AAA Louisville Bats

Record this week: 2-2.

Overall: 44-48, last place.

7/8: After two strong starts filling in for the out-with-a-groin-strain Sam LeCure, Jesus Delgado had trouble with Toledo (DET). They chased Delgado in the sixth with a three-spot; this broke a 4-4 tie and led to a 9-4 Mud Hens win. Delgado fell to 2-2 (3.73, 5 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). Enerio Del Rosario (3.22, 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) and Phil Valiquette (4.50, 1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) were both scored on as well. 3B Juan Francisco didn’t make an out (3-for-3, BB, RBI, .288). 1B Yonder Alonso (.266) and LF Todd Frazier (.237, R, RBI) each had a pair of singles.

7/9: It’s taken Edinson Volquez until his fourth rehab start, but he finally showed the dominance you’d expect (W 3-0, 1.96, 7 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 9 K) as he led the Bats to a 3-0 shutout win. Carlos Fisher took care of the final two for save #3 (1.73, 1 H, 2 K). DH Drew Sutton was 2-for-3 with a double, run scored, and RBI (.288) and 2B Chris Valaika popped his second home run of the season.

7/10: Chad Reineke scattered nine hits over 5.1 innings and his bullpen came up with 3.2 innings of shutout ball to close down a 4-2 victory. Reineke evened his record at 6-6 (3.04, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 92 pitches/56 strikes). Del Rosario came on to strand a man in the sixth, Aroldis Chapman walked two but made it through the seventh (4.32, 2 BB, 25 pitches/10 strikes) Jared Burton worked 1.1 (3 H, 2 K, 3.13) and Danny Ray Herrera stranded two for the save (#2, 4.26, 0.2 IP, 1 K). SS Zach Cozart was 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored, and steal #20 (.256). Again Frazier was 2-for-4 with a run scored and RBI (.240). RF Wladimir Balentien socked homer #12 and a sacrifice fly (.224).

7/11: Righty James Avery came up from Lynchburg to make the fill-in start in the final Bats game prior to the All-Star break. He’s got his work cut out for him; the Columbus (CLE) lineup is solid and the Clippers lead the Bats’ divisionwith a 54-36 record. He started off quite well, though, retiring the first two hitters on three pitches combined and then getting the third on a full-count lineout to short. Cozart then stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first and cranked homer #12 to give Louisville a 1-0 lead. The Clippers poked a pair of one-out singles in the second. Avery whiffed Wyatt Toregas (making his first AAA at-bat of the year) but ex-Pirate Brian Bixler (probably most famous for whiffing 26 times in 44 at-bats in Pittsburgh in 2009), singled to tie the game. Never fear, though; Danny Dorn stepped up to open the Bats second and cranked homer #6. Balentien followed with a base hit. He stole second as Sutton walked but Valaika hit into a double play and C Chris Denove flew out to end the threat. Avery served up a leadoff double to Luis Valbuena to start the third, but got the next three without allowing the runner to budge. Unfortunately, he wasn’t so lucky in the fourth- Nick Weglarz led off that frame with a solo shot that re-tied the game. The next man doubled, but Avery got the following two. Alas, nine-hitter Cord Phelps doubled to put Columbus up 3-2 before Valbuena struck out to end it. Dorn drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth. Again Balentien singled, putting men on the corners. Sutton walked to load the bases. Valaika lifted a sacrifice fly to tie the score, then Denove singled to center to make it 5-3 Louisville! Avery then set the Clippers down in order in the fifth. He went back for the sixth and did it again, wrapping up a fine outing at 89 pitches (6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). On came ex-Red Justin Germano for the sixth. The righty is trying to make his way back from injuries that cost him all of 2009, and he’s 4-3, 3.04 in 56.1 innings between AA and AAA this year. He took care of the Bats without incident. Jon Adkins came on for Avery in the seventh. He gave up a single to Bixler, then got Phelps to ground out before Valbuena walked. The next man popped out, and Adkins got ahead of Jordan Brown nothing and two before uncorking a wild pitch that put both Clip runners in scoring position. Brown worked the count even… then grounded out to first to end the threat. Herrera came on for the eighth and immediately gave up a double. He came back to get the next two- but Toregas singled in the run. Bixler grounded into a force to end the inning (4.91, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER). Carlos Fisher came on for the ninth, ERA under 2… and the leadoff batter Phelps golfed a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right to tie the score. Valbuena then slammed a double, but Balentien, Valaika, and Francisco teamed up to cut him down trying to stretch the hit into a triple. Fisher then escaped the inning with just the blown save. The Bats went down in order in the bottom of the ninth to send us to extras and Del Rosario pitching the tenth. He gave up a leadoff single, then got an out, but then the relatively light-hitting Toregas hit a two-run homer! Closer Vinnie Pestano and his 2.16 ERA stood between the Bats and a comeback from their two-run deficit in the bottom of the 10th. Francisco went chasing after the first pitch he saw and grounded out. Frazier struck out swinging on three pitches (1-for-5, .239). Dorn fell behind 0-2, then swung through the next pitch to end it. The Bats bullpen gave this one away, with Fisher getting his second blown save and Del Rosario falling to 1-2 (3.55, 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER).

