We’re in the home stretch. Just two more full editions of these, then it’s cleanup and playoffs for another week.

AAA Louisville Bats

This week: 4-3.
Overall: 68-64, tied for second place, way behind Columbus (CLE).

8/17: The Bats got homers from CF Denis Phipps (#5, 2-for-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, now .361/.398/.629 in 24 games!), 3B Juan Francisco (#13, 2-for-4, 2 RBI, .300), 1B Mike Costanzo (#2) and pinch-hitter Danny Dorn (#15) in an 8-4 victory over Indianapolis (PIT). Edinson Volquez proved quite hittable but got the win anyway (W 3-1, 2.29, 6.1 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 103 pitches/71 strikes). Jerry Gil got save #6 (3.83, 1.2 IP, 1 K).

8/18: Again the Bats whip the Indians, 6-2. Scott Carroll got his first win since June (W 7-8, 5.41, 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) and Costanzo homered again. Phipps lashed three more hits, including a triple, and SS Kris Negron had a double, triple, and two RBI (.201). Carlos Fisher retired seven straight in relief of Carroll (2.62, 2 K).

8/19: A throwing error by Negron in the bottom of the tenth on a double play attempt allowed Indy to score the winning run of a 3-2 game. Nick Christiani got the tough loss (L 1-1, 4.34, 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K). Daryl Thompson pitched well (3.25, 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 77 pitches/50 strikes). C Devin Mesoraco doubled twice (.292) and both Phipps and RF Jeremy Hermida had two hits.

8/20: The Bats took out that frustrating loss all over Toledo (DET), 12-1. Francisco drove in five runs with a single, double, and three-run homer (#14, .307). 2B Chris Valaika had two doubles among his three hits (.247, 2 R, RBI). Costanzo hit homer #4 and 1B Danny Dorn connected for #16. Matt Maloney scattered eight hits over seven shutout innings (W 5-1, 3.07, 1 BB, 3 K, 99 pitches/67 strikes).

8/21: Toledo’s turn for revenge. They whooped Louisville 9-2 behind phenom Jacob Turner. Chad Reineke got the loss (L 7-6, 3.51, 6 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 1 HR). Hermida had two more hits, including a triple (.307) as did Francisco.

8/22: Edinson Volquez allowed all of three hits in 7.2 innings but Toledo nipped the Bats anyway, 3-2. Volquez fell to 3-2 (2.42, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 105 pitches/70 strikes). Francisco was 2-for-4 (.312).

8/23: Revenge in the commonwealth, as Louisville swamped the Hens 10-3 with six runs in the seventh. Mesoraco was 4-for-4 with two homers (#13, #14) and five RBI. He needs to be called up. Francisco had a double, triple, and two RBI and Hermida two hits and two runs scored. Costanzo popped #5 and Dorn #17. Scott Carroll worked 5.2 (5.39, 9 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K) but Nick Christiani got the W in relief (1-1, 4.15, 1 K).

Transactnotes: 8/22: C Corky Miller and LHP Tom Cochran placed on the DL with a sprained thumb and back strain, respectively. 8/23: RHR Jared Burton activated from rehab and optioned from Cincinnati. C James Skelton up from Carolina.

Around the league: Colorado has been employing OF Willy Taveras. No comment. Oakland optioned UT Adam Rosales back to Triple-A. Rosales, after a good first season with the A’s, has fought injuries and ineffectiveness in 2010 and 2011. Seattle called up OF Wily Mo Pena; I’ll check in on his progress next week.

AA Carolina Mudcats

This week: 3-4.
Overall: 26-31, third place behind Chattanooga (LAD). Overall 49-78.

8/17: He’d been doing so well. Donnie Joseph’s scoreless appearance streak is broken at seven thanks to control issues (L 1-2, 6.88, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K) as Chattanooga (LAD) gets the winning run off him in the bottom of the ninth and wins it 7-6. Josh Ravin struggled in three innings (7.62, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K) and Justin Freeman was hittable as well (5.40, 2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER). 3B Eric Campbell cranked homer #10, his fourth in five games. SS Miguel Rojas had two singles and a RBI (.274). 2B Henry Rodriguez was 2-for-4 with a double and run scored (.289).

