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Friday Pebble Report: Affiliates Waste Strong Pitching Performances in Losses

August 11, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Mike Ekstrom (47) pitches the ball against the San Francisco Giants during the seventh inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
August 11, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Mike Ekstrom (47) pitches the ball against the San Francisco Giants during the seventh inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

The affiliates were 3-4 on the night, with the top and bottom two clubs providing the victories.

AAA: Colorado Springs 6, Tucson 4

The Sky Sox (70-62, 3.5 GB) continued their torrid play of late thanks to a 5 run 8th inning rally fueled by a bases-clearing double by Tommy Field. PuRP 9 Tim Wheeler had 2 hits to lead Colorado Springs, who have improbably clawed their way back into playoff contention with 12 games left in the season.

The rally saved Nick Schmidt, who had a quality start by lasting 6 innings and allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5. Three either once or future Rockies (Mike Ekstrom, PuRP 19 Zach Putnam, Coty Woods) closed the door in relief.

AA: Arkansas 3, Tulsa 0

Tulsa's offensive struggles continued in this one as they didn't push anyone around despite six hits on the night (PuRP 26 Ben Paulsen had two of them). The lack of offense wasted a good outing by Dan Houston, who went 7.1 IP and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and a walk, striking out 4.

After handily winning the first half division title, the Drillers (26-33 2nd half, 11.5 GB) have struggled mightily in the season's second half. They should be bolstered by prospects moving up or down in the playoffs (if Modesto or Colorado Springs don't make it), but the offense needs to show up if they have a prayer of winning the Texas League.

High A: Stockton 3, Modesto 1

Much like their AA brethren, the Nuts (33-26 2nd half, 1st) wasted a good pitching performance with a lack of offensive output, but Modesto at least maintained their tenuous 2 game lead in the division despite a loss to the division's last place team.

Helder Velazquez provided the only offensive output of note, getting 2 of the 5 hits -- a double and a homer (7) in the 8th that tied the game at 1. Kennil Gomez was great, allowing only 1 run on 4 hits and a walk over 6 innings, but Chad Rose allowed a 2-run homer in relief to get the loss.

Low A: Greenville 4, Asheville 3

Like Tulsa, Asheville already has a playoff spot locked up with a 1st half title. Unlike Tulsa, they're actually in the 2nd half hunt as well (35-25 2nd half, 3.5 GB), though those hopes took a blow last night. The Tourists got multi-hit nights from Brian Humphries and Taylor Featherston, with the latter providing 2 RBI and a solo homer (12). Those of you looking for a sleeper PuRP would do well to give Featherston (.306/.403/.515 as a SS) a long look.

PuRP 7 Tyler Anderson lasted 5 innings and allowed all 4 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, punching out 4. The loss dropped his record to 11-3 on the year and raised his ERA to 2.45. It was Anderson's only start in the last ten where he'd allowed more than two runs.

Short-Season: Eugene 2, Tri-City 1

Unlike the other minor league affiliates, the Dust Devils (11-19 2nd half, 9 GB) know that they won't be in the playoffs this year. PuRP 17 Peter Tago threw 6 shutout innings then allowed a hit to the first man he saw in the 7th and that was the end of his night. Of course, the man came around to score later in the inning. In all Tago allowed only 4 hits and 2 walks, striking out 5. Unfortunately, all the offense could muster was five hits and a sac fly in the 5th.

Rookie: Grand Junction 12, Helena 6

The GJ Rockies (13-11 2nd half, T-1st) pulled into a tie for 1st with this slugfest win. David Dahl (who else?) led the way to victory with two hits (a double and his 6th homer) and 4 RBI to improve his season line to .366/.406/.603. Wilfredo Rodriguez had 2 doubles among his 3 hits while Julian Yan, Corelle Prime, and Jason Stolz all had multi-hit nights. In all, the Rockies had 15 on the night.

Ryan Warner struggled, allowing 5 runs of 5 hits and 3 walks in just 3.2 IP, but former PuRP contender Alving Mejias had 4 innings of 1 run relief to get the win.

Dominican Summer League: DSL Rockies 9, DSL Orioles 8

The DSL Rockies ended their season on a high note, winning their last 5 games, but they ended up finishing a game behind the DBacks for the league title at 42-28. If you like good defense, the season finale win was not for you, as the two teams combined for 11 errors! The Rockies got out to an early 6-0 lead only to see it evaporate into a 8-7 deficit, but they rallied for the win with a run in the 7th and 8th.

Miguel Dilone had two hits and a homer (1) -- one of only six homers hit by the DSL team all season! Lest you think the team was devoid of power, they did hit 21 triples and 110 doubles, so there's some serious park factors at work here. Emerson Jimenez and Jairo Rosario both added two hits as well.