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Link Report for Sun. 8/12 -- Final Update is from West Virginia

Mass Haas

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Sunday's Daily Menu:


All times Central; pitchers subject to change --


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


Audio link:



Huntsville: LHP Sam Narron at home vs. Birmingham (White Sox), 5:50 PM pre-game; 6:05 gametime


Audio link:



Brevard County: LHP Chris Cody at Fort Myers (Twins), 11:55 AM pre-game, 12:05 PM gametime


Audio link:



NOTE: This link is for the Miracle's broadcast team.


West Virginia: RHP Shawn Ferguson at home vs. Charleston (Yankees), 3:55 PM pre-game, 4:05 gametime


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



Helena: RHP Roque Mercedes at Orem (Angels), 4:50 PM pre-game, 5:05 gametime


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



Arizona: TBD at home in Maryvale vs. the Angels' tykes, 7:00 PM local time in Arizona, 9:00 Central; never any audio for Arizona Rookie League games

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Follow Sunday'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". 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.










Brevard County:




West Virginia:










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These links will be included in each daily report when the Nashville Sounds and/or Huntsville Stars are scheduled to play. Normally they are updated an hour or two prior to gametime, with Nashville's usually earlier:


Nashville Media Notes (Adobe .pdf format):




Huntsville Media Notes (Adobe .pdf format):



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Standings through Saturday's action:


Arizona League 2nd Half Standings:

Arizona Rookie is 11-28 overall...



 Pacific Coast League (AAA) - PCL American North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Nashville 71 49 .592 - 37-19 34-30 L3 Iowa 67 54 .554 4.5 39-25 28-29 W3 Omaha 60 61 .496 11.5 38-21 22-40 L1 Memphis 49 72 .405 22.5 27-35 22-37 W1 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 Southern League (AA) - SOU North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Huntsville 30 19 .612 - 15-9 15-10 L2 Chattanooga 27 22 .551 3.0 14-11 13-11 L2 Tennessee 26 23 .531 4.0 19-10 7-13 W2 Carolina 24 25 .490 6.0 14-11 10-14 W2 West Tenn 19 30 .388 11.0 9-16 10-14 L2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 Florida State League (A+) - FSL East Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Brevard County 25 21 .543 - 15-9 10-12 L4 St. Lucie 22 24 .478 3.0 9-13 13-11 L1 Jupiter 21 24 .467 3.5 12-10 9-14 W2 Palm Beach 21 27 .438 5.0 11-15 10-12 L1 Daytona 20 29 .408 6.5 10-16 10-13 L1 Vero Beach 12 33 .267 12.5 6-16 6-17 W1 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 South Atlantic League (A) - SAL Northern Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hickory 32 17 .653 - 19-9 13-8 W6 Lakewood 25 22 .532 6.0 13-10 12-12 L1 Delmarva 24 24 .500 7.5 9-15 15-9 W2 Lake County 23 24 .489 8.0 10-14 13-10 W1 Greensboro 22 27 .449 10.0 14-9 8-18 L2 Lexington 22 27 .449 10.0 15-11 7-16 W3 West Virginia 22 27 .449 10.0 13-10 9-17 W2 Hagerstown 15 33 .313 16.5 9-15 6-18 W1 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 Pioneer League (R+) - PIO North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great Falls 9 3 .750 - 5-0 4-3 W3 Billings 7 5 .583 2.0 4-2 3-3 W1 Missoula 5 7 .417 4.0 4-2 1-5 L3 Helena 4 8 .333 5.0 2-5 2-3 L1 

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Final: Fort Myers (Twins) 4, Brevard County 2

Swept away on the road; not a pleasant sign that LHP Chris Cody couldn't make his scheduled start...


Fort Myers Site Game Smmary:


Miracle make it eight in a row with sweep of Brevard County


FORT MYERS - The Fort Myers Miracle have picked a great time to click on all cylinders as they completed the sweep of the Brevard County Manatees in a 4-2 win Sunday afternoon. The Miracle move their win streak to eight after battling back in the matinee at Hammond Stadium.


Brevard County struck first in the fourth with a pair of runs beginning with three straight hits to start the inning. Lorenzo Cain doubled to left, while Mat Gamel and Cole Gillespie each singled, with Gillespie's hit scoring Cain for the afternoon's first run. A fielding error by Danny Valencia at third would lead to the Manatees second and final run as Gamel scored from third.


