Only two of the six Dodger minor league teams won on Sunday, but both victories were noteworthy. Scott Van Slyke hit another home run to help the Lookouts win, while a couple of pitches made their 2011 Quakes debut to help Rancho win.
Minor League Player of the Day – Blake Smith - 4 for 5, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 RBI's, 2 Runs. Smith beat out a couple of other worthy candidates for this award with yet another big rehab game in the Arizona League. Blake has 4 homers and 10 RBI's since joining the club with an OPS of 1.820. Given his success and the fact that he's been able to play outfield for 4 straight games, I'm sure that he'll return to Rancho within the next few days.
AAA – The Isotopes accumulated 13 hits on Sunday, but they only came up with 5 runs and got doubled up by the Redbirds (Cardinals) 10 to 5. Jay Gibbons broke out of his mini slump in a big way as he went 4 for 5 with a homer and 3 RBI's, and Ivan De Jesus had a couple of base knocks. Jerry Sands and Jamie Hoffmann each doubled, although Hoffmann's hit steak ended yesterday so his two-bagger actually wasn't all that significant. Starter Randy Keisler did OK as he gave up 5 hits and 3 runs over 5 innings, but Ramon Troncoso blew up and allowed 4 runs while recording just 2 outs. Roman Colon and Travis Schlichting also struggled in relief as they each allowed an earned run.
AA – The Lookouts won their third straight 1-run game on Sunday as they defeated the Smokies (Cubs) on a Scott Van Slyke 11th inning home run. The game winning jack was Van Slyke's 16th of the year, and it pushed his OPS to above 1.000 for the season. Alfredo Silverio, Jake Lemmermann, and Alex Castellanos all had two hits a piece, with Silverio and Late Night each collecting doubles. Starter Stephen Fife tossed 8 strong innings as he allowed just 5 hits and 2 runs (1 earned) while striking out 5. Steven Ames threw a perfect 9th, then Shawn Tolleson got into a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the 11th before nailing down his 23rd overall save of the year.
HiA – A couple of new faces helped the Quakes defeat the 66ers (Angels) 7 to 1 on Sunday. Kenley Jansen got the start in a rehab appearance and stuck out 2 in a perfect inning of work. 7 innings later, another pitcher made his 2011 Rancho Cucamonga debut and also struck out two in an inning of work. His name was Geison Aguasviva, and although I have no idea what injury caused him to miss the 4.5 months of the season it's good to see his name back in the box score. In between the two newcomers it was Arismendy Ozoria who shut down Inland Empire for 7 frames, allowing just 6 hits and 1 run. At the plate, Tony Delmonico went 2 for 4 with a couple of doubles and drove in 3 runs. Rafael Ynoa and Wilberto Ortiz also had 2 hits, while Jaime Pedroza hit his first homer since returns to the Quakes.
LoA – The Loons pitching staff allowed just 4 hits on Sunday, but Blake Dean made a costly error at 1st base and Great Lakes lost to the Hot Rods (Rays) 5 to 2. Starter Tim Sexton gave up all 4 hits and 5 runs in this game in his 5 innings of work, although only 2 of those runs were earned due to the Dean error. Pete Budkevics was extremely impressive out of the bullpen as he tossed 4 hitless innings with 4 K's, but the lowly Loon offense wasn't able to help him out. At the end of this game nobody in the Great Lakes lineup was hitting above .281, with 5 of the 9 batters having an average below .250. Doubles by Bobby Coyle and Casio Grider were the only notable performances at the plate.
Rookie Ogden – The Raptors put up a lot of fight for a team that was outhit 15 to 6, but eventually lost to the Osprey (Dbacks) 8 to 7. Freddie Cabrera made his first start in a Raptor uniform and had a tough time as he allowed 7 hits and 6 runs in 4 innings. Mike Thomas then gave up a couple more runs in relief to put the game out of reach. On offense Ogden made the most of their hits and Missoula's 4 errors, but it obviously wasn't enough. Joc Pederson went 2 for 4 with a walk and 3 RBI's, while James Baldwin slugged his 9th homer of the year. Matt Kirkland's double was the team's only other extra base hit.
Rookie Arizona – The Arizona Dodgers lost a game in the standings to the 2nd place Indians with a 7 - 6 defeat to the mini Tribe, but still lead the Arizona League Central Division by 2.5 games. Blake Smith continues to do everything in his power to get back to the Quakes as he went 4 for 5 with a double and his 4th homer in 5 games. The only other notable offensive performance came from Devin Shines who connected on a 3 run homer. Starter Kazuya Takano had another disappointing outing as he allowed 5 runs 2 innings, but 5'7" reliever Juan Noriega turned some heads by striking out 6 in 3 shutout innings. Since joining the Dodgers in the beginning of August from the Mexican League Noriega has struck out 15 in 9 scoreless innings and has allowed just 6 hits. I'm not sure what to make of him at this point, but he's been impressive thus far.
DSL – Season over