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Thursday Pebble Report: Ben Alsup Nearly Throws No-Hitter in Asheville

AAA Colorado Springs - L 5-11, (65-60, L1, 2nd, 6.0 GB)

Injuries to the Rockies pitching staff has resulted in a very patchwork pitching staff in Colorado Springs, and Albuquerque took advantage last night. Cory Riordan allowed five runs (four earned) over five innings, and recently signed Austin Bibens-Dirkx (2012, MiLB FA) struggled in his debut with the Rockies' organization, retiring just three of the seven men he faced. The Isotopes put up a three run inning against Bibens-Dirkx, who also threw a wild pitch. Michael Cuddyer (2012, FA), Andrew Brown (2012, waivers) and Brendan Harris (2012, MiLB FA) had three hit games and catcher Omir Santos (2012, MiLB FA) doubled twice and singled in the losing effort.

AA Tulsa - L 2-4, (22-28, L2, 3rd, 10.5 GB)

Josh Outman (2012, trade) was exceptional last night, allowing two hits and one run heading into the 8th inning against the very strong Rangers AA lineup. After allowing two hits to the first three hitters in the eighth, Outman exited after 103 effective pitches. He struck out seven and induced nine ground outs. Joe Torres (2011, MiLB FA) was a mess in relief, walking two, throwing a wild pitch and allowing a two run double to cough up the 2-1 lead Tulsa had entering the inning. #14 PuRP Corey Dickerson (2010, 8th round) singled twice and scored, and Ben Paulsen (2009, 3rd round) had two hits and a walk.

High-A Modesto - L 8-9, (28-23, L1, 1st)

Sluggers #10 PuRP Kyle Parker (2010, 1st round) and Jared Clark (2009, 12th round) did no damage last night, and that was by design. Visalia walked both men three times, forcing the rest of the lineup to produce offense. They did, as the remaining seven batters combined to plate eight runs on eight singles, with Delta Cleary (2008, 37th round), Tim Smalling (2011, 15th round) and #20 PuRP Cristhian Adames (2007, DR) each accounting for two. The pitching let down the Nuts though, as Juan Gonzalez (2006, VZ) allowed five runs in 4.1 IP and Craig Bennigson (2008, 9th round) allowed four runs in his third inning of relief. The Nuts scored two runs in the ninth, but #12 PuRP Rafael Ortega (2008, VZ) grounded out with the tying run on first.


Low-A Asheville - W 6-0, (29-23, W2, 2nd, 3.5 GB)

Ben Alsup (2011, 18th round) was arguably more dominant last night than any Rockies pitcher in 2012, retiring the first 17 men he faced. The right-hander carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning against the Yankees affiliate, losing that distinction on a fly ball single with one out in the seventh. The RiverDogs entered the game 3rd in the 14-team South Atlantic League in batting average, but Alsup had no trouble polishing off a complete game shutout with just that one single. Alsup walked two, struck out four and induced 13 ground ball outs.

While Alsup was just short of perfect, #3 PuRP Trevor Story (2011, sandwich pick) truly was. The shortstop reached base in all five of his plate appearances, scoring half of the Tourists' runs from the leadoff spot. Story walked twice, was hit by a pitch, and singled twice. Story also led Asheville's successful plan to run on Charleston starter Corey Black. Of the six stolen bases the Tourists swiped, Story had three of them. Jordan Ribera (2011, 21st round) was equally important, as the the first baseman drove in every run in the game (six) with two singles and a home run.


Short-season Tri City - L 3-5, (9-13, L3, t-2nd, 5.0 GB)

TJ Oakes (2012, 11th round) struggled in the first inning, walking a batter, allowing two hits and throwing a wild pitch before leaving with an injury. Ryan Arrowood (2012, 28th round) was uncharacteristically shaky after the surprising early call, allowing two runs in 2.1 IP and throwing three wild pitches. Catcher Richard Pirkle (2011, 35th round) made his 2012 debut after hitting .228 in 19 games in Tri City in 2011 - he struck out looking in his first at-bat, then left the game in the 6th inning after having been hit by a pitch in the fourth. One batter earlier in the fourth, Miguel de Leon (2008, DR) was hit by a pitch and immediately removed. Matt Argyropoulos (2011, 37th round) replaced de Leon and scored two runs, reaching on a double and single. Dust Devils pitchers threw six wild pitches in the game, with Pirkle (four) and Anthony Aguilera (two) behind the dish. #16 PuRP Rosell Herrera (2009, DR) had two hits and Tom Murphy (2012, 3rd round), who DHed, doubled.


Rookie Grand Junction - W 5-4, (8-9, W4, 3rd, 3.0 GB)

Johendi Jiminian (2010, DR) had the best start of his stateside career last night and was rewarded with his first win of the year. Jiminian went five innings and allowed two runs as the Rockies swept the Helena Brewers. He struck out a season high five batters, walked two and picked off a batter. Max White (2012, 2nd round) continues to show improvements, as the outfielder hit his third home run of the year. David Dahl (2012, 1st round) doubled home a run three batters later to extend his hitting streak to 27 games. He has hit safely in 44 of his first 50 professional games. Scott Oberg (2012, 15th round) wavered in the ninth, allowing two runs on three two out hits, but he induced a popout to earn the save, stranding the tying runner at third. Julian Yan (2008, DR) might have been injured in the game, as the Rockies' HR leader left after one at-bat.


DSL Rockies - L 0-1, (37-26, 1st)

Antonio Senzatela (2011, DR) was sensational again, lowering his DSL-leading ERA to 0.62 with six 4-hit shutout innings. Diamondbacks product Anthony Basora was better though, as he nearly threw a no-hitter, losing the distinction on a two-out single through the hole into left field by Luis Jean with two outs in the ninth inning. Wilson Soriano reached base three times, including a walk, error and a single to follow Jean's critical poke in the ninth. Raimel Tapia could not tie the game, grounding out to second with the tying run in scoring position. Carlos Yan allowed a seventh inning solo homer for the game's only run.