A second straight losing week for Louisville, although they finished strong with back-to-back wins. Carolina did okay, splitting a six-game series with the newest member of the Southern League, Jackson. Bakersfield sauntered into the biggest launching pad in all of affiliated baseball, High Desert, and proceeded to whip the Mavericks in three straight. Dayton had an eventful .500 week, with lots of comeback wins and bullpen failures and other unpredictabilities so cherished in A-ball. Billings’ starting pitching is struggling a little more than they did previously, while the AZL Reds had tons of rehabbing pitchers- Maloney, Fairel, Burton- while managing to take three of five.

AAA Louisville Bats

This week: 2-4.
Overall: 51-47, second place, 9.5 games behind Columbus (CLE) . Up one from last week.

7/13: The International League defeated the Pacific Coast League, 3-0, in a largely uneventful Triple-A All-Star Game. Durham (TB) 3B Russ Canzler hit a three-run homer in the second inning for the game’s only runs. RF Jeremy Hermida started and batted third, going 1-for-3 with a single and strikeout. Yonder Alonso then came in late in the game in the #3 slot, playing LF. He walked in his only at-bat. C Devin Mesoraco started and batted fifth, going 1-for-2 with a base hit. SS Zack Cozart was too busy enjoying big-league meal money.

7/14: Charlotte (CHW) takes the first game of the second half, 6-4. Jordan Smith, back with the Bats after finishing his rehab in Arizona, served up a two-run tiebreaking homer to the Knights’ #9 hitter, Andrew Garcia, in the eighth. Starter Travis Wood wasn’t great, allowing nine hits and four earned runs in five innings (4.13, 1 BB, 3 K, 92 pitches/62 strikes). Carlos Fisher and Jeremy Horst each turned in a scoreless inning. Alonso had two hits to raise his average to .300, while 1B Danny Dorn broke his brutal July slump with a couple of hits (.255, R). 3B Mike Costanzo, struggling since his promotion, knocked in two. SS Paul Janish fell to 1-for-14 since his demotion by going 0-for-4 with a walk and stolen base.

7/15: Daryl Thompson turned in six excellent innings (L 2-1, 2.35, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) but Charlotte scored the game’s only run in the second inning. C Corky Miller, Dorn, and 2B Chris Valaika each had two of Louisville’s seven hits, but they couldn’t dent the plate.

7/16: Louisville scored three in the top of the 12th, then Nick Christiani survived a rally attempt for save #7 as the Bats win, 4-2. Crafty Tom Cochran retired six straight in relief for the W (7-2, 3.23, 2 K). Starter Chad Reineke worked five scoreless (2.99, 4 H, 2 BB, 3 K) and Brad Boxberger struck out five over the next two innings (4.91, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB). Alonso had a double, triple, and two walks (.302) and CF Dave Sappelt was also 2-for-4 with two free passes (.298). DH Todd Frazier added two hits and steal #17 and two RBI (.269) as did Mesoraco (.300).

7/17: The Bats heroically rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to grab a 6-5 lead, but Charlotte got to Jerry Gil for the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the ninth (L 4-5, 4.40, BS #5, 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) to win it anyway, 7-6, and take the series three games to one. Edinson Volquez put his team in a 5-0 hole after two innings, as he gave up a bunch of hits and also let in two runs on back-to-back wild pitches. He did finish strong, however (2.73, 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). Dave Johnson turned in two hitless frames in relief (4.31, 1 BB, 3 K). Costanzo bashed two hits and drove in two, one with his first Triple-A homer of the year (.192). CF Dave Sappelt (.302, R, RBI, BB), Valaika (.239) and Frazier each had two hits as well.

7/18: Gwinnett (ATL) made the Bats losers of seven of their last eight, 5-2. Phenom Julio Teheran gave up a run in the first inning, then didn’t give up much else as he worked five innings of three-hit ball. He ran his record to 10-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.70. Hermida managed to connect for his 10th homer off Braves reliever Anthony Varvaro, but that was the fourth and final hit on the night for Louisville. Scott Carroll served up two bombs to IL Home Run Derby champion Stefan Gartrell, his 19th and 20th of the year (L 6-5, 4.72, 5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 3 K). Jordan Smith (2.35, 2 IP, 2 H) and Carlos Fisher (3.32, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K) did scoreless work.