The Miracle offense arrived just in time for the fifth inning on Sunday afternoon. A throwing error by Chris Errecart at first allowed Dustin Martin to reach, and after a one-out walk to Valencia, Edward Ovalle would slice a double down the first-base line to cut the Manatee lead in half at 2-1.


Alexander Soto followed with a sacrifice fly to center, plating Valencia, to knot the contest at two apiece. A two-out single to left by Toby Gardenhire along with another Manatee error, a throwing miscue by Gamel at third, helped the Miracle to the four-run frame.

In his six innings of work, Miracle starter Jay Rainville allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits with four strike outs in the win. The 21-year-old right-hander improved to 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA over his last six starts. J.P. Martinez pitched a perfect seventh and eighth in relief Sunday while Rob Delaney closed the door in a perfect ninth against the Manatees.


Manatees starter Ben Stanczyk (7-2) surrendered four unearned runs on two hits and one walk while fanning five in 4 2/3 innings. It was the 24-year-old right-hander's first start since Aug. 27, 2004, while pitching for Helena of the Rookie-Level Pioneer League.


A league-wide off day will take place on Monday.


Brevard County Box Score:

Darren Ford back in the leadoff spot, 0-for-4; RHP Travis Wendte has been flawless since joining the 'Tees (no earned runs in 9.2 IP, 4 hits)...




Brevard County Game Log:

Manatees never came close to a threat in the later innings...



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Final: West Virginia 10, Charleston (Yankees) 3

That'd be the Charleston in South Carolina...


West Virginia Site Game Summary:




The West Virginia Power scored multiple runs in four innings of Sunday evening's game at Appalachian Power Park and took the first game of the series against the Charleston Riverdogs with a 10-3 victory.


Kevin Smith knocked in his first of three runs with a single in the top of the first inning to give the Riverdogs their only lead of the game. The Power answered quickly in the bottom of the first on Andrew LeFave's two-run homer. The Power added two more runs in the bottom of the second on Steve Chapman's RBI double and Martin Maldonado's RBI groundout. The Riverdogs plated their second run on Smith's solo homer un in the top of the third.


Taylor Green scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fourth and Maldonado's base hit scored Kenny Holmberg. Kevin Smith hit his second RBI single of the game in the top of the fifth to plate Charleston's last run of the game. The Power pulled away with a four-run seventh inning. LeFave's groundout plated Chuckie Caufield and Green's RBI single scored Brent Brewer before Holmberg belted a two-run homer.


Shawn Ferguson (3-1) got the win, allowing three runs on nine hits over five innings. Jared Sutton (1) tossed three scoreless innings to get the save while John Axford (0-3) was tagged with the loss.


The Power improved to 71-46 overall and 23-26 in the second half, while the Riverdogs fell to 66-53 overall and 29-20 in the second half with the loss. LeFave knocked in three runs, while Maldonado and Holmberg both plated two. Four Power players had multi-hit games.


The Power will continue the four game series with Charleston Monday night. The Power will start left hander Luis Ramirez (1-2, 5.49) and the Riverdogs will counter with right hander Paul Patterson (1-0, 2.88). The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM (6:05 Central).


West Virginia Box Score:

Chuckie Caufield reaches four times in the leadoff spot, including two HBP's; Matt LaPorta 0-for-4 with one K; LHP Mike Ramlow a scoreless inning of relief in his return from the D.L.; Taylor Green is tied for 3rd in the league in hitting, Andrew LeFave still leads the way...




West Virginia Game Log:



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Final: Helena 8, Orem (Angels) 7

29 combined hits but only two combined walks in this game...


Helena Box Score:

Steffan Wilson 4-for-5 with a home run and two doubles, wow; Mike Goetz three hits including a triple; Jonathan Lucroy and Curt Rindal two hits apiece, each with a double; everyone but Eric Farris (0-for-5) with a base hit; Nick Tyson allowed an inherited runner to score in the 8th, but pockets an impressive two-inning tough save; Roque Mercedes strikes out eight while walking one for the win...




Helena Game Log:

An awful lot to digest here in what must have been a wonderfully entertaining game, save for the final score for Owlz fans in attendance...



