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Friday Pebble Report: Johnson continues to impress, Gomez continues to mash

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Colorado Springs (17-9, 0.5 GB): W 2-1

Alan Johnson struck out seven in six and two thirds innings and allowed just three hits in helping the Sky Sox eventually earn a victory. Johnson dominated for six innings before he allowed one run on a seventh inning Emil Brown homer, the only other Portland player to get a hit off of him was Brett Dowdy, who singled leading off in the first and doubled in the fourth. The Sky Sox offense was provided by four of their journeyman infielders. Mark Bellhorn hit a solo home run in the fifth. Paul Phillips tripled with one out in the seventh and pinch runner Mike McCoy scored on a Kenny Perez sacrifice fly.

Tulsa (13-13, 2 GB): W 4-2

A four run ninth inning rally allowed the Drillers to earn the victory over Corpus Christi. Daniel Carte's two run two out double was the deciding blow. Chaz Roe pitched well out of the two runs he gave up in the second, he gave up four hits, including a home run and double in that inning but allowed no hits for his other five innings of work. He struck out four and walked two. Darin Holcomb continues to struggle somewhat at Tulsa, he's only batting .212 thus far, but his ninth inning RBI single and eventual run scored on the Carte double was a key part of the Drillers rally. Jonathan George and Andrew Johnston pitched a clean three innings of relief for the win and save.

Modesto (18-9, 2.5 GB): W 6-5

Hector Gomez doubled twice for the Nuts, giving him seven on the season thus far. He's hit in six straight games, four of them with multiple hits, has an ISO of .352 and a wOBA of .412. While this is the high octane California League, the two parks he's done this damage in, San Jose and Modesto's Thurman Field, are actually pitching friendly compared to the rest of the league's facilities. Yes we would like to see him take a few more pitches and be more selective, but he's clearly seeing and driving the ball with authority and keeping his K rate below 20% which is definitely a positive sign.

The shortstop does have a weird reverse split going on, he's batting an even .500 on the season against RHP's, just .211 vs LHP's with five of his seven strikeouts coming against southpaws, however that may just be a selection bias. His first three starts of the season coming off the DL were against LHP's, and it seemed like he was just getting back into the game after being out for nearly a year. His next start against a lefty happened to be against one of the best in the minors in Madison Bumgarner, so right now it just appears to be a curious anomaly.

Charlie Blackmon, Jay Cox and Jeff Cunningham also had two hits for the Nuts. Bruce Billings struck out eight and allowed just two earned runs, but couldn't get out of the fifth inning before running against a pitch limit.

Asheville (13-14, 3.5 GB): L 1-2

The Tourists offense couldn't get it done against the Charleston Riverdogs. Dan Houston pitched four and two thirds scoreless innings and the bullpen eventually yielded two runs in this eleven inning contest, but the Tourists offense had trouble putting any scoring together. David Christensen had the T's only extra base hit, a double, Scott Robinson had two singles (his third straight two hit game) and stole his twelfth base of the season in the loss.