Rodriguez, who entered the game with a six-game hitting streak, was 0-for-4 on the night with three strikeouts. Rodriguez also had a critical error in the eighth to put the eventual winning run on first base.
Freddy Sandoval was out of the lineup – and out of the Epicenter before the first pitch of the game – with pinkeye. The switch-hitting infielder has the infection in both eyes, but is being treated and may be back in the lineup Friday. The team sent him home early in an effort to avoid spreading the infection to anyone else in the clubhouse.
Lugnuts top Cedar Rapids 5-2
The Kernels dropped their fourth straight game Thursday night, once again mustering little offense. They have scored just six runs total during the streak, including only four in their current series against the league-leading pitching staff of the Lansing Lugnuts.
Starter Tommy Mendoza allowed three earned runs in seven innings, striking out five while walking one. It was the fourth quality start for Mendoza in five outings with the Kernels after he posted three in five starts in his debut professional season last year.
Shortstop Hainley Statia was 3-for-4 on the game with a double and run scored. Although the switch-hitter's batting average splits are comparable from either side of the plate, he has all but one of his seven extra-base hits from the right side. Tonight's performance was the 20-year-old from Curacao's first three-hit game of the year.
Catcher Brett Martinez added a pair of hits in the game, including his first extra-base hit of the year. He had back-to-back multiple-hit games for the first time this season.