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Houston Astros Minor League Recap: 5/27/14

Wins in Corpus Christi, Lancaster, and Quad Cities.

Having a 6'3" mascot seems kind of rude when you have a 5'6" infielder.
Having a 6'3" mascot seems kind of rude when you have a 5'6" infielder.
Photo by Anthony Boyer

Shirley, You Must Be Pitcher of the Week - Yes, it's true. Tommy Shirley, the fastest riser in the Astros system, was named Texas League Pitcher of the Week after a start in which he allowed just two baserunners (via a double and a HBP) and struck out five in six scoreless frames. The top five in ERA in the Texas League belongs to three guys from Tulsa (top prospects Eddie Butler and Jon Gray, plus Daniel Winkler), Rangers' #7 prospect Luke Jackson, and Shirley, who has the second-best, with 1.51 through his first 47.2 innings.

Jethawks Rising - Eric L. Smith of the Antelope Valley Press had a chance to ask Lancaster manager Rodney Linares about a trio of M.I.A. Jethawks players: Brandon Meredith, Mark Appel, and Vincent Velasquez. Check the link.

Adding to the Portfolio - Domingo Santana gets a mention in the "Stock Watch" segment of Lots of good stuff in the writeup, including this:

Overall, what Santana's doing in Triple-A at his age is impressive. No one has hit 20-plus homers as a 21-year-old in the Pacific Coast League since Wil Myers slugged 24 for Omaha in 2012 -- Santana is on pace to hit 25. There are still areas for the outfielder to improve in his plate approach, though, and closing up those holes will make a massive difference when he begins to face Major League pitchers.

What Happened Was...

Oklahoma City RedHawks (AAA) - The RedHawks faced off against forty-one-year-old journeyman pitcher Brett Tomko and the Omaha Storm Chasers (KCR), and they found some success early when Tomko walked Jon Singleton with the bases loaded, giving Oklahoma City a 1-0 lead in the second inning, which they held onto until the top of the fourth, when Nick Tropeano found himself in trouble, thanks largely to some questionable defense.

After striking out Mike Moustakas, Tropeano gave up a double to Justin Maxwell. Brett Eibner then reached on a fielder's choice, with Maxwell advancing to third and Eibner to second on an error by Ronny Torreyes. Carlos Peguero scored them both on a single, advancing to second on the throw. Francisco Pena plated Peguero on a single, and then Matt Fields reached on a force attempt, with another error moving Pena to third. Then, two batters later, Pena scored on a wild pitch.

The four runs would be all that Omaha needed, but it wasn't all that they'd score, as they went on to a 9-1 victory.

Oklahoma City: 29-24, 2nd - Pacific Coast League American Northern (0.5 GB)

  • DH Austin Wates - 2/4, 2B, BB
  • 1B Jon Singleton - 0/3, RBI, 2 BB, K
  • 3B Kike Hernandez - 0/4, K, E
  • LF Domingo Santana - 2/4, K
  • C Max Stassi - 0/4
  • CF Adron Chambers - 1/3, 2B, R, BB, K
  • SS Gregorio Petit - 1/4
  • RF Andy Simunic - 0/3, BB, K
  • 2B Ronny Torreyes - 0/4, E
  • RHP Nick Tropeano - 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, WP, HBP
  • RHP Bobby Doran - 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K

Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) - Tommy Shirley does it again, this time against the Arkansas Travelers (LAA). Despite not having the strikeout working, Shirley went five solid innings, scattering six hits and a walk, allowing a single run. Still, when he left the game, he was the owner of a 1-0 deficit. Luckily for him - and for Kyle Smith, who followed him onto the mound, the Hooks offense woke up in the sixth, batting around and plating five runs. In fact, the inning wouldn't end until Preston Tucker - yes, Preston Tucker - was caught stealing home on the old 2-4-2 CS play. A solo home run by Matt Duffy in the eighth would provide some unneeded insurance as the Hooks won, 6-2.

