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Oakland Athletics Minor League Notebook: A.J. Puk, ‘Hounds cruise

A.J. Puk and the Midland RockHounds continued their push to the post-season with a rout of the Arkansas Travelers. Meanwhile, the Vermont Lake Monsters earned a walk-off win, the Stockton Ports brought out the heavy lumber and more…

A.J. Puk / Photo by Matthew Barnett/Midland RockHounds
A.J. Puk struck-out seven in six innings. / Photo by Matthew Barnett / Midland RockHounds

A.J. Puk threw six strong innings and the Midland RockHounds pounded out 15 hits in a 9-1 win over the Arkansas Travelers. The win moved Midland 2.5 games back of San Antonio for the second-half division title and 4.5 games ahead of Corpus Christi for a potential wild card berth (San Antonio won the first half title, so there will be a wild card team if the Missions also win the second half title).

Puk threw exactly 100 pitches in his six innings, 64 for strikes. He struck-out seven, walked two and allowed just one run. The one run allowed came in his final full inning of work. He faced one batter in the seventh. Puk now has 68 strike-outs in 51.1 innings for Midland and 166 strike-outs in 112.1 innings overall.

B.J. Boyd and Max Schrock each had three hits to raise their season averages to .327 and .323, respectively. Boyd is first and Schrock is third in the Texas League in batting this season. Tyler Ramirez had two hits and two walks. He raised his Texas League average to .343 and his overall season average to .317. He also has 70 walks in 123 games this year. J.P. Sportman homered (his 11th) and had two hits, and Sheldon Neuse also added a two-hit game. Viosergy Rosa was the only RockHounds’ batter not to collect a hit, but he drove-in two runs. The RockHounds were active on the base-paths as Boyd and Jorge Mateo each had two stolen bases. Boyd has 14 on the season and Mateo has 50, including 11 in 18 games with Midland.

Joel SeddonSam Bragg and Kyle Finnegan each threw scoreless innings in relief of Puk.

Other News:

— Jesus Lage hit a one-out single to drive-in Anthony Churlin from second base to give the Vermont Lake Monsters a 6-5 walkoff win in 13 innings over the Connecticut Tigers. The Lake Monsters rallied from an early 4-0 deficit and they scored twice in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game at 5. The two teams traded zeros until Churlin hit a one-out double in the 13th and Lage hit the game-winner. Logan Farrar hit his third homer and he had four hits to raise his average to .323. Churlin, Ryan Gridley and Jordan Devencenzi each had two-hit games. Oscar Tovar got the start and he allowed four runs (three earned) in six innings. Jeferson Meija threw three scoreless innings of relief. He has a 0.96 ERA since being acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Logan Salow followed with two scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 2.00 and Wandisson Charles got the win with a scoreless top of the 13th. Charles struck-out two and didn’t walk a batter. The Lake Monsters have a two game lead in the Stedler division.

Oakland Athletics prospect Q&A: Wandisson Charles, RHP

— The Stockton Ports pounded out 18 hits in a 15-3 rout of the Modesto Nuts. Seth Brown hit his 22nd homer and drove-in five in the win. Brown had three hits and a walk. Richie Martin had three hits and he scored three times. After a slow start with Stockton, Martin is batting .265 with a 736 OPS with the Ports. Brett Siddall had two hits and a walk and Argenis Raga homered and had two hits. Skye Bolt hit his 13th homer and Eli White — playing center field — had two hits and a walk to raise his average to .271. Jake Smolinski had a hit, three walks and four RBI in his rehab start as the Ports’ DH. Every Ports starter had at least one hit. Brandon Bailey threw three scoreless innings and Miguel Romero followed with three solid innings of his own. Romero allowed one unearned run and he struck-out four to earn the win. Romero hasn’t allowed an earned run over his last four appearances (9.2 innings). He has 25 strike-outs in 18.1 innings with Stockton. Bailey has thrown six shutout innings since returning from a groin strain. He has allowed only three hits over that stretch.

— The night before the big event, the Nashville Sounds found themselves eclipsed by the Iowa Cubs, 9-1. Chris Carter‘s solo homerun was the only highlight for the Sounds. It was Carter’s fourth homer for Nashville. He had two hits in the game. Franklin Barreto also had a two-hit game to raise his average to .276. Zach Neal, who cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last week, allowed seven runs in five innings to earn the loss.

— A six-run fifth inning sunk the Beloit Snappers in a 12-2 loss to the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The Kernels had 23 hits, including two homeruns. Kyle Twomey allowed six runs in four innings, with three runs coming in that fifth inning. Jesus Lopez had three hits for Beloit and Josh Vidales added two. Lopez is batting .305 in 28 games since joining Beloit from Vermont.

— The AZL Athletics fell behind the AZL Giants, 6-0, early and eventually lost, 8-3. Jake Lumley had two hits to raise his average to .337. Austin Beck doubled and walked in four at-bats. He also had an outfield assist on a runner attempting to score and he stole his sixth base of the season. Beck has drawn nine walks over his last five games. Lazaro Armenteros had a triple, his second of the season. Chris Kohler allowed three unearned runs in three innings to earn the loss, but he struck-out three and didn’t walk a batter.

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