7/19: Nick Christiani coughed up a three-run ninth-inning lead as Gwinnett tied the game at 5- but the Bats got two in the top of the tenth when Kris Negron, who’d entered the game to play left field as a defensive replacement for Yonder Alonso the inning before, bunted for a hit with two men on base. An E-4 on the Braves’ Diory Hernandez helped as well. Sappelt then added a sacrifice fly (2-for-4, R, RBI, BB, .303) as insurance. Janish had four singles in five trips (.182, 2 R, RBI) but still isn’t over the Mendoza line as a Bat. Mesoraco was 3-for-5 with a solo homer (#10), putting his average at an even .300. Alonso had two hits and two RBI (.302) and Danny Dorn kept hitting well since breaking out of his slump (.257, 2-for-4, 2B, 2 R, BB). Jerry Gil allowed one of his inherited runners to score so he was charged with a sixth blown save, but he also got the win after recording the out to end the Braves’ ninth (W 5-5, 4.57, 0.1 IP, 1 H). Dave Johnson used all of four pitches to run a 1-2-3 tenth for save #1 (4.22). Starter Travis Wood pitched well (3.86, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 2 HR); he’s walking very few (4 BB in 30 IP) but giving up lots of hits (31).

Around the league: Arizona DFA’d OF Wily Mo Pena. Wily Mo crushed five bombs in 46 at-bats for the Diamondbacks. He drew no walks and lashed only four other hits. For those of you keeping score, that’s a .196/.196/.522 line. Awesome.

Atlanta signed OF Sean Henry, who left the Reds organization after last season; he’d been playing in the Atlantic League with the Road Warriors, a team that has no home city and plays all its games on the road. Unsurprisingly, this team had the worst record in the eight-team league, 22-41. This team also features the Reds’ organizational Moonlight Graham himself, Gabe Suarez, as well as ex-Red Kenny Kelly. Henry hit .328 in 46 games; it’s kind of strange that he couldn’t get a contract this offseason, given that Sean hit .302/.356/.411 with Carolina and Louisville last year. No idea. Anyway, he’s back in Double-A with Mississippi.

Baltimore called up LHR Pedro Viola. He did okay the first couple times out, but had a line in his fourth appearance of 0-3-3-3-1-0, where each of the three hits was a home run. Ow.

Not a former Red, but remember Florida International University star Garrett Wittels, who had a 56-game hitting streak last year but was accused of rape in the Bahamas? Well, not only were those charges dropped- but St. Louis signed him as a non-drafted free agent. The 21-year-old Wittels is 7-for-27 to date at Batavia in the short-season New York-Penn League.

AA Carolina Mudcats

This week: 3-3.
Overall: 12-12, second place, 2 games behind Chattanooga (LAD). Overall 35-59.

7/13: RF Felix Perez, signed for mid-six figures at age 26 last season, has been a pretty big disappointment in 2011. As I’ve mentioned before, he seems to be improving slowly, with his batting averages by month increasing from .190 to .223 to .313 in June. He’s also over .300 in July so far. But he’s not drawing walks and not hitting for power, which means his overall batting line stands at .249/.296/.325. He’s also attempted only nine stolen bases after trying nineteen in 67 games last year. Anyway, I mention him because his two-run homer in this game against Jackson (SEA) was his first since April- and provided the Mudcats’ only runs in a 2-1 victory. Carolina was outhit ten to four, but Kyle McCulloch scattered eight hits over 6.1 innings (W 3-4, 5.20, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). Donnie Joseph came on to strand two of Kyle’s runners (0.2 IP, 8.68), Chris Mobley handled the eighth (6.10, 1 IP, 1 K) and Tim Hamulack picked up save #2 (3.21, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 K).

7/14: University of Kentucky alumnus James Paxton, fresh off the Futures Game, headed to the mound for the Generals in this one. And while Neftali Soto got him for homer #16 in the fourth (.284, 2-for-5, 2 R, 3 RBI), Paxton lived up to billing, whiffing eleven Mudcats in five innings and allowing just three hits. Jackson won, 10-7. The Generals got four in the eighth to take an eight-run lead, but Carolina fired back with five in the bottom of the eighth to make it a little more interesting. Felix Perez homered for the second straight game (#3) and four other players- RF Denis Phipps, 2B Henry Rodriguez, LF David Cook, and SS Jose Castro- each had two hits. Pedro Villareal was knocked out after four (L 3-2, 5.21, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Tim Gustafson provided three innings of solid long relief (5.12, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) but it was a rough night for lefty James Adkins (4.38, 1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER). Donnie Joseph turned in a second straight scoreless outing (8.31, 1 IP, 1 H, 1 K).

