AAA: Omaha used some late-inning offense to get wins over Oklahoma Friday and Saturday, 1-0 and 4-3. Friday's tilt was a classic pitchers' duel as Oklahoma got its first hit in the 3rd while Omaha got a hit in the 4th but couldn't score. The O-Royals got a 1-out triple from SS Andres Blanco in the 6th but RF Matt Diaz grounded to Oklahoma SS Manny Alexander, who nailed Blanco at the plate to keep goose eggs on the scoreboard. In the 9th, Blanco led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error. After a Diaz strikeout and IBB to DH Cal Pickering, LF Chad Santos singled to bring Blanco home with the winning run. SP Chris George went 6 IP and allowed 2 hits and 2 walks with 6 Ks to drop his ERA to 5.56 and RP Dave Elder went 3 IP and allowed 2 hits and a K to improve to 2-0 and keep his ERA at 0.00. Blanco was 3-4 with a triple to improve to .275; Diaz was 0-4 to drop to .368; Santos was 2-4 with an RBI to improve to .262; and 1B Justin Huber was 0-2 with a walk to drop to .271.
Saturday, the O-Royals entered the bottom of the 7th down, 3-0, but used the longball to get a 4-3 win. SP Denny Bautista made his first rehab start and didn't do well. He allowed 2 runs in the 1st and, after getting a double play he was pulled (not a good sign) in favor of P Danny Tamayo. Tamayo gave up a run in the 7th to allow Oklahoma to expand the lead to 3 but the Omaha offense came alive that inning. C Jared Price hit a 2-run homer (his 2nd) with 1 out in the 7th to close the gap to 3-2 and, after RP Justin Huisman cruised through the 8th, Huber cracked a 2-run shot in the 8th (his 5th) to give Omaha the 4-3 lead. RP Santiago Ramirez survived a 9th-inning leadoff single to get the save. Bautista went 2/3 IP and allowed 2 ER on a hit and 2 walks to up his ERA to 4.91; Tamayo went 6 1/3 IP and allowed an ER on 5 hits and a walk with 6 Ks to move his ERA to 5.41; Huisman got the win with a hitless IP to improve to 8-1 with an ERA of 3.86; and Ramirez got his 15th save with a hit and K in 1 IP to drop his ERA to 5.37. Blanco was 0-1 before being pulled in the 3rd for fouling a ball off his knee in the 1st-- his BA dropped to .272; 2B Justin Gemoll was 2-3 to improve to .267; Diaz was 3-4 with a double to improve to .374; Santos was 2-4 to improve to .264; Huber was 2-4 with a HR and 2 RBI to improve to .280; and IF Rudy Gomez was 2-3 with a walk to improve to .250.
Omaha is 68-67 and 3 games out of first behind Nashville with 9 games left in the season. The home set with Oklahoma ends today. Pitchers: RedHawks LH Michael Tejera (3-2, 4.14) vs. RH Kyle Snyder (2-2, 3.64).
AA: Wichita continued a slide at the worst possible time to fall farther out of the playoff hunt with a 7-5 series-ending loss to Arkansas Friday and a 3-1 loss to Springfield Saturday. Friday, the Wranglers fell behind thanks to two 3-run innings from the Travelers and couldn't come back in the 7-5 loss. Wichita started off the scoring in the 2nd with a solo homer by DH Cory Aldridge (his 24th) but Arkansas rattled off 7 unanswered runs to take a 7-1 lead in the 5th. Wichita scored twice in the 7th on an RBI triple by RF Wilkin Ruan and an RBI ground out by SS Irving Falu and got 2 in the 9th on a 2-run shot by LF Billy Butler (his 3rd) but couldn't get the tying run to the plate. SP Ryan Baerlocher took the loss with 7 ER on 10 hits and 3 walks with 6 Ks over 4 2/3 IP to drop to 7-5 with a 3.18 ERA; RP Juan Cedeno went 2 1/3 hitless IP and walked 1 with 3 Ks to lower his ERA to 7.20; and RP Leo Nunez pitched an inning and allowed a hit with 2 Ks to drop his ERA to 0.75. CF Mitch Maier was 0-3 with a walk to drop to .239; 2B Ruben Gotay was 1-4 to improve to .232; 1B Josh Pressley was 1-4 to drop to .318; and Butler was 2-4 with a HR, 2 RBI and 2 RS to improve to .320.
