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Link Report for Sat. 6/7 -- Sounds Combine on One-Hitter; Big Win for the Stars


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Saturday's Daily Menu:

 

All times Central; pitchers subject to change --

 

Nashville: RHP Ben Howard at home vs. Albuquerque (Marlins), 5:45 PM pre-game; 6:00 gametime

 

Audio link:

www.nashvillesounds.com/listenlive/

 

Huntsville: LHP David Welch at home vs. West Tenn (Mariners), 6:50 PM pre-game; 7:05 gametime

 

Audio link via WUMP (game will also archive at this link):

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/multimedia/audio.jsp?sid=t559

 

Brevard County: RHP Alex Periard at home vs. Fort Myers (Twins), 6:00 PM gametime

 

Audio link via the Miracle's SportsJuice site:

http://www.sportsjuice.com/broadcaster2.aspx?bid=MTQ5-g%2fzH4cwYBjA%3d

 

West Virginia: LHP Chris Cody at Lexington (Astros), 5:50 PM pre-game, 6:05 gametime

 

Audio link via WSWW, be sure to select the proper date (game will also archive at this link):

www.minorleaguebaseball.c.../audio.jsp

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Follow Saturday's action as it happens:

Here's what you do, right click on each of the links below and choose "Open in New Window". Open the Nashville Gameday. For the others, choose "Log" or "Recap". While you're listening to your minor league game of choice (or watching/listening to the big league Crew when they are playing), simply refresh your game log browsers every so often.

 

Nashville:

 

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=g_box&gid=2008_06_07_albaaa_nasaaa_1

 

Huntsville:

 

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=g_box&gid=2008_06_07_wtdaax_hunaax_1

 

Brevard County:

 

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=g_box&gid=2008_06_07_ftmafa_breafa_1

 

West Virginia:

 

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=milb&t=g_box&gid=2008_06_07_wvaafx_lexafx_1

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 Pacific Coast League (AAA) - PCL American North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Iowa 33 27 .550 - 19-11 14-16 W3 Memphis 31 31 .500 3.0 12-14 19-17 L1 Omaha 29 30 .492 3.5 15-17 14-13 L2 Nashville 26 34 .433 7.0 14-15 12-19 W2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 Southern League (AA) - SOU North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Huntsville 37 25 .597 - 20-12 17-13 L1 West Tenn 37 25 .597 - 21-9 16-16 W1 Carolina 33 28 .541 3.5 15-11 18-17 W1 Chattanooga 32 30 .516 5.0 20-15 12-15 W1 Tennessee 26 36 .419 11.0 13-19 13-17 L1 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 Florida State League (A+) - FSL East Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Palm Beach 39 22 .639 - 24-9 15-13 L1 Brevard County 31 30 .508 8.0 20-13 11-17 W1 Vero Beach 30 31 .492 9.0 18-12 12-19 L1 Daytona 29 32 .475 10.0 14-16 15-16 W2 Jupiter 29 32 .475 10.0 16-12 13-20 W1 St. Lucie 15 46 .246 24.0 7-24 8-22 W1 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 South Atlantic League (A) - SAL Northern Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lake County 36 24 .600 - 15-15 21-9 W2 Lakewood 34 26 .567 2.0 18-14 16-12 W2 Delmarva 33 26 .559 2.5 20-11 13-15 L2 Greensboro 33 28 .541 3.5 13-17 20-11 W5 Hagerstown 28 31 .475 7.5 12-18 16-13 L2 Hickory 28 34 .452 9.0 12-17 16-17 L3 West Virginia 26 34 .433 10.0 8-18 18-16 W1 Lexington 19 41 .317 17.0 9-23 10-18 L3 

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Final: West Virginia 4, Lexington (Astros) 2

 

West Virginia Site Game Summary:

 

POWER HAND LEGENDS FOURTH CONSECUTIVE LOSS

 

Chris Cody held the Lexington Legends to just two runs in eight innings of work at Applebee's Park on Saturday night as the Power won their 19th road game of the season with a 4-2 victory over the Legends.

 

West Virginia's first of two home runs came in the first inning when Jonathan Lucroy smashed his ninth homer of the season off Jacob Leonhardt to give the Power a 2-0 edge. In the bottom of the inning, Lucroy's errant throw to third base in an attempt to throw out Craig Corrado ended up in left field, allowing Corrado to score.