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I noticed Nashville won as well:

Sounds Snap Skid With 3-2 Win Over 'Topes
Date Posted: 8/12/2007

NASHVILLE - The Nashville Sounds defeated the Albuquerque Isotopes by a 3-2 count thanks to a late-inning surge on Sunday night at Greer Stadium.

First baseman Andy Abad's solo homer started a two-run seventh inning that propelled the Sounds to victory, snapping a three-game skid for Nashville (72-49).

Nashville starter Seth McClung had another impressive outing in his second start of the season. The right-hander received a no-decision in the contest but continued his dominance of PCL hitters by striking out a season-high seven batters in five innings while maintaining his flawless 0.00 ERA. McClung has a 10.92 strikeouts/nine inning ratio since joining the Sounds.

Nashville jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the second after Abad (1-for-2) was hit by an 0-1 pitch from Albuquerque starter Nic Ungs. Laynce Nix followed with a one-out single to center field that put men at first and second. Ozzie Chavez plated Abad for his 28th RBI of the year with another single up the middle to give Nashville a 1-0 advantage. During the game, Abad would reach base three times during the game and score two of the Sounds' three runs.

Albuquerque (60-60) took the lead in the top of the sixth inning when Tim Dillard came in to relieve McClung. He gave up a one-out single to Isotopes left fielder John Gall before the veteran stole his eighth bag of the year. He would score two batters later on a Scott Seabol bloop single to right. Knoxville native and MTSU product Brett Carroll inflicted more damage with a triple to right-center, scoring Seabol and giving the Isotopes a 2-1 lead.

The Sounds mounted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh thanks to an Abad leadoff homer to deep right-center on reliever Erasmo Ramirez's 1-1 offering. It was Abad's 10th four-bagger of the season. Nix again followed with a single to center before moving to second two batters later when shortstop Robert Andino misplayed a grounder from Ozzie Chavez. Charles Thomas loaded up the bases with a pinch-hit single through the gap on the left side before Callix Crabbe hit a sac fly to center to plate Nix with the go-ahead run in unearned fashion, giving the Sounds all they needed for the win.

Dillard (5-4) got the win after throwing two innings of relief, giving up two runs and striking out one batter. Greg Aquino recorded the final five outs for the Sounds to notch his third save in three opportunities this season.

Nashville pitching continued to take a toll on the Isotopes as the Sounds have fanned Albuquerque 42 times during the series, including 10 K's on Sunday evening.

Ramirez (5-1) took the loss after giving up two runs (one earned) in 1/3 of an inning.

The teams will meet for the final time in 2007 on Monday night at 6:00 p.m. at Greer Stadium. Nashville native R.A. Dickey (9-5, 3.78 ) will take the hill and face Albuquerque southpaw Chris George (5-9, 5.68 ).

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Final: Huntsville 11, Birmingham (White Sox) 3


Huntsville Site Game Summary:

Link, text follows --




Stars Batter Barons to Snap Skid


Sam Narron worked seven strong innings and an eight-run third inning explosion carried Huntsville to a comfortable 11-3 win over Birmingham Sunday evening in the last of a five-game set at Joe Davis Stadium. The Stars stopped a two-game slide to improve to 31-19 in the second half and maintain their three-game lead over victorious Chattanooga, while the Barons dipped to 22-28 in the second half and 54-66 overall. The Stars won three out of five in the series to take an eight to seven lead in the season series.


The Barons scored first for a third straight night, posting two runs in the second inning on a run-scoring double by Chris Kelly and a Michael Myers sacrifice fly. The Stars got one back in the home half of the inning on a Carlos Corporan scoring fly ball but the visitors pushed the lead back to two in the third on a two-out run-scoring hit by Shawn Garrett.


Lou Palmisano's run-scoring single with one out in the third drew the home team within one against Gio Gonzalez and Ryan Crew's RBI single on an 0-2 pitch with two outs scored Adam Heether to tie the game. From that point forward, Gonzalez struggled to throw his fast ball for a strike, as he issued consecutive walks to Steve Moss to load the bases and Corporan and Mel Stocker to force in runs to make it 5-3 Stars. Alcides Escobar singled in a run to extend the lead to 6-3 and knock Gonzalez out of the game in what turned out to be his second shortest start of the season. Carlos Torres took over and was greeted by Heether's two-run single and a Brendan Katin base hit that scored a run to finish off the rally that saw 14 batters come to the plate. Gonzalez was charged with nine runs on eight hits and four walks, marking just the third time this season in 24 turns he allowed more than three runs.


