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Saturday Pebble Report: Rutledge, Bettis Shine in Modesto Victory

The affiliates managed a 3-3 record last night, though Tulsa and Asheville's playoff hopes took a hit.

Sacramento 12, Colorado Springs 7

The Sky Sox (63-78) pounded out 12 hits but gave up 19 -- in other words, it was a pretty typical Sky Sox game. Mike Paulk hit a 2 run shot (6) while Scott Beerer went 3-5 with 3 RBI. Of interest was that two former Rockies farmhands, Ethan Hollingsworth and Bruce Billings, pitched in the game, with Billings getting the win.

Springfield 3, Tulsa 0

The Drillers (34-33 2nd half, 67-70 overall) lost their second straight as they were two-hit last night. Before a crowd of almost 8,000, the Drillers saw their bats go to sleep against St Louis top prospect Shelby Miller, with PuRP 18 Hector Gomez and Lars Davis the only players to get hits. Josh Sullivan allowed three runs on five hits in seven innings to take the loss (5-9). The Drillers are two back with two games to play, needing a Rocktober-type finish to make the playoffs.

Modesto 3, Visalia 2

The Nuts (39-28 2nd half, 72-65 overall) won before a sell-out crowd of over 4500. The Nuts have already clinched a playoff berth, but they are tied for the second half division lead and could win it with strong play over their last three games. PuRP 24 (soon to be higher) SS Josh Rutledge continued to go nuclear, going 3-4 with a solo homer (8) and 2 RBI.

The game boosted the 22 year-old shortstop's (known primarily for his glove prior to this season) hitting line overall to an astonishing .352/.415/.517 with 49 XBHs. If you only look at the 2nd half of the season (62 games), the line becomes a mind-boggling .421/.466/.669 with 40 XBHs. Again, that's in 62 games -- quite frankly, it's insane. Rutledge is a prime candidate for a late 2012 call-up if he can keep hitting the ball well in Tulsa next year.

PuRP 11 (soon to be higher) Chad Bettis, on a strict innings/pitch limit given the amount he's already thrown this year (169.2), went only 5 innings, but he made the most of them. The 22 year-old fireballing right-hander struck out 9 men, allowing only 1 run on 2 hits. In his last 10 starts, Bettis is 6-0 with a 2.95 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and a 70:16 K/BB ratio in 64 IP. However, he didn't get the win in this one, as Chad Rose struck out four in three scoreless innings to get the win (5-1).

Low A and below under the fold.

Charleston 1, Asheville 0

The Tourists (37-30 2nd half, 68-68 overall) lost a pitcher's duel last night as they only mustered 3 hits -- two from Brett Tanos. The resurgent Nicholas Schnaitmann was the tough luck loser (6-2), as he went the distance (8 innings) and allowed only the 1 run (unearned) on 8 hits. With Modesto, Schnaitmann was 3-11 with a 10.16 ERA, but with Asheville he's 6-2 with a 2.70 ERA. With the loss, Asheville is only 2 games back of the division lead, but they are behind three teams with three more games to play. In order to get in, the Tourists likely have to win all 3 of their remaining contests.

Tri-City 3, Salem-Kaizer 1

The Dust Devils (21-16 2nd half, 43-32 overall) got homers from RF Jared Simon (2 run shot, 5) and DH Juan Crousset (solo shot, 3), which was all the offense they needed to clinch the 2nd half division title. Tri-City got another fine pitching performance from Ben Alsup, who went 6.2 IP, allowing 1 run on 6 hits and striking out 5. Ken Roberts got the win (4-2) in relief, striking out 3 in 1.1 IP. This mostly anonymous squad has won both halves of the Northwest league's Eastern division and will have home-field advantage in the playoffs. They finish their regular season tonight, with the playoffs beginning on Monday.

Casper 5, Ogden 4 (F-10)

The Ghosts (14-18 2nd half, 25-45 overall) got an extra inning win on the strength of a one-out, bases-loaded suicide squeeze in the bottom of the 10th. 1B Harold Riggins (.284/.420/.464) added a solo shot (7) for the Ghosts, while previously winless Russell Brewer got his first victory in relief (1-6).