HIGHLIGHTS: Christian Arroyo had a MVP kind of performance for the San Jose Giants, and the Arizona League Giants had a huge, extra-inning pitching duel.
|Curtis Partch, L 1-3||1.0||1||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||3.86||11||7|
Well, it was fun while it lasted. Sacramento's 13-game winning streak ended in Omaha as the offense had just come from behind to tie the game. A Jarrett Parker ground-rule double in the first gave the River Cats an early 1-0 lead, but the Storm Chasers had taken a 3-1 lead after five. Mac Williamson had an RBI single in the sixth, and Darren Ford singled in Carlos Triunfel in the seventh to tie the game. But in the bottom of the eighth, Curtis Partch gave up a leadoff home run which was the deciding run.
The heart of the Sacramento order remains hot, with Parker, Williamson and Hector Sanchez each collected two hits, and they collected six of the team's eight hits. For Parker, that's three straight games with two hits, and seven games of the last ten with multiple hits, now batting .415 over his last ten games. Williamson followed up his goose egg on Saturday with two more singles, getting his average back up to .273. Hector Sanchez has gone 5-for-16 since being sent down to Sacramento, with one home run and three walks against five strikeouts.
For Partch, it was his fourth home run given up this season. He has a 5.40 ERA over his last nine appearances, a span of 15 innings. Jake Dunning made his first start since coming back to Sacramento from off the DL, though he'd made two 6-inning starts in San Jose during his rehab period. Dunning has a 5.31 ERA with Sacramento this season. Brett Bochy has been white hot, and hasn't given up a run in August, which he has pitched 11 innings through. On the month, he has 8 strikeouts and three walks in that span, and only three hits given up.
Looking back to happier times, here is Mac Williamson's leaping grab from Saturday's game.
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|Joan Gregorio, W 2-2||6.0||8||2||1||2||1||0||0||1||3.19||87||52|
|Phil McCormick, H 11||0.2||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||2.24||15||8|
|Tyler Mizenko, H 7||1.1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1.76||10||6|
|Derek Law, S 8||1.0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||4.43||13||8|
The Thunder outhit the Squirrels 9-7, and the Squirrels only had one RBI on the game, but won 3-2. All three runs for Richmond came in the 4th, as Rando Moreno and Austin Slater each singled with one out to put runners on the corners. However, Hunter Cole flew out, and Devin Harris struck out for what would have been the third out, but a wild pitch let Moreno score and Harris get to first. Juan Ciriaco hit an RBI single and a third run came in on a fielding error by the outfielder on Ciriaco's hit, and the Squirrels had just enough to win.
That came thanks to an excellent pitching performance, and it was a team effort. Joan Gregorio got into trouble early, giving up two runs in the first (one unearned), but settled down and finished six innings for the second time in three starts. However, his one strikeout was easiest the lowest total for any of Gregorio's starts. Phil McCormick was lifted after a two-out walk, but that was just his first walk allowed in his last eight appearances. Tyler Mizenko has been very effective in the middle innings, but does it without the strikeout. He hasn't had one in his last three outings, and has just 27 in 46 innings. Derek Law had his third straight inning of quiet work, after having given up four earned runs on six hits back on August 13th.
The win keeps Richmond five games back of Altoona, for the Wild Card seed in the playoffs, with 15 to play.
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|Jeff Soptic, W 2-3||3.0||0||0||0||2||1||0||0||0||3.22||38||22|
|Tyler Rogers, H 3||2.0||2||2||1||1||2||0||1||0||1.57||33||21|
|Jake Smith, S 13||1.0||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||2.46||13||9|
This entire game's offense happened in twos. The Giants kicked off scoring in the first as Skyler Stromsmoe doubled and scored on a Christian Arroyo sacrifice fly, and then Daniel Carbonell singled, and came in on a Ryder Jones single. Bakersfield tied it up on a pair of runs in the third on Christian Jones. In the bottom of the third, Arroyo and Carbonell led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and both scored on a Brian Ragira single (with help of a throwing error). Arroyo's two-run home run in the seventh gave the Giants the runs they'd need to win, which was good since in the eighth, Tyler Rogers loaded the bases with nobody out, and two scored on a groundout thanks to an error by Arroyo trying to turn the double play that would have ended the inning.
For Arroyo, it was just more of the same.
Christian Arroyo honored today as the #SJGiants Defensive Player of the Year. Arroyo second in Cal League among shortstops in fielding %.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) August 23, 2015
This was declared before Arroyo's error, of course.
#SJGiants will name their team MVP and Pitcher of the Year during the final homestand next week.— Joe Ritzo (@JoeRitzo) August 23, 2015
I'd say the odds are slightly better than 50-50 that Arroyo will get named team MVP as well. The home run was Arroyo's ninth of the season, That's more than he had previously in his career between the AZL, Salem-Kezier and Augusta in a year and a half. Daniel Carbonell broke a 1-for-12 mini-slump he'd gone through for three games with his two-hit game. However, he hasn't walked since August 16th.
