After giving up a three-run lead over the seventh and eight innings, Salt Lake came back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to hold off Sacramento and extend their division lead to three and a half games. The Bees got contributions from three players who opened the year in the majors.
While the club lost third baseman Brandon Wood to the big club, they also got rehabbing leadoff man Chone Figgins. The speedster went 1-for-4 with a walk and RBI in his first contest back since breaking his fingers in spring training. Figgins will spend the weekend with Salt Lake before the Angels hope to activate him on Monday.
Joe Saunders made his first start since being optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Bartolo Colon in the majors. The 25-year-old lefty, who overcame a 1.58 WHIP with the Angels to allow just a 1.98 ERA, allowed three runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings of work. He surrendered just one on three hits through the first six innings, but gave up three straight two-out singles before giving way in the seventh.
As he did in his debut Tuesday, centerfielder Tommy Murphy collected a pair of hits –one for extra bases – from the three hole for the Bees. The switch-hitter had only two at-bats for the Angels in three weeks before getting returned to Salt Lake to get regular action.
Arkansas blanks Drillers 7-0
The Travs got a masterful pitching performance from Nick Green and some early offense to salvage a win in the finale of their series with Tulsa.
Green, one start removed from his worst career outing, delivered his best professional performance Thursday, giving up just one soft single to right and a walk over seven innings. The righty, who gave up two hits in eight innings for Rancho in a start last season, struck out five on the night. For the year, Green is holding right-handed opponents to a .125/.160/.146 line.
Second baseman Adam Morrissey collected his third three-hit game of the year, coming up a triple short of the cycle. The Australian scored three more runs in the game and is now tied for third in the Texas League. Morrissey, who was playing in his 322nd career Texas League contest, also swiped his second base of the year
Sean Rodriguez celebrated his 22nd birthday with a 2-for-3 night and a pair of walks. The shortstop scored one run and drove in one. Rodriguez is tied for third on the circuit with a .443 on-base percentage. After a big jump in his strikeout totals and decrease in his walk rate last season, Rodriguez is now back on a more balanced pace with 10 bases on balls against 16 whiffs in 19 games this season.
Quakes fall to High Desert in 16 innings
Rancho Cucamonga went 10 innings without scoring Thursday night, and still had an opportunity to win the game, but couldn't as the Mavericks outlasted them in a four-hour marathon contest.
Brok Butcher started and blanked the Mavs for seven innings, giving up just seven singles and a walk while striking out six. The righty from Camarillo, originally a 25th-round pick out of Santa Barbara College in 2005, now sports a 0.99 ERA over 27.1 innings this season. Opponents are hitting just .235 against him and that mark drops to .100 with men in scoring position.
Francisco Rodriguez posted a very unlikely line in relief, getting charged with a blown save while working 5.2 innings. After giving up the game-tying run in the eighth, the righty retired 11 straight Mavericks and whiffed eight before giving way with a runner on in the 13th. Rodriguez has gone at least three innings in all but one of his six appearances this season and he's struck out 17 over 19 frames.
Quakes hitters struck out 17 times on the night while drawing only two walks. They now have 195 Ks on the year, nearly 20 ahead of the second-highest total in the Cal League, while their 57 walks are one off Modesto's league-worst count. Anderson Rosario added one more whiff in Thursday's game and now has 21 – against no walks – 33 at-bats. He is hitting just .061 on the year.
Cedar Rapids postponed again
The Kernels couldn't get their game in Thursday because of wet conditions on the field. They will play a double-header against Lansing Friday night.