Fresno tops Sidewinders 10-4
The Grizzlies got homers from Nate Schierholtz and Eliezer Alfonzo and some generosity from the Tucson defense en route to their third straight victory at home to open the season.
With a 3-for-4 line in the game, Schierholtz not only paced the Fresno offense, but he doubled his offensive output for the season. After starting out hitting just .176 in the early going and missing the Tacoma series with a nagging injury, Schierholtz drove in four in the game and scored a pair as well. The left-handed hitter now has all six of his hits against right-handed pitching, but has gone oh-for against southpaws.
Nick Pereira picked up his first win of the year, giving up three runs, but only one earned, over five choppy innings. The righty from Cupertino walked four, hit a batter and tossed a wild pitch, putting at least two men on in four of his five frames of work. After failing to record a strikeout in his first start, Pereira, 25, picked up four K’s against the Sidewinders.
Working multiple frames for the first time this year, Jesse Foppert whiffed a pair in two scoreless innings. The righty struck out a pair, but issued two more walks. While he has yet to surrender a hit, he has put five men on for free in three appearances and has thrown just 53 percent of his pitches for strikes. Even before his injury problems began in 2004, the 27-year-old hurler sometimes struggled with command, but he has tallied 75 free passes in 92 innings since the start of the 2005 season.
Defenders fall 5-4 in New Hampshire
After Connecticut got a rare offensive outburst to plate a pair and tie the game in the top of the ninth, they had an even rarer slip-up by a reliever as Justin Hedrick allowed the Fisher Cats to rally for a win in the bottom of the frame.
Despite a lineup that features seven regulars with an average below .215, Connecticut got on the board first when Adam Witter followed a pair of walks with a double to right to plate both runners. While the catcher has just five hits on the season, four have gone for extra bases and he now owns seven RBIs through nine contests. Behind the plate, his struggles continued as he was tagged with his sixth passed ball of the year, putting him on pace to exceed the 18 he amassed in 66 games behind the plate for San Jose last season.
First baseman Travis Ishikawa continued to show signs of life. After starting the weekend with a .143 average and just one extra-base hit, the 24-year-old first baseman went 2-for-5 for his second multi-hit contest in the series. After picking up a pair of RBIs on a bases-loaded single in the ninth, he has driven in at least one run in three straight contests
Hedrick was tagged with his first loss of the year after opening the ninth with a walk. A pair of singles sandwiched around a botched sacrifice bunt attempt resulted in Hedrick’s third earned run surrendered in 6.1 innings of work on the year. Fellow right-handed reliever Ryan Sadowski also gave up an earned run in the contest, raising the bullpen’s ERA to a still-stellar 1.66 mark on the year.
Giants blow out Bakersfield, 11-1
San Jose collected 18 hits on their way to a third consecutive victory over the Blaze and have now downed the Rangers’ affiliate in seven of eight contests on the young season.
Catcher Pablo Sandoval continued his torrid start, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. The 21-year-old, who returned to the lineup Saturday after missing four contests with a sore wrist, has hit in each of his six games this season and has four three-hit lines already. The switch-hitter didn’t heat up until June last season, but is hitting .560 with seven extra-base hits through his first 25 at-bats this season.
Outfielder Dom Duggan enjoyed his first game after a promotion from extended spring training, going 2-for-2 with a double and RBI after replacing Bobby Felmy in the sixth inning. Brought up to replace the injured Mooney, Duggan was seeing his first competition above Arizona since signing as a 32nd-round pick last season. Another undersized outfielder in the organization, Duggan is listed at 5’9” 185.
Clayton Tanner continued his strong showing, giving up just one unearned run over five innings of work. Through 17 frames this year, he has yielded just 10 hits and no earned runs. After matching a career-best with nine strikeouts in his last outing, he whiffed three without issuing a free pass in his second matchup with the Blaze. Each of the four righties in the Bakersfield lineup got at least one hit against Tanner in the game, doubling the damage during his first two contests. Even with those hits, righties’ average against him is just .175 in 40 at-bats.
GreenJackets down Lexington 10-4
Augusta bunched their offense together, putting up three in the first and five runs for their largest inning of the year in the seventh to cruise to a third straight victory over the Legends.
Angel Villalona, in the lineup at first base for the fourth straight contest, made his first homer of the season a memorable one, lining a grand slam to left to put the Jackets ahead. The 17-year-old slugger also mashed a double in his second straight two-hit performance, raising his average through 29 at-bats to .310.
Second baseman Nick Noonan extended his hitting streak to eight games with three more singles in the contest. Still just 18 years old, the Southern Californian now owns a .326 average, but has struck out 10 times with no walks in 44 plate appearances. Four of his five extra-base hits have come in the current series in Lexington.
Joe Paterson continued his strong work out of the bullpen, adding two more scoreless innings to his tally. After yielding one earned run in his first appearance, the lefty out of Oregon State has given up just two hits over seven innings while striking out eight.