Daily Minor League Report – August 9

Choo ripped his 13th triple (Inland Empire 66ers)

InsidethePark.com's exclusive Daily Minor League Report - the complete source for all the stellar performances from around the Mariners' minor league system and some other information worth mentioning.

Everett continued the long trek back to .500 on Friday with right-handed pitching phenom Felix Hernandez leading the way to a 4-1 victory over Boise.

After losing six-games in a row, the Mariners Short-Season-A affiliate now have two straight wins under their belt.

In his last three appearances, Hernandez (7-1) has pitched six innings, given up one earned run or less and averaged just seven base runners allowed and over seven batters struck out.

The 17-year-old leads the league in wins and ranks in the top five in ERA and strikeouts.

The AquaSox hitters gave Hernandez all the runs he needed before he even took the mound.

The first four hitters in the lineup loaded the bases on walks with only one out. DH Matt Rogelstad followed with a two-run single, and he would drive in runs in the third and fifth with singles, as well.

The last two were gravy as Everett pitchers allowed only one runner to reach third base until a Boise home run in the ninth accounted for the only blemish.

Fresno 8, Tacoma (AAA) 5: The score is eerily similar to Thursday night's game, but the Rainiers had an old friend turn the tables.

Fresno scored six consecutive runs after the Rainiers took a 5-2 lead after the sixth.

Former Rainier C Craig Kuzmic delivered the Grizzlies' go ahead runs with a two-run, two-out single in the top of the 11th.

Kuzmic, an 8th round Mariners draftee in 1998, played for the Rainiers this year until the Mariners traded him to the San Francisco organization in June.

Rett Johnson gave up only two earned runs in eight innings, but the other runs scored during his mound tenure were not without his fault.

Johnson, 24, headed into the seventh with a 5-2 lead, but he threw high on an attempted double play for an error and then gave up Rob Ryan's first home run of the season to tie the game up.

The Rainiers committed three errors overall.

Johnson struck out six batters and allowed the same number of base runners. He retired 13 batters in a row at one point.

Andy Barkett hit his 12th home run to score the Rainiers' final runs of the evening.

San Antonio (AA) 20, El Paso 8: Ok, take a second and look at the score to the left again. Starter Travis Blackley could have given up two touchdowns and still won the game.

Instead, Blackley (14-3) only gave up six earned runs in 5.1 innings to pad his league-leading win total.

The middle infield carried the offensive explosion for the Missions. SS Jose Lopez drove in five runs and 2B Tim Merritt plated four.

Lopez also contributed his 30th double, among four hits, and 15th stolen base.

Merritt, recently promoted from Wisconsin to replace injured infielder Rob Gandolfo, reached base five times in six plate appearances.

DH John Lindsey also had four hits, including his eighth home run, and three RBIs.

RF Greg Jacobs hit his first Double-A homer and raised his RBI total to 11 in just 13 games.

Every player in the lineup for the Missions collected at least one hit in the season-high, 25-hit attack.

Inland Empire 9 (Advanced-A), Lake Elsinore 1: The 66ers have used the series against Lake Elsinore to jump over the Storm and back into first place in impressive fashion.

Both OF Shin-Soo Choo and 1B John Castellano tripled to lead the barrage, which in no way stopped there. Just like the Missions, every 66er batter had at least one hit and six had multiple hits.

Choo raised his league-leading triple total to 13, which ties the season record for the 66ers. The 21-year-old Korean also doubled among his three hits.

The 66ers scored four runs in each of the first two frames off of Storm starter Mike Thompson. Former Mariner farm-hand Rob Ramsay followed with 4.1 scoreless innings.

Former reliever Rich Dorman (3-0) didn't need relief with continuing his great performance since arriving from Wisconsin. Dorman blew through the Storm with six strikeouts and only one run in five innings in his first start this year.

Beloit 6, Wisconsin (A) 2: The Timber Rattlers had pulled themselves off the ground and out of last place in the Midwest League Western Division.

Winning three games in a row and leading going into the sixth will have a team looking down at your competitors. Letting the first-place team off the hook will send a team back on the road to looking up.

Timber Rattler pitching kept the prospect-rich, Snapper lineup from using the long ball, but they couldn't handle it within the diamond.

Eleven of Beloit's 15 hits stayed in the infield, and two of Wisconsin's three errors came from infielder miscues. Beloit benefited from four unearned runs.

