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Tuesday Pebble Report: Nuts Offense Shines, Mischievous Storm Follows Drillers to Springfield

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AAA Colorado Springs: L 6-0

The Fresno Grizzlies held the Sky Sox to just five hits at their home ballpark last night, which is not an easy task. First baseman Mike Jacobs had two hits, including the only extra base hit of the game, a 9th inning double. The outfield, consisting of Charlie Blackmon (right field), Willy Taveras (center field) and Eric Young Jr. (left field, who also walked twice and snagged his eight stolen base of the season) provided the only other three hits. For those interested in following Ian Stewart's progress at AAA, he went 0-4 with one strikeout.

On the mound for Colorado Springs was Clay Mortensen, making his first start since returning from the long relief role with the Rockies. Still not fully stretched out, Mortensen was allowed 78 pitches over four and two thirds innings before being taken out. In that time, Mortensen allowed two earned runs on four hits and two walks. Mortensen had struggled in his starts earlier in the season, and though this outing shaved his nearly 25 ERA going into the game almost in half, he was saddled with his second loss on the season.

Andrew Johnston, AAA's usual closer, came in to relieve Mortensen in a non-save situation, and was roughed up with three earned runs on five hits and a walk in his one and one third on the mound. Bruce Billings allowed a run in two innings, and Rex Brothers finished the game with a strong outing with two more strikeouts.

 

AA Tulsa: Rained Out

The weather woes for the Texas League continue as the Drillers were unable to play their game against the Springfield Cardinals. This is Tulsa's third postponed game over the past 8 days.

Nuts and Tourists after the jump.

A+ Modesto: W 8-3

Modesto fared best tonight, as they beat the High Desert Mavericks. Starting pitcher Dan Houston continued his solid performance early in the year with 2 runs while striking out 5 opponents over 6 innings pitched, which would take him to his second win on the season with Modesto. Kurt Yacko, who is finding his feet after spending the first few weeks of the season in Extended Spring Training, pitched a clean seventh inning with two Ks. Michael Marbry also had two Ks in his inning, but also gave up a solo home run. Closer Sheng-An Kuo pitched the ninth, though the game was no longer a save situation after the Nuts advanced their lead to 5 in the bottom of the 8th when catcher Jose Gonzalez tripled in 2 runs.

Designated hitter Mike Zuanich continued his surge of offensive production with 2 hits, a walk, and a RBI while scoring twice himself, but the aforementioned Gonzalez and second baseman Angelys Nina contributed plenty themselves: Gonzalez' 3 total RBI and Nina's 3 hits (including a double) and 2 runs scored were positive signs for both players, that have had ups and downs on offense this season. Further production came from third baseman Nolan Arenado and shortstop Josh Rutledge, who had two hits and two RBI in the game respectively. Struggling outfielders Kent Matthes and Delta Cleary Jr. each had singles. First baseman Kiel Roling made his seasonal debut in the game, going 0-4 with a K after spending the first month in Extended Spring Training. After an excellent 2009 at Asheville, Roling skipped the A+ level and was sent straight to AA Tulsa for 2010, where he had a poor year along with some injuries.

 

A Asheville: L 15-2

Three of the four pitchers for the Tourists got annihilated, beginning with starter Ricardo Ferrer, whose 8 hits and 3 walks in 3 and a third innings led to 7 earned runs crossing the plate for the Greenville Drive. Josh Hungerman came in to relieve Ferrer. Four more runs crossed under Hungerman in the inning, but all were unearned due to a fielding error by first baseman Mark Tracy. Hungerman's next two innings were clean. Craig Bennigson was roughed up next, giving up yet another four runs in his two thirds of an inning. Only Brad McAtee, who finished the final inning and a third without allowing any damage. Ferrer was given the loss, his second of the year.

Tracy was the only Tourists player to have two hits in the game. Three of the six Asheville hits were doubles (one from Tracy, one from second baseman Joey Wong, and one from the continually productive designated hitter Bryce Massanari), and two of them came in the fourth back to back to produce the lone 2 runs for the team. Runs were otherwise impossible to come by. Outfield prospects Kyle Parker and Corey Dickerson each singled, and no other hitting production was to be had. On defense, Cristhian Adames also had an error, and catcher Dustin Garneau had his seventh passed ball of the season, a really ugly number this early in the season.