 

Matt Cline hit a solo homer in the third inning to make it a two-run game again before Jonathan Fixler responded in the next half-inning with a solo shot to bring the Legends back within a run. The Power scored their final run in the sixth inning when Steffan Wilson extended his road hitting streak to five games with a double off the wall in left field to score Caleb Gindl.

 

Cody (2-0) issued six strikeouts and allowed just one earned run over eight innings to get the victory. Rob Bryson (3) pitched a scoreless ninth inning to get the save. Cody's eight inning outing was the longest for any Power pitcher this season. Leonhardt (2-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs on eight hits over five and two-thirds.

 

The Power improved to 27-34 with the win and the Legends fell to 19-42 with the loss. With the victory, the Power are guaranteed to have a winning record on the road in the first half. They have won 12 out of their last 17 games on the road. Eight Power players hit safely at least once and every batter in the starting lineup reached safely. Cline paced the Power with a 3-for-4 performance while Curt Rindal and Lee Haydel hit safely twice. Zelous Wheeler extended his hitting streak to seven games with a single in the eighth. Lucroy has scored a run in each of his last five games.

 

The Power will finish the two game series with the Lexington Legends at Applebee's Park on Sunday night. Right hander R.J. Seidel (2-4, 5.32) will get the start for the Power and the Legends will counter with right hander Leandro Cespedes (2-4, 5.40). The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM (5:05 Central).

 

West Virginia Box Score

Maybe by the time some of these Power players reach the majors, Milwaukee will have figured out how to win big league road games; Power outhit the Legends, 12-4; struggling Eric Farris moved to the 9 spot, Lee Haydel back leading off; coming off elbow pain in extended spring training, an outing in low-A made sense for 24-year-old Chris Cody, but it's past time to move him up again, Reid, especially given John Axford's recently announced DL stint in Brevard; Lexington stranded one all night...

 

West Virginia Game Log

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Welch with another solid outing - that now makes a total of 4 ER in his last 31 IP. Would like to see the walks come down a little and the K's come up a little (funny how K's matter with pitchers, but supposedly they don't matter with hitters). Also nice to see Ryan break out of his funk and return to his early season form with only 1 hit given up in 3 IP.

 

Also a nice outing by Bray. No ER in his last 6 appearances covering 10 IP. He appears to have settled down and is returning to form.

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Now that Salome is tearing up AA pitching, I'm really interested to see what Lucroy will do there after he hits his 9th bomb tonight. I wonder if he'll skip BC and head right to Huntsville after Salome moves up? The Brewers have skipped a couple of prospects past A+ in years past...

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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Power pull the plug on Legends' feeble first half

Last-place Lexington leaves one on base

By Mark Maloney

mmaloney@herald-leader.com

 

Maybe it was destiny.

 

The off-field entertainment Saturday at Applebee's Park featured the talented drum corps known as The Bucket Boys.

 

On the field, the Lexington Legends officially kicked the bucket. Their fourth consecutive loss clinched a first-half last-place finish in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League.

 

The West Virginia Power, second to last in the division, rode the arm of left-hander Chris Cody to a 4-2 victory. The Legends dropped to 19-42 overall, 9-24 at home.

 

"His location was excellent," Legends Manager Gregg Langbehn said. "He keeps you off balance. We just didn't make very good adjustments."

 

Cody (2-0) blanked the Legends on two hits over seven innings only last Monday.

 

Saturday, he worked eight innings before giving way to Rob Bryson. Cody gave up two runs, one earned, on four hits. He also struck out seven and did not issue a walk.

 

"I was lucky - everything was working except for my fourth pitch, my cutter," said Cody, who came to the Brewers system last year from the Tigers in a trade for pitcher Jose Capellan. "But it turned out I didn't really need it very much."

 

The top five batters in the Lexington order went a combined 1-for-16. The Legends didn't leave a man on base until the ninth inning.

 

"We were aware of that," Langbehn said. "We didn't do anything. We never threatened."

 

Jonathan Lucroy's two-run homer in the first inning gave West Virginia a lead it would never lose.

 

After Matt Cline looped a one-out single to short center, Lucroy jumped on a 1-2 offering by Legends right-hander Jack Leonhardt (2-5).

He connected for a towering homer that hit the Ford sign beyond the left-field bleachers, his ninth blast of the season.

