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Thursday Pebble Report: Have You Seen the Stat Lines of Andrew Johnston and Chris Iannetta Lately?

AAA Colorado Springs, W 11-5 - (18-15, 1st)

Kurt Birkins (1-2, 15.43) (2009, MiLB FA) struggled yet again, allowing five runs in the first three frames, but he settled down with two scoreless innings, leaving him in position to win as the offense beat up on former Sky Sox pitcher Josh Towers (2-4, 6.19). Edgmer Escalona (2007, Venezuela), who got called up earlier in the day and sent back down (sortofnotreally), Matt Reynolds (2007, 20th round) and Andrew Johnston (2005, 9th round) combined for four one-hit scoreless innings.

Johnston needed just 16 pitches to mow through two innings with two K's. As much as we have mentioned Reynolds, Johnston deserves some cyber-ink. He has allowed just one run in 19.1 IP (0.47 ERA), and while his FIP is higher (2.74), it is still stellar. He is sporting summer minor league career bests in ground ball rate (73%), walk rate (7.5% BB/PA), and strikeout rate (18.8%).

Offensively, the comeback started with Brad Eldred (2010, MiLB FA) clubbing his fourth home-run and a Chris Nelson home run. This was Nelson's fifth game after returning from injury. Despite hitting .200, he has drawn six walks to push his OBP to .429. Chris Iannetta singled twice and walked in five PA to raise his average, OBP and wOBA to .318, .400, and .443 respectively. Matt Miller (2004, 13th round) singled twice to extend his PCL-leading hitting streak to 20 games, and Chris Frey (2005, 11th round), Jay Payton (2010, MiLB FA) and Travis Metcalf (2010, MiLB FA) all had multi-hit games in the 17-hit Sky Sox onslaught.

Today's game is scheduled for 11:05 MDT at Security Service Field, though it remains to be seen whether they will get the game in.

AA Tulsa, Off Day - (12-19, 4th, 9.0 GB)

It was Travel Day for the entire Texas League yesterday. Tulsa traveled to Little Rock to take on the Arkansas Travelers (Angels) tonight at 6:10 MDT. Cory Riordan (1-3, 5.17) (2007, 6th round) will get the call against Jayson Miller (0-4, 4.03).

Single-A recaps after the jump.

High-A Modesto, L 6-9 - (17-14, 2nd)

The Nuts have hit a bit of a bump in the road, losing for the fifth time in seven games and fourth straight. This one laid at the feet of the pitchers. Juan Nicasio (2007, DR) allowed just one run through six innings but, perhaps due to fatigue, fell apart in the seventh inning. After a groundout, he allowed a single, two doubles and a home run. Jonnathan Aristil (2007, DR) relieved him and put two on before a home run himself, inverting a 3-1 lead to an 8-3 deficit. Rex Brothers (2009, sandwich) pushed the lead farther by walking two, throwing a wild pitch and permitting a sac fly. That's three runs on three walks against two hits and one strikeout in his last two appearances (1.1 IP).

Offensively, Thomas Field (2008, 24th round) gave the Nuts that short-lived 3-1 lead with a 2-run sixth inning home run, and Modesto mounted a comeback in the ninth inning by scoring three without the benefit of a hit (one error, two walks, two hit batters). #28 PuRP Scott Robinson (2006, 30th round) went 0-for-4 and a walk to drop his slash stats to .168/.186/.274 in 95 PA (Okay, yesterday actually raised Robinson's OBP). #12 PuRP Tim Wheeler (2009, 1st round) had nearly an identical line and is now at .207/.328/.297.

Low-A Asheville, L 2-6 - (12-19, 6th, 8 GB)

The Tourists lost the series opener against the Lexington Legends at home, despite four errors by the Astros affiliate. Jonathan Vargas (0-4, 6.35) (2009, Venezuela) gave up six runs in six innings for the loss. Asheville's only two runs scored on a wild pitch and sac fly in the third inning. Kent Matthes (2009, 4th round) notched Asheville's only RBI in his 2010 debut with that sac fly but went 0-for-3 with two K's. Eliezer Mesa (2008, DR) drew the only team walk on the day against four strikeouts. Jared Clark (2009, 12th round) singled twice for the club's only multi-hit performance. Avery Barnes (2009, 11th round) saw his 10-game hit streak snapped with an 0-for-5 game.

Wes Musick (3-3, 5.81) (2009, 9th round) will try to snap Asheville's two game losing streak tonight at 5:05 MDT.