8/18: Nuts. Carolina triumphed, 12-11, in twelve innings. Of course, if the pitching hadn’t blown leads of 5-0, 7-4, 9-5, and 11-8, everyone would have been pounding that Budweiser a little earlier. Brandon Hynick escaped several major jams over the last few to earn the win (W 3-3, 4.14, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 2 BB, 2 K):

Chattanooga Bottom of the 11th
• Elian Herrera walks.
• Alfredo Silverio doubles (34) on a line drive to left fielder Cody Puckett. Elian Herrera to 3rd.
• Brandon Hynick intentionally walks Jake Lemmerman.
• Alex Castellanos grounds into a force out, shortstop Didi Gregorius to catcher Yasmani Grandal. Elian Herrera out at home. Alfredo Silverio to 3rd. Jake Lemmerman to 2nd. Alex Castellanos to 1st.
• Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Allen Webster replaces Shawn Tolleson.
• Allen Webster grounds into double play, third baseman Miguel Rojas to catcher Yasmani Grandal to first baseman Eric Campbell. Alfredo Silverio out at home.

Joseph was pressed into duty for the save as the Mudcats ran out of fresh pitchers- and he came through, managing to escape a man-on-third, no-outs jam by combining with C Yasmani Grandal to cut down said runner trying to score on a would-be wild pitch. Then, after an error and single put two more runners on, the lefty struck out the next man to end the game (save #6, 6.75, 1 IP, 2 H, 2 K). Veterans Chris Mobley and Tim Hamulack combined to allow five runs over 1.2 innings, sending us to extras in the first place. Pinch-hitter Neftali Soto led off the 12th with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly for the decisive run. RF Bill Rhinehart smashed two solo homers (#5 and #6) and LF Cody Puckett hit #12. SS Didi Gregorius had three hits and three runs scored (.284) and Rodriguez drove in four with three hits (.295, steal #16). Grandal had three hits, a RBI, and a walk (.301).

8/19: Travis Webb gave up the winning run in the bottom of the ninth as Chattanooga pulled out a 6-5 win. Webb fell to 1-7 (4.55, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB). Pedro Villareal had a quality start (4.71, 6 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR). The Mudcats made four errors, one by each member of their starting infield of Soto, Rodriguez, Gregorius, and Campbell. CF Quintin Berry was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, steal #34, and a walk (.298) and Rhinehart had two hits and a RBI (.351).

8/20: Where do you start? Lookouts win a 15-14 slugfest with two in the ninth off (wait for it) Donnie Joseph. Tim Hamulack gave up the hit, but the runs were charged to Joseph (L 1-3, 6.96, BS #5, 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 K). Curt Partch gave up twelve hits and ten runs, all earned, in 4.2 innings (8.57). Carolina got nineteen hits, three from Soto (.259, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI), Campbell (.281), and RF Josh Fellhauer (.314). Partch had two hits and two RBI of his own.

8/21: James Avery had his best start of the season (W 6-11, 4.47, 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K) and Tim Gustafson didn’t blow the lead (save #3, 5.08, 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB), so Carolina won 2-0. Berry had two hits, a walk, both runs scored, and four stolen bases in four attempts (!). He now has hit .302/.398/.426 this year with 38 steals in 44 attempts. Pretty impressive, even if he is 26.

8/22: Suns double up the Mudcats, 8-4, despite being outhit thirteen to nine. Josh Ravin didn’t have it (L 0-1, 8.83, 4.1 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Campbell was 3-for-4 with two doubles (.290) and Gregorius the same with a two-run homer (#2, .299).

8/23: Carolina gets seven strong from Justin Lehr (W 1-1, 4.26, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K) in a 5-2 win. Soto whomped homer #27 while finishing 2-for-3 with a walk (.264). Grandal was 2-for-3 with a double (.296). Gregorius had two more hits to push his average well over .300. Berry was 2-for-4 with two RBI (.303). He also notched steals #39 and #40.