Bats players Yonder Alonso and Phil Valiquette were off playing in the Futures Game on the 11th. The World team got smoked by the US 9-1. Alonso was 1-for-4 with a single and Valiquette worked two-thirds of an inning, walking one. Hopefully Yonder keeps his hitting going after the All-Star break; he’s at .400 over his last thirteen games (22-for-55).

7/12: All-Star break.

7/13: All-Star break.

7/14: All-Star Game between the International League and the Pacific Coast League. 2B Chris Valaika is now the lone Bats representative thanks to the callup of Travis Wood. He made Batland look good, leading off the sixth inning with a double and scoring an out later on another double. He flew out and struck out in his other two at-bats. The IL picked up the win, 2-1.

A series at Louisville Slugger Field against Lehigh Valley (PHI) kicks off on the 15th.

Transactions and notes: 7/9 C Ryan Hanigan ended his rehab and returned to the Reds. RHS James Avery up from Lynchburg to fill in for the recalled Matt Maloney. 7/14: RHR Jon Adkins released. OF Luis Terrero activated from the DL and sent to Carolina. RHS James Avery back to Lynchburg.

Solid article on the IL division race.

Atlanta became the third team to employ OF Willy Taveras in 2010 (following Oakland and Philadelphia). Boston repurchased the contract of RHR Robert Manuel. The Cubs keep playing yo-yo with RHR Jeff Stevens. The Yankees bought the contract of RHP Dustin Moseley. The Blue Jays apparently changed their minds on 3B Edwin Encarnacion and repurchased his contract.

AA Carolina Mudcats

Record this week: 43-1.

Overall: 11-9 (second half).

7/8: Devin Mesoraco had a monster game- a two-run homer (#8), a double, a triple, and three runs scored (.276) as Carolina spanked West Tenn (SEA), 6-2. CF Dave Sappelt also homered (#6) and finished 2-for-4 with two RBI, steal #14, and caught stealing #9 (.330). DH Sean Henry was 3-for-5 with two runs scored (.304). Starter Travis Webb worked five (W 4-6, 5.37, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 90 pitches/55 strikes). Joe Krebs handled the sixth and seventh (3.86, 1 H, 1 K) and Federico Baez finished up (4.38, 1 H, 3 K).

7/9: Scott Carroll fired eight strong (W 2-4, 2.73, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 98 pitches/70 strikes) as the Mudcats win again, 3-1. Jerry Gil went 1-2-3 in the ninth with a pair of strikeouts for save #4. Mesoraco was 2-for-3 with a double (.287) and Sappelt drove in all three Mudcat runs with a single, sacrifice fly, and groundout.