 

Craig Corrado led off the bottom of the inning with an infield single. He moved to second on Matt Cusick's sacrifice. Corrado then stole third, his 25th swipe this season, and continued home when catcher Lucroy pegged the ball down the left-field line.

 

Cline's first homer of the season, a line drive to left, made it 3-1 for the Power in the third inning.

 

Jonathan Fixler led off the bottom of the inning with a first-pitch homer to the left-field bleachers, cutting the deficit to one run.

 

"My game plan's to get ahead with my fastball and try to let my defense work for me," said Cody, who played collegiate ball for Manhattan. "I think the eight hitter, Fixler, he jumped me there. Hats off to him. He hit a pitch, so I'll be a little smarter next time."

 

"I don't throw very hard, so having command is always a key for me. I try to make them miss with the barrel - let my fielders work behind me, and they did an excellent job of that tonight."

 

West Virginia restored its two-run margin in the sixth.

 

Caleb Gindl drew a leadoff walk. Steve Wilson doubled to the wall in left-center. Gindl never slowed at third and might have been cut down at the plate, but the relay throw from shortstop Cat Everett was up the first-base line. Catcher Max Sapp did catch Wilson trying to take third base on the throw.

 

And that was that as the Legends were no-hit over the last four innings.

 

As for Cody, Langbehn said: "I hope we don't see him anytime soon."

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Final: Fort Myers (Twins) 2, Brevard County 0

Game Summary from the Miracle's Site:

VIERA, F.L. - Cole Devries tossed eight innings of shutout ball on Saturday night leading his Fort Myers Miracle to a 2-0 win over the Brevard County Manatees at Space Coast Stadium. Anthony Slama contributed in the blanking by working a quick ninth for the save. With the Miracle victory and a 4-3 win by Jupiter over Dunedin, the Miracle magic number is reduced to two, with a chance to clinch the division Sunday afternoon with another win and Dunedin loss.

 

In his eight innings of work Saturday, Devries scattered just five hits and picked up five strikeouts squaring his record at 5-5. Devries dodged a couple of Manatees bullets to keep the shutout alive that included a third inning jam with runners at second and third and nobody out. Devries started the frame by hitting Yohannis Perez and surrendering a double to Martin Maldonado. After a come-backer to the mound by Brent Brewer, Devries would then fan Charlie Fermaint and get Lorenzo Cain to fly out to right ending the inning.

 

A couple of 5-4-3 double plays in the Manatees fifth and sixth helped Devries escape those innings with the shutout still intact. Slama worked around a one-out hit in the ninth by Taylor Green to register his tenth save of the year. The Miracle offense would only need two swings on Saturday to provide the offense as a solo home run by Brian Dinkelman in the third and solo blast by Eli Tintor in the sixth gave the Miracle their only needed runs on the night.

 

The final game of the four-game set will take place at 1:00 p.m. Sunday (12:00 Eastern) as Miracle right-hander Jeff Manship (7-2, 2.72) will look for his league-leading eighth win of the year against Manatees right-hander Josh Butler (1-7, 5.88).

 

Brevard County Box Score

Yohannis Perez hitting .406 in his last ten games but still slugging .299 overall -- he'll be 26 in October; the relatively warm Charlie Fermaint moved to the leadoff spot to spark something in this underwhelming offense, but went 0-for-4 ending a six-game hit streak; Brent Brewer has cut way back on the K's since moving to the FSL, but is only 4-for-31 with three walks, all four hits singles; fine pitching line for Alex Periard, and remarkably, the two home runs he allowed were the first two he's surrendered all season; other than Jonathan Lucroy, there's no forseeable help for this lineup coming up in the second half -- thank goodness for the Huntsville wave, because the gap at high-A and low-A looks pretty significant right now...

 

Brevard County Game Log

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Final: Huntsville 7, West Tenn (Mariners) 2

 

Huntsville Site Game Summary:

 

Stars Slide Back into First Place

Gamel Delivers Key Hits in Win Over Jaxx
By Brett Pollock / Huntsville Stars

Mat Gamel overcame a tough defensive start to hit a home run and drive in four runs to power Huntsville to a 7-2 win over West Tenn Saturday night in the middle of a five-game set at Joe Davis Stadium. The Stars improved to 38-25 and took a one-game lead over the Diamond Jaxx with seven to go in the first half.