Christian Jones made his second start of the season, but he's pitched fairly long regularly as a reliever. He's made eight appearances of three innings or longer in 35 appearances, including three innings in his previous start on August 17th. However, Jones' ERA has jumped from 2.96 to 3.43, having given up six earned runs in 8.1 IP over his last four appearances. The bullpen came up big, with Soptic's three innings of scoreless ball looking great, with a pair of walks his only baserunners. Jake Smith picked up his 13th save, and his 7th in his last ten appearances.
San Jose playoff chances look solid. They are 1.5 games behind the Rawhide for the 2nd half title, and are likely the only team that could catch them. If not, the Giants are in line for the second wild card spot, 1.5 games behind the Ports but only a half game ahead of the Nuts.
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|Samuel Coonrod, L, 6-5||6.0||7||4||3||2||3||0||0||0||3.31||91||63|
Samuel Coonrod had a nice start going, but it went one inning too far. Coonrod went into the sixth inning with a 3-1 lead, and the only run he'd given up was an unearned run. However, after a leadoff walk and a groundout, Coonrod gave up three straight hits, including a triple, and the RiverDogs had three more runs. Coonrod's stamina has been an issue of late, ever since stretching out a season-high eight inning start on July 20th. Coonrod gave up five ER in 1.1 innings, then three ER in 1 inning the next two starts. After given a rest with a one inning relief appearance, Coonrod gave up two more ER in a three-inning start. This start certainly looked a lot more encouraging, right up to the end.
Dylan Davis hit his first home run since August 5th, his ninth of the season in Augusta, and 12th overall. The third rounder from 2014 has had solid numbers in Augusta since moving there from San Jose in early June, but nothing that's screaming he's ready for the next level. Meanwhile, Chuckie Jones added two more hits to his recent revival. With two hits, he put together his 7th multi-hit game of August. Tyler Cyr's ERA hit a season-high 5.60 with his latest appearance.
This loss drops Augusta 3.5 games behind Asheville for the wild card with 15 games to play.
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|Andrew Leenhouts, L 6-4||4.0||6||4||4||3||5||1||0||0||2.89|
The Volcanoes got absolutely blasted in this game, with little offense showing up until the end of the game. Andrew Leenhouts took the loss, as the 23rd rounder from 2012 was coming off an 8-inning outing in his last start, but hadn't pitched in a week. He has a 4.37 ERA over his last ten games now.
John Riley hit his fourth home run with Salem-Keizer this season, after hitting just one in 39 games in Augusta earlier in the season. He has eight walks against nine strikeouts over his last ten games, and has a six-game hitting streak. Steven Duggar has been struggling of late, going hitless in six of his last seven games before his three-hit day. The double was his eighth of the season.
The Volcanoes remain within 2.5 games of the first place Emeralds in the second half, but fall to 12-13 for the half. If Hillsboro wins the second half, the Volcanoes have a half-game lead for the wild card. They are still very much in the race.
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|Heath Slatton, L 3-1||1.0||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0.83|
In Arizona, it was a battle of pitching as the Giants and Cubs held each other scoreless for 10 innings...and the winning run was scored unearned, and without the benefit of a hit. For the Giants, it was Nicholas Gonzalez pitching into the eighth. For the Cubs, a combination of five pitchers, none going more than three innings, and most going only two each, to hold the Giants scoreless
The climax came as Heath Slatton came in to start the 11th inning. Slatton walked the first batter he faced. Two ground outs advanced the runner to third. And finally, the Cubs' Carlos Jimenez grounded to shortstop Jalen Miller, who was not able to field it cleanly, and the game's only run came in with that error.
Oh, by the way, Angel Pagan played the first five innings, actually playing center rather than acting as designated hitter. In the second inning, three balls were hit to him, one hit as a single on a line drive and the other two fly outs. Those three plays were the only three he had in the game. He did get a hit with his first at-bat, and struck out in the third.
Gonzalez, the Giants' starter, is 23-year old who was a 24th round pick in 2013, He has a combined 4.95 ERA this season, with struggles in both Augusta and Salem-Keizer before coming to the Arizona League. Dylan Brooks was the Giants' second pitcher, and he struck out four of the nine batters he faced. That gives him 25 strikeouts in 30.2 innings this season. Heath Slatton's ERA did not suffer, lowered to 0.83 on the season, and the walk was only his fifth of the season. He has given up just 13 hits and five walks in 21.2, with 22 strikeouts.
For Miller, it was his 10th error in 40 games as his defensive struggles continue.
The Giants lose a game on the second place Cubs for the second half East Division title, and their lead falls to just a half-game with five left to play, including a doubleheader on Tuesday and a home-and-home series with the Central Division leading Dodgers to end the regular season this week.
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The DSL Giants have a first round bye.
That's right, it's PLAYOFF TIME! Except the Giants have a little wait. For them, they will host the first game of a best-of-three series on Thursday the 27th.