7/15: The Mudcats attempted to dig themselves out of a seven-run hole the Generals piled up at the expense of Matt Klinker (L 5-6, 5.00, 4.1 IP, 11 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) in the first- but they fell a few short, losing 9-6. Clayton Shunick pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in relief (4.35, 1 K). Phipps had two hits and two RBI and LF Quintin Berry was 2-for-4 with homer #4, three RBI, steal #18, and two runs. Perez was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a triple. C Yasmani Grandal was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

7/16: Carolina outhit Jackson 11-5 but came up a run short on the board of record, 4-3. Brandon Hynick pitched well but lost (L 1-2, 3.91, 7.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). Two of those runs were let in by Tim Hamulack. Soto was 2-for-4 with a double, triple, and RBI and Phipps had three more hits and a run knocked in.

7/17: Mobley blew a save chance for starter James Avery (4.05, 6.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K) but 2B Henry Rodriguez singled home 3B Jake Kahauleilo, who’d doubled with one out, to win it for Carolina 4-3. Phipps went 3-for-4 with a RBI and run scored (.316) and Perez hammered a two-run double in the fourth (.252). Phipps (Carolina) is 14-for 30 (8rbi, 7r) over his last seven games. In 40 games since the beginning of June, Phipps is batting .411 with 6 home runs, 24 RBI and 36 runs scored (65-for-158). Nuts. (Credit to Jamie Ramsey for the Phipps info.)

7/18: A sixth game to this series where there’d normally be an off day. And be glad there was, because the Mudcats earned a split by scoring eight runs in the first inning, then cruising to a 12-3 rout! LF Eric Campbell hit two homers and drove in four (#5 and #6, 3-for-5, .257), Cook was also 3-for-5 with a homer (#7, 2B, .272), and Rodriguez drove in three runs. Phipps, named the Southern League hitter of the week for the second time in four, had a single, double, and two runs scored. C James Skelton hit homer #2. Kyle McCulloch was excellent, permitting just five hits and an unearned run over seven (W 4-4, 4.67, 2 BB, 3 K).

7/19: Off.

Transactnotes: 7/13: RHR Dave Johnson down from Louisville. RHR Pat Doyle back to Dayton. 7/15: Johnson back to Louisville as RHR Clayton Shunick came up from Bakersfield for a second go-round.

High-A Bakersfield Blaze

This week: 4-2.
Overall: 10-15 second half, fourth place, eight games behind Stockton (OAK). 45-50 overall.

7/13: Righty Josh Ravin showed some of his early-season form, holding Stockton (OAK) to three hits and one run over six (L 1-7, 4.66, 1 BB, 8 K, 2 WP, 2 HB). The problem was the Blaze couldn’t score at all until the ninth, when they managed a single run to cut the Ports’ lead to 2-1 when 1B Chris Richburg singled home CF Ryan LaMarre (who’d doubled). 3B Alex Buchholz followed with a walk to put the tying run in scoring position, but C Mark Fleury grounded out to end the game. RF Stephen Hunt was the only Bakersfield player with two hits- breaking an 0-for-17 slump that lasted the length of the ugly San Jose series. Hunt’s line has faded to .308/.379/.493 after a .235 June and .222 July.

7/14: Bakersfield mustered just four hits, losing 6-1. 2B Brodie Greene had two of those, including the solo homer (#5) that accounted for the Blaze’s only run. Mark Serrano keeps throwing too many strikes (L 2-5, 4.86, 6.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR). He has just 14 walks in 53.2 IP, but has also served up eleven homers.

7/15: The Blaze earn a four-game split, 5-4, as Buchholz’ sacrifice fly scored LaMarre with the winning run in the bottom of the tenth. LaMarre finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBI, steal #31, and homer #5 (.286). That homer was one of the two runs Bakersfield got in the eighth to tie the game at 4; Greene followed LaMarre’s bomb with a triple and scored on Hunt’s single. Starter JC Sulbaran held his own (4.60, 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) and Derrik Lutz continues to pick up steam, whiffing four Ports over two innings of one-hit shutout ball (0.00). Doug Salinas got the eighth and ninth for the win (3-1, 4.83, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 K).