Narron settled in and retired 13 out of the next 14 hitters he faced, including the last ten, after the Garrett base hit. He gave up three runs on six hits and a walk, while fanning five, to improve to 7-6. Jeff Housman then tossed two scoreless innings in relief.


Heether, Katin and Crew each finished with three hits, while Escobar and Hernan Iribarren added a pair apiece in a 15-hit attack. Every starter scored at least once and Steve Moss was the only starter not to drive in at least one run for the Stars, who have won nine of their last 11 and 24 of their last 32.


The Stars begin a five-game series Tuesday night in Jackson, TN with right-hander Corey Thurman taking the hill for Huntsville against Diamond Jaxx' right-hander Travis Chick. Coverage of the game begins at 6:50 p.m. central time and can be heard locally on SportsRadio 730 WUMP and through the internet at www.huntsvillestars.com.

Huntsville Box Score:



Huntsville Game Log:


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Final: Arizona Brewers 15, Arizona Angels 11

Arizona Box Score:

Five of the 11 runs the A-Crew allowed were unearned; six extra-base hits for the Brewers, a rarity; third baseman Edgar Trejo, recently turned 18, shakes a cold stretch with a 4-for-5 game; only 108 degrees for this evening affair...




Arizona Game Log:

Do you dare? A lot to digest, at least it's a win...



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McClung continues hot streak as Sounds down Isotopes
BY NATE RAU Nashville City Paper Sports correspondent

Seth McClung will tell you the "change of scenery" phrase you so often hear kicked around the sports world isn't just a tired-old cliché.

During seven years with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization, the fireballing pitcher had his delivery altered, hurt his throwing arm en route to Tommy John surgery and maintained an unhealthy ERA over 6.00 in the big leagues.

Then Milwaukee traded for Mc-Clung in July. Since joining the Sounds he's returned to throwing near 100 mph and has become a candidate to give the Brewers pitching help down the stretch.

Continuing to make the transition from reliever to starter, McClung threw five scoreless innings and struck out seven for the Sounds on Sunday in a 3-2 win over Albuquerque at Greer Stadium.

The outing continued McClung's streak of dominance since his change of scenery on July 28. Since then McClung has thrown 14 scoreless innings, given up nine hits and struck out 17.

McClung's renaissance began during spring training when he started a weight-loss regimen that's seen him drop 60 pounds down to 242.

"I've really enjoyed playing with these guys," McClung said. "This is the best group of guys I've ever played with. I was a bit of a science project over there. Coming over here, these guys have just let me do what I know how to do and get back to throwing some strikes."

The Sounds (72-49) got the first run of the game in the second inning, which also amounted to their first lead of the series against the Isotopes. Andy Abad was hit by a pitch and then eventually scored on an RBI single by Ozzie Chavez.

The Isotopes gained the lead after McClung left as they scored two runs off Sounds reliever Tim Dillard in the sixth.

Abad tied the score for Nashville with a solo shot in the seventh. The Sounds regained the lead later in the inning when Callix Crabbe hit a basesloaded sacrifice fly to center that plated Laynce Nix for the winning run.

"We got eight hits tonight, although it didn't seem like it," Sounds manager Frank Kremblas said. "And we made the most of our opportunities."

With the win, the Sounds stayed 4.5 games ahead of Iowa in the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division.

Photo by Mike Strasinger Seth McClung is back throwing 100 mph pitches following his July trade to the Brewers.
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Sounds maintain lead with pitching

Reliever McClung provides Nashville with a strong start

By MIKE ORGAN, Tennessean Staff Writer


Pitching finally paid off for the Sounds.


Nashville pitchers recorded 10 strikeouts Sunday in a 3-2 win over Albuquerque.


It was another outstanding effort on the mound for Sounds pitchers, who have recorded 34 strikeouts in their last three games.


On Saturday, however, the Sounds lost 3-1 despite having 16 strikeouts, which was one shy of the season-high, and on Friday they fell 7-6 with eight strikeouts.


Sunday's win, which came before a Greer Stadium crowd of 3,275, helped Nashville maintain a 4½ game lead over Iowa in the Pacific Coast League American Conference Northern Division.


