The Loons and Quakes had big offensive days at the plate and the Dodger affliates won 3 out of 4 games on Thursday.
Minor League Player of the Day – Nick Akins - 2 for 2, 2 HR's, 6 RBI's, 2 BB's, 2 Runs, 1 SF. Akins has struggled with this batting average all season - this was just his 2nd mult-hit game of the season - but he's shown good power and crushed his 2nd grand slam of the month on Thursday. He also had a sac fly and walked twice to complete his perfect night.
AAA – The Isotopes got an outstanding pitching performance out of Tim Redding and the bullpen as Albuquerque defeated the Nashville Sounds (Brewers) 5 to 1 on Thursday. Redding gave up just 4 hits and 1 run over 6 solid innings to win his first game of the year, and only threw 79 pitches in the process. The bullpen combination of Scott Elbert, Travis Schlichting, and Roman Colonthen finished off the game with 3 innings of hitless relief. The Topes were actually only leading this game 2 to 1 heading into the 9th on solo homers from Corey Smithand Jay Gibbons, but they were able to tack on 3 insurance runs in the final inning to solidify the win. Besides Smithand Gibbons, the only other player with a multi-hit game wasTrayvon Robinsonwho went 2 for 5.
AA – Just a few days after Baseball America wrote a glowing article about Nathan Eovaldi, he goes out and has his worst performance of the year in the Lookouts 6 to 5 loss to the Jackson Generals (Mariners). Eovaldi didn't completely implode, but he did last just 2.2 innings while giving up 6 runs (4 earned) on 6 hits and 3 walks. Despite the losing effort, Nathan's ERA stands at just 3.06 for the season. The Chattanooga bullpen actually shutout Jackson for the final 6 innings of the game, including 3 strong innings from David Pfeiffer and 2 perfect frames from Cole St. Clair, but the original damage was too much to overcome as the offense's 13 hits only amounted to 5 runs. After a couple of quiet days at the plate, Scott Van Slykemade his way back into the minor league report with 2 doubles and his 4th homer of the season, which resulted in 3 RBI's. In addition, Alfredo Silverohad his first noteworthy game in a while with a double and a triple, while the oft-forgotten Anthony Jackson, who was acquired in the Octavio Dotel trade, went3 for 5 with 2 stolen bases.
HiA – The Quakes broke out the big sticks early for the second day in a row as Ranch Cucamonga beat the JetHawks (Astros) 13 to 5. Tony Delmonicoonly drove in one run on the night, but led the hit parade with 4 singles and a double to go a perfect 5 for 5. I was tempted to give him the player of the day award because of the perfect day, but the lack of RBI's and extra base hits hurt his candidacy. Jake Lemmerman had his 3rd straight multi-hit game with 3 singles and 3 RBI's, while the 4th though 7th batters in the Quakes lineup (Songco, Smith, Erickson, and Denker) all had a double and 2 RBI's. Starting pitcher Matt Magill had yet another solid performance, allowing just 1 run over 5 innings and picking up his 3rd win despite allowing 8 baserunners. His ERA is down to 1.64 through 22 innings. Rancho's bullpen was shakey as it allowed 5 runs, but it didn't matter as the team had built up a big enough lead to withstand the comeback attemp.
LoA– The Loons went on a homer barrage in Kentucky on Thursday as they knocked 6 out of the park in a 12 to 5 win over the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays). Nick Akins was the big winner of the night, hitting a solo shot and a grand slam in route to 6 RBI's, while Leon Landry, Jonathan Garica, Bobby Coyle, and Michael Pericht all crushed a bomb each. 1st baseman Chris Henderson also had a solid night, although he really could have used one of his teammates' jacks because he missed the cycle by a homer. Not to be lost in all the offensive madness is another strong pitching performance from Garrett Gould. While this was actually Gould's least impressive start of the year because he allowed 8 base-runners and 2 runs (compared to his previous season highs of 6 base-runners and 1 run), Garrett was able to record 6 strikeouts and picked up his 3rd win of the season. He also still has a batting average against of just .195 for the year.