The NW Arkansas Naturals have the second-best record in the Texas League and lead their division by four games, but only garnered one postseason All-Star. That All-Star was recently promoted catcher Salvador Perez.
The Omaha Storm Chasers put together impressive offensive middle innings to pound the New Orleans Zephrys 14-1. With the game tied at 1-1, Omaha scored one run in the 4th, three runs in the 5th, five runs in the 6th, three runs in the 7th, and one run in the 8th. Storm Chasers starter Luis Mendoza was the recipient of all the offense, as he allowed one run on seven hits over six innings. Every Omaha hitter had at least one hit (seven players had multi-hit games).
Clinging to a 1-0 lead, the Springfield Cardinals put together five, two-out hits in the bottom of the 4th inning to break the game open, as they defeated the Naturals 9-0. The Naturals collected just two hits in the loss, both by Mario Lisson. Deryk Hooker returned from the DL for Springfield and allowed just one hit over six shutout innings. Jeremy Jeffress got the start for the Naturals, but took a line drive off his leg in the first inning and left with an ankle contusion. The Naturals now begin a series with Tulsa, who sit four games back in the standings.
The Wilmington Blue Rocks and Salem Red Sox played two on Friday night (sound familiar?). The first was a completion of a suspended game from seven weeks earlier with the Blue Rocks leading 2-0 in the second inning. Michael Mariot, who started the game back then, restarted the game on Friday night. He took the loss, as three Blue Rocks errors cost them five runs in the 7-4 loss (they have the worst fielding-percentage in the league). Stolmy Pimentel, who the Blue Rocks hit around last weekend, limited them to two runs on seven hits over 5.2 innings to pick up the win.
In the second game, it took an outstanding throw from Blue Rocks right fielder Nick Van Stratten to preserve the 6-5 win. With the bases loaded and just one out in the bottom of the 7th inning, Derrik Gibson hit a fly ball slightly into foul territory. Van Stratten made the catch and threw a laser home to get Pete Hissey for the game’s final out (I so wish there was video). This was all after the Blue Rocks led 6-2 after three innings. Red Sox starter Ryan Pressly took the loss, as he allowed six runs (two earned) over six innings. On the season against the Blue Rocks, Pressly is 0-5 with a 6.39 ERA. Bobby Jenks will start for the Red Sox in a rehab appearance on Saturday night.
The Blue Rocks closer for two months in 2009, Juan Abreu, was called up to the big leagues by the Houston Astros. He was traded to the Astros from the Atlanta Braves for Michael Bourn at the trading deadline this July. Blue Rocks catcher Jose Bonilla, who hasn’t played since August 16th, was finally put on the DL with a lower body injury. He was replaced on the roster by another catcher, Travis Jones (who was up not too long ago from Kane County).
Despite scoring five runs in the top of the 3rd inning and tying the game at 7-7 in the 4th inning, the Kane County Cougars were thrashed 19-7 by the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The Timber Rattlers bullpen (Brian Garman and Maverick Lasker) completely shut down the Cougars offense after the starter was taken out three batters into the 4th inning. They allowed just one hit (and no walks) over the final six innings while striking out seven.