L - Jackson (2-7)
HR - Mendonca (6)
27-38, 11.5 GB
Aside from Martin Perez's seven-inning performance on Sunday, the Round Rock Express haven't gotten much distance from their starting pitchers of late. As a result, practically the entire bullpen has been pushed into long relief duty over the last five days.
That spelled bad news for Monday's starting pitcher, left-hander Zach Jackson.
The Texas A&M product stayed in the game through 112 pitches and 6.1 innings despite yielding 11 runs––eight earned––on 15 hits. He walked one and struck out one.
Round Rock dropped its seventh consecutive game, falling to a season-low 11 games under .500. After pitching relatively well to start the month, the Express' pitching staff has now allowed 50 runs in their last five games.
The Express also committed four errors on Monday––two by second baseman Yanvergis Solarte, and two by shortstop Luis Hernandnez. Hernandez was 2-for-4 with a triple while Solarte singled twice in four trips.
Leonys Martin (1/3, 2B, SF) and Brad Nelson (1/4, 2B) both doubled. Third baseman Tom Mendonca, who was 2-for-4, launched a solo home run––his sixth of the season––in the top of the ninth inning.
Although leadoff man and left fielder Julio Borbon had only one hit in four at-bats, it was enough to extend his hitting streak to 20 games.
Left-handed reliever Neal Cotts finished the game out of the Express' bullpen. The veteran allowed a run on two hits in 1.2 innings, walking one and striking out three. He threw 20 of his 29 pitches for a strike.
Cotts, 32, was appearing in his first regular-season game since June 2009.
W - Bell (2-0)
HR - McGuiness (10)
37-25, 5.0 GU
Since arriving at Double-A Frisco, left-hander Chad Bell (1.77 ERA/.142 BAA) pitched his way into the club's starting rotation, and now he's pitching like one of the best in the Texas League.
On Monday, Bell tossed 6.2 innings of one-hit, shutout ball. He struck out six without issuing a walk.
Bell, who threw 56 of his 90 pitches for a strike, induced 10 groundouts to one flyout.
After allowing a second-inning single, Bell retired the final 15 batters he faced with nobody hitting the ball out of the infield. In fact, of the 22 hitters Bell faced on Monday, only two got the ball to the outfield.
He's now surrendered just 19 hits in 40.2 Double-A innings while walking eight and striking out 33.
Power-hitting first baseman Chris McGuiness (.246/.329/.446) put the game out of reach in the sixth inning with a grand slam, his second round-tripper in as many games.
McGuiness, 24, went 3-for-3 with the home run, two walks, and four RBI in the game.
Third baseman Mike Olt raised his on-base percentage to .414 with two singles and two walks in five plate appearances. He's batting .395/.489/1.026 with eight home runs in 10 games this month.
Leury Garcia (1/3, BB), Jurickson Profar (1/3, 2 BB), Engel Beltre (0/3, BB, HBP) and Ryan Strausborger (2/5) also reached base multiple times. Garcia stole his seventh base.
Coming on in relief of Bell, right-hander Tyler Tufts gave up a run on three hits in 1.1 innings. He struck out two.
Lefty Miguel de los Santos, who was recently activated from the disabled list, threw seven of his 12 pitches for a strike in a 1-2-3 ninth inning. He struck out one.
Although de los Santos began the season as a starting pitcher, he may be easing into a full-time bullpen role.
L - Mendoza (2-3)
32-32, 7.5 GB
On the one-year anniversary of the longest game in Carolina League history––a 23-inning marathon between Myrtle Beach and Kinston last year––the Pelicans played a game that lasted past midnight thanks to 13 innings and a 90-minute rain delay.
Starting pitcher Wilmer Font (4.97 ERA/.218 BAA) bounced back from a pair of rough outings to work five shutout innings. The hard-throwing righty gave up two hits, walked one, and struck out six.
Submarining righty Ben Rowen (2.28 ERA/.205 BAA) was every bit as effective in long relief, as he hurled four innings of two-hit shutout ball, striking out one and inducing eight groundouts.
In 23.2 innings this season, Rowen has allowed 17 hits, walked two, and struck out 21. He is also getting more than 4.2 groundouts per airout.
Although Francisco Mendoza (6.97 ERA/.352 BAA) suffered the loss, he also pitched well. The Dominican righty gave up the game's only run in his four innings of work.
Centerfielder Jake Skole led the way for the Pelicans' offense with three singles in six at-bats, raising his batting average to .216.
Odubel Herrera (1/4, BB), Jared Hoying (1/5, BB), Brett Nicholas (2/6), Santiago Chirino (2/5, BB) and Teodoro Martinez (1/3, 2 HBP) also reached base multiple times.
Although Herrera has performed well at the plate, he continues to scuffle in the field. His two errors at shortstop on Monday give him 28 on the season.
Myrtle Beach was eliminated from first-half division title contention with the defeat.
L - Perez (2-5)
34-29, 7.0 GB
Hickory's loss on Monday also eliminated them from first-half division title contention.
Scuffling starer Santo Perez (6.91 ERA/.300 BAA) was knocked around for six runs on a season-high 10 hits in five innings. He also walked four, struck out only one, and uncorked three wild pitches.
Although he has decent stuff, the 23-year-old Dominican righty has really struggled in his last six starts––27.1 ip, 41 h, 29 er, 13 bb, 15 k.
Perez's ultimate role likely resides in the bullpen. And if he keeps having issues as a starting pitcher this season––with pitchers like Kevin Matthews waiting in the wings with the Crawdads––a move to the bullpen could be in his near future.
Hagerstown put the game further out of reach against lefty Chris Hanna, who permitted three runs in two innings. Hanna now has a 5.40 earned-run average in 33.1 innings.
Hard-hitting left fielder Jeremy Williams (.297/.333/.495) was 2-for-4 with a double, giving him 22 extra-base hits in 50 games.
Hanser Alberto (1/4), Zach Cone (1/4) and Kevin Torres (1/4) had the team's only other hits. Alberto, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games, is batting .342 with 18 walks and 20 strikeouts in 56 contests this year.
Catcher Jorge Alfaro, in his second game since returning from the disabled list, went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout.
The Suns ran wildly in the first three innings against Alfaro and Santo Perez, stealing five bases without being caught.
Wichita State product Chance Sossamon worked a perfect eighth inning. Sossamon had surrendered four runs in one-third of an inning during his first appearance this season, which came on June 8.
The 22-year-old Sossamon was the Rangers' 21st-round pick in last year's MLB Draft. He threw two scoreless innings at short-season Spokane before landing on the disabled list, where he remained until last week.
L - Pena (0-1)
5-3, 0.0 GU
Making his second start of the young DSL season, 18-year-old Dominican righty Richelson Pena surrendered two runs––one earned––in five innings, giving up two hits while walking two and striking out four.
Relievers Jorge de Jesus (2 IP) and Daris Vargas (1 IP) combined for three shutout frames to finish the game.
The excellent pitching wasn't enough for the Rangers to earn the victory, though, as Marlins starter Jesus Arias tossed a nine-inning complete game. He gave up a run on three hits.
Cleanup hitter and centerfielder Jose Cardona had the Rangers' only extra-base hit of the game. He was 1-for-3 with a double, making him 10-for-29 (.345) with two walks and four strikeouts through eight games.
Right fielder Eduard Pinto (1/3) and second baseman Ramon Urias (1/3) had the team's other hits.
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