Another days of gnarly highs and wicked lows in the world of Astros minor league baseball, brah.
AAA Fresno Grizzlies: 8-1 LOSS to Reno Aces (ARI)
‘Twas not the prettiest day for the Grizzlies. The defense made two errors, and the errors hurt. Only five of the eight runs that Fresno pitching allowed were earned. Only...five runs.
On the positive side of things, Derek Fisher and Preston Tucker each had a pair of hits. Preston added a walk - he was one of six different Grizzlies to record a walk on this day. Reid Brignac was the only player to record an extra base hit (a double) for the Grizzlies, who just weren’t able to get much going.
AA Corpus Christi Hooks: 6-3 LOSS to Midland RockHounds (OAK)
A strange thing happened in this game: J.D. Davis stole home. He crushed his fifth home run of the young season the night prior, and stole home in the bottom of the third as part of a well-executed double steal by the Hooks. That run broke a 1-1 tie as part of an inning that would eventually see the Hooks go up 3-1. After that it was all RockHounds, however.
Visoergy Rosa hit a two-run bomb to tie it in the top of the seventh off Ryan Deemes, and then in the top of the tenth the wheels came off for the Hooks. Eric Peterson allowed all of the damage, and the first run crossed the plate on a wild pitch of his.
Bobby Boyd, Garrett Stubbs, J.D. “Hot Wheels” Davis, Mott Hyde and Bryan Muniz each had multi-hit games, with only Muniz notching more than two hits - two of his three hits were doubles, and those were the only extra base hits in this contest.
Ryan Deemes allowed two runs in relief of Joshua James. Deemes has now seen his ERA balloon to 7.71 for the young season. Ralph Garza pitched two stellar innings of scoreless relief, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out a quartet, and then Eric Peterson...well, he didn’t do so great and saw his ERA climb to a celestial (though not heavenly) 9.72 for the season.
A+ Buies Creek Astros: 2-0 WIN over Winston-Salem Dash (CHA)
Go ahead and hit the pause button on the Kyle Tucker watch for the day, he was 0-2 in the rain-shortened contest with a walk.
No, the real story in THIS contest was Matt Bower.
The left-handed starter tossed six scoreless innings before rain cut the evening short with an Astros win. Bower needed 86 pitches (54 for strikes) to complete this scoreless outing and lower his season ERA from the unsightly 6.00+ ERA it was coming in down to 4.08 on the year. He allowed three hits (two singles and a double) and walked one batter in the win, striking out five along the way.
Osvaldo Duarte and Johnny Sewald each collected a coupling of singles, and Jason Martin got hold of the Astros’ lone extra base hit in the match, a double, and also drove in the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
A- Quad Cities River Bandits: 10-5 LOSS to Clinton LumberKings (SEA)
The much-anticipated US debut of Cionel Perez went beautifully...
...until it didn’t.
Perez notched a pair of strikeouts in the first two innings of his State-side debut before the wheels came off in the third. Sparing the gory details, he ended up getting charged with seven earned runs, and his relief (Salvador Montano) was charged with two more runs in the same inning - one of which was earned. Just like that, Clinton was up 9-0 in the third.
The Bandits roared back for two runs in the fifth inning and three in the seventh, but ultimately fell to the Seattle affiliate.
There was an interesting storyline from a left-handed Quad Cities pitcher in this game, but it wasn’t from Perez. Brett Adcock, he whose selection was much maligned in the fourth round of last year’s draft by many (including this writer) thanks to his abysmal collegiate strike zone command, went four innings pitched and allowed just one (unearned) run along with three hits and one walk, striking out four.
Jones and Benedetti both had doubles, while Randy Cesar had the only multi-hit game for the River Bandits with his two singles.
Tomorrow (today, by the time you read this) will mark the triumphant return of Forrest Whitley to the mound for Quad Cities. No word has been given publicly to explain his extended absence, but he’ll be starting. Franklin Perez, another of the Astros’ top flight starting pitching prospects, will also make his next start for Buies Creek.