7/16: Brodie Greene homered twice and drove in five runs (4-for-5, .279) as Bakersfield outslugged High Desert (SEA), 13-9. Of course, the HD park is one of the two biggest launching pads in pro ball, along with Lancaster (not that it played that way when the Blaze were there). SS Didi Gregorius also homered (#2) as did RF Dayne Read (#2). C Kevin Coddington had three hits (.311, RBI) as did Hunt. The Blaze collected twenty hits overall. Curtis Partch survived five for the win (W 5-10, 5.65, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) and Jamie Walczak did pretty well over the next three (5.27, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 K). Scott Gaffney was whooped for four in the ninth (5.90) before getting three outs.

7/17: The Blaze made it back-to-back slugfest wins over the Mavericks, as they very nearly blew an 11-4 lead but hung on for the victory, 11-10. Tim Crabbe got the win (W 3-3, 3.65, 6 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K). Drew Bowman pitched a scoreless eighth (5.27) and Salinas the ninth (save #8, 4.96, 1 IP, 1 ER) to finish it out. Gregorius hit homer #3 and finished 3-for-5 (.275). LaMarre was also 3-for-5 with two runs scored and steal #33 (.295). Hunt was 4-for-5 (.318). And 3B Jose Gualdron smashed a three-run homer (#2) from the #9 slot. LF Josh Fellhauer added a solo shot in the sixth (#5).

7/18: Bakersfield went for and got the very impressive road sweep in High Desert, winning 12-6. That’s 36 runs in three games. Greene led the hitters with a 4-for-5 night, socking two doubles and homer #8 and driving in three to go with steal #24. He’s up to .287/.353/.408 thanks to a .338 July so far. 1B Jorge Jimenez drove in five runs with two doubles. He also made two fielding errors (being rusty from having not played all season). C Jordan Wideman added two hits and two RBI. Starter Josh Ravin managed to allow just three hits over 5.2 innings (W 2-7, 4.45, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 2 HB). Drew Bowman worked the final 1.2 innings for the save (#1, 5.28, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K).

7/19: Off.

Transactnotes: 7/13: A couple of days after he gave up six hits and five runs while retiring just one batter, LHR Tzu-Kai Chiu was released. The 23-year-old Taiwanese pitcher was 1-2 with a 6.82 ERA in 25 appearances. He was originally signed in 2007. C Jordan Wideman returned from Louisville. 7/17: OF Dayne Read back to Billings; he acquitted himself well, going 6-for 24 with two homers. DH Jorge Jimenez was signed as a free agent. Jimenez, 26, was a 15th-round pick by Boston in 2006 out of a California junior college; he’s a native of Puerto Rico. He hit his way steadily up the ranks of the Red Sox system (hitting .289 or higher at each stop from 2007-2009), reaching Triple-A in 2010. However, he cratered at Pawtucket, batting just .217/.290/.279 in 95 games. He was released before the 2011 season. He usually plays first or third base.

Low-A Dayton Dragons

This week: 3-3.
Overall: 16-8, first place, three ahead of Great Lakes (LAD), Lansing (TOR) and West Michigan (DET). Overall 51-43.

7/13: The Dragons rallied in the ninth inning for three runs, cutting Quad Cities (STL)’ lead to 7-5. CF Jefry Sierra walked, stole second, and moved to third on a wild pitch with two outs, but the tying run, SS Billy Hamilton, took a called third strike to end the game. The Midwest League may have caught up with Stalin Gerson, who lasted just four innings this time around (L 3-1, 1.93, 4 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR). The River Bandits’ second baseman, Kolten Wong, was 3-for-4 with a home run. He was the Cardinals’ first-round pick, 22nd overall, this year out of the University of Hawaii and is off to a .333/.420/.561 start in fifteen games. Righty Dan Wolford whipped through two more scoreless innings (1.74, 1 H, 4 K). The 22-year-old out of UC Berkeley (14th-round, 2010) has flat dominated the MWL since May 1st, putting up monthly ERAs of 1.80, 0.61, and 0.00 so far in seven innings in July. Overall he has 55 Ks and just 18 walks in 46.2 IP. DH Dominic D’Anna was 2-for-4 with homer #6 and a double (.275) and RF Yorman Rodriguez 2-for-4 with a double, run scored, and RBI (.251). Hamilton also had two hits to raise his average to .244.

