AA Tulsa - W 6-5, (23-12, 1st)
It can be a real treat for fans at minor league parks to see an eight-figure big-leaguer on a rehab assignment, so it was to be expected that Saturday's game would be a memorable one in Tulsa. It indeed proved so, but no thanks to a rehabbing Jorge de la Rosa. The left-hander allowed five hits in the first inning, three for extra bases, to put the Drillers' in a 4-0 hole. He then left with forearm tightness, which will surely delay his return to the big leagues a week. Then again, it may explain his issues against AA hitters, and the injury doesn't seem too bad. Now in three rehab assignments, de la Rosa has left early as a precaution due to injury twice, but neither time was it related to his rehabbing elbow.
The bullpen really did their job, as Zach Simons (2012, MiLB FA), Michael Marbry (2007, undrafted) and Coty Woods (2009, 33rd round) combined to pick up 8 innings, allowed just 1 unearned run, made possible by Nolan Arenado's 3rd error of the year. That run pushed the deficit to 5-0 in the 7th, but the Drillers then fought back. Tim Torres (2012, MiLB FA) doubled and scored in the 7th, then drove in a run with a walk to cut the lead to 3 in the 8th. Doubles by #9 PuRP Josh Rutledge (2010, 3rd round) and #26 PuRP Ben Paulsen (2009, 3rd round) tied the game in the 9th, and with Tim Torres batting, Paulsen scored on a walk-off wild pitch, polishing off a 4-run 9th.
AAA Colorado Springs - W 8-3, (18-18, t-1st)
The Sky Sox scored in only two innings, bookending 7 zeroes with 4-run frames in the first and ninth innings. Most of the damage came on two pitches, as Andrew Brown (2012, waivers), who doubled later in the game, unloaded a grand slam in the top of the first inning, and Wilkin Castillo (2012, MiLB FA) followed an RBI triple by #20 PuRP Tommy Field (2008, 24th round) with a 3-run bomb in the ninth.
Cory Riordan (2007, 6th round) was in the bullpen in AA Tulsa due to the deep rotation, but with the movement in the Sky Sox' rotation, Riordan was given a start. It was his first start of 2012, first appearance with Colorado Springs on the year, just the second of his career. He did well under the circumstances despite early shakes. Three singles and two run-scoring outs cut the Sky Sox' early lead in half, but after a leadoff single in the second, Riordan turned nine consecutive Cardinals away before reaching his pitch count. Another pitcher making his 2012 Sky Sox debut, Leuris Gomez (2008, DR), got the win thanks to two strong innings in relief of Riordan.
High-A Modesto - W 13-2, (W3, 3rd, 5.0 GB)
Modesto is 80 miles from Oakland, the closest MLB team to the Nuts. The Stockton Ports are ten miles closer to Oakland and are in fact the Athletics' affiliate. The Nuts left no question as to who the better Oakland-area team was in a recent three-game series, thumping Stockton 31-6 in a three-game sweep. After a slow start, Modesto now ranks 2nd in the CAL in runs scored despite playing in a neutral to pitcher's park. They trail High Desert, whose park plays like 90's era Coors Field. While Stockton's park is home run friendly, the rest of the park makes up for the dimensions to play fairly neutral. Stockton has scored the least runs in the CAL to Visalia.
#7 PuRP Kyle Parker (2010, 1st round) rebounded from his tough return Friday to homer in his first at-bat of the game and also singled and walked. #15 PuRP Rafael Ortega (2007, VZ) fell a home run shy of the cycle, Dallas Tarleton (2009, 20th round) homered and singled twice, #19 PurP Corey Dickerson (2010, 8th round) tripled and singled, and every Nut recorded at least one hit. The Nuts rocked AJ Cole, the prize of the Gio Gonzalez trade, for seven runs in the first four innings. Juan Gonzalez (2006, VZ) worked five innings and allowed two runs, and the Modesto bullpen pieced together four hitless innings to sew up a resounding win.
Low-A Asheville - W 6-2, (22-13, t-2nd, 2.5 GB)
Chris Jensen (2011, 6th round) was scheduled to start Friday night until the hotshot 1st round pick Tyler Anderson arrived. He took his turn Saturday night and outpitched not only Anderson but each of the other three starters on the farm Saturday. The right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) across seven strong innings, punching out four and walking one. Harold Riggins (2011, 7th round) hit his 7th home run, a 3-run shot in the 3rd inning, #21 PurP Will Swanner (2010, 15th round) poked a triple, and Jose Rivera (2009, 23rd round), #12 PuRP Trevor Story (2011, sandwich round), HM PuRP Sam Mende (2011, 31st round) and Jared Simon (2010, 6th round) each had two hits. Story committed his first error at shortstop for the year, but it was a "missed catch" error, which tend to be quite fluky.