And now, a reminder that no matter who’s on your schedule, you still have to go out and play the games. M’s fans were pretty happy having three games with San Diego while the A’s had three with the Giants, but after the dust had settled this weekend, the Mariners lost two of three while the Athletics won two of three. Don’t look now, but Oakland has won eight of their last nine and is only 5 1/2 games back.
Minor League Highlights for Saturday, June 21
New Orleans 7, Tacoma 4. LF Jalal Leach and RF Kenny Kelly each homered for the Rainiers, but it wasn’t enough to lead them to victory as LHP Matt Thornton was hit hard again (4 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K), falling to 0-2 with an 8.00 ERA since being promoted from San Antonio. Outside of Leach and Kelly’s homers, the only bright spot for Tacoma was the relief pitching of RHP Aaron Looper (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K).
Midland 4, San Antonio 1. RHP Chris Wright, back in the starting rotation after the promotions of LHP Matt Thornton and RHP Rett Johnson, was hurt by his defense and allowed three unearned runs. SS Jose Lopez, 1B A.J. Zapp and 3B Rob Gandolfo each made errors behind Thornton (5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). Offensively, the Missions out-hit Midland 9-8 but were only able to score once. 2B Jay Pecci, thriving since his demotion from Tacoma, and DH Chris Snelling each had a pair of hits.
Inland Empire 4, High Desert 1. The 66ers rallied for a late victory, scoring three runs in the 8th and one more in the 9th to make a winner of LHP Ryan Ketchner (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) in relief of RHP Cha Seung Baek (4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). DH Blake Bone and C Luis Oliveros each had a pair of hits, with Bone driving in two runs . RHP Enmanuel Ulloa (1/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K) struck out the final batter of the game to pick up his first save of the year.
Wisconsin 7, Burlington 1. CF T.J. Bohn and C Rene Rivera each hit two-run homers, as the Timber Rattlers took a 6-0 lead after three innings and never looked back. RHP Tanner Watson picked up the win with his first complete game of the year (9 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K), improving his record to 2-3. DH Carlos Arroyo and 3B Matt Hagen each doubled twice, and SS Michael Garciaparra had a pair of singles.
Vancouver 4, Everett 3. Despite seven hits and eight walks, the AquaSox managed just three runs thanks to stranded 11 runners. RHP Randall Frye, the M’s 4th round draft pick in 2002 making his season debut, started for Everett but wasn’t around for the decision (5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K). Offensively, SS Luis Cordova had a pair of singles and LF Josh Ellison scored twice.
Minor League Highlights for Friday, June 20
Tacoma 7, Memphis 2. RHP Rett Johnson (7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) was shaky early, but settled down and didn’t allow a hit after the 3rd inning to win his AAA debut. The Rainiers pounded out 14 hits in support of Johnson, with 2B Mickey Lopez leading the way with a 3-5 night. DH Greg Colbrunn, LF Jalal Leach and SS Ruben Castillo each added a pair of hits, and Leach, 3B Luis Figueroa and 1B J.R. Phillips each drove in a pair of runs.
Midland 6, San Antonio 4. Midland jumped on LHP Travis Blackely (5 1/3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 6 K) for a run in the 1st and four more in the 2nd, dropping the young Australian to 9-3 on the season. Offensively the Missions were led by LF Mike Curry, who went 2-3 with a double, two runs scored and a run driven in. RF Elpidio Guzman also had a pair of hits in three at-bats and scored once.
Inland Empire 17, High Desert 2. The 66ers exploded for 17 runs on 16 hits, scoring in all but the 1st and 2nd innings. All that offense was more than enough for LHP Troy Cate (8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K), who has pitched much better than his 3-7 record. Seven players — CF Dustin Delucchi, 3B Hunter Brown, 1B JOhn Castellano, LF Greg Jacobs, DH Cristian Guerrero, 2B Evel Bastida-Martinez and C Luis Oliveros — had two hits each. The 66ers hit seven homers in the game, including two each for Brown and Jacobs.
Burlington 9, Wisconsin 2. LHP Cesar Jimenez (2 1/3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K) allowed six runs in the first inning, as Burlington pounded out 16 hits and limited the Timber Rattlers to just five. 3B Matt Hagen provided most of the offense, scoring both the team’s runs and going 2-2 with a homer, a walk and a run batted in.
Everett 4, Vancouver 3. LHP Beau Hintz, who posted an 8.39 ERA at Wisconsin this year, found the Northwest League more to his liking and picked up the win (6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) in his first start with the AquaSox. C Brian Lentz had two hits and scored twice, and CF Josh Womack drove in a pair of runs with a triple.