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Oakland A’s Minor League Notebook: Midland storms back

The Midland RockHounds pulled out an improbable victory, while the Nashville Sounds put a game out of reach early. We review all of the day’s action in the Oakland A’s system.

Brett Vertigan / Photo by Chris Lockard
Brett Vertigan had a walk-off hit for Midland. / Photo by Chris Lockard

RockHounds scored eight late for dramatic win

Down 9-2 in the seventh inning, the Midland RockHounds scored five in the seventh and three in the bottom of the ninth for a dramatic walk-off win over the Northwest Arkansas Travelers. The game-winning, three-run rally started with two outs and ended with a Brett Vertigan RBI single to win it.

The ninth inning began innocently enough when Yairo Munoz grounded out and Jermaine Curtis flew out to start the frame. Tyler Marincov kept the game alive with a single to center and Viosergy Rosa brought the RockHounds to within one with an RBI double. After B.J. Boyd pinch-ran for Rosa, he came around to score the tying run on J.P. Sportman‘s double to left. Vertigan then sent the fans home happy with a walk-off single to left.

The game started with Midland scoring twice in the bottom of the first on a Rosa two-out, two-run single. Carlos Navas got the start, his first since the 2014 season, when he was in Rookie ball. Navas threw three scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and striking out three.

Brett Graves took over in the fourth and he worked a relatively quiet first inning of work. Graves ran into a buzzsaw in the fifth and sixth innings, however, allowing five runs in the fifth and four in the sixth. Graves did work scoreless seventh and eighth innings, which became important when Midland launched its comeback.

The RockHounds began clawing their way back in the seventh. Jordan Tarsovich doubled home Sportman to make the game 9-3. Then Kenny Wilson grounded a two-RBI single to make it 9-5. When Munoz doubled home Wilson and then came around on a Marincov single, the RockHounds were in position to put together their game-winning rally.

Midland pounded out 15 hits. Marincov led the way with three, while Munoz, Curtis and Sportman each had two hits. Vertigan’s game-winning hit extended his on-base streak to 19 games. Lou Trivino moved to 6-0 on the season with a scoreless ninth inning.

Sounds put up seven in the first, run away with win

The Nashville Sounds scored a touchdown in the first inning and rolled to a 12-3 victory over the Iowa Cubs.

Matt Olson began the onslaught with a three-run homerun three batters into the game. Renato Nunez followed with a solo blast and Joey Wendle and Matt Chapman connected on back-to-back doubles, followed by a Jaff Decker RBI single, and the Sounds were up 6-0 before Casey Kelly even recorded an out. Nashville would add a Ryan LaMarre RBI single with one-out to round out the scoring for the inning.

Olson would strike again in the seventh with his 14th homerun of the season. He and Nunez are now tied for the organization lead in homeruns. Olson finished the game with three hits and he now has a 949 OPS on the season. Chapman also had three hits, including that first-inning double, and he raised his season OPS to 888. Jaycob Brugman, Nunez, LaMarre, Wendle and Decker all had two hits each.

Chris Smith was staked to that 7-0 lead before even throwing a pitch, but he didn’t need the run support. He threw six scoreless innings, allowing only three hits and striking out eight. He lowered his ERA to 3.35.

Five-spot in the fifth lifts Beloit over Wisconsin

The Beloit Snappers broke a 0-0 tie with a five-run fifth and cruised to a 5-2 win behind the strong pitching efforts of Zack ErwinSeth Martinez and Sam Sheehan.

Collin Theroux got the fun started in the fifth with a solo homerun, his ninth of the season and third in the past two games. Eric Marinez followed with a triple and came home on a Luke Persico RBI single to give the Snappers a 2-0 lead. Miguel Mercedes then put an exclamation point on the inning with a three-run homer, his 10th of the season.

That would be all of the scoring the Snappers would manage, but it was more than enough for Erwin, Martinez and Sheehan. In his second outing since joining the Snappers from Extended Spring Training, Erwin threw four scoreless innings. He has seven scoreless frames over his first two appearances. Erwin struck-out five and didn’t walk a batter.

Martinez got the win with four solid innings of his own. He allowed two runs on three hits. Martinez also struck-out five. Sheehan earned his second save with a scoreless ninth.

Mercedes had a stellar day at the plate. In addition to the three-run homer, he doubled and collected two singles. Mercedes upped his average from .215 to .235 with the four-hit effort. He is batting .306 over the last 10 games.

Theroux is batting only .223 on the season, but he has an 829 OPS thanks to a .509 SLG. He is batting .265 with four homers over his last 10 games. Luis Barrera also had a strong game at the plate, going 3-for-5. The 21-year-old outfielder has four straight multi-hit games. He is now batting .318 on the season.

Ramirez keeps rolling, but Ports fall to JetHawks

Tyler Ramirez reached base three more times, but the Stockton Ports couldn’t manage much offense outside of Ramirez, falling to the Lancaster JetHawks, 6-3. Sean Doolittle threw a scoreless inning in his first rehab appearance since going on the Oakland A’s disabled list.

Ramirez doubled, tripled and walked in four plate appearances. He has a nine-game hitting streak and he is now batting .318 with an 864 OPS.

Boomer Biegalski got the start and he allowed two runs in four innings. He struck-out six and walked two. Cody Stull threw two scoreless innings to keep the Ports close and Doolittle followed with a scoreless seventh. The game was tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth when Nolan Blackwood allowed two runs in the frame. The Ports answered with a run in the bottom of the eighth, but Lancaster scored twice more off of Blackwood in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

Doolittle threw 18 pitches — 12 strikes — and he recorded a fly out to center, a groundout to third and a line-out to second.

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