 

Mike Saunders walked with one out in the first and moved to third base on a single by Mark Kiger, who moved to second base on the throw to third. Mike Wilson then topped a ground ball to third that Gamel came in on and couldn't field cleanly, allowing Saunders to score, Kiger to advance and Wilson to reach. Adam Moore then hit a ground ball to Gamel, who tried to start a double play but threw the ball wildly past second base into right field, allowing Kiger to score, Wilson to move to third base and Moore to reach. Gamel then made a spectacular catch on a foul ball hit by Johan Limonta by leaning into the crowd and snaring a pop up on the backhand for the second out. Stars' starter David Welch, who threw a no-hitter last time out, then got Luis Oliveros to line out to end the inning. The runs scored were the first allowed by Welch over a 17-inning stretch dating back to May 23 against Birmingham.

 

Gamel's two-out, two-run single with the bases loaded in the second inning put the Stars ahead to stay at 3-2. West Tenn starter Rich Dorman gave up a two-out single to Mike Bell in the third before setting down the next seven hitters to keep his team down by a run. Cole Gillespie led off the home sixth with a double and advanced to third with two outs before the Jaxx intentionally walked Michael Brantley to get to the righty-swinging Alcides Escobar, who had fanned twice and lined out in his first three trips. However, the Stars' shortstop spoiled the strategy by delivering a triple to center field to chase home both runners to make it 5-2. Gamel followed with a home run to left field, his 14th of the season, to finish the scoring.

 

Welch did not allow another runner to advance past second base and stranded a runner at second in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. He gave up six hits, walked three and fanned one in picking up his league-high eighth win, and fifth at home. Dorman lost for the first time since April 15 after allowing a season high seven runs, six earned, on a season-high 11 hits, with four walks and eight strikeouts over six frames.

 

The series continues Sunday evening with southpaw Brae Wright getting the starting nod for Huntsville against Diamond Jaxx left-hander Justin Thomas. Coverage of the game begins at 4:50 pm central time and can be heard locally on SportsRadio 730 WUMP and through the internet at www.huntsvillestars.com and www.730ump.com.

 

Huntsville Box Score

Michael Brantley on base four more times, now sporting an OBP of .421 - what a leadoff weapon; David Welch has eight wins, nobody else in the league has seven...

 

Huntsville Game Log

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Huntsville regains division lead after beating up Diamond Jaxx

Welch and bullpen sharp as Stars roll to 7-2 win

By SKIP VAUGHN

For The Huntsville Times, skip.vaughn@htimes.com

 

Huntsville Stars manager Don Money was on the phone with his son before Saturday night's game against West Tenn.

 

Don Jr. had called from New Jersey to wish his dad a happy 61st birthday. Money's daughter, brother and wife had called that morning.

 

"Birthdays are birthdays," Money said. "It's mainly for kids. It's just another day that keeps coming around every year."

 

Of late, Money has been hoping his bullpen will come around, having blown 13 of 31 save opportunities.

 

Saturday's first-place battle wasn't a nailbiter, but Patrick Ryan got a save by tossing one-hit ball over the final three innings to preserve a 7-2 win before an announced crowd of 3,467 at Joe Davis Stadium.

 

Huntsville (38-25) took a one-game lead over the Diamond Jaxx (37-26) with seven games left in the race for the Southern League North Division's first-half title.

 

"If you can get a lead on them (in the race), everything's in your hands," Money said.

 

The Diamond Jaxx used two errors by Stars third baseman Mat Gamel to strike for two runs in the first inning off starter David Welch (8-1).

 

Welch went six innings with one strikeout and allowed two runs - one earned - on six hits and three walks.

 

The first-inning trouble snapped his 17-inning scoreless streak and guaranteed he wouldn't duplicate last Monday's no-hitter.

 

Ryan pitched three innings for his fifth save.

 

First-year pitching coach Chris Hook addressed the team's recent bullpen woes.

 

"Someone has got to take the bull by the horns and get it done," Hook said. "That's how streaks get broken."

 

The Stars answered with an unearned run in their half of the first against West Tenn's Rich Dorman (6-2).

 

Huntsville took the lead in the second on Gamel's two-out, two-run single that scored Michael Bell and Carlos Corporan, both of whom had singled.

