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Double-A homers from Andy Pages & Michael Busch, and an automatic balk in Low-A

MLB: Spring Training-San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday in the Dodgers minor leagues featured some notable home runs, a rehab assignment moving along, and a relatively new rule that confused a bunch of people in the California League.

Player of the day

Andy Pages drove in three runs for Double-A Tulsa, with a two-run single and this home run.

Pages has a seven-game hit streak for the Drillers, and drove in three runs in three of the six games against Springfield. Pages on the season is hitting .316/.435/.509 with seven extra-base hits and 16 RBI in 15 games this season. Pages turned 21 in December.

Triple-A Oklahoma City

OKC allowed only a pair of early runs, but that was enough to lose to the Sacramento River Cats (Giants). Starter Kyle Wright Jr. allowed both runs to take the loss, but also struck out five in his four innings. Jon Duplantier pitched two scoreless frames in relief.

Oklahoma City managed just five hits in the game, leftfielder Jake Lamb had two of them, with a single and an RBI ground-rule double.

Rehab continues

Tommy Kahnle pitched a scoreless fifth inning with one strikeout, allowing only an infield single. Kahnle has pitched three games for Oklahoma City and six games overall on his minor league rehab assignment, allowing a run on four hits in 5⅔ innings, with one walk and six strikeouts among his 22 batters faced.

Kahnle has yet to pitch on back-to-back days on his rehab assignment, but if he’s targeted for a return by the first week of May, one would figure back-to-back outings might come this week.

Double-A Tulsa

Despite loads of offense, the Drillers lost on the road to the Springfield Cardinals, who pasted Bobby Miller and the rest of Tulsa’s pitching staff to the tune of 12 runs on 16 hits. Miller allowed five runs on seven hits in his three innings, and struck out just one of his 16 batters faced.

Michael Busch hit a two-run home run for Tulsa, his fifth home run in his last five games. The second baseman is hitting a robust .321/.479/.755 with more walks (18) than strikeouts (15) in his second year in Double-A. Busch’s seven home runs rank second in the Texas League to Springfield outfielder Moises Gomez, who hit his ninth home run on Sunday, against Drillers reliever Zack Plunkett.

High-A Great Lakes

The Loons led 6-0 after four innings, but lost on the road to the Lake County Captains (Guardians), who scored three in the ninth inning against Adam Scoggins to break a tie.

Great Lakes got their offense on two-run doubles from Eddys Leonard, who played third base on Sunday, and designated hitter Zac Ching. Shortstop Leonel Valera also had an RBI double and added a solo home run.

Kyle Hurt had a productive start for the Loons, allowing only one single in three scoreless innings, striking out five of his 10 batters faced.

Low-A Rancho Cucamonga

The Quakes managed just five hits in a road loss to the Modesto Nuts (Mariners). Leftfielder Damon Keith and second baseman Austin Gauthier each had RBI doubles in the loss.

Right-hander Orlando Ortiz-Mayr struck out five in three innings in relief, allowing an unearned run.

Automatic balk

The Quakes allowed a fourth run thanks to an automatic balk call, part of a rule limiting pitchers to two pickoff or step-off attempts per plate appearance that went into effect in 2021. Pitchers can attempt a third pickoff or stepping off the mound, but if they aren’t successful in getting an out, an automatic balk is awarded.

Dodgers Class-A manager John Shoemaker argues with home plate umpire Daniel Bytheway about an automatic balk call in the eighth inning of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ game against the Sacramento River Cats on Sunday, April 24, 2022.
Dodgers Class-A manager John Shoemaker argues with home plate umpire Daniel Bytheway about an automatic balk call in the eighth inning of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes’ game against the Sacramento River Cats on Sunday, April 24, 2022.
From MiLB.tv

With pitcher Joan Valdez on the mound in the eighth inning, runners on second and third base, and Brett Rodriguez at the plate, catcher Yeiner Frenandez called time at the beginning of the at-bat, which apparently counts against the allotted disengagements of the rubber. Attempt number two had the lead runner Freuddy Batista dead to rites at third base, but a dropped throw led to both runners being safe. During the same Rodriguez at-bat, the catcher called time again, which was counted as a third disengagement, and Modesto was awarded a balk, allowing an insurance run to score.

Rancho Cucamonga hitting coach O’Koyea Dickson was ejected for arguing from the dugout.

Transactions

Triple-A: Reyes Moronta was called up to the Dodgers bullpen, and Darien Núñez was designated for assignment.

Low-A: Right-hander Frankelyn Feliz joined the Quakes from extended spring training on Saturday. Gabe Emmett, who retired only one of eight batters faced on Friday, including four walks and two hit batters, was sent back to extended spring training.

Sunday scores

Tuesday schedule

  • 3:35 p.m. PT: Great Lakes (TBA) at West Michigan [Tigers] (Carlos Guzman)
  • 5:05 p.m.: Oklahoma City (Andre Jackson) vs. Sugar Land [Astros] (TBA)
  • 5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Michael Grove) vs. Corpus Christi [Astros] (TBA)
  • 6:30 p.m.: Rancho Cucamonga (Kendall Williams) vs. Visalia [D-backs] (Diomede Sierra)

All four teams are off Monday. Sam Gaviglio is expected to follow Jackson on the mound at some point for Oklahoma City on Tuesday.