It was an exciting Friday for Colorado's minor league affiliates, though they went 3-4 on the day.
The Sky Sox (51-56) only mustered 4 hits and one run in this game, with newly promoted OF Scott Beerer collecting two of them and the lone RBI. Clayton Mortensen pitched well, going six innings and giving up two runs on six hits while striking out eight, but the offense couldn't muster enough support to avoid giving him the loss (1-5).
The Drillers (17-17 2nd half, 50-54 overall) pull to within one game of the division lead with a shutout victory. Dan Houston was simply marvelous in this one, allowing only 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 10 and going the distance to get the victory (3-2). The 24 year-old Houston was on the fringes of PuRP consideration entering the year, but his sterling 2011 (10-3, 2.80, 100/32 K/BB) over two levels should change that for the better. Offensively, Tulsa got multi-hit nights from 3B Erik Wetzel, RF Bronson Sardinha, and PuRP 18 SS Hector Gomez.
The Nuts (18-16 2nd half, 51-53 overall) won a crazy game last night. Modesto scored three in the 5th and four in the 6th to take a 7-6 lead after being down as many as four. Then the Nuts' most reliable reliever, Coty Woods, gave up two runs in two innings to make it 8-7 going into the bottom of the eighth. After Modesto scored an unearned run in the eighth to tie it up, everything was scoreless until the top of the 13th, when Sheng-An Kuo gave up a two-run homer.
All seemed lost for Modesto, but with one out in the bottom of the 13th, Delta Cleary walked, PuRP 24 SS Josh Rutledge singled, and big bad Nolan Arenado (3B, PuRP 5) stepped to the plate. The Futures Game participant whacked a dramatic 3-run shot to left-center (his 12th) on a 2-1 fastball that won the game for the Nuts. Arenado went 2-6 on the night with the homer and a bases-clearing triple, collecting 7 RBIs in all. He improved his season hitting line to .297/.344/.469 with 40 XBHs on the season (as a 20 year-old in High A, mind you).
Rutledge extended his hitting streak to 22 games with an impressive 5-6 effort that raised his hitting line to a sterling .331/.405/.458 on the season. Brian VanderBeek of the Modesto Bee has more on Rutledge's prospect status, calling him a 5 tool prospect. While I wouldn't say that Rutledge has a ton of power, the other tools have manifested themselves nicely.
The Tourists (18-16 2nd half, 49-54 overall) fell behind 6-0 early and never recovered. PuRP 15 OF Corey Dickerson hit a two-run HR (21) while PuRP 25 SS Cristhian Adames had a multi-hit game for Asheville.
Short season ball after the fold.
The Dust Devils (25-17) have been an interesting paradox this year -- they have been Colorado's most successful stateside affiliate, but they're doing it without any PuRPs. It didn't work out today, as Tri-City couldn't muster much offense until they were down 9-1, but the Dust Devils will be in the minor league playoffs. That's more than most Rockies affiliates can say, though Tulsa and Modesto are both making a second half run.
The Ghosts (10-27) have had a rough season thus far, but there have been some glimmers of hope. One of those is 3B Samuel Mende, who went 3-3 with a 2-run HR (7) and a double in a losing effort. That raised the 21 year-old's batting line to .344/.437/.852 (15 XBHs in 18 games) in an abbreviated year. 2B Yafistel Roja also added a multi-hit night for Casper.
Colorado's Dominican Summer League affiliate put together yet another dominant pitching performance to move to 10 games above .500 (31-21). After starter Helmis Rodriguez struggled with his control (5 walks in 3.1 IP), Radhames Valerio came in and pitched 5.2 innings of 2-hit ball to get the win (2-0). Both pitchers have an ERA under 2 on the year. Offensively, the DSL Rockies pounded out 13 hits, three each from catcher Jose Briceno and 1B Franmy Pena.