Salt Lake tops Tucson 7-2
Three homers at the plate and solid pitching put the Bees back in the win column at home Tuesday.
Nathan Haynes, back in the leadoff spot after missing two straight, clubbed his first homer of the year and drove in three runs. The diminutive speedster has now driven in seven runs already this year, a total it took him 17 games to reach last season.
Starter Kasey Olenberger, 29, surrendered just two runs in seven innings to pick up the win in his first appearance of the year. The righty allowed nine hits and one walk while striking out a pair. Success didn’t come often at Franklin Covey Field last year for Olenberger, who posted a 6.70 ERA at home, more than two and a half points higher than his mark on the road.
Terry Evans and Brandon Wood each collected their second homers of the season. For Evans, hitting in the sixth hole Tuesday, the blast was the second in two days.
Travelers split with Midland 9-1, 4-5
After dominating the RockHounds in game one, Arkansas couldn’t put things together in the seven-inning nightcap as the clubs split their match-up. The Travs will finally head home to open their new ballpark on Thursday.
Second baseman Adam Morrissey continued his hot start, picking up his first homer while going 2-for-3 and scoring three runs in game one, then coming back with a single and RBI in game two. The 25-year-old righty has spent parts of the last four seasons in the Texas League in the Rangers and A’s systems, posting a career-best .313 in 208 at-bats for Frisco last year before struggling in the PCL. The Australian, who originally signed with the Cubs in 1999, was signed to help fill an organizational need this offseason.
After hitting third through the season’s first four contests, shortstop Sean Rodriguez shifted to the five hole. The change didn’t seem to have any impact as he came up a triple shy of the cycle with three RBIs in the afternoon then came back 1-for-2 with a walk later. After going 0-for-4 in the season opener, Rodriguez, 21, has been on base at least twice in every contest and he now has six extra-base hits in 21 at-bats.
Jesse Smith, 26, turned in a strong season debut, going six shutout innings in game one and giving up just three hits and no walks. The righty had only three scoreless outings in 27 starts for the Travs last season and walked four or more hitters seven times.
Quakes get another big-league win 4-2
Relying on 5.2 innings from Bartolo Colon in his second – and likely final – rehab appearance in the Cal League, Rancho moved to 5-1 on the season by downing the Dodgers’ farmhands at Inland Empire for the second night in a row.
Colon allowed five hits and a pair of earned runs, but walked none and struck out five for the Quakes. His only significant trouble came in the fourth when he gave up a pair of doubles to open the frame and then a one-out single to plate the second run. He came back to end it with a pair of strikeouts. He retired the final seven batters he faced before giving way to Brok Butcher after reaching his 75 pitch limit.
For the second consecutive Colon start, Butcher followed him out of the pen and looked great, The 23-year-old righty went 3.1 innings of scoreless work to extend his run to 7.1 frames to start the year. Working at three different levels last year – primarily at Cedar Rapids - the 2005 draft pick posted a 3.75 ERA in 81.2 innings. He will move into the starting rotation once Colon and Weaver have left.
Hainley Statia was again in the middle of the Quakes’ scoring, doubling in a run and scoring in the first inning. He came back with another double to center in the second and now sports a .400/.400/.520 line through the season’s first six games. After struggling against lefties last year, the switch-hitter is now 3-for-7 after the two hits Tuesday.
Defense abandons Cedar Rapids in 6-0 loss
The Kernels committed four errors in the field and several more on the basepaths Tuesday on the way to splitting their two-game series with Quad Cities.
Kernels starter Sean O’Sullivan gave up a pair of homers among the four hits he allowed in six innings of work, matching the total he allowed in the entire 2006 season. 15 of the 22 balls put in play against O’Sullivan were on the ground, and two more were popped up to the infield. Last season, the sinkerball pitcher had a 3-to-2 ground ball to fly ball ratio.
Third baseman Matt Sweeney’s double in the fourth inning was his second hit of the game, making him the club’s only hitter with multiple hits or an extra-base hit. Forthy percent of his hits went for extra bases last season. Sweeney was unable to take advantage of reaching base on Tuesday however, getting picked off after a single in the first and then thrown out at third on a strange 6-3-5 double play after his double.
Ryan Mount, making the transition to second base this year, committed his first error at the position to set up one of the Swing’s two unearned runs. After playing primarily at shortstop in his first two professional seasons, he and PJ Phillips are both shifting over to accommodate Sweeney in the field. Mount has started the year 0-for-8 at the plate.