Smith debuts strong, Wood connects again

Jesse Smith gave the Salt Lake pitching staff a much-needed boost with seven strong innings in his debut. Rafael Rodriguez puts it together for the Travs while Nick Adenhart struggles in the Cal League. Wildness costs Hawkins in Cedar Rapids and Missoula proves Sean O'Sullivan is mortal, but we're not so sure about Matt Sweeney just yet.

Salt Lake beats Fresno 2-1 (Giants)
A solo shot by Darren Blakely in the top of the 10th inning clinched an extra-innings victory for the Bees and gave them their eighth win over the Grizzlies in 10 contests this season.

Right-hander Jesse Smith, who was called up from Arkansas earlier in the day, gave up just one unearned run over seven innings, yielding just four hits while striking out five. Including his Triple-A debut, Smith has a 2.67 ERA during games when he did not walk a batter, nearly a run and a half better than his overall season numbers. Even if Joe Saunders and Dustin Moseley do not make a return to the major leagues, it appears Smith will stay in the Salt Lake rotation.

A night after he drove in the winning run in his first game back from the majors, shortstop Erick Aybar tied the game in the top of the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly on Tuesday. For the second straight night – and the second time all year – Aybar was in the third spot in the Bees lineup.

Dallas McPherson was 0-for-3 with a walk while playing first base for the Bees. He had one error when a throw from second base got past him.

Travs get rare win over Tulsa, 7-2 (Rockies)
Arkansas, which had lost 13 of their 19 contests with the Drillers coming into their current series, got a strong performance from starter Rafael Rodriguez and scored six runs over the last half of the game to cruise to a victory Tuesday.

Rodriguez allowed just two runs on six hits over seven innings to claim his second straight victory – both against Tulsa – for the first time this year. Though he struck out just one batter, he didn't walk anyone for just the second time all year. While his teammates have struggled against the Drillers, Rodriguez is now 3-1 against the Rockies farmhands against them, but just 1-4 with an ERA over eight against the rest of the league.

Brandon Wood led the offense with a 3-for-4 performance which included his 20th home run of the season. The slugger drove in a pair and also drew his 13th walk in 17 games this month. With three doubles and the homer among his last seven hits, he now leads the minor leagues with 56 extra-base hits on the season.

No safe harbor in Rancho's 8-4 loss to Ports (A's)
Nick Adenhart hit a wall in the seventh inning as the Ports put up a five-spot to clinch a win over the Quakes.

Adenhart, who fell to 2 and 1 in the Cal League, matched his season high by giving up nine hits over 6.2 innings of work. The righty was charged with all eight Stockton runs – seven earned – although two crossed the plate after he handed the ball over to the Quakes bullpen. In four starts since his promotion from Cedar Rapids, Adenhart has a 5.23 ERA and opponents are hitting .272 against him.

Nate Sutton's stunning hot streak continued as he launched a two-run homer in the third inning and went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored on the day. The reigning Cal League Player of the Week is now hitting .397 in July, has hit in nine of 10 games, and has more homers this month than he had previously in his entire two-year career.

Cedar Rapids falls to SW Michigan 9-3 (Devil Rays)
The Rays put up back-to-back three run innings and cruised to a victory over the Kernels to split their four-game series.

Reliever Dan Hawkins, who came on after Anthony Ortega surrendered four earned runs in four innings, fell victim to his own wildness. The 23-year-old righty forced in three runs win a hit batter and two walks with the bases loaded. In total, he allowed just one hit in two thirds of an inning of work, but three walks and two hit batters was enough to chase him. He was spared further damage when Chris Howell got an out to end the inning and strand all three inherited runners. Since being sent back down from Rancho, Hawkins has allowed six runs in 5.1 innings, walking eight.

Jordan Renz knocked his team-leading 16th home run for the Kernels and was the only member of the squad with more than one hit. The blast was just his second of the month as he continues to slump with a .173 average over his last 34 games. The big righty from Oklahoma also struck out two more times and trails only Wood in the system with 112 on the season.

Owlz drop wild one to Missoula 9-8 (Diamondbacks)
While the Ospreys gave them a free run to tie the game in the top of the ninth with two errors, Orem couldn't push the winning run across and then lost when Missoula got a lead-off, walk-off homer in the 10th.

Starter Sean O'Sullivan had his first rough outing as a professional, giving up four earned runs on eight hits over five innings. Even with the struggles, he didn't walk a batter and struck out four and now has allowed just two free passes – against 20 strikeouts – in 21 innings of work. Including a three run homer he surrendered Tuesday, O'Sullivan has allowed just four extra-base hits in his five starts.

Even with his struggles, O'Sullivan was in position to win the game when he left, but Felipe Arredondo was tagged for two homers and three runs in the eighth inning for his second blown save in three appearances. The righty from Mexico has now allowed a run in his last three appearances after giving up just one in his first 14 innings of work. He nonetheless continues to rack up strikeouts and now has 29 in 18.1 innings of work, good for fourth overall in the league.

PJ Phillips pushed his nascent hitting streak to five games with a pair of singles on the night. The infielder, who has played at second short and third so far this season, also swiped his sixth base in his last 10 games and now is tied for third in the league with eight overall. The Atlanta-area native avoided a strikeout for the second time in three games, but still has 20 in 70 at-bats this month.

AZL Angels down Cubs 8-6
Although three straight relievers blew a save for the Angels, their offense came back one more time to earn the club's third straight victory.

Starter Esmerlin Jimenez continued his strong work in the desert, throwing three innings of one-hit ball. After getting knocked around in his stateside debut, he has allowed just four runs over the last 24 innings of work, striking out 19 along the way. The 21-year-old from the Dominican has allowed a .244 average against since his first start of the year.

Matt Sweeney continued his tear through the desert, going 3-for-4 with a run scored and RBI. He has now hit safely in five straight, going 11-for-21 in that span, and sports a .395 average on the season. He continues to show good discipline at the plate as well and now has nine walks against seven strikeouts in 43 at-bats.

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