7/10: Tom Cochran switched to glide (W 7-3, 2.33, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) as Carolina pounded the hapless Diamond Jaxx, 9-1. Ruben Medina worked the final three for the long save (#2, 3.02, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K). Sappelt paced a 15-hit attack with three (.338, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB). 2B Jake Kahauleilo hit homer #8 (2-for-5, .267). RF Denis Phipps singled, tripled, walked, scored twice, and drove in two (.242).

7/11: All-Star break.

7/12: The North Division, including the Mudcats’ contingent, defeated the South Division in the Southern League All-Star game, 3-2. 2B Jake Kahauleilo started and went 0-for-2 with a walk. 1B Mike Costanzo struck out in his only at-bat. RF Dave Sappelt doubled in two trips and scored the first South run. He was replaced mid-game by Sean Henry, who was 1-for-2 himself. LHP Tom Cochran did not pitch.

7/13:All-Star break.

7/14: Zebulon played host to the opening contest of a three-game set against Montgomery (TB). But the Mudcats lost, 6-4, despite outhitting the Biscuits twelve to seven. Brad Boxberger has now been scored upon in all six of his AA appearances (L 0-1, 12.38, 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). The two-run homer he gave up in the seventh snapped a 4-4 tie. Starter Scott Carroll lasted 5.1 (2.91, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). RF Luis Terrero hammered a two-run homer (#1) and both SS Kris Negron and Costanzo were 3-for-5 (.248 and .282, respectively). CF Felix Perez was 2-for-5 with a double and outfield assist in his SL debut. Mesoraco committed a throwing error in the first inning that led to a hot buttered run, but he recovered to pick up two hits and a walk (.294).

Transactions and notes: 7/14: OF Luis Terrero activated from the Louisville DL and sent to Carolina. OF Felix Perez promoted from Lynchburg. OF Denis Phipps sent back to Lynchburg. C Chris McMurray back to the Hillcats as well.

Story from BA on Perez’ promotion.

High-A Lynchburg Hillcats

Record this week: 3-3.

Overall: 8-11 (second half), last place

7/8: The Hillcats remained winless for July, dropping their seventh straight in blowout fashion to the Blue Rocks, 11-3. Wilmington had 21 hits, eleven off Curtis Partch (L 3-7, 5.35, 2.1 IP, 7 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Daniel Guerrero served up six more in 2.1 relief innings (4 R, 2 ER, 1 HR). Jeff Jeffords (4.73, 2 H, 3 K) and Drew Bowman (5.87, 2 H, 2 K) managed to finish up scorelessly. 1B Neftali Soto did go 3-for-5 with a RBI (.261). CF Felix Perez was 2-for-4 (.340).

7/9: Eight straight, despite Jordan Hotchkiss’ longest pro outing (L 5-3, 2.58, 7.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR). Just four hits for Lynchburg in a 5-0 shutout loss.

7/10: Finally the Hillcats break the streak- and they do it on a bullpen day, 4-0. Chase Ware started and ran his High-A scoreless streak to 11.1 innings (4.1 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 K). Sean Watson came on to get the win (W 2-3, 3.04, 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 2 K). Nick Christiani (1.48, 1 IP, 2 K) and Justin Freeman (3.48, 1 IP, 2 K) finished up. Perez drove in three of the four Lynchburg runs with a single, triple, and sacrifice fly (.333) and 2B Cody Puckett was 2-for-4 with a double and run scored (.273).

7/11: Lynchburg piled up a five-spot in the top of the first against Winston-Salem starter Joseph Serafin; the inning was capped by DH Shane Carlson’s two-run single. Perez, Soto, and C Jordan Wideman each picked up RBIs. Mark Serrano then allowed the Dash three in the bottom of the second, courtesy of two hits, two walks, and a Wideman throwing error. He left the game after that inning in favor of Partch, who shut W-S out for the next two. 3B Carlos Mendez was three for his first three (.292). The Dash got to Partch for a run in the fifth, cutting it to 5-4. Jeff Jeffords came on to strike out a batter and strand the tying run. He then pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth as well (4.41, 0 H, 1 BB, 3 K). Serafin had settled down quite a bit- he shut the Hillcats down on two hits from the second through the sixth. The Hillcats finally got Serafin out by putting two on with two out in the seventh, but the reliever came on and got Soto to pop up after he walked Mendez to load the bases. Justin Freeman took over for Jeffords in the bottom of the eighth and retired the Dash in order; Donnie Joseph walked one in the ninth but struck out the other three for save #7 (1.33). Jeffords got the win for his efforts, running his record to 2-0.

