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Minor League Notebooks

Oakland A’s Minor League Notebook: Pitching shines down on the farm

It was a rough night for Sonny Gray and the Oakland A’s major league pitching staff, but the A’s minor league staffs put on a clinic on Tuesday night.

Brett Graves / Photo by Chris Lockard
Brett Graves had another strong outing. / Photo by Chris Lockard

NASHVILLE BLANKS ROUND ROCK IN ROUT

The Nashville Sounds earned their fifth straight win in convincing fashion on Tuesday night, blanking the Round Rock Express by a score of 11-0. Raul Alcantara, Michael Brady, Ross Detwiler, Tucker Healy and Aaron Kurcz combined to two-hit the Express. Sounds pitchers walked just one and they struck-out seven.

Alcantara was sharp in his first start since being demoted to Triple-A and removed from the A’s 40-man roster. In three innings, he allowed just one hit and he struck-out one. Alcantara recorded five outs on the ground and threw 27 of 40 pitches for strikes. Brady took over in the fourth and equalled Alcantara’s strong outing. Brady walked one and allowed one hit and he struck-out three. He would be credited with the win. Detwiler, Healy and Kurcz each threw perfect innings to close out the game.

The Nashville offense was relentless, collecting 15 hits and five walks. Five of those 15 hits were homeruns, two of which came from Matt Chapman. The homers were Chapman’s first two of the season. He also walked in what was his best night at the plate of the season. Renato Nunez homered for the sixth time this season and the fourth time in his last six games. Mark Canha and Joey Wendle also homered. Canha’s homer was his fourth since being sent back to Triple-A. He is batting .300/.362/.620 since the demotion. Wendle’s was his first of the year. He had three hits and is batting .316 since completing his rehab for a shoulder strain sustained this spring.

Franklin Barreto had two hits and a walk to up his season average to .360 and his OBP to .416. He is batting .450 over his last 10 games. Matt Olson also had a two-hit game and he is 7-for-18 with two walks in four games since being sent back to Nashville from Oakland.

Before the game, the Sounds added outfielders Jaycob Brugman and Ryan LaMarre to the active roster. Melvin Mercedes was sent back to Midland and Chris Jensen was re-assigned to Extended Spring Training. Brugman didn’t play on Tuesday but is expected to be available on Wednesday. He missed the first month of the season with a leg injury sustained during minor league spring training. The Sounds are now back to .500 at 11-11 on the season.

WALTER, MANN COMBINE FOR GEM IN MIDLAND WIN

Corey Walter and Brandon Mann combined to throw eight shutout innings, striking out 10 and walking just one in Midland’s 6-1 win over Corpus Christi on Tuesday night. Walter struck-out six and allowed just one walk and three hits in his four frames. The six strike-outs matched a season-high for the right-hander. Mann allowed only one hit and he didn’t walk a batter in his four innings. The left-hander struck-out four. Kyle Finnegan allowed a run with two-outs in the ninth but closed out the win.

B.J. Boyd finished a homerun short of the cycle with another brilliant night at the plate. His three hits raised his season average to .376 on the year. Tyler Marincov also had a three-hit night and he is now batting .272 on the year with a .390 OBP. Viosergy Rosa, Jean Carlo Rodriguez and Andy Paz each had two-hit nights. Paz also walked in a run.

The RockHounds got back super-utilityman Melvin Mercedes on Tuesday and they should be adding middle infield prospect Yairo Munoz from Extended Spring Training on Wednesday. Munoz has been out with a hamstring injury suffered the last week of minor league spring training. After the game Jesus Zambrano was sent to Beloit and Rodriguez was sent back to Extended Spring Training.

GRAVES, MEISNER CRUISE IN STOCKTON WIN

The Stockton Ports scored five times in the top of the first and that was more than enough for Brett Graves and Casey Meisner, who combined for eight shutout innings in the 8-0 Stockton win over the Visalia Rawhide. Graves threw the first 3.2 innings and Meisner followed with his best outing of the season, tossing 4.1 scoreless frames. Jared Lyons finished off the shutout with a clean ninth inning.

After a blip in his last start, Graves got back to his Cal League-dominating ways on Tuesday. He struck-out five and walked just one while allowing two hits in his 3.2 innings. Graves lowered his ERA to 2.55. He has 29 strike-outs and three walks this season. Meisner was equally outstanding. After taking over for Graves with two-outs in the fourth, he allowed only four hits in 4.1 innings. Meisner didn’t walk a batter and he struck-out six. He threw 40 of 56 pitches for strikes.

The Stockton offense went to work early. The Ports had four hits, one walk and had two hit batsmen in the five-run first. The big blow was a two-run single from Mikey White, who would also homer later in the game. Every Stockton hitter had at least one hit. In addition to White, Trent Gilbert and Skye Bolt had two-hit games. Gilbert is batting .333 on the season and .353 over his last 10 games.

Before the game, the Ports’ pitching staff received some left-handed depth, as southpaws Will Gilbert and Andrew Tomasovich joined the Stockton staff from Low-A Beloit. Gilbert and Tomasovich were both off to strong starts out of the Beloit bullpen. Gilbert and Tomasovich replace Matthew Sergey and Joey Wagman in the Stockton bullpen. Both were placed on the disabled list on Tuesday.

SNAPPERS FALL IN PITCHER’S DUEL

The Beloit offense was quiet in a 4-1 loss to the Dayton Dragons on Tuesday. The Snappers’ bats appeared out of sync after an entire weekend was lost to rainouts in Kane County. With Monday’s scheduled off-day, the Snappers hadn’t played an inning that counted since Friday. Beloit managed just four hits in the game.

The Beloit pitching staff had a solid effort in the loss. Dakota Chalmers got the start and he worked past some wildness to throw three scoreless innings. Chalmers walked four, but he allowed just one hit and he struck-out three. Michael Murray took over in the fourth and he was hung with the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) in three innings. All three runs off Murray came in the sixth inning, his last inning of work. The Dragons scored a run in the ninth off of Nick Highberger to close out the scoring.

The loss dropped the Snappers to one game below .500 at 11-12. Before the game, the Snappers added reliever Yordy Alejo from Extended Spring Training. Alejo spent most of last season with Vermont but did make five appearances with the Snappers at the end of last season. Zambrano is also joining the Beloit staff. He had been in Midland after beginning the year in Extended Spring Training. Zambrano allowed five runs in two innings in one appearance with the RockHounds.

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