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Houston Astros Minor League Recap: 5/13/14

Leave it to Dallas Keuchel to shut out the Texas Rangers and STILL not have the pitching highlight of the organization on a given day. That honor goes to a trio out in Lancaster, who combined to no-hit the Bakersfield Blaze.

Jake Rodriguez catches no-hitters and also once destroyed Blair DeBord.
Jake Rodriguez catches no-hitters and also once destroyed Blair DeBord.
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Let's break with traditional formatting and just jump right into this:

Three Jethawks Pitchers Combine to No-Hit the Bakersfield Blaze

Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - The Bakersfield Blaze (CIN) were in town with one of the best pitchers in the minors this season, Ben Lively, and a pitching coach in Tom Browning who not only once threw a perfect game at the major league level, but who came within an inning of throwing a second one (which was broken up by our old friend Dickie Thon.) But it was the Jethawks who gave an amazing performance on the mound, as Josh Hader, Daniel Minor, and J.D. Osborne combined for the third no-hitter in team history (the second came last year with Luis Cruz and Kyle Hallock on the mound in Lancaster.)

That other no-hitter, by the way? It came on May 12, 2014 - exactly one year and one day prior. It's a good idea to get your tickets now for May 14, 2015.

Lively was no slouch himself, going six innings and striking out seven, allowing just one run on four hits and two walks. He earned the hard-luck loss, his first of the season, and saw his ERA balloon up to 0.74. But in the bottom of the second inning, Danry Vasquez doubled off of Lively, moving to third after Dan Gulbransen and Jake Rodriguez drew consecutive walks. Jordan Scott scored Vasquez on this strange bit of Cal League wonderfulness:

Jordan Scott singles on a pop up to shortstop Zach Vincej. Danry Vasquez scores. Jake Rodriguez out at 3rd, shortstop Zach Vincej to second baseman John Tolisano.

That's a go-ahead pop-up to shortstop, with the out coming at third base, recorded by the second baseman.

Meanwhile, in the second inning, Hader found himself in trouble after walking the first two batters, and then a third to load the bases one out later. "After I got out of that, I said, 'Hey, you're rushing a little. Slow down, throw strikes and get outs.' My slider came in big at times when I needed it and I threw my changeup early in counts and got swings and misses and a couple strike calls. Basically, everything was working for me." (thanks to this Josh Jackson article for the quote.)

Another strange bit of trivia: Minor, Osborne, and Hader are roommates.

Lancaster: 23-16, 1st - California League South

  • 2B Tony Kemp - 0/3, BB, 2 K, E
  • CF Teoscar Hernandez - 0/3, 3 K
  • SS Carlos Correa - 0/4, K
  • 3B Rio Ruiz - 1/4, E
  • 1B Bobby Borchering - 0/3, K
  • RF Danry Vasquez - 1/3, 2B, R
  • DH Dan Gulbransen - 1/2, 2B, BB
  • C Jake Rodriguez - 0/2, BB, K
  • LF Jordan Scott - 1/3, RBI, SB
  • LHP Josh Hader - 6.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 6 K
  • LHP J.D. Osborne - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Daniel Minor - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

But the magic doesn't stop there, ladies and gentlemen!!!

And now, back to your regularly-scheduled minor league recap...

Here Comes the Big Paredes - Former Houston Astro Jimmy Paredes hit for the cycle in the Omaha Storm Chasers' (KCR) 19-1 win over the New Orleans Zephyrs (MIA). Paredes got the cycle in reverse order, opening with a grand slam and then - despite being the sixth batter in line to bat in the bottom of the eighth, he came to the plate and poked a single to left field to complete the cycle. No middle infielders were harmed in the making of this cycle.

What Happened Was...

Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - With Jake Buchanan on the mound against Colorado Springs Sky Sox (COL) right-hander Christian Bergman, there likely weren't many people predicting a pitchers' duel -- but maybe there should have been. Buchanan has quietly been a very solid starter in Oklahoma City this season, carrying a ridiculous 2.7% walk rate and a 1.27 WHIP into the start. On the other side, Bergman entered the game with a 4.0% walk rate, .238 average against, and a 1.06 WHIP.

Each would actually end up walking two batters in the game (in Buchanan's case, raising his season walk total to six,) but they'd give up just five hits between them. The sole run came in the bottom of the sixth inning when Domingo Santana took Bergman deep. Bergman would rebound nicely, striking out Jon Singleton and escaping the inning on a Gregorio Petit groundout, but the damage had been done.

(Singleton, incidentally, fell to second in the PCL home run race when Adam Duvall homered for Fresno to take sole possession of the #1 spot.)

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Buchanan walked Dustin Garneau before being replaced by Jason Stoffel, who gave up a single to the first batter he faced before recording the final out. Josh Fields pitched a perfect ninth, striking out the side, to earn his first save in the Pacific Coast League.

Oklahoma City: 22-18, t-1st - Pacific Coast League American Northern

  • CF Robbie Grossman - 0/4, K
  • LF Adron Chambers - 1/4
  • DH Domingo Santana - 1/2, HR, R, RBI, BB, K
  • 1B Jon Singleton - 0/3, K
  • SS Gregorio Petit - 0/3
  • 3B Kike Hernandez - 1/3
  • 2B Ronny Torreyes - 0/2
  • C Carlos Perez - 0/3, K
  • RF Andy Simunic - 0/2, BB, 2 K
  • RHP Jake Buchanan - 7.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
  • LHP Jason Stoffel - 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Josh Fields - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) -

Game One

In their tenth season as a professional baseball team, the Corpus Christi Hooks have gotten off to a rough start. With the promotions of several of last years California League South-winning Jethawks squad, many thought they'd run away with the Texas League South, but that hasn't been the case. One of the things this team wasn't expected to be known for was striking out. So games like this one, where they struck out twelve times and walked just four times, always end up seeming a little more painful.