7/14: The Dragons were the only Reds full-season team to get a win on this day, as they got four in the ninth to pull out a tough 12-8 victory. Rodriguez had a heck of a night, going 3-for-4 with a two-run homer (#7), two walks, and four RBI (.258). 2B Ronald Torreyes had a single, double, triple, and two RBI (.364). Hamilton scored three runs, poked a pair of singles, drove in a run, and drew a walk (.246). C Tucker Barnhart was 2-for-3 with two walks and three RBI (.282). 3B David Vidal had a pair of doubles and two runs scored (.288). Starter Daniel Corcino had a tough time for the second straight outing (3.45, 5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K). Both Brian Pearl and Blaine Howell gave up runs as well, but Drew Hayes set down five straight for the victory (1-1, 0.93, 1.2 IP, 1 K).

7/15: Such is A-ball. Starter Dan Renken dominated Quad Cities, throwing six no-hit innings (3.53, 3 BB, 7 K). But the River Bandits rallied off Luca Panerati (4.35, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER), Pat Doyle (3.60, 0.2 IP, 3 ER) and Drew Hayes (1.36, L 1-2, BS #1, 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 1 HR) for six runs over the seventh and eighth to win, 6-4. Vidal had three more hits as well as two runs scored (.294) and LF Juan Duran had two hits and two RBI (.261). Hamilton was 0-for-3 but drew a walk and swiped bag #68.

7/16: This time it was Chad Rogers who got victimized late, as QC got him for three in the seventh (two actually let in by Wolford) as they rallied for another win, 5-3. Rogers fell to 2-4 and his ERA rose to 4.17,. Starter Kyle Lotzkar came out a little early (5.71, 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) although Doyle pitched well through the middle innings (3.42, 2.2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K). D’Anna was 2-for-4 with homer #7 (.277) and Torreyes 2-for-4 (.365).

7/17: Josh Smith still isn’t himself (W 9-4, 2.51, 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR) but he picked up the win anyway as Dayton piled up ten runs and won by four. Smith had a 1.59 ERA in 13 GS prior to the break but has a 5.06 mark in the five starts since. Hamilton did some Havoc, going 1-for-2 officially but with three walks, two runs, and steal #69 (cracking .300 on his OBP). C Chris Berset, who has struggled all season long at the plate, went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two walks (.125). Brian Pearl pitched the sixth and seventh in relief of Smith (3.38, 1 H, 3 K) and Blaine Howell the eighth. Hayes gave up two more runs in the ninth to raise his ERA to 1.77; that’s back-to-back poor outings for the All-Star closer.

7/18: Schoolkid Special? It’s summer! Anyway, Dayton played early and successfully, beating CR 6-4. 1B Donald Lutz singled in Dominic D’Anna in the top of the ninth to break a 4-4 tie, then Barnhart followed with a sacrifice fly to provide an insurance run. Rogers took care of the ninth to notch the win (W 3-4, 4.04, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 2 K). Luca Panerati gave up one run in 2.2 innings in relief of Stalin Gerson (2.45, 5 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 5 BB, 3 K) who hung in there despite control issues. Torreyes punched three hits, one a double, and scored two runs while driving one in (.355). Duran hit a third-inning solo homer, #9. Hamilton notched steal #70 while on base after his one single in five trips. He also made his 28th error and was caught stealing for the 12th time this season as well. An 85% success rate is pretty good for this level, believe me. When Drew Stubbs was in Dayton in 2007 he was caught 15 times in 38 attempts.

7/19: Back in first place with yesterday’s win, the Dragons get an off day before taking the bus to Peoria to face the Cubs affiliate. The Chiefs are 9-15, good for last place in the other division.

Transactnotes: 7/13: RHR Pat Doyle back from Carolina; LHR Ezequiel Infante released. Infante, 22, was 0-2 with a 5.60 ERA in 16 appearances. He seemed to have lost his ability to throw strikes, walking nineteen batters in 17 innings and striking out just 9. He’d pitched well at Dayton in each of the previous two years, posting a 3.44 ERA in 52.1 IP in 2009 and a 3.04 mark last year in 56.1. But he failed to miss bats last year in a stint at Lynchburg and was sent back to the Midwest League for 2011.

