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Thursday Pebble Report: Three Driller hurlers shine in Texas League All-Star Game

AAA Colorado Springs, L 6-7 - (46-33, 1st)

Jason Hirsh could not keep the momentum going after his fantastic previous start. He was rocked for 6 runs (5 earned) in the first three innings by the Sacramento Bees (Angels), putting the Sky Sox in a hole they could not recover from.  Hirsh has allowed 5+ ER in 3 of his last 4 starts and 5 of 7.

The Sox did most of their damage off Francisco Rodriguez (not K-Rod) in the sixth.  Daniel Ortmeier and Christian Colonel walked, then Chris Frey dobled to plate two and Eric Young Jr. singled him home.  They loaded the bases down two with one out in the ninth.  Edwin Bellorin brought them within one with a walk, but Frey grounded out, forcing Jonathan Herrera at home and EYJ couldn't come through in the clutch. 

Matt Miller reached base four times and Daniel Ortmeier scored three times.  Every slot in the order got a hit except Mike McCoy - starting DH Jeff Baker was 0-3, but Mark Bellhorn singled while pinch-hitting for him (perhaps after the news of Baker being traded?) in the ninth.

Tonight's game pits Alan Johnson (7-3, 5.87) against Shane Loux (0-1, 3.86) at 7:05MDT at Secutiry Service Field.


AA Tulsa, Off Day - (2-3, 2.0 GB)

The Drillers had their second straight off day, but five Drillers played in the Texas League All-Star Game, helping the North defeat the South 2-1.   Esmil Rogers, Jhoulys Chacin and Andrew Johnston each threw a scoreless inning - Johnston earned the "save."  Jeff Kindel went 0-4 as the starting first baseman, and starting shortstop Daniel Mayora was 0-2.

Tulsa will travel to Corpus Christi to take on the Hooks (Astros) at 6:05MDT tonight. Chaz Roe (2-1, 2.55) earned his first loss in his last stat despite not allowing an earned run; in avenging hs loss, he'll be opposed by Sergio Perez (6-6, 4.60 ERA).

Get to know one of the top catching prospects in the organization - 20 Questions with Michael McKenry.  Interesting note:  he threw out the first pitch at age 5 for one of Michael Jordan's minor league games.


High-A Modesto, L 0-2 - (2-5, 3.5 GB)

In just his fourth start of the season, Ryan Tatsuko (2-2, 3.06) of the Bakersfield Blaze was just two outs from a no-hitter when Hector Gomez stepped in the box in the ninth inning.  In his third game since returning from injury, Gomez laced a line drive single to center for what would be the only Nut hit.  Kenny Durst (2-7, 5.10) took the loss despite pitching his longest game of the year (Jason Hammel anyone?), going 7.1 IP, allowing both Blaze runs.

The Nuts take on the Blaze again tonight at 8:05 MDT.


Low-A Asheville, L 1-3 - (4-2, 1st)

The Savannah Sand Gnats (Mets) ended Asheville's three game winning streak in spite of three errors and only three hits.  All the damage came on Raul Reyes' third home run, a three-run shot.  Whew - Larry Walker would be proud.  Jonnathan Aristil (0-5, 5.01) allowed all three hits and runs.  Tyler Massey and Ryan Peisel hit consecutive doubles for the lone Tourist run.  Peisel added another double and Scott Robinson singled to wrap up the Tourists' offense for the night.   Beau Seabury struck out with two runners in scoring position to end the game.

The two teams face off tonight at 5:00MDT, starting pitchers TBA.

SS A Tri-City, W 6-4 - (10-2, 1st)

In yesterday's Rockpile comments, Rox Girl noted the power surge of Mike Zuanich.  No jinx there.  Zuanich hit his 6th home run in just 32 AB's for the Dust Devils this season while Kevin Clark hit his first home run of the season against the Boise Hawks (Cubs).  Clark started the season in Modesto but dropped to Tri-City June 22.  A Joey Wong double and Tim Wheeler single was all the DDevils could muster, but they took advantage of walks and errors to push across six runs. 

The teams meet up again tonight at 8:15 MDT.

Rookie Casper, L 5-6W 4-3 (9 inn) - (2-7, 5 GB)

The Ghosts played a double header against Idaho Falls Chukars (Royals) to make up for the rainout June 26.  In Game 1, Casper wasted 2-hit games by CF Eliezer Mesa, LF Chandler Laurent (I want to call him Ralph), C Dustin Garneau and RF Avery Barnes but blowing a 4-1 lead in the final two innings.  David Born and Clinton McKinney combined to allow five runs in sixth and seventh.

In Game 2, C Brandon Whitby hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the seventh at midnight to send the game to extra innings with a 2-2 score.  After Alejandro Barraza gave the Chukars the lead by yielding a triple and sac fly in the top of the 9th, the Ghosts stormed back for a walkoff win.  Whiby singled, Laurent doubled him home and then scored the final run on a Mesa fielder's choice.  The game ended at almost 1:00AM local time.

The Ghosts play the Chukars again tonight at 7:15 MDT.