It sure helps when Telvin Nash records his second home run in eight games and Nolan Fontana christens the Texas League with his first of the season. By the way, Fontana is slashing .276/.375/.415 on the season, so off-season concerns about his ability to hit in the high minors should be shelved for the time being. He's carrying a pretty high BABIP and his strikeout rate has ticked upward a bit, but he should be calming at least most of your fears.

Also of note: Delino DeShields stole three bases and Matt Duffy added one of his own. All four came off of Padres super-prospect catcher Austin Hedges, which leads me to believe that they were more off of starter Matt Branham than anything else.

It was Fontana's home run - a solo shot in the twelfth inning - that mercifully proved to be the game-winner. After being suspended on Monday, the game was slated to be finished before the regularly-scheduled game on Tuesday. With thirteen pitchers between the Hooks and the San Antonio Missions (SDP), both teams would enter game two with short bullpens. The Hooks would enter it with a 6-5 win in game one.

  • CF Delino DeShields - 1/3, 3 R, RBI, 2 K, 3 SB
  • 2B Nolan Fontana - 1/5, HR, R, RBI, 2 K
  • RF Andrew Aplin - 2/6, 2 RBI, 2 K
  • 3B Matt Duffy - 2/5, BB, K, SB
  • LF Preston Tucker - 0/5, BB, K
  • DH Tyler Heineman - 3/5, 2B, K
  • SS Jiovanni Mier - 0/3, R, K
  • C Rene Garcia - 1/4
  • 1B Telvin Nash - 2/5, HR, R, RBI, 3 K
  • RHP Mike Hauschild - 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
  • RHP Matt Heidenreich - 2.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
  • RHP Michael Dimock - 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
  • LHP Alex Sogard - 0.0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Jorge De Leon - 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • LHP Pat Urckfitz - 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Travis Ballew - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Game Two

Oh hi, Telvin Nash. You say you want your third home run? Well, alright, if you insist. Of course, it doesn't help much when starter Luis Cruz can only get one out while giving up five runs on two hits and three walks. The bottom of the first inning looked like this for the Missions: Single, pop-out, walk, walk, RBI walk, grand slam, pitching change.

So much for that short bench.

Andrew Robinson pitched admirably in relief of Cruz, scattering three hits over 3.2 innings and stemming the offense - that is, until Sogard (who had pitched to just one batter in game one) came on in the fifth and didn't leave until after he'd surrendered two runs of his own. Even with a pair of two-run innings toward the end of the game, the Hooks lost, 7-4, to fall back to .500 on the season.

Corpus Christi: 19-19, 3rd - Texas League South (6.0 GB)

  • CF Delino DeShields - 0/5, K
  • SS Nolan Fontana - 0/1, 2 BB, K
    • SS Jiovanni Mier - 1/1, R
  • RF Andrew Aplin - 1/4, 2B, R
  • 3B Matt Duffy - 2/4, 2B, RBI, K
  • LF Preston Tucker - 0/4, K
  • 2B Joe Sclafani - 2/4, RBI, K
  • DH Chris Epps - 0/4, 3 K
  • C Rene Garcia - 3/4, 2 2B, R
  • 1B Telvin Nash - 1/4, HR, R, 2 RBI, K
  • LHP Luis Cruz - 0.1 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Andrew Robinson - 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K
  • LHP Alex Sogard - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K
  • RHP Michael Dimock - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K

Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - The River Bandits pitchers got into trouble early and often against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (MIL). Starter Edison Frias kicked things off, allowing Johnny Davis on base with a single. Davis stole second, advanced on a throwing error by Brett Booth, and came home one out later on another single. After getting another out, Frias allowed an RBI triple to Michael Ratterree,and an RBI single to Taylor Smith-Brennan before getting out of the inning with a 3-0 deficit.

It would be more of the same after that for Frias, who allowed three more runs - one in each of the following three innings - before exiting the game after the fourth. The Bandits hitters got to work then, putting up four runs of their own in the top of the sixth on the strength of a two-out home run off of the bat of Tyler White. But in the bottom of the frame, it was Zach Morton's turn to be victimized by the Timber Rattlers, who would eventually go on to win, 10-4.

Every single Quad Cities hitter in this game, save for one (Tanner Mathis), had exactly one hit, at least one strikeout, and fewer than one base on balls. Mathis had two hits, no strikeouts, and still no bases on balls.

Quad Cities: 18-19, 5th - Midwest League Western (7.5 GB)

  • CF James Ramsay - 1/5, R, 3 K
  • 2B Chan Moon - 1/5, R, K
  • SS Jack Mayfield - 1/4, K
  • 1B Chase McDonald - 1/4, 2 K
  • RF Ronnie Mitchell - 1/4, R, 2 K, SB
  • 3B Tyler White - 1/4, HR, R, 2 RBI, K
  • C Brett Booth - 1/4, 2B, K, E
  • DH Jobduan Morales - 1/4, K
  • LF Tanner Mathis - 2/4, 3B, E
  • RHP Edison Frias - 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, WP
  • RHP Zach Morton - 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
  • RHP Andrew Walter - 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, HBP