2B Ronald Torreyes made the Baseball American Prospect Hot Sheet for the time period July 8-14. He went 8-for-22 (.364) with a homer, five RBI, six runs, three walks, and a triple. Apparently his bonus was $40,000. Pretty good bargain so far.

Rookie-Pioneer Billings Mustangs

This week: 3-4.
Overall: 15-14, second place, two games behind Missoula (ARI).

7/13: Billings blew a five-run lead in the eighth as Orem (LAA) tied the score at 8. But the Mustangs pulled it out in the bottom of the tenth when 1B Robert Maddox hit a two-run homer, his fifth overall and fourth base hit of the night, to win it 10-8. Maddox raised his average to .273 and drove in four runs total. He’s slugging .532 so far in his Pioneer League experience but has walked just three times in eighteen games. LF Juan Silva had a career night, going 5-for-5 with four singles and a three-run homer (#1). He’s now hitting .327. SS Devin Lohman was 2-for-4 with homer #6, a double, two walks, and three runs scored (.321). And DH Junior Arias lashed a pair of hits to raise his average to .190. He’s 1-2 years younger than the average player in this league, so seeing him adjust is good. Starter Radhames Quezada dominated, whiffing ten Owlz and permitting just one run in five innings (3.75, 6 H, 1 BB) but his relief help of Dan Jensen, Erik Miller, Matt Leonard and Brooks Pinckard all gave up runs. James Allen pitched the top of the tenth for the win (2-0, 2.31, 1 IP, 2 H, 2 K).

7/14: Rained out.

7/15: MAKEUP MADNESS! It looked like Billings would take game one, but Orem suddenly erupted for four runs off closer Pinckard (BS #2, L 1-1, 5.23, 0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB) and took it, 5-3. Starter Kyle McMyne worked two scoreless and Mitchell Clarke added the next four (3.60, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). RF Kyle Waldrop socked his first pro homer while going 2-for-4 (.256). Lohman and 2B Cristobal Rodriguez added two hits apiece. The two teams battled to a scoreless tie for the first eight innings of the nightcap, as Ismael Guillon turned in his best outing of the season by far (5.66, 5 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K). El’Hajj Muhammad kept that going into the eighth (4.41, 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 3 K) but Orem got to Matt Leonard (L 0-1, 6.00) for two in the top of the ninth. Billings, who had just one hit to this point, got a leadoff double from 2B Adam Muenster and several walks to force home a run, but Drew Poulk grounded into a bases-loaded, game-ending double play.

7/16: Lohman singled home CF Kurtis Muller in the bottom of the ninth to propel Billings past Ogden (LAD), 5-4. Muller had singled with one out and stolen second (11; 2-for-4, 3 R, homer #2, .259). Poulk (.344) and Silva (.339) each were 2-for-4. Leonard pitched a scoreless inning to get the win the night after he took the loss (W 1-1, 5.40). Starter Wes Mugarian looked much better (6.33, 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K).

7/17: Tony CIngrani gave up the first runs of his pro career in his fourth outing, as the Raptors got him for four of their five runs in the fourth as the lefty attempted to go deeper in the game than he had previously. It’s all Orem needed, as they win 5-1 to take three of four. Cingrani (L 0-1, 3.48, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) looked great for the first three. Chris Buckley was 3-for-4 but got stranded on base each time (.342).

7/18: Billings took a 2-1 lead in the series with an 8-6 win; four runs in the seventh, capped by Kyle Waldrop’s two-run single, did the job. Maddox hit a two-run homer (#6) and added a sacrifice fly. Starter Quezada lasted just three (4.33, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) and Dan Jensen allowed five hits and two runs in two innings (6.17) but Ryan Kemp turned in his third straight scoreless outing for the victory (2-0, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K). James Allen continued his excellent pro start with two more one-hit innings for the save (#3, 1.76, 3 K).

7/19: Things didn’t go well for right-hander Cole Green in his pro debut, as Ogden hammered him for seven hits and five earned runs in just two innings as they rolled to a 13-5 win. Green’s not used to this at all, as he was 11-2 with a 2.74 ERA this year at the University of Texas. Billings did get its licks in- Junior Arias hit a three-run homer, his first in the Pioneer League (.177, 2-for-4), and RF Drew Poulk had homer #3 and two hits (.353).