Saturday, Wichita took a 1-0 lead in the 4th on a Butler RBI single and held it into the 7th before RP Chris Demaria gave up 2 homers to allow the Cardinals to take a 3-1 lead. Maier hit a 2-out triple in the 9th to bring Ruan to the plate as the tying run but Ruan struck out swinging. SP Derrin Ebert went 6 IP and allowed 1 ER on 5 hits and 2 walks with 2 Ks to drop his ERA to 4.94; Demaria blew his 1st save and took the loss with 1 IP of 2 ER on 2 hits and a walk with a K to drop to 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA; and RP Wes Wilkerson went 2 IP and allowed only 2 hits to drop his ERA to 7.13. Gotay was 0-4 to drop to .219; 3B Mike Aviles was 2-4 to improve to .290; Pressley was 1-4 with a double to drop to .314; Butler was 3-4 with a double and RBI to improve to .342; and Maier was 1-4 with the triple to stay at .239.
Wichita is 29-32 and 5 1/2 games back of Arkansas. A doubleheader with Springfield is today as the 5-game set continues. Kyle Middleton (10-8, 5.17) takes the mound in game 1 for Wichita and the Wranglers' game 2 starter hadn't been set as reported by the team site. Nine games remain on Wichita's schedule.
High-A: High Desert took big steps toward a second-half title Friday and Saturday with 15-11 and 2-0 wins over Lancaster to increase the division lead to 5 games. Friday's game wasn't quite as close as it looks as the Mavs put up 10 runs early and coasted from there. High Desert scored 5 in the 1st on RBI doubles by CF Chris Lubanski and 1B Kila Kaaihue and a 3-run homer by RF Alan Moye (his 22nd) and added 2 in the 2nd on a sac fly by SS Angel Sanchez and solo homer by Lubanski (his 24th HR and also his 100th RBI of the season). The Mavs piled on 3 in the 3rd on an RBI double by DH Brandon Powell and a 2-run shot by C Adam Donachie (his 12th) for a 10-0 lead. Three in the 5th on an RBI single by Sanchez, a wild pitch and an RBI double by Lubanski made it a 13-0 game and the Mavs added runs in the 6th and 8th on a Lancaster fielding error and a solo homer by LF Bernard Stephens (his 13th). The JetHawks scored all 11 runs after the 4th to make it closer but left the bases loaded in the 9th. SP John Gragg III got the win with 6 IP of 3 ER on 5 hits and a walk with 4 Ks to improve to 12-5 with a 4.51 ERA; RP Stephen Chamberlain went an inning and allowed 6 ER on 7 hits and a walk to move his ERA to 8.02; RP Drew Endicott went 1 2/3 IP and allowed 2 UER on 2 hits and a walk to drop his ERA to 6.40; and RP Brian Steffek got his 3rd save with 1/3 IP that included a walk to drop his ERA to 6.00. 2B Pete Maestrales went 2-6 with a double to improve to .322; Sanchez was 3-5 with a double and 2 RBI and 2 RS to improve to .304; Lubanski was 3-6 with 2 doubles, a HR, 3 RBI and 2 RS to improve to .293; Kaaihue was 2-4 with 2 walks, a double and RBI to improve to .313; Stephens was 3-4 with a HBP, HR, RBI and 3 RS to improve to .295; and Donachie was 2-4 with a walk, double, HR, 2 RBI and 3 RS to improve to .298.