 

Gamel went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, a home run and a stolen base. He raised his league-leading batting average to .385 and compensated for the defensive miscues.

 

"I had a good night at the plate," Gamel said. "Starting the night with two errors is never good. I felt like I had to come out and step it up. Had a couple of good pitches to hit and took advantage."

 

The Stars went up 7-2 in the sixth on Alcides Escobar's two-run triple and Gamel's two-run homer.

 

"It was very good pitching from starter (Welch) and Ryan," Money said. "After we made a couple of errors first inning, we had solid defense."

The teams play the fourth of the five-game series today at 5:05 p.m.

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David Weiser's www.starsboxscore.com

 

From Goat to Great

 

Going from goat to hero and possibly a record tomorrow, Mat Gamel committed two errors in the 1st inning, allowing the Diamond Jaxx to get a 2-0 jump on the Stars, then vindicated himself with a spectacular catch that inning, and a 6th inning home run that put the game out of reach for the Diamond Jaxx (if such a thing is possible lately).

 

Tonight was the first bobblehead giveaway of the Buck Rogers era........ Instead of handing them out at the gate as you came through the turnstiles, staff members handed out vouchers which would entitle them to one Ryan Braun bobblehead apiece upon leaving the gate after the game........ I can't say I liked the idea. Instead of standing in a line before the game, anxious to get home, you stood in a long one afterwards instead. For some odd reason, no one bothered to walk all the way down the right field side of the outer concourse, where there was no line at all in waiting for bobbleheads........ Going out the gate, I was offered $5 for mine.......... What a joke. $800 I'd think about.

 

I realize it's been awhile since I've updated this site and I apologize for those who take the time to read it........ I have two jobs and between the two, I have three -- count 'em -- three hours to myself in the daily transition between one and the other....... That said, we can move on.

 

After a 29-11 start, the Stars are looking more like the 1997 Stars than anything else ....... Scoring runs and getting hits at will (six runs and 10.6 hits per game), then giving away games after the bullpen comes in....... The Stars are 9-14 since manager Don Money became the winningest manager in Stars history........ They've hit .305, which actually is closer to the 1986 team that hit .307 after 63 games, than the '97 team (.277), but while the Stars keep the hits coming, the pen has gone 1-9 with five saves, seven blown saves, and a 5.21 ERA......... The rotation, by comparison, has gone 7-5 with a 3.93 ERA......... Don has tried one closer after another --- Joe Bateman, Patrick Ryan, Juan Sandoval, and now Omar Aguilar, waiting for someone to step up and be the one Don can rely on........ Tonight, he returned to Ryan with splendid results.

 

David Welch, starting his first game after pitching a 2-0 no-hitter over Chattanooga last Monday, had a shaky 1st inning, and it looked as if this would be another wild one after Friday night's 13-12, four hour, 20 minute heartbreak hill....... The first inning took 33 minutes for both sides to complete....... But after throwing 31 pitches in the 1st inning, Welch settled down, getting a 3-2 lead on Gamel's two-run single in the 2nd, and retiring 15 of 22 hitters from the 2nd until he was done after 102 pitches in the 6th........With one out, Welch walked centerfielder Michael Saunders, then Mark Kiger lined a 2-2 pitch over Chris Errecart's glove into right, sending Saunders, who was going on the pitch, to third....... Michael Wilson, on a six-game hitting streak, tapped a ball to the left side, forcing Gamel to come in on the ball, an easy play still, but the ball hit off the heel of his glove and Wilson was safe on the error. Saunders scored......... With runners now on the corners, designated hitter Adam Moore hit a double play ball on an 0-2 pitch to Gamel, but Gamel's throw to start it sailed high and wide away from 2nd baseman Mike Bell for his 2nd error of the inning and the 15th of the season....... Gamel, who was plagued with these kind of errors at Brevard County last year, has made only four of those this year....... Kiger scored, giving the Diamond Jaxx, hungry to take back 1st place in the Northern division, a 2-0 lead........ Gamel began atoning for those mistakes with the next batter. Johan Limonta made contact with Welch's first pitch, popping it high toward foul territory. Gamel kept his eye on it though and made one of the finest catches of a foul ball I have ever witnessed at the Joe....... Running toward the short concrete barrier separating the fans from the field, Gamel, on the run, stretched his body over the barrier, two rows deep into the seats, and came up with the catch........ From that point on, the game belonged to Gamel, Welch, and the Stars, who now take a game lead over the Diamond Jaxx.