7/12: The Dash got four runs in the bottom of the eighth off Nick Christiani (L 1-2, 2.51, 2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2 HR) to rally for a 7-4 win. Christiani had been quite excellent in 2010 at both Dayton and Lynchburg prior to going on the DL in late June; since then, he’s been scored on in three of five appearances. Anyway, Lance Janke started (6.21, 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K0 and Drew Bowman pitched a scoreless sixth (5.72, 1 BB). Perez had a single, triple, walk, and RBI (.338) and Greene was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a RBI, and a walk (.263).

7/13: Off day in recognition of the big-league all-star game.

7/14: Jordan Hotchkiss had another excellent outing (W 6-3, 2.36, 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K) and his relievers managed to survive a comeback attempt to wrap up a 5-3 win over Myrtle Beach (ATL). Sean Watson (3.70, 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) was bailed out by Donnie Joseph in the eighth, although Joseph allowed a solo homer in the ninth (save #8, 1.66, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K). CF Denis Phipps hit a two-run homer (#1) and stole a base and Mendez was 3-for-5 with a run batted in (.297).

Transactions and notes: 7/14: OF Felix Perez promoted to Carolina. OF Denis Phipps and C Chris McMurray sent down from Carolina. RHS James Avery returned from Louisville.

Low-A Dayton Dragons

Record this week: 2-4.

Overall: 7-12 (second half)

7/8: Dayton beat Bowling Green (TB), 4-1. Justin Walker worked six strong (W 3-8, 4.80, 5 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). Walker, interestingly enough, has issued only twelve walks in ninety innings. Jamie Walczak worked the seventh and Pedro Villareal (who’s starting to get the hang of this relieving thing after an ugly stretch to start) retired the last six for save #2 (3.76, 2 K). 2B Henry Rodriguez doubled and homered (#9, .288, 2 RBI). DH Mark Fleury hit a pair of solo homers and finished 3-for-4 (.241).

7/9: A sweep for the Dragons, as they survive the early exit of starter Ricky Bowen (injured leg, 0.2 IP, 1 H) to three-hit the Hot Rods 6-0. Jason Braun struck out seven in 3.1 for the win (2-0, 1 H, 3 BB, 2.96). Ezequiel Infante followed with three more hitless frames (3.27, 3 BB, 3 K). Junior Martinez worked the final two (4.89, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K). DH Alexis Oliveras hit a grand slam homer in the sixth (#2, .247) and LF Cam Satterwhite busted out of a recent slump with three hits (2B, 2 R, .327). RF Ryan LaMarre was 2-for-4 with a double and run scored (.298).

7/10: Kevin Arico blew his second save in three tries, giving up three runs in the top of the ninth as Great Lakes (LAD) rallied to beat the Dragons 4-2 and snap their six-game winning streak. Arico is now 0-2, 6.35 in five pro appearances (1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 HR). Walczak pitched 1.2 scoreless and stranded two inherited runners for Tim Crabbe (2.54, 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). 1B Tommy Nurre was 2-for-4 with two RBI (.241). SS Didi Gregorius was 2-for-3 with a walk and steal #10 (.268).

