Saunders equals Weaver in topping New Orleans
For the second time in three games, a Salt Lake pitcher dominated the Zephyrs while the offense cruised for an 8-0 victory.
Joe Saunders, matching Jered Weaver’s performance from Monday night, threw his first complete game of the season, shutting out New Orleans on just six hits while he struck out nine. For the second outing in a row, the lefty didn’t walk a batter. Saunders has given up just three runs over 25 innings over his last three games, lowering his ERA to 2.89 on the season. Even though four of the Zephyrs’ knocks came from the right side, he continues to have strong success against righties, who have hit just .219 this year.
Reggie Willits, who has been leading off for the Bees since Erick Aybar’s promotion to the big leagues, reached base four times in the game, raising his season on-base percentage to .391. The switch-hitter scored three times, moving him into the top five in the PCL, although he was also caught stealing for the sixth time in 19 attempts on the year.
Starting at shortstop for the seventh time this year, Casey Smith had three hits including a two-RBI double. He also swiped a base for the second consecutive day, positioning himself to score his first of two runs in the game. The utilityman has shined at Franklin Covey Field, hitting .367 at home this season.
Arkansas swept out of Frisco
Continuing a brutal stretch in which they have lost 14 of 16 games, the Travelers dropped Wednesday’s contest 5-4 on a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth.
Brandon Wood was the teams lone bright spot, coming up a triple short of the cycle. The shortstop drove in three with a third-inning home run, but the team couldn’t bring him around after either of his other hits. Today’s game was the first in two weeks when the slugger had multiple hits.
Reliever Bill Edwards took the loss when, for just the third time this season, he came out for a third inning of work. After yielding a single and hitting a batter, he gave way to Rich Thompson who allowed the game-ending single. Edwards has now hit three batters to go along with 15 walks in 25.2 innings of work.
Devin Day, appearing in the nine hole, had just his second multi-hit game for the Travs, Appearing in left field for the first time on the season, the right-handed hitter scored a pair of runs.
Quakes silence High Desert’s bats
Working in one of the most challenging pitchers parks anywhere in the minor leagues, Nick Green had no problem at all, leading Rancho Cucamonga to an 8-1 victory.
Green turned in his best start as a pro, allowing just one run on four hits over nine innings. While he walked one, he struck out a season-high nine batters. He has now yielded two or fewer runs in eight of his 10 starts, including three straight. After struggling with control earlier in the month, he now has moved his strikeout-to-walk ration to 52-18.
Sean Rodriguez hit the first of three Quake homers on the night with a solo shot in the first inning. The blast was just his second hit in a week, though he has drawn eight walks in the span. The shortstop had just five walks in his first 36 games.
Ben Johnson had a two-run homer in the sixth to extend his nascent four-game hitting streak. Although it was his first round-tripper of the month, he has put up a .291 average in May including seven doubles and a triple.
Cedar Rapids had the night off before opening a series at Quad Cities Thursday night.