Fresno got a six-run sixth inning when I-Cubs pitching lost the plate in the sixth inning Monday night and cruised to victory to open their home stand.
After the first two hitters went down in the sixth, Julio Cordido legged out an infield hit, then stole second. With the base empty, Iowa walked Brian Horwitz intentionally, then proceeded to give up three very unintentional walks to push two runs across before Justin Leone launched his sixth homer of the year to left field. Overall, the club drew seven walks on the night.
Victor Santos turned in by far his best outing of the year, giving up three earned runs (two earned) on five hits over seven-plus innings. The 31-year-old righty, who split last season between the Orioles and Reds organizations, struck out a career-high 10 hitters while walking only one. A veteran of over 600 big league innings, Santos came out for the eighth inning with a big lead, but tired as his count climbed over 90 and gave up a pair of singles before handing the ball over.
Cordido continued his remarkable campaign, going 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. While the righty is one off the team lead with 22 hits, the double was just his second extra-base knock on the year. Cordido is now hitting .333 for the season, more than 50 points better than his mark in any of his nine previous seasons in the U.S.
Road-weary Defenders (10-13) rest up
It was only a three-game roadtrip, but Connecticut is certainly ready to come home after getting swept handily in Reading. The Defenders open a series against Yankees' affiliate Trenton at Dodd Stadium Tuesday night.
San Jose (17-8) tripped up 1-0 by 66ers
While the Giants' offense has been a juggernaut this season, putting up 149 runs, when they've faltered, they've faltered badly. Monday, the club mustered just four hits in their fourth shutout loss as they missed out on a chance to sweep Inland Empire.
Jesse English was the hard-luck loser, giving up just one run on a homer over six innings. The lefty, who was originally a sixth-round pick out of high school in 2002, allowed four hits and three walks, but matched his season high with eight strikeouts. After working just 62 innings over the last three years, English is finally healthy and flashing the solid fastball and plus changeup that have helped him rack up 12.57 strikeouts per nine innings pitched over his career. So far on the year, he has 28 against eight walks in 26.2 innings. English also flashed his strong pickoff move, nabbing two IE runners at first.
Despite the low hit count, every hitter in the lineup except Andy D'Alessio reached base thanks in large part to seven walks issued by 66er pitching. The club, however could not convert several ripe opportunities, twice running themselves out of a scoring opportunity. In the fifth, Bobby Felmy was out at the plate when he tried to advance on a pitch in the dirt. In the eighth, after drawing a walk, Brad Boyer was caught stealing with the league's best hitter, Pablo Sandoval, at the plate. Sandoval also earned a free pass in front of Ryan Rohlinger's double, but D'Alessio could not bring either around. While the club has a league-best 45 stolen bases, they've also been caught 14 times already on the year.
Mike McBryde reached base in his 17th-straight game, drawing his 14th walk of the season. The speedster has reached base at an amazing .492 clip since moving into the ninth spot in the lineup, drawing more walks (nine) in 16 games than he earned in any two-month period in his first two seasons. McBryde, 23, is still figuring out how to tap into his athletic ability on the field, having collected just one extra-base hit and struck out 25 times in 76 at-bats, but has the tools to make a big jump if he can put everything together.
GreenJackets (11-14) swept by Tourists 6-3
Things went from bad to worse for Augusta at the end of the sixth inning Monday night. The club loaded the bases with no outs, then pushed across the go-ahead run on a ground ball double play. With another potential run at third, Angel Villalona was called out on a check swing, a call which Augusta manager Andy Skeels argued until he was ejected. Things just got ugly from there as Asheville hit around in the top of the seventh, plating five runs – three of which were unearned because of Charlie Culberson's 15th error of the season.
Brock Bond, back in the DH slot, picked up two more hits to extend his hitting streak to 13 games and push his average back to .400. The University of Missouri product has 11 multi-hit games on the year and is making the most of those hits. With men in scoring position, the switch-hitter is 12-for-22 with a .600 OBP for the year. Despite striking out in his only appearance from the left side Monday, Bond is hitting .545 against righties.
Steven Calicutt lowered his ERA, but was not very impressive in doing so. While the lefty surrendered only one run, he made it through just four innings, surrendering seven hits and three walks along the way. He avoided more damage by getting inning-ending double plays in both the second and third innings, getting out of a bases-loaded jam the second time around.
Having gone 93 plate appearances without a walk to open the season, Nick Noonan earned a free pass in back-to-back trips to the plate Monday. The left-handed hitter went hitless for just the third time in 22 contests this year and snapped a seven-game hitting streak, but pushed his on-base percentage back up above his average with the two bases on balls.