7/11: The Loons got a first-inning unearned run off Juan Carlos Sulbaran with the help of a throwing error by 3B Kevyn Feiner. He didn’t allow much else for a while, striking out five through three, then added a scoreless fourth and fifth- but GL starter Rubby (?) De La Rosa retired the first eleven Dragons he faced before Rodriguez doubled. Henry, just 20, has a slugging percentage above .450 (26 doubles, nine homers); his problem is 11 walks in 80 games. Sulbaran served up a two-run homer in the sixth, expanding the Loons’ lead to 3-0 (L 4-5, 4.38, 6 IP, 6 H 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, WP). CF Andrew Means managed a single and his 15th stolen base off De La Rosa in the Dragons sixth, but that was all. Blair Carson relieved Sulbaran and threw a 1-2-3 seventh and eighth and a scoreless ninth (2.22, 1 H). Oliveras connected for his third homer in the seventh to break the shutout, but Rubby stayed in the game and set the Dragons down in order in the eighth yet again. On came the Loons’ closer; he gave up a single to Gregorius, but struck everyone else out to lock down the win.

7/12: Dayton jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on the Loons, but they’d come back to win anyway, 6-4. Jake Johnson pitched decently but not quite well enough (L 4-6, 5.06, 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR). Villareal had some out-of-character control problems (3.89, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 3 WP). 1B Chris Richburg had two hits and two RBI (.251). Gregorius was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk (.271).

7/13: Off, in recognition of the big-league All-Star game.

7/14: Dayton scored five runs in the top of the ninth to tie Peoria (CHC) at 9, but the Chiefs’ Nelson Perez hit a two-out, game-winning solo homer off Junior Martinez (L 1-1, 4.91, 0.2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 HR) in the bottom of the ninth to win it anyway. 3B Frank Pfister hit a two-run shot for Dayton (#5, 2-for-4, 2 R, .270) and Richburg’s 13th bomb accounted for forty percent of the rally runs (2-for-4, .255). Fleury raised his average to .244 with a pair of hits and Rodriguez was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, a double, a stolen base (16) and RBI (.288). Starter Justin Walker was knocked out after one inning and seven unretired batters in the second (5.34, 7 H, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K) although Walczak (2.08, 4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K) and Arico (5.19, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) picked up the slack well enough.

Transactions and notes: 7/9: RF Sean Conner activated from the DL and sent to Billings.

Rookie-Pioneer Billings Mustangs

Record this week: 5-1.

Overall: 11-12.

7/8: After losing the series opener at Dehler Park versus Missoula (ARI), the Mustangs bounce back with a 4-3 win. Billings scored single runs in the eighth, ninth, and tenth to pull it out. CF Jefry Sierra’s forceout grounder scored Dayne Read to tie things in regulation, then Billy Hamilton scratched an infield single, stole second (#5) and scored on Trey Manz’ single to win it. Pat Doyle ran his record to 2-0 with two scoreless innings (1 H, 2 BB, 4 K, 2.79). Blaine Howell (4.05, 1 H, 2 K) and Dan Wolford (4.00, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K) each had two scoreless as well. Starter Stalin Gerson worked five (3.38, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K).

7/9: Billings comes back to take the series, whooping the Osprey 10-2. Six runs in the sixth made the blowout. 3B Cristobal Rodriguez led the attack with three RBI and two hits (.375). 1B Jonathan Kaskow was 3-for-5 with a triple and RBI (.354). Hamilton was 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored, and a walk (.261). Clayton Shunick pitched 6.2 strong (W 1-1, 5.30, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 1 HR).

7/10: C Chris Berset singled in 3B Oliver Santos in the bottom of the 11th to propel Billings to its third straight win, 5-4 over Helena (MIL). Santos drew a bases-loaded walk to score the tying run in the eighth. Hamilton lashed two more hits and scored another run (.274). Ty Cline scattered eight hits over five (3.38, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Josh Smith turned in three scoreless over the eighth, ninth, and tenth (1.00, 3 H, 4 K) and Porfirio Martinez worked a 1-2-3 top of the eleventh for the win (1-1, 2.00, 2 K).