 

Michael Brantley and Gamel singled to get something started for the Stars in the bottom of the 1st......... The Stars ran the risk of starting Gamel and Brantley with Angel Salome, who has a propensity for striking out, at the plate....... Salome did just that -- struck out on a 3-2 pitch with one out, and Gamel would have been out at second, but Luis Oliveros' throw sailed high into center, and Brantley scored easily, and the Stars were on the board....... After Cole Gillespie struck out on a slider in the 2nd for the first out, the Stars loaded the bases on a single to right by Mike Bell (now 8-for-19 in his last four games), a bloop single into short right field behind second base by Carlos Corporan, and a walk to Brantley....... Rich Dorman, who saw his string of 17 consecutive scoreless innings end in the 1st inning, struck out Alcides Escobar, but Gamel hit a 1-1 pitch up the middle, scoring Bell and Corporan, giving the Stars a 3-2 lead -- one which they would never relenquish.......

 

In the Stars' 6th, Gamel topped a four-run inning with a two-run homer on a 1-1 pitch off Dorman, just clearing the first wall in left field. That gave the Stars a seemingly inaccessible 7-2 lead. Fortunately, it was enough for Welch, who threw 102 pitches, 68 for strikes, in his six innings of work....... After that 31-pitch 1st inning, Welch threw 22 in the 5th, and no more than 14 per inning in the game.

 

Welch picked up his league-leading 8th win and lowered his ERA to 3.11........ Dorman, who picked up his first five outs via strikeouts, finished with eight -- two shy of Steve Hammond's league-leading total of 73.

 

Gamel, a shoo-in in my opinion for the league MVP, is now two hits shy of 100 for the season....... Only one other Huntsville Star, D.T. Cromer in 1997, has ever reached that milestone total in June, and Cromer got there on June 25....... Tomorrow is the 8th.

 

Sunday, Brae Wright (4-5, 3.86) will face left-hander Justin Thomas (3-5, 5.16)........Thomas is 0-2 with a 6.47 ERA in his last six starts........ Welch, who finished May with a 3-0 record and 3.74 ERA, has allowed just one run in his last two starts covering 13 innings....... Mat Gamel (.384), Michael Brantey (.342), and Alcides Escobar (.338) are 1-2-3 among the Southern League's best hitters (Angel Salome is only ten plate appearances shy of the 2.7 per game needed to qualify)........ If you think that's something, the top four RBI leaders in the league are all Stars -- Gamel (58), Matt LaPorta (52), Escobar (42), and Cole Gillespie (42).

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Final: Nashville 6, Albuquerque (Marlins) 1

 

Nashville Site Game Summary:

Link for new Steve Bray photo, text follows --

 

Three Sounds Combine On One-Hitter In 6-1 Win

NASHVILLE - Three Nashville hurlers combined on a one-hitter to lead the Sounds to a 6-1 victory over the visiting Albuquerque Isotopes on Saturday evening at Greer Stadium.

 

Sounds starter Ben Howard allowed the only knock of the night, a second-inning Dallas McPherson single to right field. Howard (5.0 IP) was followed by solid relief performances by Steve Bray (3.0 hitless IP) and Mitch Stetter (1.0 hitless IP). Nashville hurlers retired the final 13 Isotopes batters in order to close out the contest.

 

Nashville (27-34) has won the first three games of the series, matching its longest win streak of the year. The Sounds will look for their first sweep of the season in Sunday afternoon's finale.

 

Albuquerque grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning on catcher John Baker's bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Tagg Bozied, who led off the frame by drawing a walk from Howard, scored on the play. Howard escaped further damage and stranded two Isotopes in scoring position when he induced an inning-ending groundout from pitcher Chris Seddon.

 

Sounds right fielder Brendan Katin propelled the home team to a 2-1 lead in the sixth with a two-out, two-run homer to center, his ninth longball of the season. The blast, which also scored Vinny Rottino, came against Seddon.

 

AUDIO: Brendan Katin's Go-Ahead HR

 

Nashville added a run later in the frame. Adam Heether followed Katin's shot by drawing a walk, prompting an Isotopes pitching change. Chris Woodward drew a free pass to greet reliever Ross Wolf before Ozzie Chavez ripped an RBI single to left to increase the Sounds' lead to two.

