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PLAYER OF THE DAY: Alex Gordon – 3-for-4, HR (13), 2B (25), SB (17), BB, 5 RBI
Omaha 5 vs. Oklahoma 4
Omaha beat Oklahoma for the third straight day as Runelvys Hernandez threw six strong innings (4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) en route to his fifth victory of the season. Newly promoted closer Ryan Braun wrapped up the game with 1.1 scoreless innings while picking up his first Triple-A save. Justin Huber was the offensive star for the O-Royals, going 3-for-4 with a solo HR (11) while raising his batting average to .278, and it appears he’s put his June slump behind him. Shane Costa continued his blistering pace by launching a three-run homer (6) in the fifth inning. Andres Blanco, however, continues to be mired in a summer swoon. Blanco was 0-for-3 on the night, dropping his batting average to .242.
Wichita 10 at Frisco 8
Wichita overcame starting pitcher Billy Buckner’s sub-par start (4.2 IP, 6 ER, 5 BB) to snap a five-game losing streak that saw their lead in the Texas League’s North division evaporate. The win put them back in first place for the time being, half a game ahead of surging Arkansas. At the plate, top prospect Alex Gordon made up for last night’s “o-fer” by going 3-for-4 with his 13th homer of the season and five RBIs.
Billy Buckner has struggled (7.91 ERA) has struggled since his promotion to Wichita
Billy Butler, who was also held hitless the previous night, went 2-for-4 with his 25th double of the season and 3 RBIs, which gives him a team-leading 70 RBIs on the season. Chris Lubanski added his sixth triple of the year to the Wranglers’ offensive onslaught, and SS Angel Sanchez followed up on Saturday’s impressive performance with three more hits, including his 18th double.
High Desert 7 at Modesto 6
Mavs starting pitcher Luis Cota drew a no decision after throwing six innings and allowing six runs (four earned), and first baseman Mike Stodolka raised hit batting average to .310 with a 2-for-4 effort, including 2 RBIs and his 21st double of the season, as the Mavs topped Modesto for the second-straight day and took the three-game weekend series. Outfielder Brian McFall went 3-for-4 with an RBI while raising his batting average to .249. The win allowed the 14-9 Mavericks to keep pace with Lake Elsinore for the lead in the California League’s South division, where the Storm lead the Mavs by half a game. Up next, the Mavs travel to Lancaster to take on the Jethawks in a four-game set.
Burlington 0 at Fort Wayne 5
Only a fourth-inning single by Bees’ third baseman Mario Lisson saved Burlington from being no-hit by Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne’s starting pitcher Jarrett Gardner had the Bees’ number all day, as he outdueled Burlington’s starter, Chris Nicoll. Nicoll surrendered four runs (three earned) on nine hits and four walks over six innings pitched, and the loss dropped his record on the season to 4-6. Of course, that record is deceiving, as Nicoll has been one of the best pitchers in the Royals’ minor league system this season, which his ERA of 2.70 helps attest to. The Bees continue their series with Fort Wayne on Monday.
Mario Lisson saved the Bees the embarrassment of being no-hit
Idaho Falls 1 at Great Falls 8
In the latest installment of the “Battle of the Falls,” the Chukars dropped another game and fell further in the Pioneer League standings. Tyler Chambliss (2006 11th round pick) got the start for Idaho Falls, tossing three innings (8 H, 5 ER) before giving way to Harold Mozingo (2006 6th round pick), who tossed 4.1 IP in relief while surrendering three earned runs on three hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. The relief appearance by Mozingo may have some people concerned, but fear not – there are no plans to turn him into a reliever. The Royals are simply being cautious with several of their college draftees who threw a lot of innings this spring, and they intend to piggyback their appearances in this manner for the remainder of the season.
Offensively, the Chukars managed only four hits, two of which came courtesy of first baseman Luis Castillo. Castillo’s solo home run provided the only run for the Chukars, and center fielder Joe Dickerson (1-for-3) and 2B Kurt Mertins (1-for-4) collected the other two hits. RC recommends that our readers pay close attention to Mertins, as the 13th round pick (2006) out of the College of the Desert is off to the type of start that warrants increased interest. After Sunday’s contest, the 20-year-old Mertins is hitting .412 (21-for-51) while splitting time at second base with ninth-round pick Marc Maddox.
Note: The Arizona League Royals were off on Sunday.
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