7/11: Lefty Tanner Robles was staked to a 4-0 lead by his teammates (RF Juan Duran, still on the interstate, smacked a two-run single) after one, but allowed the Brewers to cut that in half in the second. The Mustangs got those two back in the third when DH Donald Lutz doubled ‘em in. Duran followed that with a RBI double, then stole third (!) and scored on a throwing error to make it 8-2! Robles struggled badly with his control, though, and was pulled after three batters in the fourth with six walks (albeit only two hits). Two of the three runners Robles left scored off Wolford, leaving Billings up 8-4 in the middle of the fourth. (If the Mustangs hadn’t turned three double plays in the first four innings, there could have been a lot more Brewers runs.) Neither side did much in the fifth. Wolford completed his third straight scoreless inning in the sixth (W 1-2, 3.00, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K), then Blaine Howell worked a scoreless seventh and eighth (3.12, 1 H, 3 K). Martinez finished off the 9-4 win. Duran is now up to .192 with the 2-for-4. Kaskow didn’t get a hit, but walked twice, scored two runs, and drove one in.

7/12: Five straight wins and a series sweep! Billings scored eight runs in the bottom of the eighth to obliterate a 4-0 Helena lead. Pat Doyle then worked a 1-2-3 ninth with a pair of strikeouts to close it out (2.53) Ryan Smith got the win as he bailed Tzu-Kai Chiu (0.63, 2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1 HR) out of the eighth (W 1-0, 1.69, 1 IP, 1 K). Dan Tuttle started and worked five decent frames (3.12, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K). The 22-year-old Chiu gave up his first earned run of 2010 in 14.1 IP. Billings got those eight runs on all of two hits (!)- only a piece of the game log could do it justice:

Billings Bottom 8th
• Pitcher Change: Alex Jones replaces Hiram Burgos.
• Cristobal Rodriguez hit by pitch.
• Theo Bowe reaches on fielding error by left fielder Brandon Sizemore. Cristobal Rodriguez to 2nd.
• Billy Hamilton walks. Cristobal Rodriguez to 3rd. Theo Bowe to 2nd.
• Trey Manz strikes out swinging.
• Jonathan Kaskow hit by pitch. Cristobal Rodriguez scores. Theo Bowe to 3rd. Billy Hamilton to 2nd.
• Pitcher Change: Eric Marzec replaces Alex Jones.
• Donald Lutz strikes out swinging.
• Devin Lohman reaches on fielding error by second baseman Connor Lind. Theo Bowe scores. Billy Hamilton scores. Jonathan Kaskow to 2nd.
• Sean Conner walks. Jonathan Kaskow to 3rd. Devin Lohman to 2nd.
• Oliver Santos walks. Jonathan Kaskow scores. Devin Lohman to 3rd. Sean Conner to 2nd.
• Pitcher Change: Robert Currie replaces Eric Marzec.
• Cristobal Rodriguez doubles (1) on a line drive to left fielder Brandon Sizemore. Devin Lohman scores. Sean Conner scores. Oliver Santos scores.
• Theo Bowe singles on a line drive to left fielder Brandon Sizemore. Cristobal Rodriguez scores. Theo Bowe to 2nd on the throw.
• Billy Hamilton strikes out swinging.

The win evened the Mustangs’ season record at 11-11. They are two games out of first.

7/13: Off.

7/14: Yorman Rodriguez returned to the Mustangs lineup in triumphant fashion by singling in Hamilton in the first for the initial Billings run, then doing it again in the eighth to tie the game at 5 (.378, steal #2). Hamilton himself was 2-for-4 with two walks and three steals (8) to raise his average to .282; he’s hitting .344 since a 2-for-21 start to the season. (Billings swiped a total of six bases, but also were caught four times.) Unfortunately, Idaho Falls (KC) survived five errors to win the game in eleven innings, 6-5. Josh Smith took the loss (0-1, 1.86, 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Two outfield assists at home, one in the second by Sierra/Hamilton and one in the fourth from LF Theo Bowe/Santos/Hamilton, kept things close. Daniel Corcino started and went four (4.58, 5 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). Jesus Adames worked three (5.65, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) and Blaine Howell made it seven straight scoreless innings with three (1 H, 3 K, 2.31).