 

The Sounds gave themselves some breathing room in the bottom of the seventh with three runs against Albuquerque reliever Randy Williams, increasing the lead to 6-1.

 

Rottino extended Nashville's longest hit streak of the season to 17 games with a bunt single in the bottom of the seventh inning, which loaded the bases with none out in the frame. After Brad Nelson struck out, Katin plated his third run of the evening with an RBI groundout. Heether followed with a two-run single to left, which chased Williams.

 

Howard took a no-decision for the Sounds in a successful first start of the season. He allowed one run on one hit over five innings while walking four batters and striking out three in his 77-pitch effort.

 

Bray (1-4) picked up his first victory of the year after working three hitless innings and striking out a season-high four batters.

 

Seddon (5-4) absorbed the loss for the Isotopes after allowing three runs on three hits over his 5 1/3 frames.

 

The teams wrap up the four-game set with a 1 p.m. finale on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Richie Gardner (5-1, 4.47) will start for the Sounds to face Albuquerque right-hander Dallas Trahern (0-5, 8.41).

 

Nashville Box Score

Vinny Rottino, after walking twice earlier, with the Pete Rose-like bunt to extend the hitting streak, nice; Sounds drew eight free passes; all 19 of Tony Gwynn's Nashville hits this season have been singles, so the .339 average is deceiving -- find a gap once, Tony; Steve Bray threw 36 pitches, 25 for strikes...

 

Nashville Game Log

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Howard, Sounds one-hit Isotopes
By Larry Fleisher / Special to MLB.com

When Ben Howard gave up a run, he knew it wasn't the worst thing that could happen.

Making his first start in exactly three years, Howard combined with two relievers on a one-hitter Saturday as the Nashville Sounds shut down the Albuquerque Isotopes, 6-1, at Greer Stadium.

The 29-year-old right-hander had been used exclusively as a reliever by Nashville and had not gotten a start since June 7, 2005, when he pitched for Albuquerque. Coming out of the bullpen, he often faced pressure to keep the opponent off the scoreboard.

"I feel like when I'm starting, I can have more of a game plan," Howard said. "It's nice to relax and know if I give up a run, it's not the end of the world."

Howard, who made 132 Minor League starts in the the Padres organization from 1997-2003, allowed a second-inning single to Major League veteran Dallas McPherson and a sacrifice fly to John Baker.

"It feels good," Howard said. "I've wanted to get back on the mound and, hopefully, I'll stick around. It's been a while [since I started], but I like it."

The former second-round pick fanned three and walked four, throwing 43 of 77 pitches for strikes. He retired 13 of his final 16 hitters before Steve Bray (1-4) came on in the sixth.

Bray struck out four in three scoreless frames and Mitch Stetter pitched the ninth, fanning McPherson on three pitches to end the game.

"It was great," Stetters said. "It doesn't happen too often. It was a good feeling. For [Howard] to go in our rotation, he's been lights-out. It's a fun thing to be a part of."

Bray said he was unaware that Howard had yielded just one hit. Instead of focusing on the scoreboard, the right-hander was busy going over the game plan with catcher Vinny Rottino.

"It was pretty exciting," Bray said. "I've never been a part of a no-hitter (or) one-hitter in professional baseball. Ben went out there and really pitched his butt off."

Howard did not get the win because his teammates struggled to get going against Chris Seddon (5-4). The Isotopes starter blanked Nashville for five innings, but the Sounds scored three times in the sixth.

Brendan Katin put Nashville in front with a two-run homer, his ninth, and Ozzie Chavez lined an RBI single off reliever Ross Wolf.

The Sounds added three runs in the seventh against Randy Williams. Katin had an RBI groundout and Adam Heether delivered a two-run single.

Besides catching the gem, Rottino extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a bunt single in the seventh.

Seddon (5-4) allowed three runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings and lost for the first time in three starts against Nashville this season.

 

Ben Howard is 1-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his last six games, including one start. (Photo by Mike Strasinger/Nashville Sounds)

 

http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/images/2008/06/07/X4MkyweF.jpg

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Sounds pitchers come together for 1-hit wonder

Nashville trio sparkles in victory

By MAURICE PATTON, Tennessean Staff Writer

 

Three Sounds pitchers combined on a one-hitter Saturday night in a 6-1 victory over Albuquerque at Greer Stadium.

