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Oakland A’s Minor League Notebook: James Harris returns

The Oakland A’s minor league system had their big bats swinging and their top pitchers shoving on a successful Monday night down-on-the-farm.

James Harris / Photo by Chris Lockard
James Harris had four hits in his first game of the season. / Photo by Chris Lockard

Gossett cruises as Sounds pound River Cats

Daniel Gossett threw a career-high eight shutout innings in helping the Nashville Sounds defeat the Sacramento River Cats, 9-3. Nashville took the series against the River Cats, 3-1, and are now back over the .500 mark at 21-20.

Gossett needed 91 pitches to get through his eight frames. He didn’t walk a batter, allowed only four hits and he struck-out six. Gossett’s ERA is down to 3.59 and he has allowed three runs or less in each of his last six starts.

Gossett got plenty of offensive support from his red-hot Sounds’ teammates. A day after collecting four hits, including a homerun, Matt Olson was at it again, crushing a three-run, opposite field homerun and a single. The homer was his 11th of the season. He is now batting .281 with a 937 OPS. Joey Wendle (4) and Matt Chapman (9) also homered, while Franklin Barreto had a triple and a single and Kenny Wilson had two hits.

The Sounds were one out away from a shutout, but Sacramento infielder Jae-Gyun Hwang hit a three-run homer off of Aaron Kurcz to get the River Cats on the board.

Graves, RockHounds blank Missions

Brett Graves, Ben Bracewell and Jake Sanchez made quick work of the San Antonio Missions, pulling the Midland RockHounds into a first-place tie with San Antonio in the Texas League South with a 3-0 win. The three Midland hurlers held the Missions to nine hits and one walk and they struck-out seven.

Graves went a season-high 5.2 innings. He struck-out three and walked one, lowering his ERA with Midland to 2.50. Between High-A Stockton and Double-A Midland, Graves now has a 2.53 ERA and a 42:5 K:BB in 42.2 innings this season. Bracewell took over in the sixth and he bridged the gap to Sanchez in the ninth inning. Bracewell allowed only one hit in 2.1 innings. After a string of rough outings, Bracewell has put together two scoreless appearances in a row. Sanchez struck-out two and allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth. He recorded his third save of the season.

Midland managed only eight hits, but they put them to good use. Brett Vertigan led the way with two hits. He was the only Midland batter to reach base twice. The RockHounds were active on the basepaths, stealing three bases and being picked off twice. Max Schrock extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single. He is now batting .281 on the year.

Puk, Harris lead Ports to win over Lake Elsinore

A.J. Puk threw 5.1 hitless innings, and James Harris had four hits in his 2017 season debut to pace the Stockton Ports to a 6-2 win over the Lake Elsinore Storm.

Puk was dominant for much of his outing, as the A’s 2016 first-round pick struck-out seven. The 5.1 innings were a career-high for the southpaw. He did walk four and he hit a batter, but Lake Elsinore struggled to mount any significant rallies against him. Puk was charged with one run when Will Gilbert allowed a two-run homer after taking over for Puk in the sixth. Puk now has a 3.86 ERA and a 61:16 K:BB in 39.2 innings this season.

Harris was the star offensively for the Ports in his first game of the season. The 2016 California League All-Star missed the first six weeks of the season while recovering from health issues he suffered from this spring. Harris made his presence felt quickly, homering in his first at-bat of the season. He would later add a double and two singles.

The Ports had 12 hits as a team. Brett Siddall also homered, his fourth of the year. He had two hits, joining Harris as the only Stockton hitters with multi-hit games.

Gilbert allowed just that homerun in 2.2 innings of relief. The lefty struck-out two. Nolan Blackwood worked around a lead-off single to toss a scoreless ninth. His ERA is down to 2.50. He struck-out two.

Before the game, reliever Trey Cochran-Gill returned to Extended Spring Training, opening the spot for Harris on the Ports’ roster.

Snappers crush TimberRattlers in series opener

The Beloit Snappers pulled to within a game of .500 with a convincing 12-2 win over the Wisconsin TimberRattlers on Monday night.

Luis Barrera hit his first homerun of the season and Nate Mondou, Miguel Mercedes, Trace Loehr and JaVon Shelby each had two-hit games. Every Beloit hitter reached base at least once.

Xavier Altamarino got the start and worked the first two innings, allowing just a hit and striking out two. Dakota Chalmers took over in the third and had one of his best outings of the season. In five innings, Chalmers allowed just one hit and one run. He did walk four but he struck-out eight. Chalmers lowered his ERA to 4.34. Ty Damron closed out the win with two hitless innings. He was charged with an unearned run, and he walked two and struck-out three.

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