Salt Lake cruises 9-2 over Portland
The Bees got early offense and solid pitching throughout to roll to a victory in the opener of a four-game series in Portland.
Nick Gorneault, who has been in a season-long slump after a strong showing in major league spring training, connected for his second homer in four games in the third inning. The blast was just his second extra-base hit on the road this year. After collecting one hit in each of his last four games with an official at-bat, Gorneault is hitting .185/.283/.346.
Remaining in the starting rotation for a second appearance, Jonathon Rouwenhorst turned in a strong performance, giving up only one run on three hits over five innings. He struck out a career-high six batters while giving up just one walk. The 27-year-old made seven starts for the Bees last year after working exclusively out of the bullpen for over four years.
Matt Brown finished the Bees’ scoring with a two-run homer in the ninth inning as part of a two-hit night. He now has 16 RBIs, one off the club lead through the season’s first month. The Washington native was back at second base Monday, but has already seen time at first, third and left field as well for the Bees. He hadn’t spent an inning at any position other than third base in four years coming into the season.
Travelers fall short in 8-7 loss
Arkansas rallied for a pair of runs and had the tying run thrown out at the plate in the ninth inning before losing to Wichita and splitting their four game series.
Freddy Sandoval had an RBI double and drove in a second on a fielder’s choice, extending his team-best total to 13 runs batted in on the year. He has been very good at cashing in opportunities this year, hitting .375 with runners on and .471 when they’re in scoring position.
For the second straight outing, starter Chris Saenz was hit hard, giving up five runs – four earned – in just 2.1 innings of work. The 26-year-old righty walked one, hit a batter and unleashed a wild pitch in addition to yielding seven hits. He has allowed 37 men to reach base against him in only 15.1 innings of work this season. Lefties in particular have owned him thus far, reaching base at a .571 clip.
Outfielder Cody Fuller broke out of his 1-for-26 slump with a pair of singles and scored three runs. The righty out of Texas Tech has struggled to convert his athleticism into baseball success, hitting just .143/.218/.163 in 49 at-bats this year.
Rancho downs Oaks 4-3 in 10 innings
The Quakes weren’t pretty in issuing five free passes, committing four errors or grounding into a pair of double plays on the night, but they still managed to avoid a sweep by Visalia with a 4-3 extra-innings victory.
Catcher Ben Johnson, hitting in the cleanup spot for the 13th time this year despite a .239 slugging percentage, knocked in the winning run with a two-out single to right. The 25-year-old catcher also picked up a walk on the night, but still sports just a .183/.247/.239 line through 71 at-bats.
Starter Robert Mosebach made it through the first six innings without surrendering a run, but gave up four straight hits, including a pair of homers, with one out in the seventh to end his night. It was the third time in five starts that the righty has given up at least three runs in an inning. He had given up just one round-tripper through his first 28 innings before allowing two in the course of three batters.
Brad Coon broke out of his first mini-slump of the season, snapping an 0-for-12 skid in the series with his first triple of the season and first professional homer in 209 professional games. The speedy lefty has done most of his damage away from the Epicenter, hitting .386/.426/.456 on the road.
Kernels win 3-2 in extra innings
After giving up a lead in the top of the ninth, the Kernels rebounded for a victory when Julio Perez singled in Stantrel Smith with the winning run in the 12th inning.
Chris Petit continued his strong performance in the Midwest League, smacking a double and his fourth homer. The 22-year-old leads the Kernels with a .348 average and .623 slugging percentage, while his .423 on-base percentage trails only Matt Sweeney.
Lefty Doug Brandt made his second consecutive start and was in line to get the win before Warner Madrigal blew the save for him. Brandt went six innings, by far his longest outing in 21 professional appearances after working exclusively as a reliever until last week. He allowed one earned run on two hits and three walks, finally giving up his first run of the season in his 18th inning of work.
Third baseman Matt Sweeney took full advantage of the extra innings to extend his hitting streak to 17 games to open the year. After going hitless through the first 11 innings, Sweeney singled in the bottom of the 12th for his only safety of the night. The fact that his hit came off a southpaw can no longer by considered a surprise as the 19-year-old lefty now sports a .391/.391/.522 line against hurlers from the same side this year.