Grizzlies roll over Tucson, 10-2
Fresno never trailed on Sunday, putting up a pair of runs in the first and keeping it up through the rest of the contest as the club put up their fifth victory in six chances against the Sidewinders.
Continuing his recent assault, catcher Eliezer Alfonzo drove in three runs as part of a 3-for-5 game which included a homer and double. The right-handed hitter has connected for seven extra-base hits in his last six contests, more than doubling his season slugging percentage to .725. The 29-year-old put up 15 homers and ten more doubles in just 191 at-bats in his winter league assignment in Venezuela, but could not translate that at the big-league level in spring training.
Centerfielder Clay Timpner added three hits and scored a pair of runs for the second straight game. The 24-year-old had been just 3-for 22 since returning from a brief call-up to the majors before arriving in Tucson this weekend, but has raised his average 88 points in the desert after getting a day off on Friday. The left-handed hitter, who the Giants took in the fourth round of the 2004 draft, continues to do all of his damage against right-handed pitching. Timpner is just 1-for-11 against southpaws this season and sports a .147 average since the start of the 2006 season.
Nate Schierholtz extended his hitting streak to seven games with an RBI triple in the eighth before scoring the final run of the contest. The left-handed hitter missed out on a big-league call-up when he missed four games right before Dave Roberts’ injury, but is working hard to be ready should another opportunity come up. He has been particularly dangerous with runners in scoring position, going 9-for-16 with four extra-base hits early on the year.
Defenders eek out another victory, 6-5
Playing in their 10th straight one-run contest, Connecticut downed the Reading Phillies for the second straight game to nudge their record back over .500 for the year.
Starter Garrett Broshuis picked up the win despite throwing just 58 pitches in five innings. The righty breezed through the first four frames, but labored in his last, leading Bien Figueroa to pinch-hit for him with two on and one out in the bottom of the fifth. Broshuis surrendered six hits – four doubles – and two earned runs while striking out a pair. In his final frame, he gave up three straight two-baggers before catcher Dayton Buller helped him out by pouncing on a sacrifice bunt attempt and throwing out the lead runner at third for the inning’s first out.
The club has to hope that some good fortune might help get Travis Denker on track. The second baseman, who entered in the midst of a 1-for-20 stretch, lofted a ball to straight away center in the first which Greg Golson allowed to get over his head for an RBI triple, Denker’s third extra-base hit this year. The 22-year-old drew a four-pitch walk in his next plate appearance and added a sacrifice fly in the fourth. Denker entered the contest 0-for-9 with no RBI with runners in scoring position before converting both opportunities Sunday.
With Sergio Romo off after working two straight games, Kelvin Pichardo closed out the contest with a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save of the year. Responding to the organization’s efforts to get him to stop trying to overthrow everything, he is working more consistently at 93-94 and keeping hitters off-balance with an improving change-up. The right-hander has given up just one earned run on three hits in 10.1 innings so far, but still has walked five and hit a batter as he works to command his impressive stuff more effectively.
Streaking San Jose downs Oaks 6-1
For the third time in the young season, the Giants own a four-game winning streak after riding another impressive start by Ben Snyder to an easy – and quick – win over Visalia Sunday.
Snyder gave up one run on a season-low three hits over six innings, but that was enough to actually raise his ERA to 0.78 through four contests. The lefty struck out six without allowing a walk, and now sports an 18-2 ratio on the season. The Giants’ fourth-round pick out of Ball State in 2006, Snyder paces a staff for which all five starters rank in the league’s top 10 for ERA.
Tyler Graham continued to run wild against the Oaks, swiping two bases a day after coming away with four steals. The 24-year-old speedster had a pair of singles in the game and then ran his way into scoring twice. In the first, after stealing second, he disrupted starter Eddie Romero enough to induce a wild pitch to advance to third then scored on a throwing error. In the seventh, he swiped second and advanced on the catcher’s throwing error before coming in on a Ryan Rohlinger sacrifice fly. Graham is now tied for the league lead with 13 stolen bases and has been caught just once.
Centerfielder Mike McBryde continued to pay dividends at the bottom of the lineup, going 2-for-3 with another walk. After struggling through the season’s first two weeks, the 23-year-old moved to the ninth spot in the order and has posted a .355 average with hits in six of nine contests since. Despite his early struggles, McBryde is on pace to eclipse the goal of 70 walks the organization gave him before the season having already collected 10 free passes in 62 at-bats.
Greenville crushes GreenJacketes 19-6
You see lots of strange things in the lower levels of minor league baseball. But even experienced SALLY League viewers had to do a double-take when Greenville second baseman Aaron Reza came to the plate for the third time – against a third pitcher - in a wild 13-run seventh inning.
After Augusta climbed back into a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the sixth, Daniel Turpen opened the seventh by hitting Reza and issuing a pair of singles. He was replaced by Daniel Runzler, who gave up two hits and a pair of walks without retiring a hitter. Andrew DelaGarza followed, walking in a run with his first effort before recording the inning’s first out with a called third strike. However, he then gave up four straight singles before yielding to Joe Paterson. Paterson walked in a pair and gave up another single before a Charlie Culberson error on what would have been the third out allowed one more run to cross the plate.
Lost in the mess of the seventh inning was a strong comeback by the Augusta offense. After falling behind 5-0 in the top of the second, the GreenJackets pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame on Charlie Culberson’s first homer of the season, got one more in the fifth, then tied it up with a two-out rally in the sixth fueled by a Culberson double. Not only was the contest the shortstop’s first multi-hit game of the year, it more than doubled his total bases on the season. While the 19 year old has reached base in four of the last five, he continues to press in the field, making two more errors on Sunday to drop his league-worst fielding percentage to .864.
A day after coming up a homer short of the cycle, Nick Noonan got his first of the year with a solo shot in the ninth. The blast was his 10th extra-base hit of the year, good for a share of first place in the SALLY League, and gave him a team-leading 14 runs scored and 12 RBIs.