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Thursday Pebble Report: Springs, Tulsa and Modesto inch closer to division lead

AAA Colorado Springs, W 8-6 - (37-29, 0.5 GB)

The Sky Sox overcame another rocky start from Alan Johnson, who gave up six runs on twelve hits in five innings to the Salt Lake Bees (Angels).  He has given up 5+ ER in six of his last eight starts but got the win yesterday to improve to 7-2 with a 6.21 ERA, thanks to an 8-run, 15 hit offensive attack by the Springs. 

The Sky Sox version of Ben Zobrist - Mike McCoy - started in CF, finished in LF, and collected three hits and a double.  Christian Colonel hit a home run (4) and Edwin Bellorin rapped three singles as every player got a hit except Mark Bellhorn.

Colorado Springs travels to Fresno to open up a four game set with the Grizzlies (Giants) tonight at 7:05 MDT.


AA Tulsa, W 11-2 - (34-30, 1.0 GB)

Tulsa drilled the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals) by piling on 12 hits and 11 runs, 10 of which came in innings 5-7.  Jeff Kindel homered (3) and drove in four runs, Cole Garner doubvled twice and singled, Danny Sandoval singled three times and Anthony Jackson walked four times on his 25th birthday.

Keith Weiser (5-5, 4.24) got his fifth win by allowing justone hit on three runs in six innings.  With the win, Tulsa pulled one game ahead of NW Arkansas for second place and within one game of Springfield for the Texas League North Division lead with six games left to play.

Esmil Rogers (5-2, 2.82) will take his sparkly ERA to Arkansas to take on the Travelers (Angels) and Barret Browning (0-4, 3.22) tonight at 6:10 MDT.


High-A Modesto, W 6-2 - (38-28, 1.0 GB)

Connor Graham (4-3, 3.13) twirled a gem against the Stockton Ports (A's) while protecting a one run lead for most of the game, allowing no runs on four hits in 6.2 IP.  Graham has quietly been the best starter on the Nuts' staff, and his 3.89 tRA suggest it isn't a fluke.  He has allowed 9 runs in his past five starts, and five of them came in his previous start June 12.

The Nuts finally broke through with a five-run inning in the sixth, providing the necessary breathing room.  The inning started with a Maikol Gonzalez single followed by a 2-run HR from Jay Cox (9).  Matt Repec tripled and scored on a Jeffrey Cunningham single.  Radames Nazario doubled him to third, then both scored on a Brian Rike double.  Every Nut got a hit except Wilin Rosario, who is in a 2-for-14 slide with 6 strikeouts.

Modesto sits one game behind California League North leaders Visalia and San Jose with just four games left before the All-Star Game.  They will have a good chance to be division champs as the face the CAL cellar dwelling Lancaster Jet Hawks (Astros) for four games, starting tonight at 8:05 MDT.


Low-A Asheville, L 1-5 - (25-41, 13.0 GB)

Usually, giving up four hits is a good recipe for a win, but not when you get one less than that yourselves.  David Christensen singled in the first, then Delta Cleary doubled and scored on a Jordan Pacheco single in the third for a short-lived 1-0 lead against the Greenville Drive (Red Sox).

Jonnathan Aristil (0-3, 4.95) allowed all four hits and five runs in the game shortened to five innings.  His fourth-inning meltdown started with a walk and Ryan Peisel error in trying to turn a double play.  Aristil then gave up a single and double before retiring two men before David Mailman delivered a 2-out 3-run home run.


Parker Frazier (2-5, 5.69) will close out the 3-game set with the drive tonight in Asheville at 5:05 MDT.