It appears Fresno has finally found the Bees' number, handing them their third straight loss after Salt Lake had taken 10 of the first 12 games in the season series. The clubs will play one more contest Friday.
Starter Steve Shell was saddled with his sixth loss in his last seven decisions, giving up five runs – four earned – in six innings of work. Fresno jumped on the righty for nine hits, including five for extra bases as Shell gave up one walk and hit a batter. Since July 1, Shell has an 11.54 ERA, giving up at least four runs in each of eight starts.
Tommy Murphy and Mike Eylward had back-to-back solo homers in the fourth inning to put the Bees ahead briefly. Murphy has gone yard in back-to-back games after not collecting any homers through his first 110 at-bats in Franklin Covey Field this year. His .343 average away from his hitter-friendly home park is the best on the roster.
Midland strikes early for 11-3 win over Travelers (Oakland)
The RockHounds put up five runs in the top of the first and never looked back in handing Arkansas their sixth lost in the last seven games.
Christopher Hunter's disastrous season continued as he was jumped for seven runs in just 3.1 innings of work. The righty mixed in five walks and a wild pitch among the seven hits allowed, pushing his ERA up to a league-worst 6.95. It was the third time in his last seven starts, and fourth overall in 21 games, that he has allowed seven runs, with all of those contests coming at Ray Winder Field, where he now sports a 10.54 mark in 41 innings. His twelve losses leads the Texas League, one ahead of teammate Jesse Smith.
Sean Rodriguez continued his fast start at Double-A. In his second appearance since moving up to replace Brandon Wood, who is with Team USA, Rodriguez again picked up a pair of hits in three at-bats, scoring a pair. He has reached in five of his first seven plate appearances, but he has had a pair of lapses on the bases, getting picked off second on Wednesday and then caught stealing Thursday. He was successful in 15 of 18 attempts for the Quakes.
Rancho cruises past Lancaster 8-2 (Arizona)
The Quakes used a 15-hit attack to top the division leaders and snap a three-game losing streak. They are now 8-9 against the JetHawks on the year.
Francisco Rodriguez won back-to-back starts for the first time all year, posting seven innings of two run work. The right-hander from Mexico now has six quality starts in his last nine appearances, posting a 4.71 ERA over that span. He yielded six hits – three for extra bases – but didn't walk anyone and struck out five. Thursday's start was the first time in nearly three months that he did not allow a base on balls.
Hainley Statia, making his second start since moving up to replace Sean Rodriguez, had a pair of hits in the two hole, driving in one and scoring another run. In 111 games in the Midwest League, Statia led the Kernels with a .297 average and scored 68 runs. He swiped 23 bags (although he was caught 15 times) and drew 52 walks against just 54 strikeouts. He led off in his debut for the Quakes Wednesday, but is a much better fit for the second spot in the lineup.
Cedar Rapids get past Clinton 9-4 (Texas)
On a night when seven different Kernels hitters had multiple hits, Tommy Mendoza was good enough to earn his 10th win of the season and help the club to a series split against the LumberKings.
Mendoza allowed four runs on seven hits, even though he failed to get a quality start for just the fourth time in more than three months. The hard-throwing righty was a bit erratic, walking three after not issuing a free pass in 18 innings coming in, but induced three double plays to help stay out of too much trouble.
Right fielder Anderson Rosario had a double and triple on the night, coming around to score twice, but was unable to convert with runners in scoring position, picking up two of his three strikeouts on the night to end scoring threats. That split is nothing new for the 21-year-old. With the bases empty, he is hitting a robust .352 with 10 extra-base hits in 54 at-bats, but he has just a .184 average with men on base.
Mustangs rally to 8-7 win over Orem (Cincinnati)
A four-run seventh inning did in the Owlz as they dropped their second straight in a showdown between the league's top two teams. Both clubs won their divisions in the first half and hold a two game lead in the second half.
Left-handed reliever P.J. Connelly made his longest appearance of the year, tossing four innings of one-hit baseball after Bobby Cassevah was chased early in the game. Connelly, a product of East Carolina University who signed out of the independent leagues, owns a 3.71 overall ERA, but has handled right-handed hitting much better than the lefties he's supposed to get out, holding them to a .209 average against.
Peter Bourjos collected his second homer of the month – and the season – with a solo shot to left in the seventh inning, giving the Owlz their biggest lead of the game at 7-4. The center fielder from Phoenix has settled nicely into the second spot in the lineup in his first professional debut, but like many young hitters needs to work on his strike zone judgment and pitch recognition. The right-handed hitter has 57 strikeouts against 16 walks in 205 at-bats.
AZL Angels do rout Brewers 16-2
The Angels continued an impressive run Thursday, pounding out 19 hits on the way to their fourth straight win and sole possession of first place in the Arizona League. They are now 13-5 in the second half of the season, good for a one game lead in the nine team circuit.
Right fielder Norberto Ortiz came up a single shy of hitting for the cycle, driving an inside-the-park home run in the first, a double in the second and triple in the sixth. The 21-year-old collected a season-high five runs batted in as he extended his hitting streak to five games. Although he has been a much greater threat against lefties all year, his damage on Thursday came off a pair of right-handed hurlers to extend his average in August to .348. He also had a good day in the field, picking up his eighth assist of the year when he threw out a runner at the plate.
Both of the organization's pitching experiments appeared in the game, posting identical one-inning lines with one hit and a strikeout. Travis Schlichting, converting from playing third base, has now appeared in three contests in the rookie league, striking out four and giving up two hits in 3.1 scoreless innings. Things haven't gone as well for former right fielder Warner Madrigal. While getting much more work, primarily as a late-inning reliever, the 22-year-old from the Dominican has a 5.63 ERA and a .313 average against, though he has held the opponent scoreless in five of his eight appearances. Impressively, he has only walked a pair and just one of the hits he has surrendered went for extra bases.