L - Hankins (5-6)
50-36, 5.0 GU
The Isotopes entered their series against the first-place Express struggling in a big way, but they've taken out some frustrations with blowout victories on each of the last two nights.
Starter Derek Hankins lasted just two-plus innings, as he yielded five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks. Seth McClung didn't provide much relief after giving up six runs (four earned) in three innings.
Round Rock trailed 11-0 after five innings. The offense was held in check by Albuquerque starter Dana Eveland, who gave up only two runs in eight innings of work.
The Express bullpen got some strong work in the final three innings, with Mark Hamburger, Zach Phillips, and Pedro Strop working one shutout frame apiece.
Hamburger now has the following line over his last nine appearances––16.2 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 6 bb, 13 k. Right-handed hitters are batting .190 against him in Triple-A.
Leadoff man Julio Borbon (.282/.362/.419) had a triple, a walk, and a hit-by pitch in four plate appearances. He has worked five walks and struck out five times in his last nine games.
Joey Butler (1/4, 2B) and Matt Kata (1/4, 2B) both doubled once. Butler also fanned three times while Kata's two-bagger extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Chris Davis sat out. He is day-to-day with a minor groin injury.
6-6, 3.0 GB
The Texas League was off on Wednesday. The RoughRiders travel to Springfield on Thursday, where they'll get the difficult assignment of facing Cardinals top prospect Shelby Miller for the second time in seven days.
L - Ortiz (4-4)
6-8, 3.5 GB
The Pelicans dropped Wednesday's game in extra innings despite getting 19 hits, including five doubles. The offense stranded 16 runners on base and went 6-for-22 with men in scoring position.
Starting pitcher Robbie Ross (2.36 ERA/.231 BAA) actually held Winston-Salem scoreless through his five-inning outing. The 22-year-old southpaw hurled shutout ball for his third consecutive outing, spanning 17 innings.
Ross allowed three hits, walked two, and struck out six. He also induced six groundouts and only one flyout.
Things fell apart when righty Kenny Gomez entered the game in the sixth. While Gomez has been strong all season, he coughed up five runs in one inning, raising his ERA to 3.18.
DH Ryan Strausborger broke out of a slump by leading the team with three singles, a walk, and his 25th stolen base of the season.
Leury Garcia (2/3, 2B), Zach Zaneski (2/5, 2B) and Andres James (2/5, 2B) all singled once and doubled once. The switch-hitting Garcia raised his batting average to .280.
Jared Prince (1/4, 2B, 2 BB) and David Paisano (1/6, 2B) also doubled. Jared Bolden (2/3), Mitch Hilligoss (2/4) and Santiago Chirino (2/6) all singled twice.
Eleven different Pelicans position players saw action on Wednesday, and they all had at least one hit.
The club actually came back to tie the game with two runs in the ninth, scoring on a Prince double and later a Hilligoss single. But reliever Joe Ortiz gave up the walkoff sacrifice fly and run in the bottom of the 10th.
L - Thompson (3-5)
8-6, 0.0 GU
Wednesday's series finale in Hickory was delayed for just over 30 minutes before being called due to rain after seven complete innings.
Crawdads starting pitcher Matt Thompson (4.42 ERA/.228 BAA) had another strange outing. In the first inning, he struck out the side and had one hitter reach on an error. The second stanza went as follows––walk, walk, walk, strikeout, wild pitch, walk, strikeout, single, single, walk.
Overall, Thompson recorded all five outs (1.2 IP) on strikes. He allowed only two hits but walked five batters––all in the second inning––which led to five runs.
On the season, the 21-year old has worked 71.1 innings, giving up 60 hits, fanning 79, and inducing nearly 2.3 groundouts per flyout. But he has also walked 50, including 30 in 24.1 innings over his last six starts. He has uncorked 15 wild pitches in that six-start span.
Thompson issued a total of 23 free passes in 129.1 innings with Hickory last season. He is less hittable, missing bats, and getting plenty of ground balls this season. But the extreme control problems are strange, to say the least.
Excellent bullpen work from righties Colby Killian and Nick McBride helped keep Hickory within striking distance. Killian kept Delmarva off the board for 3.1 innings, giving up two hits, walking one, and striking out three. McBride worked around two hits in two shutout innings.
Right fielder Josh Richmond (.250/.330/.425) batted cleanup and went 2-for-3 with a double––his 23rd of the season––and a walk.
Third baseman Christian Villanueva (2/4, 2B) singled, doubled, and stole his 20th base of the season. Kellin Deglan (1/4, 2B) doubled and struck out three times.
Shortstop Jonathan Roof, who has been much improved lately, went 1-for-2 with a walk and his 14th steal. The performance raised his average to .261.
L - Kukuruda (0-3)
11-9, 1.0 GB
Tri-City raced out to a 11-0 lead through 2.5 innings on Wednesday, and they never really looked back.
Spokane starting pitcher John Kukuruda was smacked around the yard for six runs (four earned) in 1.2 innings. He gave up five hits and walked two. Scuffling righty Andres Perez-Lobo didn't fare much better, as he allowed five runs in one inning of work.
After a strong performance in spring training, the 19-year-old Perez-Lobo earned a relatively early assignment to Single-A Hickory. With the Crawdads, he yielded eight runs and walked 10 in 7.2 innings. And so far with Spokane, the control problems have continued. Perez-Lobo has worked 8.2 innings, giving up 11 runs on 13 hits, walking seven and striking out six.
Zach Cone (1/4, 2B), Trever Adams (1/3, 2B) and Ruben Sierra (1/2, 2B, BB) all doubled once. Cone brought home a pair of runs with his two-bagger––Spokane's only runs of the game.
Shortstop Hanser Alberto, who recently returned from injury, was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and committed two errors in the field.
Third baseman Drew Robinson went hitless in four trips, striking out once. The 19-year-old prospect is 4-for-31 (.129) with a double, four walks, and six K's in his first eight Northwest League games.
Converted catcher Leonel de los Santos punched out two while yielding one hit in 2.1 scoreless innings. Lefty Will Lamb gave up two runs in two innings, but he struck out four.
Carlos Melo hasn't found much of the strike zone at all lately, but he worked two strong innings on Wednesday. Melo tossed scoreless, hitless ball while walking one and striking out five. The performance dropped his Spokane ERA to 19.50.
8-4, 0.0 GU
The rookie-level Surprise Rangers enjoyed a scheduled day off on Wednesday. They'll face the AZL Mariners, who are tied with the Rangers in first place, on Thursday.
L - J. Leclerc (1-1)
20-10, 0.5 GU
The Dominican Rangers dropped the contest in extra innings despite an all-around dazzling pitching performance, particularly from starter Richelson Pena.
Pena, 17, kept the Angels off the board for five innings. He allowed three hits, struck out two without issuing a walk, and induced 10 groundouts with zero flyouts.
Lefty Aliangel Lopez (0.75 ERA/.138 BAA) followed by permitted just a solo home run over four innings. He struck out a season-high six batters without a base on balls.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Venezuela native has surrendered two runs on 11 hits in his first 24 professional innings.
Second baseman Alberto Triunfel went 2-for-5 with his fifth double, the Rangers' only extra-base knock of the afternoon.
Leadoff man Chris Garia had two singles, a walk, and his 15th stolen base. The speedster is currently batting .309 with an impressive .432 on-base percentage.
Luis Marte (2/5) brought his average up to .330 with two hits in five trips. He committed his sixth error of the year at shortstop.
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