L - Miller (1-2)
HR - Cruz (3), Cash (1)
26-17, 1.5 GU
The Express bullpen couldn't hold a two-run lead in the top of the ninth, as Colorado Springs busted out for eight runs in the frame and ran away with the game.
Appearing in his last rehab game, right fielder Nelson Cruz contributed by belting his third home run in three games with Triple-A Round Rock. He also walked twice, reaching three total times in five plate appearances.
Josh Hamilton, who once again worked as the designated hitter, was 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. Both Hamilton and Cruz will be activated before the Rangers' game against the Chicago White Sox on Monday.
Round Rock starter Zach Jackson (6.13 ERA/.303 BAA) permitted six runs on 10 hits over six innings of work. He struck out four.
Left fielder Brad Nelson, who was 0-for-2 with two walks and a sacrifice fly, was the only Express starter to go hitless in the game.
Second baseman Matt Kata raised his average to .275 by going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Kevin Cash (1/4, HR, BB) homered, walked, and knocked home three runs.
Chad Tracy (1/4, 3B) and Joey Butler (2/5, 3B) both tripled. Leadoff hitter and third baseman Esteban German had two singles in six at-bats.
In the top of the ninth, the wheels fell off under the watch of relievers Beau Jones, Justin Miller, and Ryan Tucker.
Jones retired the first two hitters of the frame before giving up a double and getting lifted for Miller. After Jones got the first two outs, nine consecutive Sky Sox hitters reached base safely.
When the dust settled, Miller had coughed up four runs on three walks and a hit without recording an out. Tucker worked one-third of an inning, yielding three runs on three hits and a free pass.
The game was Tucker's first since he was optioned back to Triple-A Round Rock. He hadn't appeared in a major league game since May 9.
L - Brigham (2-3)
22-21, 8.0 GB
Frisco starter Jake Brigham (4.56 ERA/.225 BAA) had a rare bout with control on Sunday evening. The right-hander issued four walks (and allowed five runs) in 1.2 innings, throwing just 21 of his 48 pitches for strikes. After working a 1-2-3 first inning, he simply lost control in the second frame. Brigham allowed two hits and struck out two.
Tall hurler Adalberto Flores (1.30 ERA/.227 BAA) did his best to keep the ‘Riders in the game, hurling 3.2 no-hit innings of long relief. Flores walked two and struck out four.
Leadoff hitter and centerfielder Leonys Martin had just one hit in five at-bats, but the lone knock was his first state-side triple.
Mike Bianucci (1/3, 2B, BB), Jose Ruiz (2/3, 2B, BB) and Guilder Rodriguez (1/4, 2B) all doubled once.
Catcher Elio Sarmiento raised his average to .179 with two singles in four trips.
Third baseman Tom Mendonca, who was 0-for-3 with a base on balls, now has five walks in his last six contests––giving him nine walks in 41 games this season.
L - Wieland (4-3)
25-18, 1.0 GU
Joe Wieland (1.73 ERA/.225 BAA) was the hard-luck loser on Sunday afternoon, as the Blue Rocks finished off a three-game sweep of the Pelicans.
Wieland worked yet another strong start, though, posting a season-high 7.2 innings. He allowed two runs while scattering seven hits (six singles). And, perhaps least surprisingly, he fanned 10 without issuing a walk.
In 52 innings this season, the 21-year-old has struck out 61 and walked only three. He hasn't issued a free pass in seven starts––since an April 18 outing against Winston-Salem. It's a streak of 148 consecutive hitters faced without walking a man.
Diminutive lefty Joe Ortiz permitted a run on two hits in two-thirds of an inning, snapping a string of nine straight scoreless outings that spanned 18 innings.
Left fielder Ryan Strausborger (.298/.356/.485) doubled for Myrtle Beach's only extra-base hit of the contest.
In 64 games with short-season Spokane last summer, Strausborger had nine doubles, four triples, and two round-trippers. In his first 43 games this season––two levels higher––he has belted 12 doubles, four triples, and four homers.
Jared Bolden (2/4), Mitch Hilligoss (1/3, BB), David Paisano (1/4) and Santiago Chirino (1/4) had the Pelicans' other hits in the game.
After a perfect all-around performance on Saturday, third baseman Mike Olt had a rough Sunday, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and his seventh error of the season.
L - Buckel (0-2)
HR - Selen (1)
23-20, 4.0 GB
All four of Hickory's pitchers on Sunday were in extended spring training just a couple weeks ago. The last three––Buckel, Reyes, and Henry––joined the Crawdads just this week.
Right-hander Cody Buckel, the Rangers' second round pick in last year's MLB Draft, got his first professional start on Sunday afternoon. The 18-year-old allowed two runs––both unearned––in three innings, giving up one hit, walking one, and striking out four. He also induced six groundouts and no flyouts.
Submarining righty Ben Rowen, who was recently promoted from extended spring training, followed by holding the Braves to one run in three frames. The Virginia Tech product struck out one, got six groundouts, and two flyouts.
Southpaw Jimmy Reyes gave up two runs in the seventh while righty Ben Henry worked a shutout eighth.
Cleanup hitter and first baseman Andrew Clark (.298/.421/.387) carried the load offensively, going 3-for-4 with his fifth double of the season. Christian Villanueva (1/4, 2B) added his 12th two-bagger for his only hit of the game.
Left fielder Alejandro Selen homered, singled, and struck out twice. Although Selen is listed at only 5-foot-10, 175-pounds, he has some surprising power in his small frame. Selen won the Spokane Indians' home run derby last season and slugged .495 in 31 games with the Indians.
Josh Richmond (.267/.357/.445) singled and walked in four plate appearances.
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