Grant Holmes became the first pitcher in the Oakland Athletics organization to reach 10 wins in 2017 with another strong six-inning effort on Wednesday. The 21-year-old right-hander allowed just one hit and three walks through his first five innings pitched. He finished the game having allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in six-plus innings. Holmes struck-out six in a game that the Midland RockHounds would win, 4-3, over the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Holmes is now 10-11 on the season.
Since the start of June, Holmes has made 14 starts. In three of those starts, Holmes allowed 23 runs in 11.2 innings (17.74 ERA). In his other 11 starts, Holmes has allowed 14 runs in 69 innings (1.81 ERA). His 129.1 innings lead all A’s minor leaguers and he is second only to A.J. Puk in the organization in strike-outs with 129. Holmes re-gained the Texas League lead in strike-outs with his six Ks on Wednesday.
Reliever Aaron Kurcz had a lot to do with helping Holmes earn his 10th win. Holmes began the seventh inning by allowing back-to-back singles. He was lifted in favor of Kurcz, who allowed an RBI double to the first batter he faced. With runners on second and third and no-outs and the RockHounds clinging to a 3-2 lead, Kurcz kept the damage to just the one run with a groundout, a strike-out and a line-out to end the inning.
The RockHounds had 12 hits in the game. Jorge Mateo, Viosergy Rosa, Sheldon Neuse, Tyler Ramirez and Sean Murphy all had two-hit games. Rosa scored a run but didn’t drive any in. He remains three RBI away from becoming the first RockHound to reach 100 RBI since Chris Carter did it in a Texas League MVP campaign in 2009.
Rosa scored the RockHounds’ fourth run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Neuse RBI single. That run came in handy when the Naturals scored a run in the top of the eighth. Sam Bragg threw 1.1 scoreless innings to lock down the save. He has a 1.17 ERA and a 16:1 K:BB over his last 15.1 innings pitched.
— Brandon Bailey returned to the mound after missing three weeks with a groin strain. Bailey threw three scoreless innings and helped the Stockton Ports beat the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, 5-3. Bailey retired the first eight batters he faced before allowing a double. He then retired his final batter to finish his three frames. Two of the batters he retired were rehabbing big leaguers — Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier. Bailey struck-out three and didn’t walk a batter. Miguel Romero threw 2.2 scoreless innings in relief of Bailey. He allowed two hits and two walks and he struck-out four. Nolan Blackwood earned his 16th save with 1.1 scoreless innings. He stranded the potential tying run in the bottom of the eighth before retiring the side in the ninth. Richie Martin had a much-needed big day at the plate. He went 3-4 with his first homerun since being sent back to Stockton. Martin is 6-for-his-last-12. Sandber Pimentel homered for the second straight night, his 13th homer of the season in just 57 games. He had two hits and he drove-in three. Mikey White also added a two-hit game. He has an eight-game hitting streak.
— The Vermont Lake Monsters got their post-All-Star game schedule off to a good start with a 7-4 win over the Lowell Spinners. Despite a line-up that did not include any of the three Lake Monsters’ All-Star position players, Vermont had 13 hits. Logan Farrar led the way with three hits, including two doubles. He is batting .327 with an 864 OPS in 29 games for Vermont. Will Toffey reached base four times with a hit and three walks. Kevin Merrell, Hunter Hargrove and Aaron Arruda all had two-hit games. Argenis Blanco threw six strong innings to earn the win. Blanco allowed two earned runs on seven hits and no walks. He struck-out two and lowered his ERA to 3.75. Josh Reagan earned the save with 1.1 scoreless innings. The save was his first as a pro.
— Four AZL Athletics pitchers — Richard Morban (3 IP), Jhenderson Hurtado (3 IP), Cody Puckett (2 IP) and Pat Krall (1 IP) combined to allow just one unearned run on four hits in a 5-1 AZL A’s win over the AZL D-Backs. A’s pitchers struck-out 10 and walked three. Ben Spitznagel had two hits to raise his average to .361 for the season. Austin Beck had a triple in three official at-bats and he walked two times. He also stole his fifth base of the season and he drove-in two. Beck has drawn six walks over his last three games. The triple was his third of the year. Jake Lumley drove-in two runs and Nick Allen reached twice with a single and a walk.
— Ismael Aquino (6 IP) and Marcelo Hernandez (3 IP) combined to two-hit the DSL Rays1 squad in a 7-0 DSL Athletics victory. Aquino struck-out five and walked two and Hernandez had one strike-out and no walks. Rafioby Urena had three hits and Jorge Gordon had two. Luis Almanzar reached base three times with a hit and two walks and he scored three runs.
— The Nashville Sounds scored twice in the top of the eighth, but they couldn’t push the tying run across in a 3-2 loss to the Memphis Redbirds. It was the sixth one-run game between the two teams this season. Josh Phegley had a single and two strike-outs in his first rehab game with the Sounds. Yairo Munoz had two hits and was the only Nashville batter to record a multi-hit game. Renato Nunez singled but saw his multi-hit game streak snapped at three. He is batting .325 over his last 10 games. Felix Doubront got the spot start in the place of scheduled starter Zach Neal, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday morning. Doubront allowed two runs in three innings. Patrick Schuster allowed a run in 2.1 innings before Corey Walter came on to throw 2.2 scoreless innings to finish the game. Since moving to the bullpen, Walter has a 3.75 ERA in 12 innings pitched.
— The Beloit Snappers were rained out on Wednesday and will play a double-header against the Wisconsin TimberRattlers on Thursday.
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