Transactnotes: 8/23: C Kevin Coddington back from Bakersfield. C James Skelton to Louisville.

High-A Bakersfield Blaze

This week: 3-3.
Overall: 27-30 second half, fifth place. 62-65 overall.

8/17: Visalia (ARI) hammered JC Sulbaran, knocking him out in the second inning of their 10-2 win (L 8-5, 4.65, 1.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Clayton Shunick threw long relief and gave up only one hit, but strangely (for him) walked the ballpark and thus gave up three runs (2.14, 4 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 6 K). 2B Brodie Greene (.292) and 3B Alex Buchholz (.286) each had two hits.

8/18: Bakersfield scored in six of its eight at-bats, hammering Lake Elsinore (SD) 13-7. Dan Renken rebounded from a rough previous outing to work 5.2 (W 2-0, 3.60, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). RF AJ Means broke out of his months-long slump for good with two homers (#4 and #5) and six total RBI from a 4-for-5 overall night (.250). SS Devin Lohman (#1, 2 BB, 3 R, .311) and C Kevin Coddington (#3) also homered. 1B Chris Richburg drove in three runs with a pair of hits (.274).

8/19: Two in a row over the Storm, 6-4. RF Stephen Hunt slammed a three-run homer (#8) in a five-run third. 1B Jorge Jimenez also homered, #3. Tim Crabbe took an early exit after walking seven in 3.1 innings (3.90, 2 H, 3 ER, 5 K) but Mace Thurman came on to get the win (5-3, 5.62, 1.2 IP, 1 ER) and Derrik Lutz (2.00, 1 IP, 1 BB), Chris Manno (0.00, 2 IP, 1 BB, 5 K, now 2 H and 23 K in 11 IP) and Doug Salinas (save #14, 1 IP, 2 K, 4.70) finished up.

8/20: Matt Fairel made it three early exits in four starts (L 0-3, 11.32, 2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 1 K). The Storm won, 11-3. Lohman hit homer #2.

8/21: Back in the saddle. The Blaze made it three of four by scoring eight runs in the first inning and routing Lake Elsinore, 12-1. Mark Serrano struck out eleven in eight innings (W 6-8, 4.33, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB). Means was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and steal #33 (.254). Everyone in the lineup got a hit.

8/22: Off.

8/23: The Quakes hit a pair of solo homers off Clayton Shunick (L 3-2, 2.36, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) in the seventh to push past the Blaze, 4-2. JC Sulbaran started and went five (4.61, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). Richburg was 2-for-3 with a walk (.272).

Transactnotes: 8/17: C Yovan Gonzalez to Billings. 8/18: RHR Jamie Walczak up from AZL Reds. 8/23: C Mark Fleury activated from the DL; C Kevin Coddington to Carolina.

Low-A Dayton Dragons

This week: 6-1.
Overall: 39-18, lead by six games over Fort Wayne (SD) and Great Lakes (LAD). Overall 74-53.

8/17: Dayton wasted a ton of opportunities in this one, but their 16-hit avalanche still managed to overwhelm Great Lakes (LAD), 5-1. Josh Smith permitted two hits over six (W 11-7, 3.09, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K) as he looked a lot more like he did in the first half. 2B Ronald Torreyes, quieter over the last couple weeks, lashed three hits and scored two (.361). SS Billy Hamilton was 2-for-4 with a walk, run scored, and steal #81.

8/18: After Great Lakes got a run in the seventh off reliever Brian Pearl to snap a 3-3 tie, it looked like they’d take a tough one- before the home ninth! First, light-hitting utlityman/General Spokesperson Frank Pfister launched his first home run of the season to tie the score. CF Jefry Sierra followed with a double (2-for-4, .232). Theo Bowe was intentionally walked to get to Hamilton (!). Billy bunted his way aboard to load ‘em up, then Torreyes stung the game-winning hit to right. DH Donald Lutz had two hits and two RBI (.284). Chad Rogers got the win (W 6-4, 3.18, 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K). Starter Stalin Gerson worked five (3.60, 6 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K).