 

The outing by Ben Howard, Steve Bray and Mitch Stetter marked the fewest hits allowed in a game by the Sounds this season and the second-fewest allowed in a Pacific Coast League game this year. Colorado Springs threw a seven-inning no-hitter May 11 in a 5-1 win over the same Isotopes.

 

With the win, the Sounds have their fourth three-game winning streak this season. They will go for their first series sweep and first four-game string at 1 p.m. today.

 

"We've got a great team; we've got the pitching, the fielding and the hitting," said Bray, who struck out a season-high four in his three perfect innings. "We just hadn't been able to piece it together."

 

Howard, making his first start in three years, allowed the only hit in the second inning when Albuquerque took a 1-0 lead. Howard issued two walks along with the hit before giving up a sacrifice fly.

 

"I'll take five innings and one hit any day," Howard said. "If I can just eliminate the walks (four), that's a complete outing right there.

 

"I didn't realize it (was a one-hitter) until late in the game. I'm glad we kept it."

 

Stetter closed out the game with a 1-2-3 ninth inning - though he provided a little drama by yielding a long fly ball that center fielder Tony Gwynn caught on the warning track for the second out.

 

"You go in and you realize the pitchers ahead of you have only given up one hit, and you want to keep it intact," Stetter said. "You don't want to think too much about it, but it's in the back of your mind.

 

"It's not a no-hitter, but it's something special."

 

The combined outing resulted in the fewest hits allowed by the Sounds since Manny Parra's perfect game June 25.

 

What they said: "To put a performance like that together against a team like that - our pitchers did an unbelievable job. Some of those (Albuquerque) guys have got some pretty good numbers." - Brendan Katin.

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Sounds pitcher's starts come exactly 3 years apart

By MAURICE PATTON, Tennessean Staff Writer

If history is any indication, Ben Howard's next start probably will be June 7, 2011.

 

The Sounds pitcher started Saturday against Albuquerque, breaking a string of 153 consecutive relief appearances. The Jackson, Tenn., native's last start was June 7, 2005 for the same Isotopes team he faced Saturday.

 

Howard, the 12th different pitcher to start for the Sounds, filled the spot vacated when Chris Narveson went on the disabled list with an ankle injury. Howard threw a season-high 77 pitches in five innings and allowed one run on one hit with three strikeouts before he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in Nashville's 6-1 win.

 

"I was inviting contact; that's what I wanted to do," said Howard, who took the loss in his 2005 start at Oklahoma. "I've had my day of trying to strike everybody out; that didn't work so well."

 

Howard matched his season high with his five innings and reduced his ERA to 3.53.

 

"He's got a good arm," Sounds Manager Frank Kremblas said. "He got a little wild, but he was able to make some pitches when he needed to, did a good job of damage control in the second inning."

 

17 and counting: Vinny Rottino raised his hitting streak to 17 straight games - the longest by a Sounds player in more than three years - with a bunt single in the seventh inning.

 

Trent Durrington had a 17-game streak from June 7-Aug. 16, 2005.

 

Rottino is only two-thirds of the way to matching the longest streak by a Nashville player since the team joined the Pacific Coast League in 1998. Adam Hyzdu posted the longest hitting streak in the minors in 2001, going 26 straight games (May 17-June 26).

 

Family business: Sounds outfielder Mel Stocker will miss today's series finale against Albuquerque. He's returning to his home in Iowa for the birth of his first child.

 

"I'm beyond excited," Stocker said. "We've been waiting for this day for a long time. It's a week early, so we hope everything goes well."

 

Stocker will rejoin the Sounds in Des Moines for their four-game series with the Iowa Cubs that begins Friday.

 

Longball battle: Brendan Katin's two-run home run in the sixth inning was his ninth of the season, tying him for the lead among current Sounds players with Brad Nelson.

 

Russell Branyan hit 12 homers for Nashville before his contract was purchased by Milwaukee on May 25. In nine games since joining the Brewers, Branyan has hit five more home runs.

 

Love and baseball: Between the top and bottom halves of the fifth inning, Chris Avery proposed to Alise Yates atop the first-base dugout. Yates said yes - much to Avery's relief, considering there was a Greer Stadium crowd of 6,501 watching.

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