Transactnotes: 7/17: OF Dayne Read back from Bakersfield. 7/18: RHP Cole Green, the Reds’ ninth-round pick out of the University of Texas, was moved up from the AZL. He made just one appearance there.

Rookie-Arizona AZL Reds

This week: 3-2.
Overall: 12-11, first place, one game ahead of the Dodgers.

7/13: Off.

7/14: The Reds popped the Indians, 6-2. Freshly-signed second-round pick Gabriel Rosa started his pro career in style, hitting a two-run homer in his first at-bat! He also played third base, which is interesting because he was supposedly drafted as a centerfielder. C Wagner Gomez also homered, his third, and LF Brennan May was 2-for-4 to raise his average to .317. Starter Justice French permitted all of one hit over five innings (W 2-1, 2.00, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K). I can’t imagine the almost-22-year-old college draftee will spend the entire season in the AZL. Lucas O’Rear keeps struggling (6.19, 2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER) but Jim Moran turned in a scoreless inning (1.42) and nobody can hit Alejandro Chacin (1 IP, 1 BB, 3 K), who now has 18 strikeouts in 7.1 innings (!!). He’s allowed two hits, one unearned run, and two walks. And he just turned 18.

7/15: The Reds took advantage of seven (!) Brewers errors to whip ‘em 10-6. 1B Cesar Sanchez was 3-for-4 with two runs, a walk, and a RBI (.299). May had two more hits and two RBI (.328) and RF Jon Matthews had a single, triple, and four RBI (.222). Starter Tanner Robles worked four (5.14, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) then Dan Tuttle took over, whiffing ten in four (W 3-3, 3.91, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB).

7/16: The Indians outslugged the Reds, 10-8. Rehabbin’ Matt Maloney worked two scoreless. Joel Bender ended up with the loss (1-2, 5.40, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K). SS Juan Perez singled, tripled, and drove in two (.319), CF Spencer Dickinson drove in three (.267), Matthews was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a triple (.239) and C Julio Morillo had a single, double, two runs scored, a walk, and a RBI (.295). 2B Brandon Dailey has dropped off a little bit, but he still doubled in two runs (.383).

7/17: Another prospect begins his trip back, as Rehabbin’ Matt Fairel worked 2.2 innings of one-run ball in the Reds’ 5-4 win over the Angels. Fairel allowed one run, walked one, and struck out two. Eliezer Beard threw 3.1 scoreless in relief (3.10) but the win went to righty Cesar Caceres (W 1-0, 1 IP, 1 ER). Chacin struck out the side again (21 Ks, 8.1 IP) for save #4. Rosa lashed a triple (.231) while Dickinson was 2-for-4 (.281, R, RBI, steal #5) and Sanchez had a RBI double.

7/18: Off.

7/19: The Dodgers hammered the Reds, 13-3. Rehabbin’ Jared Burton, the third Reds pitcher to do rehab time at Goodyear this week, gave up three hits and three runs in his one inning of work. Lucas O’Rear followed with an ugly 4-7-4-4-5-0 line (6.75). Randy Yard later gave up five earned runs in the ninth. The Reds did steal four bases, two by Dickinson (7) and one each by Matthews (9) and SS Humberto Valor (4), but offensive highlights were few.

Transactnotes: 7/14: OF-3B (apparently) Gabriel Rosa activated. 7/15: OF Matt Lentz (NDFA, Kentucky) activated. The former UK defensive back was signed out of a tryout camp. 7/16: LHS Matt Maloney activated for rehabbin’ purposes. 7/17: LHS Matt Fairel, same thing. 7/18: RHP Cole Green to Billings. 7/19: RHR Jared Burton activated for rehab. Maloney sent to Louisville. RHS Dan Tuttle was suspended for 50 games for a second positive test for a “drug of abuse”. Likely it’s pot. The Reds also activated 2011 fifth-round pick Ryan Wright, a second baseman out of the University of Louisville.

The Baseball America Minor League Transactions sheet mentions the signing of RHP Robert Lewis-Walker out of South Africa. A Google search produced an article about the 58th Durban Air Scouts and a Facebook page. That’s all I got. The other note I didn’t know about on that MLT installment: the Reds released RHP Mike Henry, their 48th-round pick in 2007 out of high school in Ontario, Canada. Henry, 22, pitched in the GCL in 2008 and 2009 and Billings in 2009 and 2010. His control was his undoing, as he walked eighty batters in just over ninety pro innings.