8/19: The Dragons sweep the three-game home series, 3-2. They did it with just three total hits, scoring two in the eighth when Hamilton walked, stole second (#82), moved to third on an errant pickoff, then scored on Torreyes’ groundout. RF Kurtis Muller then doubled and scored on Chris Berset’s single for the decider. Drew Hayes then worked a 1-2-3 ninth for save #20 of the win for Dan Wolford (W 6-1, 1.34, 1 IP, 2 K). Wolford has not given up a run, earned or no, since June! Mitch Clarke started and worked five (1.78, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K).

8/20: Dayton makes it thirteen of fifteen with a wild 10-9 win over Lansing (TOR). They scored two in the ninth, then one in the top of the tenth on LF Theo Bowe’s RBI single. 1B Don Lutz was 4-for-5 with three RBI (.289) and Muller drove in three with a pair of hits (.269). Torreyes also knocked in three. Hamilton was just 1-for-3 officially, but he drew three walks, scored four runs, and notched two more steals (84). Sierra had three hits (.239). Kyle Lotzkar looked decent (4.62, 5 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) but Lansing got four in the seventh off Pat Doyle and Blaine Howell. Howell recovered to work a scoreless eighth (W 3-1, 2.12, BS #1, 3 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 K) and Hayes got save #21.

8/21: The Lugnuts got all four of their runs early off Tanner Robles (L 5-9, 5.73, 4.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 4 K) who was back to fighting his control. Chad Rogers shut Lansing down over the final 3.2 (2.98, 1 H, 2 BB, 4 K), but Dayton could only make up two of the three-run Lugnut lead and fell 4-3. Hamilton picked up steals #85 and #86 (and error #36).

8/22: Dayton busted open a 2-2 game with seven in the sixth. They tacked on six more in the ninth and beat Lansing by a touchdown and field goal, 17-7. Hamilton led the attack with four hits, three runs scored, and two RBI (.262). He also swiped three more bags to give him 89. C Chris Berset hit homer #2 while going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Muller was 3-for-4 with three runs scored (.300). Torreyes drove in four runs with a pair of hits (.358). Daniel Corcino allowed two hits over five (W 10-6, 3.19, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K). Dan Wolford gave up three hits and a walk in 2.2 innings, including allowing an inherited runner to score- but no runs. His ERA is now 1.28.

8/23: Dragons win yet again, 6-1. Hamilton lashed out four more hits and stole bases 90 and 91- but his teammates couldn’t get him home! Frank Pfister did hit homer #2 and Theo Bowe #1. Josh Smith allowed four hits and a run over six (W 12-7, 3.02, 0 BB, 8 K).

RHS Daniel Corcino got a mention in the 8/19 BA Prospect Hot Sheet over his possible inclusion in the interesting Votto-Bautista deal supposedly discussed between the Reds and Blue Jays.

Rookie-Pioneer Billings Mustangs

This week: 5-2.
Overall: Finished first half at 20-18, second place, five games behind division champ Missoula (ARI). Second half 13-10. Overall 33-28.

8/17: Billings was outhit eleven to seven but still won, 6-3, over Idaho Falls (KC). Lefty Ismael Guillon allowed nine hits (two homers) over five innings but finally got his first win of the season (W 1-5, 7.20, 0 BB, 5 K). Brooks Pinckard got save #6. Three errors caused four of the Billings runs to be unearned.

8/18: Billings’ bullpen blew two leads, a 4-2 one in the eighth and a 6-4 one in the tenth- but the Mustangs piled on three more in the eleventh to pull it out, 9-6. 3B Sean Buckley popped his league-leading 14th homer and RF Kyle Waldrop’s fourth provided two runs in the tenth. Starter Kyle McMyne looked strong (6.49, 5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K). El’Hajj Muhammad pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh before getting charged with two in the eighth (4.67, 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Pat Quinn got the victory (2-2, 3.09, BS #3, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). The Mustangs now stand one game back of Missoula and Helena with a 10-8 second-half record.

