With a win on Thursday, the Loons moved into a tie for 2nd place with the Lansing Lugnuts. Since the top 2 teams in each division of the Midwest qualify for the playoffs, Great Lakes controls their own destiny with 3 games left in the 1st half because they hold the tie-breaker with the Lugnuts.
Minor League Player of the Day – Jonathan Garcia - 3 for 4, 1 HR, 1 2B, 1 run, 1 RBI. It's rare that a player wins this award two days in a row, but Garcia had another good game on Thursday and nobody else really stood out. His season OB% is still just .300, but he now has 11 HR's and his average is up .022 points since the end of May.
AAA – The Isotopes used solid pitching and a balance hitting attack to clip the RedHawks (Astros) on Thursday 8 to 2. Starting pitcher Randy Keisler gave up just 1 unearned run on 6 hits through 5.1 innings, and then Hong-Chih Kuo actually came into the game mid inning to relieve Keisler. Kuo struck out both batters he faced, and now that he's thrown in back-to-back games with good results he will probably be activated soon. The bullpen duo of Travis Schlichting and Jon Link combined to give up 5 hits and 1 run, then Merkin Valdez threw a hitless 9th to end the game. Albuquerque had 15 base knocks in this game, and the only position players without at least 2 hits were Jerry Sands and Trayvon Robinson. Russell Mitchell and AJ Ellis both hit 2 doubles, while Ivan De Jesus went 2 for 5 with a double and 2 RBI's. Jay Gibbons also had 2 runs batting in on a single and a surprising triple.
AA Game 1 – The Lookouts should have won this game, but sketchy defense in the bottom of the 7th cost Chattanooga the contest as they lost to the Smokies (Cubs) 4 to 3 in game one of their double header. With Steven Ames on the mound to close out the game, 2nd baseman Elian Herrera missed the catch on a pop fly to start the inning. After a sacrifice bunt got the runner to 3rd, a grounder was hit to Scott Van Slyke who threw to the plate to get the runner in pickle. The Lookouts misplayed the rundown, however, and the runner made it back to 3rd base safely. After a strikeout by Ames, a single up the middle tied the game. After Chattanooga went down quietly in the top of the 8th (which is extra innings in this shortened game), Tennessee hitter Rebel Riding hit the second pitch he saw from reliever Scott Rice over the right field fence to win the game. Going back to the start of the game, Chris Withrow gave up 2 early runs but then settled down and in total allowed just 4 hits and 2 runs over 5 innings of work. He had 3 K's and according to the announces was hitting up to 97 mph with his fastball. The Lookouts were pretty quiet at the plate, although Alfredo Silverio did hit his league leading 11th triple of the year and Scott Van Slyke went 2 for 4 with a RBI.
AA Game 2 – Chattanooga was down 5 to 0 after just 3 innings, but they rallied all the way back from the ashes and defeated the Smokies 6 to 5. Will Savage was the starting pitcher that allowed all the early runs, and made it through just 4 innings. Luckily his bullpen was brilliant, however, as Wilkin De La Rosa threw a perfect inning, the rehabbing Kenley Jansen allowed just a walk while getting his 3 outs, and Shawn Tolleson gave up only 1 hit while picking up his 2nd save in AA. The offense was spread among several players as nobody really had a standout day. Shortstop Ivan Ochoa went 2 for 3 with a double and a RBI, while Kyle Russell went 2 for 4. Matt Wallach also had a RBI double, and Brian Cavazos-Galvez drove in the eventual winning run with a sacrifice fly in his only at bat.
HiA – The Quakes played a relatively uneventful game on Thursday as they lost to the Stockton Ports (A's) 4 to 2. Matt Magill had a solid game on the mound as he allowed just 1 run in 6 innings, but he only struck out 3 and allowed a homer and 8 base-runners. Javy Solano threw the final 2 innings of the game and picked up the blown save and loss, although 2 of the 3 runs he scored were unearned. On offense Nick Buss continued his hot hitting with his 4th homer in the last 10 games and stole 2 bases, and Travis Denker had 2 singles and a RBI.
LoA – The Loons moved closer to a 1st half playoff spot on Thursday with a 4 to 2 drowning of the Lake County Captains (Indians). Starter Ryan Christenson was masterful through 5 innings, and even though he tired a bit in the 6th, he still had a solid final line of 5.2 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, and 6 K's. Pete Budkevics followed Christenson on the mound and also out a great outing, allowing just 1 base-runner over the final 3.1 innings while picking up his 5th save of the season. At the plate, Jonathan Garcia continue to crush the ball as he went 3 for 4 with a double and a homer. He finished a triple shy of the cycle for the second game in a row, and in the 3 games series with Lake County Garcia went 8 for 13 with 3 homers and 3 doubles. Preston Mattingly also homered in this game, while Leon Landry went 2 for 5 with a double and a RBI.
DSL – Postponed