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Oakland A’s Minor League Notebook: Grant Holmes dominates

Grant Holmes threw a gem, Daniel Gossett was scratched, Dalton Sawyer made a big leap, a teenager made his US debut, Jaycob Brugman introduced himself to the big leagues and more in an action-packed Oakland A’s Minor League Notebook.

Grant Holmes / Photo by Kimberly Contreras
Grant Holmes carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. / Photo by Kimberly Contreras

Holmes carries no-hitter into the seventh in Midland win

Right-hander Grant Holmes is starting to find his footing in the Texas League. The 21-year-old had a rough start to the season, but Holmes is starting to show why is he one of the most highly regarded starting pitching prospects in the A’s system. On June 4, Holmes went a season-high six innings, striking out nine and allowing just two runs. On Saturday, Holmes improved on that outing, going a career-high eight shutout innings in a 6-0  Midland RockHounds win over the Frisco RoughRiders.

Holmes was dominant throughout his outing. He didn’t allow a hit until the seventh inning, when with one-out Andy Ibanez reached on an infield single. Holmes would allow just one more hit — a soft line-drive to center — in his eight frames. He struck-out eight, didn’t walk a batter and threw 66 of 93 pitches for strikes. Brandon Mann finished off the shutout with a scoreless ninth.

The RockHounds gave Holmes an early cushion with a three-run first inning. B.J. Boyd led off the home-half of the first with a homerun, his first of the season. Boyd had three hits in the game to up his season average to .316. Yairo Munoz would follow Boyd’s homer with a single. He then proceeded to steal second and third base and he would score on a wild pitch later in the inning. J.P. Sportman singled home Viosergy Rosa to close out the first inning scoring.

That would be all Midland would muster until the seventh, when Brett Vertigan doubled and later scored on a Jermaine Curtis RBI single. The RockHounds tacked on two more runs in the eighth on a Sportman double and a Jordan Tarsovich single.

Munoz had two hits in the game and the two stolen bases gave him 10 for the season in 10 chances. He is batting .300 on the year. Sportman also had a two-hit game and he is batting .274 for the year. Every Midland batter had at least one hit.

Gossett scratched, Sawyer solid in spot start

Scheduled Nashville Sounds’ starter Daniel Gossett was scratched before his Saturday start, leading to speculation that he will replace the injured Andrew Triggs in the A’s rotation early next week. Gossett isn’t on the A’s 40-man roster, so Oakland will need to make room for Gossett on the 40-man to bring him to the big leagues. The A’s 2014 second-round pick has a 3.41 ERA in 60.2 innings for the Sounds this season. He hasn’t walked a batter in each of his last three starts (21 innings) and he had a 1.54 ERA in May. Gossett has a 54:19 K:BB this season and PCL batters are hitting .231 against him. The 24-year-old had a 2.69 ERA in 153.2 innings spread across three levels last season.

With Gossett removed from the Nashville rotation, the A’s called on left-hander Dalton Sawyer to make a spot start in Gossett’s stead. Sawyer, the A’s 2016 ninth-round pick, was the scheduled starter for Beloit on Saturday (more on that later). The University of Minnesota alum more than held his own in his first start above the Low-A level. After allowing two runs in the first inning against first-place Memphis, Sawyer gave up just a solo homerun over his next five frames. He left the Sounds in position to earn a 6-3 win against their division rivals. Sawyer was charged with three runs on six hits and two walks in six innings. He struck-out one.

Chris Jensen took over for Sawyer in the seventh and he was outstanding in a three-inning relief appearance. Jensen allowed only one hit and he struck-out four to earn the win. Jensen has bounced around a bit this season and hasn’t had a lot of consistent opportunities, but he has pitched well when given the chance. In 23 innings for Nashville this season, Jensen has a 2.08 ERA. He hasn’t allowed a run over his last five outings (12 innings).

Nashville’s top of the order provided plenty of punch in the win. A slumping Franklin Barreto had a two hits in five at-bats, including his eighth homerun of the season. Barreto still struck-out three times, however, and he has 26 strike-outs over his last 11 games and no walks.

Renato Nunez had two doubles and a walk. He is batting .389 over his last 10 games and .271/.330/.575 overall this season. Matt Chapman also had a big game, connecting on his 15th homer of the season and drawing a walk. He has four homers over his last eight games. The top five hitters in the Nashville line-up went a combined 7-for-18 with two homers, five RBI, three walks and six runs scored.

Olson up, Brugman shines in double-header

The Oakland A’s made several moves on Saturday before their double-header against the Tampa Bay Rays. The A’s added Matt Olson from Nashville, placed right-hander Andrew Triggs on the disabled list and reinstated Sean Doolittle from the disabled list.

Jaycob Brugman made his major-league debut on Friday night and he collected his first hit in the first game of the double-header. Brugman had a big day at the plate in Tampa, going 4-for-7 with two walks and two RBI. The A’s split the pair with Tampa.

Teenage phenom Mendoza debuts in Beloit loss

With Dalton Sawyer sent to Nashville for a spot start, the A’s dipped into their Extended Spring Training roster for reinforcements for the Beloit Snappers. Right-hander Abdiel Mendoza, an 18-year-old from Panama who has drawn praise from the A’s player development staff, made his US debut on Saturday as the Snappers’ starter. Mendoza pitched in the Dominican Summer League last year, posting a 2.32 ERA in 31 innings. Not surprisingly, Mendoza struggled against the older competition, allowing four runs in 2.1 innings of work. Three of the four runs came in the third inning, when Mendoza had to face the Quad Cities River Bandits for a second time.

Quad Cities continued to add on against the Snappers’ bullpen in the River Bandits’ 13-5 win. Jhenderson Hurtado took over for Mendoza in the third. The left-hander, who also joined Beloit on Saturday from Extended Spring Training, allowed two inherited runners to score and two more of his own runs in 2.2 innings. He was hung with the loss. Yordys Alejo (three runs in three innings) and Sam Sheehan (four runs — two earned — in 0.1 innings) also struggled in relief. Kyle Nowlin, a position player, finished the game with two-thirds of scoreless relief.

Beloit had 10 hits in the game. Edwin DiazMiguel MercedesTrace Loehr and Jason Goldstein each had two hits. Nowlin had a hit and a walk, in addition to his pitching performance. One of Diaz’s hits was his seventh homer of the season. The talented Diaz is batting .287 on the season.

Before the game, Nick Highberger was placed back on the DL.

Ruiz solid again in DSL A’s win

Right-hander Norge Ruiz put together another impressive start in his second outing with the DSL A’s. The native of Cuba threw five scoreless innings in the DSL A’s 5-2 win. Ruiz allowed two hits and didn’t walk a batter in five innings. He struck-out four. Ruiz has now thrown nine shutout innings over his first two outings. He has allowed just four hits.

Lazaro Armenteros had two hits and a walk in his best game at the plate this season. Enrry Pantajo had two hits. He has six hits over his first 19 at-bats, including two extra-base hits. Jorge Gordon had two hits. Gordon has reached base five times over the past four games.

Stockton drops pitcher’s duel

The Stockton Ports and the Modesto Nuts were locked in a 0-0 tie into the sixth inning before the Nuts scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to earn a 3-0 win.

Angel Duno was outstanding in a tough-luck loss. He allowed two unearned runs in 6.1 innings. Duno struck-out three and didn’t walk a batter.

The Ports managed just two hits, an Eli White single and a Tyler Ramirez single. Ramirez is batting .305 with an 827 OPS this season.

Before the game first baseman Sandber Pimentel was activated off of the disabled list. Trent Gilbert and Will Gilbert were sent back to Extended Spring Training on Friday.

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