8/19: Billings got fourteen hits as well as six errors from the Casper Ghosts (COL). Mustangs win, 14-8. Wes Mugarian worked five (W 4-4, 5.75, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). SS Juan Perez had three hits and two RBI (.235) and C Dayan Vicioso drove in five with a single and three-run homer (#2, .302). LF Juan Silva was 3-for-4 with three runs scored (.273).

8/20: Rained out.

8/21: MAKEUP MADNESS! Billings splits, taking game one 10-6 but dropping game two to the Ghosts 7-4. Silva homered in both games, driving in four total in game one (#3 and #4) and CF Bryson Smith also homered in game one (#3). Perez didn’t make an out in the opener; he finished 2-for-2 with three walks, two runs, two RBI, a triple, and a steal. Ryan Kemp got that win (3-1, 3.63, 1.2 IP, 2 ER) in relief of Cole Green (4.50, 4 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). Pat Quinn melted down in game two for the loss (2-3, 4.50, 0.2 IP, 4 ER, BS #5) in relief of starter Dan Jensen (6.43, 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER).

8/22: The Mustangs entered this one in a three-way tie for first again at 12-9. They lost this one, though, to Idaho Falls by a 5-3 score. Tony Cingrani worked five very good innings (1.83, 7 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K). Carlos Contreras took the loss (2-1, 4.65, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K).Two hits apiece for Smith, 1B Robert Maddox (.261), Buckley (.291), 2B Sammy Diaz (.286) and Silva (.293).

8/23: Both Juan Perez (#1) and Ryan Wright (#4) homered in a four-run third, allowing Billings to win it 5-3. Waldrop had a single, triple, and two RBI. Ismael Guillon has now won back-to-back starts (W 2-5, 6.75, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Muhammad took care of the next two (4.42, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) and Pinckard notched save #7.

Transactnotes: 8/17: C Yovan Gonzalez back from Bakersfield.

Rookie-Arizona AZL Reds

This week: 2-3.
Overall: 29-23, second place behind the Dodgers. Never fear; the Reds and Dodgers play three times over the regular season’s final week (8/24, 8/26, 8/29).

8/17: Off.

8/18: The Reds struggled in this one, losing handily to the Diamondbacks 9-4. RF Steve Selsky did go 3-for-4 with homer #5 (.388) and Robert Ramirez hit his first homer. Justice French got the loss (L 4-4, 3.86, 6 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K).

8/19: The lowly Brewers hammered the Reds 9-1. Loss to starter Eliezer Beard (L 3-2, 6.70, 3.1 IP, 9 H, 8 ER). Selsky hit homer #6 for the only Reds run.

8/20: Three straight defeats, this one 5-1 at the hands of the Royals. Lucas O’Rear is showing encouraging signs (L 0-3, 8.08, 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K).

8/21: The good guys turn it around, moving back within striking distance (2.5 games) of the Dodgers with a 4-3 win over the Brewers. After Alejandro Chacin gave up two in the top of the ninth (!) to blow a 3-1 lead (W 1-1, 1.40, BS #2, 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K), Selsky singled in 2B Josef Terry, who’d walked. SS Humberto Valor followed Terry’s walk with a free pass of his own, then 3B Gabriel Rosa took a Rudy to set up Selsky’s heroics. Carlos Gonzalez had a strong outing (4.05, 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K) and Randy Yard turned in 2.1 scoreless in relief (5.50, 1 H, 3 K).

8/22: Off.

8/23: The Reds popped the Padres, 14-6, to move within two games of first following a Dodgers loss. Carlos Sanchez drove in four (.273) and LF Matt Lentz had a double, triple, and three runs scored. Joel Bender allowed twelve hits but bulled his way to the win (4-3, 3.83, 6.2 IP, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HR).