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Oakland Athletics Minor League Notebook: Kyle Friedrichs, Zack Erwin set the tone

Kyle Friedrichs and Zack Erwin each had strong starts, highlighting the night of action in the Oakland A’s system.

Kyle Friedrichs threw six strong innings for Midland. / Photo by Bill Seals

Friedrichs fires six strong in Midland win over Tulsa

The Midland RockHounds responded quickly to their first loss of the season, taking game two of their series with the Tulsa Drillers, 7-3, to move to 4-1 on the season. Kyle Friedrichs became the first A’s minor league pitcher to go past five innings so far this season with a six-inning season debut.

Friedrichs was efficient on Monday, needing just 66 pitches to throw six innings. He allowed a solo home run to Peter O’Brien and little else. He allowed three hits, walked none and struck out four.

The Midland offense was active in support of Friedrichs. Down 1-0 in the fifth, the RockHounds rallied for two runs and never looked back, adding a run in the sixth, three in the seventh and one in the eighth. Tyler Ramirez had another big game, collecting two hits and two RBI. Melvin Mercedes also had two hits.

Sam Bragg (two innings) and Nolan Blackwood (one inning) closed out the game for the RockHounds.

Joel Seddon will make his second start of the season, taking on Tulsa’s Dennis Santana in the series finale.

Ports’ pitching continues to shine as Stockton routs Rancho

The Stockton starting rotation has been brilliant since Opening Day, but Zack Erwin managed to out-do all of his rotation-mates in his 2018 debut on Monday. The left-hander, pitching in the Cal League for the first time since an injury-marred stint in 2016, threw six scoreless innings in a 10-2 Stockton win.

With Erwin’s effort, Ports’ starters have allowed just one run in 25 2/3 innings to start the year. Erwin needed only 78 pitches to get through six innings. He struck out eight, walked none and allowed only two base-hits.

The Stockton offense — quiet for the first three games of the season — came alive for a second straight game. The Ports had only six hits, but they were patient, walking 11 times en route to 10 runs. Will Toffey had three of those walks, while Jonah HeimDairon Blanco and Luke Persico each had two walks. Kevin Merrell had two hits and two RBI and Greg Deichmann picked up his fourth double of the season. Luis Barrera had a bases-loaded triple and he drove in four. He also stole a base.

The Ports will turn to Jake Bray on Tuesday against Rancho.

Sounds’ struggles continue against New Orleans

The Nashville Sounds will be happy to leave the Big Easy in their rearview mirror after dropping four games in a five-game series to start the season. Two errors led to five unearned runs in the first inning and that was all the New Orleans Baby Cakes needed in a 7-4 win over Nashville.

Brett Anderson got his first start of the season and he had a rough first inning. Sheldon Neuse made errors on the first two balls hit into play in the game. After recording a strike out, Anderson allowed a double, a triple, a single and — after another strike out — another single to account for the five runs. He was solid after the first, finishing his outing with four innings pitched. He allowed those five unearned runs on six hits. He struck out four and didn’t walk a batter.

Raúl Alcántara took over for Anderson and pitched the rest of the way. He was also a victim of bad defense, allowing two runs, but only one earned.

The Nashville offense scored 11 runs on Opening Day, but only two over their next three games. The bats were quiet again for much of Monday night, finally coming alive in the ninth. Down 7-1, the first four hitters for the Sounds reached safely, pushing three runs across. Nashville had the tying run at the plate with one out, but Steve Lombardozzi popped out and Slade Heathcott — who had homered earlier — struck out to end the game.

Anthony Garcia doubled twice and Dustin Fowler had two singles to pace the Sounds’ offense.

Nashville returns home on Tuesday for the opener at First Tennessee Park. James Naile gets the call against the Iowa Cubs.

Beloit postponed

The Snappers’ first game against the Burlington Bees was washed out by snow on Monday. The two teams will play a doubleheader on Wednesday.

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