BAD PUN ALERT! Skip down a couple lines to avoid the fore-mentioned bad pun and consider yourself warned.

Rattler starter Cesar Jimenez (8-9) lost for the fifth time in six starts and he seems particularly snake bit by his defense and the unearned run.

In his last six outings, Rattler defenders have committed 14 errors behind him, accounting for 10 unearned runs.

Even as his loss totals have jumped, the left-hander has lowered his ERA to 2.75.

OF Gary Harris led the way offensively with two hits, a walk and his team-leading 32nd stolen base.

On Deck:
Tacoma (50-70; -11.0): RH Jeff Heaverlo (4-9 W-L, 5.03 ERA) vs. Fresno
Notes: University of Washington product Jeff Heaverlo will face off against two fellow Western Washingtonians in the Fresno lineup.

Outfielders Jason Ellison and Todd Linden both have their roots in the West Puget Sound.

Ellison graduated from South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard in 1996. He attended Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Id., before the Giants drafted him in 2000.

He made his professional debut earlier this season and spent 10 days with the big club.

Linden joined Heaverlo at UW after graduating from Central Kitsap in Silverdale (which is south of Poulsbo and north of Bremerton, which is across the Sound from… oh forget it).

After a tumultuous stint with the Huskies, he transferred to Louisiana State University where he blossomed into a first-round, supplemental draft pick in 2001.

Linden started off slowly this year against Triple-A pitching, but he's rebounded to post a .274 batting average with nine home runs and 51 RBIs in 119 games.

San Antonio (31-17, second half; +8.0): RH Cha Seung Baek (2-1, 0.71) at El Paso
Notes: Lopez looks less-and-less like a 19-year-old over his head in the Double-A Texas League, and more-and-more like a hot prospect who wants to be rushed.

Lopez has four hits twice and at least one hit seven times in his last 10 games. Over that span, he has five extra-base hits, including two home runs and two stolen bases.

And add to that his excellence while playing shortstop, where he his last error came 10 games ago.

Inland Empire (29-19, second half; +0.5): LH Ryan Ketchner (11-6, 3.66) vs. Lake Elsinore
Notes: Dorman started 15 games for Everett last year with a 5-6 record. The 24-year-old right-hander excelled in the bullpen with both Wisconsin and Inland Empire before bringing his amazing strikeout numbers to the start of games.

Dorman has struck out 32% of batters faced this season (82 of 260), which equates to 11.65 strikeouts per nine innings.

Dorman has won four of six decisions with five saves.

Wisconsin (22-26, -11.0): LH Tanner Watson (5-7, 4.39) vs Beloit
Notes: From the comings and goings department…

Six weeks after acquiring his contract from Kansas City of the Independent Northern League, the Mariners traded Chad Ehrnsberger to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Ehrnsberger played second base and the outfield for the Timber Rattlers, hitting .211 with a home run and nine RBIs in 25 games…

The Rattlers activated Corey Harrington off the disabled list to replace Ehrnsberger on the roster.

Harrington will return to second base with Tim Merritt assigned to San Antonio for the time being.

Before his injury, Harrington batted .271 with 17 steals and 30 RBIs in 75 games.

Everett (22-28, -4.0): LH Victor Ramirez (3-5, 6.50) at Boise
Notes: If you need two reasons to brave the traffic to Everett for an AquaSox game, even if Felix Hernandez isn't pitching, try the every-day tandem of Matt Rogelstad and Nick Orlandos. In addition to sending home all four runs Friday night against Boise, Rogelstad has posted a .350 batting average and .381 on-base percentage, with 10 RBIs since joining the Frogs from Peoria.

Everett Manager Pedro Grifol continues to keep his bat in the lineup in various ways, including at designated hitter, second base, shortstop, third base and in the outfield, so far.

With a run scored and a single, Orlandos has a nine-game hitting streak going. Orlandos also had a nine-game hitting streak last month.

Orlandos has moved back to second base with the return of Josh Ellison from the DL…

For two reasons why Everett ranks last in the Northwest League in ERA despite the stellar performances of Felix Hernandez, Thomas Oldham and Brandon Moorhead, look no further than the home-runs allowed leaderboard where Audy Alcantara ranks first with seven and Ramirez ranks second with six.

James is a Central Washington University student interning for InsidethePark.com this summer. He welcomes your feedback, hints, tips or other observations (including any ideas on a better name than "Daily Minor League Report." Original, huh?) at jamesinsidethepark@yahoo.com

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