Corpus Christi: 27-24, t-2nd - Texas League South

  • CF Delino DeShields - 1/3, RBI, SB
  • 2B Nolan Fontana - 0/2, R, 2 BB, K
  • RF Andrew Aplin - 0/4, R
  • 3B Matt Duffy - 2/3, HR, 2 R, RBI, HBP, K, E
  • DH Preston Tucker - 0/3, BB, K, CS
  • LF Leo Heras - 1/4, RBI
  • SS Jiovanni Mier - 0/3, RBI
  • C Rene Garcia - 1/3, R, K
  • 1B Telvin Nash - 1/3, R, 2 K
  • LHP Tommy Shirley - 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, HBP
  • RHP Kyle Smith - 4.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K

Lancaster Jethawks (A+) - Ordinarily, getting a combined zero hits from your 3-4-5 hitters is a recipe for disaster. But these Jethawks are scrappy, and scrappy teams do things like score Ruben Sosa from third on a Carlos Correa groundout after Sosa triples. They also do things like put Kyle Westwood on the mound, where he can scatter four hits over six innings, striking out three, and silencing the Lake Elsinore Storm (SDP) bats. Richard Rodriguez and Juan Minaya, who haven't been as solid this season, picked up where Westwood left off, throwing three scoreless frames between them to finish off the 7-0 win for Lancaster.

Lancaster: 31-22, 2nd - California League South (1.0 GB)

  • 2B Tony Kemp - 1/5, RBI, K
  • CF Ruben Sosa - 2/4, 3B, R, RBI
  • SS Carlos Correa - 0/5, RBI, K
  • 3B Rio Ruiz - 0/3, R, BB, K
  • 1B Carlos Perdomo - 0/2, BB, K
  • RF Danry Vasquez - 1/4, R, K
  • DH Dan Gulbransen - 1/3, 2 R, RBI, BB
  • C Roberto Pena - 1/3, 2 R, RBI, BB, CS
  • LF Jordan Scott - 1/4
  • RHP Kyle Westwood - 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, HBP
  • RHP Richard Rodriguez - 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
  • RHP Juan Minaya - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K

Quad Cities River Bandits (A) - This one got real ugly, real fast. After the River Bandits put two runs on the board in the first inning against the Burlington Bees (LAA), Andrew Thurman gave up four runs in the bottom of the frame. Quad Cities got one back in the second, only to cede another run in the bottom of the inning. A four-run top of the third would go unanswered before the teams each plated a run in the fourth. Quad Cities got two in the top of the fifth, but an inning later, Burlington answered back with three of their own.

Finally, after giving up six runs (all earned) in 5.1 innings, Thurman was pulled in favor of Albert Minnis, who promptly gave up consecutive RBI singles, and then allowing a run to score on a ground out. He'd close out the Bees from there, escaping the inning with a 9-8 deficit, though two of the three runs he'd allowed were charged to Thurman.

In the top of the seventh, the River Bandits offense went to work against new pitcher Spencer Trygg. A leadoff double by Brian Holberton was followed by a wild pitch, allowing him to move to third. After Tyler White grounded out, Ronnie Mitchell hit a go-ahead two-run home run, which would put the River Bandits on top to stay. Minnis pitched two scoreless frames before handing the ball over to Frederick Tiburcio, who earned the save with a scoreless ninth, striking out two and allowing one hit.

Quad Cities: 25-26, 5th - Midwest League Western

  • RF James Ramsay - 0/2, R, 4 BB, SB
  • 2B Chan Moon - 3/5, 3B, 2 R, RBI
  • CF Brett Phillips - 1/4, R, BB, SB
  • DH Chase McDonald - 0/4, 2 K
  • C Brian Holberton - 2/5, 2B, HR, 2 R, RBI, HBP, 2 PB
  • 3B Tyler White - 2/5, 2B, R, K
  • PR/3B Jack Mayfield - 0/0
  • LF Ronnie Mitchell - 3/5, 2B, HR, R, 2 RBI, K, SB
  • SS Thomas Lindauer - 1/3, R, BB, 2 K, CS
  • 1B Jon Kemmer - 2/4, 2B, HR, R, RBI, BB, 2 K
  • RHP Andrew Thurman - 5.1 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, WP
  • LHP Albert Minnis - 2.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Frederick Tiburcio - 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K