Hopefully nobody was playing a Cinco De Mayo drinking game in which everyone had to drink every time a run was scored in the Quakes game tonight, because that would be dangerous.
Minor League Player of the Day – Shawn Tolleson - 2 IP, 0 Hits, 0 BB's, 6 K's. It's rare that a relief pitcher gets this award, especially on a night when the Quakes scored 17 runs. But I just had to give this to Tolleson because he literally had the perfect outing on Thursday. He stuck out all 6 batters he faced, and did so with DeJon Watson in the stands. I wouldn't be surprised to see Shawn receive a promotion at some point in the near future.
AAA – The Isotopes rode the hot hitting of Trayvon Robinson and the speed of Dee Gordon to a 5 run lead though 7, then survived a shaky outing from Scott Elbert to pull out a 9 to 8 victory over the Omaha Storm Chasers. Robinson finished a double shy of the cycle, and actually never really got a fair shot at the accomplishment because he walked in his final at bat. Gordon went 3 for 5 with 3 runs scored and a double while also recording a stolen base. Every other player in the Topes lineup except for J.D. Closser had at least one hit on the night, and Jamie Hoffmann, Trent Oeltjen, and John Lindsay all had 2 RBI's. Starting pitcher Alberto Bastardo was very hittable in his 5 innings of work, but luckily Travis Schlichting had a good outing with 2 shutout innings and was able to pick up the win. Elbert cruised through the 8th inning, but got into big trouble in the 9th and gave up 4 earned runs. Fortunately Merkin Valdez was able to bail him out and pick up the save.
AA – The Lookouts pitching staff didn't have a great game on Thursday as Chattanooga lost to the Mississippi Braves 10 to 3. Starter Michael Antonini actually wasn't too bad, but he did allow 7 hits and 5 runs (3 earned) in 5.2 innings which resulted in the loss. Justin Miller allowed 3 runs in 1.1 inning of relief, and Josh Wall also gave up a couple of runs to put the game out of reach. The Lookouts offense was pretty quiet except for Scott Van Slyke and Matt Wallach. Van Slyke doubled 3 times to push his league leading total to 13, while Wallach gets his his name mentioned for the first time this year with a solo homer.
HiA – It was your typical back and forth and high scoring affair in Lancaster on Thursday, but when the dust settled it was Rancho Cucamonga who came away with the 17 to 11 victory over the JetHawks. The crazy thing is that the Quakes were actually down in this game 10 to 1 at the end of the 2nd inning, with most of the damage coming against starter Greg Wilborn who gave up 8 earned runs in 1+ innings. Rancho clawed back from 5 in the 5th and 1 in the 6th, then really took control of the game in the final 2 innings when they exploded for 10 runs of their own. Four different Quake players hit homers in this game, and four different players also had at least 3 hits. Blake Smith lead the team in terms of RBI's, driving in 4 runs and being one of the players who knocked one out of the park. Angelo Songco and Nick Buss had 4 hit games, with Buss picking up a homer and 2 doubles. Griff Erickson had 3 hits and 3 RBI's, while J.T. Wise and Travis Denker had the other two homers of the night. Finally, it should be noted that the savior out of the Quakes bullpen was Jordan Roberts, who was perfect for 3.2 innings and struck out 4.
LoA – Tied at 1 after 9 innings, the Loons had a golden opportunity to win the game in the 10th, but things didn't quite work out for Great Lakes as they ended up losing to the White Caps (Tigers) 3 to 1. Zach Lee pitched for Great Lakes and started the game very strong. He gave up a first inning single, then retired 10 straight before allowing two doubles for a run in the 5th. What's interesting about his performance is that Lee only struck out 1, but he also didn't walk anyone for the first time all season. He only threw 60 pitches in his 6 innings of work, and it should also be noted that Lee pitched well despite the added pressure of having DeJon Watson sitting in the stands. Speaking of Watson, I'm glad he got to see Shawn Tolleson pitch in relief because his performance on Thursday will probably help him get promoted even faster. Tolleson faced 6 hitters and struck all of them out with his crazy cutter. I finally got to see it for myself, and it really does have great movement. It also appeared that he threw a slider or two, which confused the hitters (and announcers) even more. Getting back to the game, the Loons best chance to win the game came in the 10th when the had the bases loaded with just 1 out. But Steven Domecus, who had tripled in the team's first run of the game, struck out and Roman Pena grounded out. Great Lakes finally lost in the 12th when Raul Burgos gave up a couple of runs on 3 hits and 2 walks.