Jefferies makes a successful return and the Ports use a big first inning to glide past the Quakes
For the first time since April 2017, Daulton Jefferies was on the mound for a full-season minor league affiliate. The A’s 2016 supplemental first-round pick made a triumphant return after a nearly two-year recovery from Tommy John surgery, as he threw three scoreless innings in the Stockton Ports 4-1 win over the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Jefferies came on in relief of rehabbing A’s starter Chris Bassitt, who dominated in three perfect innings. Bassitt struck out seven and threw 30 of 47 pitches for strikes. Jefferies was nearly as good, allowing just a hit in his three innings. He struck out four and threw 20 strikes in 28 pitches. He was credited with his first win of his professional career.
The Ports jumped out to an early lead thanks to a four-run first inning that was highlighted by an Alfonso Rivas two-RBI double and a Jeremy Eierman two-run home run. Both Rivas and Eierman were 2018 draft picks.
That was all the scoring the Ports would muster, but it would be plenty, as Bassitt, Jefferies, Jared Poche’ and Trey Cochran-Gill combined to hold the Quakes to one run on two hits and three walks. Stockton pitchers struck out 13 and the only run allowed was unearned.
Nick Allen walked three times and stole a base out of the leadoff spot, while Lazaro Armenteros had a walk and a hit in his Stockton debut. The Ports had only five hits and five walks in the game.
Bolt’s catch, Fowler’s blasts the difference as Las Vegas squeaks out first win as Aviators
With the Las Vegas Aviators clinging to a one-run lead, the El Paso Chihuahuas had the bases loaded and Alex Dickerson at the plate, Dickerson shot a line-drive to right that looked destined to send El Paso home a winner, when Skye Bolt saved the day with a game-saving, diving catch to end it. A back-and-forth game went the Aviators’ way, as they defeated the Chihuahuas, 9-8, in their first game with a new moniker and as an Oakland A’s affiliate.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Ty France hit a solo home run off of Las Vegas starter Daniel Mengden. After that, the game turned into a slugfest, with Las Vegas scoring three times in the fifth and sixth and El Paso adding three runs of their own in the bottom of the fifth. The game was tied, 6-6, in the top of the eighth when Dustin Fowler hit his second solo home run of the game. Las Vegas added two crucial insurance runs with a two-out rally in the top of the ninth. The Aviators would need all of that insurance, as El Paso scored twice off Brian Schlitter in the ninth.
The Aviators had plenty of offensive firepower, pounding out 16 hits, seven going for extra-bases. Fowler had the two solo home runs, while Jorge Mateo had a two-run home run, a triple and a single. Tyler Ramirez had three hits in his Triple-A debut, and Sean Murphy, Corban Joseph and Sheldon Neuse each had two-hit games. Murphy also made several key blocks on pitches in the dirt in the eighth and the ninth when El Paso had runners on base.
Mengden got the start for Las Vegas and was cruising until France got him for the solo homer in the fourth. He then allowed a three-run home run to Esteban Quiroz in the fifth. Mengden finished having allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in five innings. He didn’t walk a batter and he struck out seven.
Jerry Blevins struck out the side in the sixth, but Andrew Triggs was touched for two runs in the seventh. After the Aviators took the lead in the top of the eighth, Ryan Dull worked around a hit to throw a scoreless eighth. Schlitter earned the save despite a hairy ninth inning that included three hits and a walk and two runs allowed.
Jake Buchanan will get the start for Las Vegas on Friday.
Pitching, Deichmann lead ‘Hounds to Opening Day win
James Naile, John Gorman and Kyle Finnegan combined on a five-hit shutout, and Greg Deichmann doubled twice in his Double-A debut, as the Midland RockHounds took game one of the season, 3-0, over the Frisco RoughRiders.
The veteran Naile was masterful in his first start of the season, needing just 76 pitches to get through six scoreless frames. He allowed four hits and one walk and he struck-out two. Gorman followed with two shutout innings of his own. He walked two but didn’t allow a hit and struck out three. Finnegan recorded his first save of the season with a quiet ninth.
After a 2018 season ruined by a wrist injury, Deichmann, playing right field, got his season off to a roaring start with a three-hit debut. Two of those hits were doubles. Center fielder Luis Barrera also had a three-hit game and he added a walk for good measure. Kevin Merrell — hitting out of the leadoff spot — had two hits and scored two runs. He also stole a base. Mikey White also had a two-hit game. Left fielder Dairon Blanco had a hit in his Double-A debut.
The RockHounds had 11 hits and benefited from three RoughRider errors, but managed to scratch across just the three runs. Those runs held up thanks to a pitching staff that figures to be one of the top in the league. Brian Howard will get the start on Friday for Midland.
Offense is quiet as Snappers drop opener
The Beloit Snappers got on the board first but saw the Wisconsin TimberRattlers score six unanswered runs, as the Snappers lost their season opener, 6-1.
Chase Cohen got the start for the Snappers and he threw 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and three walks. The A’s 2018 9th-round pick struck out two. Pleasant Hill native Joe DeMers made his professional debut in relief of Cohen. The A’s 2018 11th-round pick threw 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two. DeMers didn’t pitch in a regular season game after signing with the A’s last summer.
Eric Mariñez — now a full-time pitcher after beginning his career as an infielder — threw a scoreless sixth inning to keep the game at 2-1, but the TimberRattlers scored four times against Jeferson Mejia in the seventh to break open the game. Calvin Coker — who impressed in the Arizona Fall League last season — worked 1.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts, and the hard-throwing Wandisson Charles struck out the side in a perfect ninth inning.
Beloit managed just seven hits, two of them off the bat of leadoff hitter Lester Madden. Signed as an international free agent over the offseason out of Cuba, Madden went 2-for-4 in his US debut. Payton Squier also had two hits and Marcos Brito had the Snappers’ only RBI of the game.
Adam Reuss will get the start on Friday for Beloit.
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