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Minor League Notebooks

Oakland Athletics Minor League Notebook: Pitching rules the day

Strong pitching performances ruled the day in the Oakland A’s minor league system on Saturday night.

Brian Howard / Photo by Greg Bessette
Brian Howard was outstanding in his Stockton debut. / Photo by Greg Bessette

Cahill goes four in Nashville loss

After waiting out a two hour and 32 minute rain delay, the Nashville Sounds and New Orleans Baby Cakes raced through a two hour and 24 minute game. The Sounds’ offense was quiet, and they fell, 2-1, to drop to 1-2 on the season.

Trevor Cahill made his first start since re-joining the A’s organization on a one-year deal during the final week of spring training. Cahill labored through a long second inning but was otherwise effective and efficient in a four-inning stint. He walked three — all coming in that second inning — and he struck out three while allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits. Cahill threw 74 pitches and may need just one more start before he can join the A’s starting rotation.

The Sounds were facing off against Sandy Alcantara, the hard-throwing right-hander who was the centerpiece in the package that the Cardinals sent to the Marlins in the Marcel Ozuna deal. Alcantara also struggled with his command at times, but he had his strikeout stuff going, as he K’d eight in 4.2 innings.

The only Sounds run came in the first inning when Jorge Mateo walked to start the game and stole second with one out. With two outs, Renato Nunez — who was DHing in the game — singled him home. Nashville would manage only four more hits the rest of the game. Nunez and Steve Lombardozzi were the only hitters to reach twice, both with a hit and a walk.

The Nashville bullpen was terrific in relief of Cahill. Lou Trivino (two innings), Jake Sanchez and Bobby Wahl combined to throw four hitless innings. They didn’t walk any and struck out six.

Before the game, the A’s recalled infielder Franklin Barreto from Nashville and optioned Daniel Gossett back to the Sounds. The A’s also placed infielder Chad Pinder on the 10-day disabled list with a hyperextended left knee and added outfielder Trayce Thompson to the active roster.

Left-hander Eric Jokisch will get the start for Nashville in the series finale on Sunday.

Seth Brown leads Midland charge in rout

Seth Brown connected for two home runs and the Midland RockHounds used their 11 hits efficiently in a 10-1 rout of the Springfield Cardinals. The RockHounds are now 3-0 on the season.

Brown had a pair of two-run blasts and he also added a walk in a big offensive day. He scored three runs. Tyler RamirezTyler Marincov and Mikey White all had two-hit games. White’s two hits were doubles and he drove-in three. White already has eight RBI in three games this season.

Ben BracewellJohn Gorman and Jarret Martin undoubtedly appreciated the run support, but they hardly needed it. Bracewell worked five innings, allowing just a solo home run. Gorman made his Double-A debut a success, firing two perfect innings. He struck out two. Martin was almost as efficient, allowing only a hit in his two scoreless frames.

Right-hander Norge Ruiz takes the mound for his Double-A debut on Sunday, as the RockHounds open a series against the Tulsa Drillers.

Stockton pitchers dominate in doubleheader sweep

A rare rainout in Stockton on Friday forced a doubleheader with the Lake Elsinore Storm on Saturday. The Stockton Ports came away with two wins thanks to the work of their pitching staff, winning 2-0 in game one and 2-1 in game two. (Note: seven-inning games are played in minor league doubleheaders)

In game one, Brian Howard took the ball and did exactly what he did so often for Vermont last season — put up zeroes. Howard zipped through five innings, allowing only a single and a walk. He struck out five. Miguel Romero took over in the sixth and he earned his first save of the season with two scoreless innings. He allowed only a double and he struck out three.

The Ports didn’t generate much offense, but they were opportunistic. In the bottom of the third, Jonah Heim walked with two outs and Greg Deichmann moved Heim to third with a double. Heim then came into score on a passed ball. In the fourth inning, Luis Barrera walked with two outs, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error. He then came into score on a Nate Mondou single.

In game two, Parker Dunshee took the hill and duplicated Howard’s game one effort. Dunshee threw 38.1 innings for Vermont during the regular season last year without allowing an earned run. He extended that streak on Saturday with five more scoreless innings. Dunshee was dominant, striking out 10 and allowing just two hits.

Dunshee had little margin for error, as the Ports’ offense was quiet once again in game two. Stockton’s only run scored while Dunshee was in the game came off the bat of catcher Jonah Heim, who homered in the fourth inning off of Padres prospect Reggie Lawson.

Heim’s homer stood up until the top of the seventh, when closer Sam Sheehan ran into a little trouble. He allowed back-to-back singles to open the seventh. After recording a strikeout, Sheehan allowed a game-tying sacrifice fly.

The Ports didn’t let the game get into extra-innings, however. With one out, Barrera walked. He moved to second on a ground out and, with two outs, the Storm pitching staff lost command of the strike-zone. Gerardo Reyes walked Kevin Merrell and then hit Brallan Perez to load the bases. The Storm brought in Blake Rogers to face Heim and Rogers promptly walked Heim on four pitches to give Stockton the walk-off win and a doubleheader sweep.

Matt Milburn takes the hill on Sunday for the Ports.

Beck busts out in Beloit rout

The temperatures were below freezing and there was a sledding hill at Fox Rivers Stadium, but the Beloit Snappers’ bats were red-hot. The Snappers rattled off 15 hits in the 10-1 thrashing of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.

Austin Beck collected three hits and drove-in four to lead the offense. Trace Loehr (three hits and a walk), Jordan Devencenzi (three hits and two walks) and Jake Lumley (two hits and two walks) all had huge games. Nick Allen continued his hot start with two hits and a walk. He has four hits and two walks over his first two Low-A games.

Wyatt Marks and Bryce Conley made quick work of the Timber Rattlers. Marks needed just 68 pitches to throw five scoreless innings. He struck out three, allowed four hits and didn’t walk a batter. Conley threw four hitless innings, allowing just a walk and striking out four. He was credited with a save.

Xavier Altamirano will take the hill against the Timber Rattlers on Sunday.

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