Both class A teams won on Thursday, while the two teams in the upper minors both lost. While there weren't any big time prospect performances, there were a few solid outings to write about.
Minor League Player of the Day – John Ely - 7 IP, 3 Hits, 1 BB, 0 ER's, 3 K's. Ely had been pretty average since throwing a 1 hitter on April 20th, but today's performance may have put him back on the Dodgers radar in case a spot start is needed at some point in the near future. Had it not been for a JD Closser error Ely would have thrown 7 shutout innings, and although he only had 3 strikeouts he was able to get outs by allowing the 51's to put the bat on the ball.
AAA – Albuquerque got a strong performance out of starter John Ely, but that wasn't enough as the Isotopes dropped their 3rd straight in Las Vegas 4 to 3. Ely had his best start since his near no-hitter 3 weeks ago, allowing just 3 hits in 7 innings. 2 runs did score against him, but both were unearned. John Link came into the game in the 8th with the scored tied at 2, but he allowed 4 of the 5 batters he faced to reach base and left losing 4 to 2. The Topes did their best to claw back in the 9th as Justin Sellers started the inning with a solo homer, but Jamie Hoffmann (who had hit his 7th homer of the year earlier in the evening) struck out with 2 runners aboard to end the game. Some other notes are that Dee Gordon was moved back up to the top of the order and responded with a couple of singles, while Trayvon Robinson walked twice and stole his 3rd base of the season, which is a surprisingly low total given that we are more than a month into the season.
AA – The Lookouts got a taste of their own medicine on Thursday as they were limited to just 4 hits in their 6 to 2 loss to the Biscuits (Rays). Singles by Scott Van Slyke, Kyle Russell, Alfredo Silverio, and Brian Cavazos-Galvez were the only base knocks collected by Chattanooga, so it's actually a miracle that they were even able to score 2 runs. On the mound, starter Michael Antonini made it through 5 innings, but he allowed 8 hits and 5 runs to get tagged with the loss. Josh Wall gave up a run in 2 innings of work, while Joey Newby threw a shutout inning in the 8th.
HiA – Rancho Cucamonga got solid pitching and timely hitting to beat the 66ers (Angels) 6 - 2 and take a 2 to 1 series lead in the future freeway series. The Quakes got a solid start out of Jon Michael Redding, who gave up just 2 runs over 5.1 innings while striking out 5. Reliever Steve Smith was even more impressive out of the bullpen, allowing just 2 hit in 3.2 innings to lower his ERA to 2.11 while picking up his 2nd save of the season. At the plate, catcher J.T. Wise had the game of the day with 2 doubles, a single, and 3 runs scored. Griff Erickson also did some damage with a 2 RBI double, and his average is holding strong at .394 for the year.
LoA– The Loons got winning performance out of Ryan Christenson as Great Lakes defeated the Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays) 4 to 2 in another early morning game. Christenson allowed just 1 run on 4 hits over 5.1 innings, and stuck out 6 to pick up his 3rd victory in a row. Over those past three starts, Christenson has given up just 10 hits 2 earned runs in 18 innings and has struck out 19, so he's really been pouring it on since the calendar turned to May. Bret Montgomery was solid in two innings of relief, and the team's new closer, Pete Budkevics, closed the door for the save. In case you missed the news, Budkevics is the Loons' new closer because Shawn Tolleson has been promoted to HiA. Despite scoring 4 runs, Great Lakes only had 1 RBI on the day because the Lugnuts' offense was atrocious and made 7 errors leading to 3 unearned runs. Nick Akins, Roman Pena, and Michael Pericht all went 2 for 4, with Pena collecting the only extra base hit of the day (a double) and Akins driving in the only run.