Minor League Recap for July 15
Mike Baxter, going retro with the Storm
Mike Baxter, going retro with the Storm
Contributor, MadFriars
Posted Jul 16, 2011


Whether it was a walk-off for the Storm, a late inning rally for Tucson, or the AZL club running away, there were plenty of late inning heroics to go around as the system pulled off a sweep Friday night.

Tucson rallies for 5-3 win over Vegas
The T-Padres rallied for three runs in the seventh and then pushed two across in the eighth to claim the victory in their second game in Ft. Wayne.

For the fourth consecutive start since returning from the Majors, LHP Wade LeBlanc went eight innings and claimed the victory. On the night, he surrendered all three 51s runs on just four hits and two walks, striking out six along the way. After once again getting too timid against big-league hitters and appearing to lose confidence in his stuff, the 26-year-old has wracked up 25 and walked six in 32 innings for Tucson in the last month.

James Darnell clubbed the go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, yanking a ball over the left field wall. He has hit in each of his six Triple-A games, including four homers through his first 28 plate appearances. He has drawn only one walk against six strikeouts so far after posting more walks than whiffs in the Texas League.

San Antonio cruises past Midland 9-4
The Missions jumped on the RockHounds for nine runs in the first three innings, then rolled to an easy victory over the A’s affiliate.

San Antonio opened the game with three hits and a pair of walks to push across their first two runs before recording an out, then got a Sawyer Carroll bases-clearing triple to key a five run second inning as well. Carroll, back at first base for the Missions, finished the night 2-for-3 with two walks. The Kentucky Wildcat has extra-base hits in three straight contests after a rough start to the month, pulling his average for July over .200 for the first time.

Staked to the early lead, Casey Kelly did not exactly dominate, but did hang around for the victory. The 21-year-old righty gave up only two runs over five innings, but surrendered 12 hits and struck out just a pair. He did keep the ball on the ground, recording eight ground outs, but – as has been the case all year – the former first-round pick was entirely too hittable.

Lake Elsinore tops Rancho 4-2 in 11
After pushing across a pair of runs in the second inning, the Storm bats went dormant until the 11th inning when Jeudy Valdez hit a walk-off two run homer to salvage a series split with the Quakes.

Elsinore had only five hits through the first 10 innings, and it looked like they may squander the opportunity after a leadoff error put Jake Blackwood on base and a wild pitch advanced him to second with no outs. However, after two outs Valdez snapped an 0-for-17 streak with his sixth blast of the year.

On rehab, Mike Baxter was the only Storm hitter to record a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4. He’s hitting .300 through six games, but has no extra-base hits yet.

Fort Wayne downs Burlington 7-5
The TinCaps bullpen could not hold a late lead, but Rico Noel capped a strong night with a game-winning two RBI double in the top of the ninth to deliver Fort Wayne a series victory over the Bees.

Zach Cates turned in another solid outing and was in line to claim his second straight victory before the bullpen collapse. The 21-year-old righty went six innings, surrendering five hits and a walk while striking out four. Over his last two starts, his strikeout totals have dropped off just a bit to just eight over 11 innings, but the converted catcher has also cleaned up his control, walking only two.

Noel, playing center field and leading off, went 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBIs on the night. The 2010 draftee out of Coastal Carolina has had five multi-hit games in his last 10 contests, helping to post his best month as a professional. The right-handed hitter came into the night with a .288/.373/.373 line in July.

Eugene holds off Tri-City 4-3
The Ems got on top early and used strong pitching to extend their league-best record to 22-6. Teenage righty Juan Herrera gave up just one earned run over five innings and, for the first time this year, struck out more than he walked, with a five to three ratio.

AZL Padres sink Mariners 17-1
What was a well-fought pitchers’ battle through six innings turned into a laugher as the Padres pushed across 15 runs in the final three innings to claim their victory. Eight Padre hitters had extra-base hits in the romp.

Yoan Alcantara paced the rookie league club’s offense once again, going 4-for-6 with a pair of doubles. Through his first 19 games in the U.S., the 18-year-old Dominican sports a .386/.388/.590 line. While he has struck out only 11 times, he still has just one walk.

Nicaraguan 20-year-old Uber Paz got his first stateside victory, working five shutout innings and yielding just three hits. The tall righty matched his season high with five strikeouts and walked a pair.



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