Omaha 4 Tucson 3
Key Stats: SS Parrino 3-4, BB, 2R: DH Belnome 2-4, 2RBI
Tucson had several opportunities, but couldn’t get the bit hit Friday night as they stranded 10 runners en route to a 4-3 loss to open their series with the Storm Chasers.
Andy Parrino, hitting in the leadoff slot had a three-hit night, drew a walk and scored twice. The 26-year-old switch hitter has already had four multi-hit games this month and sports a .412 average in August. While he and fellow table-setter Anthony Contreras were on base six times, the middle of the lineup struggled. Matt Clark bounced into two double plays and Sawyer Carroll, hitting behind him, hit one of his own.
Starter Matt Palmer took the loss, although his defense shared in the responsibility. The journeyman righty, coming off a strong showing in his last outing, was charged with four runs, but only two earned, in 5.1 innings. The 33-year-old had given up only four unearned runs this season coming into the game.
San Antonio 3 Springfield 2 (14 innings)
Key Stats: RHP Kelly, 5IP, 1H, 0R, 4K, 1BB; 2B Galvez 2-5, 2BB, 2B; RF Liriano, 2-5, 2BB, OF assist;
With no position players left on his bench, John Gibbons turned to his next-best option late Friday night and sent former catcher now relief pitcher Robert Lara to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded in the 14th. The 25-year-old Floridian came through with a single to right field, giving the Missions a 3-2 win after five hours and a rain delay.
While the win was nice, the biggest news for the Padres organization in the contest was Casey Kelly’s strong return. The only remaining player from the Adrian Gonzalez trade gave up only one hit and a walk in five innings. After impressing in spring training and opening the year in Tucson with two good outings, 22-year-old righty went on the shelf with elbow discomfort. He returned to the mound in the club’s Peoria complex at the end of July for three games before being assigned to the Missions for last night’s start.
Rymer Liriano slid into the three-hole in the Missions lineup for the first time and continued his recent tear. The righty slugger went 2-for-5 and walked twice to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. For August, he owns a .472/.548/.639 line. Fellow 21-year-old Dominican Jonathan Galvez also reached base four times with two singles and a pair of walks. After a brief cool stretch in early July, he’s back to a .325 average, which would be good for the league lead if he had enough at-bats to qualify.
Lake Elsinore 13 Rancho Cucamonga 1
Key Stats: 1B Medica 3-5, 2B, HR; CF Noel 2-3, 2BB, 2SB (79), 2R; SS Bisson 3-5, 2B, BB; RHP Andriese 6IP, 4H, 1ER, 7K, 1BB
Elsinore scored early and often as they pounded the Quakes for a 13-1 romp at the Epicenter. Every Storm starter either scored or drove in a run in the game, and Matt Andriese tossed an impressive six innings to pick up the win.
In the first inning, Chris Bisson singled, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, moved to third on a wild pitch and then came in on an error. From there, things really got rolling. In the second, Luis Domoromo blasted a two-run homer, his fourth of the year. The club added another run on a fielder’s choice before Rico Noel swiped home on the front-end of a double steal with Corey Spangenberg. They added three more in both the third and sixth innings then tallied one each in the final two frames to cap off the scoring.
Bisson, who turns 23 this week, has been on fire since moving into the leadoff slot. The left-handed hitting shortstop went 3-for-5 with a walk and has hit in 10 of his last 11 games to rack up a .415/.442/.585 line in August. On the year, he has a fairly strong reverse split, hitting .337 against southpaws but only .275 against righties.
Starter Matt Andriese turned in another strong outing despite facing the same Rancho lineup for the fourth time in his last five appearances. The Riverside county native gave up just four hits and a run over six innings while his offense exploded. While Andriese is approaching his innings cap for the year, he is making a final push to get his ERA under 3.00. Impressively, he has only allowed six home runs in 124.2 innings in the Cal League and has almost a 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Fort Wayne 9 Western Michigan 3
Key Stats: RF Asencio 3-4, 2B, 3RBI; 1B Orr 1-3, HR, BB; 3B Jones 1-4, HR; SS Peterson 2-4, 2B; RHP Needy 5IP, 3H, 1ER, 7K, 1BB
James Needy was stellar in his first start of the year and the TinCaps offense gave him plenty of breathing room as Fort Wayne cruised to a 9-3 victory and a series win over the Whitecaps.
Needy, a sixth-round pick from Santana High in 2009, earned the victory as he breezed through five innings. The big righty missed all of 2010 with knee and arm injuries then scuffled in 2011. But this year, Needy has been dominant out of the bullpen, working to a 1.74 ERA over 67 innings. The club started stretching him out in his last two appearances before moving him into the rotation. He could get three or four more starts before the end of the year and has a strong case for a rotation spot in Elsinore next year.
Mike Gallic continued his strong second half, going 2-for-3 with a walk. The athletic outfielder from Marist missed a few weeks with a hamstring injury in June and was still hampered by it when he got back into action. But now, the 23-year-old has pushed his season line to 309/357/415. He got picked off after a first-inning single Friday night, snapping his perfect 18-for-18 on stolen base attempts for the year.
Eugene 6 Yakima 3
Key Stats: CF Martinez 3-5, 2 2B, CS; RHP Hancock 5IP, 5H, 1ER, 1K, 3BB; LHP Nunn 2IP, 1H, 2K
Justin Hancock picked up his fourth victory of the year as he worked five innings and allowed only one run despite giving up five hits and three walks. The righty, who struggled when he was jumped to the Midwest League to open the season, has rebounded nicely in Eugene, posting a 1.64 ERA over 55 inning. The Ohio native has struck out 50 against only 17 walks in the Northwest League.
Chris Nunn’s improbable professional debut continued as he tallied two more scoreless innings. The tall lefty out of Lipscomb University in Tennessee, has not surrendered a run in 23 innings for the Ems and has 32 strikeouts against only 10 hits allowed. When opponents do put the bat on the ball, they’re generally pounding it into the ground, to the tune of more than six groundouts for every air out so far.
At the plate, Alberth Martinez paced the club with a 3-for-5 night that included a pair of doubles. After a great showing in the rookie league last year, Martinez faltered in an early season promotion to Ft. Wayne. Since returning to Eugene, he is starting to get untracked, hitting .303 with a .455 slugging percentage in August.
AZL Mariners 7 Padres 4
Key Stats: 3B Quintana 2-4, HR, 3RBI, 2E; LF Charles 2-4
After three straight scoreless outings, supplemental draft pick Walker Weickel gave up three earned runs on three hits and a pair of walks in 1.2 innings of work as he continues to move through his limited innings in his professional debut. Fellow high school picks Corey Kimber (0.1 innings) and Walker Lockett (2 innings, 1 earned run) followed him in a losing effort.
Third baseman Gabriel Quintana hit his team-leading fifth homer, but also committed two more errors to bring his season total to 17.