Saturday was a different story although still in the Mavs' favor in a 2-0 win over Lancaster. Mavs starter Billy Buckner and JetHawks starter A.J. Shappi dueled through 6 innings and Shappi matched RP Chris Coughlin into the 9th. Shappi only gave up 3 hits before the 9th, when the Mavs rallied for both runs on a 2-run shot by Lubanski (his 25th). RP Gabe DeHoyos mowed the JetHawks down in order in the bottom of the 9th. Buckner allowed 3 hits and 3 walks with 6 Ks over 6 IP to drop his ERA to 4.81; Coughlin went 2 IP and allowed a hit and walk with a K to improve to 5-10 with a 7.03 ERA; and DeHoyos got his 5th save with a perfect 9th that included a K to drop his ERA to 1.41. Maestrales was 0-4 to drop to .319; Sanchez was 1-4 to drop to .304; Lubanski was 1-4 with the HR and 2 RBI to stay at .293; and Kaaihue was 2-4 with a double to improve to .314.
High Desert is 37-25 and up 5 games on Lancaster. The Mavs' "Magic Number" is 4 for both the second-half division title and the wild card with 8 games to play. They end the set at Lancaster tonight. No announced starters. In other Mavs news, the Mavs led all teams with three All-Stars on the recently announced 14-player team -- DH Billy Butler, utility player Brandon Powell and SP John Gragg III. Billy Butler also won the league's Rookie of the Year award. He is the third Maverick to win the award (Matt Mieske in 1991 and Mike Stoner in 1997).
Low-A: Burlington ran its losing streak to 8 games with 7-6 and 4-3 losses to Cedar Rapids Friday and Saturday to all but eliminate themselves from the division race. Friday, the Bees matched Cedar Rapids runs in the 2nd and 4th on an RBI ground out by 2B Gary Perez and an RBI single by CF Cody Cure but the Kernels pounded out 5 runs in the 6th through 8th to take a 7-2 lead. The Bees scored a run in the 8th on a Perez RBI double and a leadoff single by DH Darwinson Salazar started a rally in the 9th. SS Geraldo Valentin tripled home Salazar, RF Edward Lucas singled Valentin home before the Bees got 2 outs and brought 3B Eddie Solis to the plate. Solis doubled home Lucas and LF Kenard Springer singled Solis to third to put runners at the corners with 2 out and the Bees down, 7-6. Perez was hit by a pitch to load the bases but Cure grounded out to end it. SP Justin Sherman went 5 IP and allowed 2 ER on 6 hits and 3 walks with 2 Ks to move his ERA to 4.55; RP Kraig Schambough went 2 1/3 IP for the loss as he gave up 4 ER on a hit and 5 walks with a K to move to 1-1 with a 4.97 ERA; RP Adam Rowe went 1 2/3 IP and allowed 1 ER on 3 hits and 2 walks with 2 Ks to move his ERA to 5.15. Valentin was 2-5 with a triple and RBI to improve to .238; Lucas was 2-5 with an RBI to improve to .288; Springer was 3-4 with a walk to improve to .232; and Perez was 3-4 with a double and 2 RBI to improve to .268. Lucas stole his 27th base. Perez made 2 errors to run his season total to 12.
Saturday, the Bees' woes continued as the Kernels took a 4-3 win in 12. Burlington took a 1-0 lead in the 1st on an RBI force out by IF Damaso Espino and SP Patrick Hicklen left after 6 IP with a 1-0 lead. Cedar Rapids scored 2 in the 8th but Espino came through in the 9th with a 1-out RBI single to tie the game. The Kernels got a 2-run triple off RP Yovany Damico in the 12th to take a 4-2 lead but Solis hit a solo homer (his 9th) with 1 out in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead to 1. The Bees got two more runners on but couldn't get either home to lose. Hicklen went 6 IP and allowed 3 hits and 2 walks with 5 Ks to drop his ERA to 4.07; RP Chad Blackwell blew his 4th save with 2 IP of 2 ER on 4 hits with 2 Ks to move his ERA to 2.40; and Damico took the loss with 4 IP of 2 ER on 3 hits and 2 walks with 5 Ks to drop to 2-3 with a 4.66 ERA. Cure was 2-6 with 2 RS to improve to .266; Lucas was 2-4 to improve to .290; Perez was 1-5 to drop to .263; and Solis was 2-4 with a HR and RBI to improve to .198. Perez made his 13th error and Springer had an outfield assist to get to 21 on the season and set a new Bees single-season record.