Transactions and notes: 7/9: 3B David Vidal sent down to the AZL Reds. RF Sean Conner sent to Billings from Dayton.

Clarification on RHP Joel Ernst- he’s a NDFA signee from Wake Forest. He’s the second officially-announced NDFA signee after OF Jeff Taylor Jr.

Can you be day-to-day while missing two straight weeks?

Rookie-Arizona League Reds

Record this week: 1-4.

Overall record: 7-12.

7/8: The Giants outslugged the Reds, 11-7. Evan Hildenbrandt continues to struggle (7.82, 4.2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 0 K, 2 HR) although it was Mike Henry who took the loss (1-1, 5.06, 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 K). 1B Dominic D’Anna continued to show he belongs in a higher league (2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB). C’mon, the guy’s 21 and came out of a major college program (Cal State Northridge). RF Juan Silva was 3-for-5 with a run scored and RBI (.283). SS Junior Arias made his tenth error, but also was 2-for-5 with a double and two runs scored (.338).

7/9: 3B David Vidal, just down from Billings, hit a first-inning home run for the game’s only run. Eighteen-year-old Venezuelan Ismael Guillon has made the Reds look good so far for giving him a six-figure bonus (W 1-0, 2.41, 6 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K). Canadian lefty Mitchell Clarke backed him up with three shutout innings for the long save (#2, 1.00, 1 H, 1 BB, 5 K).

7/10: Off.

7/11: Silva homered (#2) and doubled in two more runs in the eighth, but the Reds couldn’t get any more rib-eyes from the rest of their lineup as the Mariners win it, 5-3. Jonathan Correa started (L 1-2, 2.45, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K).

7/12: The Reds keep struggling, committing six errors amidst a 13-5 thrashing at the hands of the Angels. Two of those errors were Junior Arias’ 11th and 12th in 16 games- although the 18-year-old also went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer (#3), raising his line to .329/.363/.579. Ohio University alumnus Robert Maddox is in a slump after a quick start; the 21-year-old isn’t doing himself any favors with a 0-for-4 performance and three errors at first base. Silva kept things going though (2-for-3, .296, 2 R, 2B, 2 BB, RBI, steal #2). Carlos Contreras had a tough outing (L 1-2, 6.10, 2.1 IP, 7 H, 7 ER). El’Hajj Muhammad struck out four more in 2.2 (3.48, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 HR) but Po-Cheng Chi was charged with five runs- just one earned- in 0.2 innings before Mike Henry retired five straight and stranded two (3.86, 1 K).

7/13: The Reds fell into last place as they blow an 8-4 lead in the ninth. The Brewers got five runs in the top of the ninth off Joel Ernst (L 0-1, 6.75, 2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K). The Reds put their leadoff hitter on in the ninth, but Maddox grounded into a double play. C Yovan Gonzalez doubled, but 2B Adam Muenster grounded out to end the game. Arias slammed homer #4 in the process of going 2-for-3 with three RBI (now an incredible .342/.373/.620 line). He also committed his thirteenth error in eighteen games. D’Anna added three hits, two runs scored, and a RBI (.426). Silva kept it going with two hits and two runs scored (.307). Venezuelan Samuel Diaz, fresh off 37 games of .344/.434/.450 in the VSL, was 2-for-2 with a triple, run scored, and RBI after entering mid-game for Arias.

7/14: Four straight losses, this time 2-1 to the Mariners. The Reds scored their run in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by CF Kurtis Muller, but left the tying run on first when C Danny Vicioso lined out to end the game. Again Ismael Guillon looked great (L 1-1, 2.28, 5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Righty Lucas O’Rear made his pro debut with a scoreless inning despite three walks.

Transactions and notes: 7/8: 3B David Vidal down from Billings.

The signings of RHP Wes Mugarian (5th round, HS) and 1B Jaren Matthews (32nd round) were officially announced.