Burlington is 28-33 and 6 games back of first. The Bees end the set with Cedar Rapids today and have 9 games left on the schedule. Pitchers: RH Luis Cota (5-7, 4.07) vs. Kernels RH Ronnie Ray (5-3, 3.64).
Rookie: Idaho Falls dropped games to Orem, 7-3 Friday and 9-4 Saturday. Friday, the Chukars never led in the 7-3 loss. Orem took a 2-0 lead into the 5th before the Chukars got a run on a solo homer by C Kiel Thibault (his 8th). Orem made the lead 6-1 going into the 7th before Idaho Falls got its final runs in the 7th and 8th on a solo homer by 1B Jase Turner (his 10th) and a Turner RBI single. SP Chris Nicoll took the loss with 4 2/3 IP of 4 R (3 ER) on 5 hits and 2 walks with 6 Ks to drop to 0-2 with a 2.79 ERA; RP David Henninger went 2 1/3 IP and allowed 2 UER on 5 hits and 2 walks with 3 Ks to drop his ERA to 3.93; and RP Travis Trammell went an inning and gave up 1 ER on 3 hits with 2 Ks to move his ERA to 8.03. SS Chris McConnell was 2-4 with a triple to improve to .348; Turner was 2-4 with a HR and 2 RBI to improve to .276; RF Andrew Larsen was 2-4 to improve to .270; and Thibault was 2-4 with a double, HR and RBI to improve to .348. Henninger had 2 errors to get to 5 on the season.
Saturday, Idaho Falls tied it up early but got blown out, 9-4. The Chukars tied it at 1 in the 2nd on an RBI ground out by 3B Brenan Herrera but the Owlz scored 7 runs in the next 3 innings to take an 8-1 lead that held into the 8th when the Chukars scored 3 on a 2-run triple by DH Ethien Santana and an RBI ground out by McConnell but Orem put it away. SP Bennett Cromer went 3 2/3 IP and allowed 7 R (5 ER) on 11 hits and a walk with 3 Ks to drop to 5-3 with a 5.59 ERA; RP Brandon Brantley went 3 1/3 IP and allowed 1 ER on 4 hits with 4 Ks to drop his ERA to 8.57; RP Kevin Bulger pitched an inning and allowed 1 ER on a hit to move his ERA to 11.57. McConnell was 0-4 with an RBI to drop to .342; C Jeff Howell was 0-3 with a walk to drop to .330; and RF Byron Barber was 1-2 to improve to .317. McConnell made his 19th error.
Idaho Falls is 10-16 and 3 games out of first with 12 games left on the schedule. The Chukars end the series at Orem tonight.
The ASL Royals lost to the Giants, 5-2, Friday and Saturday's game with the Angels wasn't reported. The Royals took a 1-0 lead in the 1st on a Giant throwing error but the Giants came back with 4 off SP Paul Raglione in the 1st to take a 4-1 lead. The Royals scored again in the 2nd on an RBI single by 1B Oscar Marrero to cut the lead to 4-2 but never threatened again. Raglione went 4 IP and took the loss as he allowed 4 ER on 6 hits and 4 walks to drop to 3-4 with a 5.94 ERA; RP Nelson Trifolio went 2 IP and gave up a hit and 3 walks with 2 Ks to drop his ERA to 3.32; and RP Drew Coffey went 2 IP and allowed an ER on 4 hits with 3 Ks to move his ERA to 8.80. LF Jose Duarte was 1-4 with a double to drop to .315; IF Valentino Arce was 0-3 with a HBP to drop to .333; CF Joseph Dickerson was 2-4 with a double to improve to .302; DH Alvi Morel was 0-4 to drop to .339; and 2B Carlos Avila was 3-4 to improve to .222.
Saturday's game with the Angels hasn't been reported to the MiLB site.
The Royals are 13-12 and 4 games back of first with two game unreported on MiLB's site (they beat the Cubs, 8-7, Aug. 2). They play the Brewers tonight and the M's tomorrow. Two games remain in the ASL schedule so the Royals are eliminated from the second-half title chase.