Former Tampa Bay right-hander Seth McClung, who was acquired by Milwaukee on July 27 and had spent most of his season as a reliever, started and struck out seven batters, allowed three hits and no runs in five innings.


"We're a pretty good team and we come out to battle everyday,'' McClung said. "We've had some losses lately, but this team has hung in tough. I felt fine and I was hoping to go longer, but these guys had my best interest at heart. They wanted to make sure that I take care of myself."


Tim Dillard (5-4) picked up the win after relieving McClung in the sixth. Dillard allowed three hits and two runs and recorded one strikeout.


"I came in as a vulture and took the win,'' Dillard said. "McClung has done great every time for us. I was just trying keep up with him."


Albuquerque took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning on an RBI triple by Brett Carroll.


But Nashville promptly answered in the seventh when Andy Abad hit his 10th home run of the season. Abad's shot over the right field wall tied the score 2-2.


Callix Crabbe's sacrifice fly scored Laynce Nix later in the inning giving the Sounds the 3-2 edge.


What they said: "I feel we're still playing good baseball, but Iowa is right there playing great. It's tough and it is coming down to the wire.'' - Dillard.


Isotopes catcher John Baker tags out Drew Anderson as he slides into home in the bottom of the sixth inning on Sunday. Anderson was 2-for-4 in the game. (PHOTOS BY GEORGE WALKER IV / THE TENNESSEAN)




Sounds starter Seth McClung allowed three hits and struck out seven batters in five innings on Sunday.



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Former Blue Raider enjoys homecoming

By MIKE ORGAN, Tennessean Staff Writer


Former Middle Tennessee State star Brett Carroll, an Albuquerque center fielder, enjoyed another outstanding performance against the Sounds on Sunday.


Carroll was a key in helping Albuquerque win the first two games of the series. He hit an RBI double in the first game and a home run in the second.


On Sunday the Knoxville native hit an RBI triple in the sixth inning that reached the right field wall, giving the Isotopes a 2-1 lead.


In the bottom of the sixth Carroll fired a throw in from center field and catcher John Baker easily tagged out Drew Anderson.


A crew from the MTSU television station (MTTV) attended Sunday's game and recorded a feature on Carroll.


Streak ends: Sounds outfielder Gabe Gross' hitting streak ending at 10 games after he went 0-for-4 Sunday. Gross had hit safely in 15 of his last 18 games.


Missed opportunities: The Sounds have only eight hits in their last 50 at-bats with runners in scoring position (.160). But they were 3-for-8 on Sunday.


Nashville has left 57 runners on base over the last six games.


Still leading: Even after committing five errors (one Sunday) in the last three games the Sounds lead the Pacific Coast League with 78 total errors and a .983 fielding percentage. Nashville led the PCL with a franchise record .982 fielding mark last season.


Quick work: Nashville pitcher Mitch Stetter entered the game in the eighth inning and pitched to just one batter. Stetter struck out Eric Reed and then was replaced by Greg Aquino, who picked up his third save.


Bouncing back: Second baseman Callix Crabbe has hit safely in 13 of the last 14 games.


Heroes: Crabbe was named the Home Team Hero of the Year for his dedication to community involvement. Bubba Perry, the host of the annual Big Bubba's Bash softball tournament in Hendersonville, was the fan who received the honor.


Sounds third baseman Brad Nelson pulls in a fly ball during their game Sunday at Greer Stadium against the Isotopes. (GEORGE WALKER IV / THE TENNESSEAN)



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Stars notebook

Brad Shepard, Huntsville Times

Covering the bases


A Stars season filled with records could culminate in the ultimate franchise-best for this year's team.


With 20 games remaining, Huntsville needs to finish the season 15-5 to eclipse the franchise record of 82 wins set in 1989. The way the Stars have been playing, that goal may be reachable.


It would be a fitting finish to a year in which starter/reliever Mark DiFelice set a franchise record with 36 consecutive scoreless innings, the Stars saved a franchise-record seven consecutive games and the team tied a record with a 12-game winning streak.


"That would be amazing," Stars starter Lindsay Gulin said. "We're going to try our darndest to win every game, but someday, it'd be great to look back on it when you think of all the amazing players that have come through here."


Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has been pleasantly surprised by the Stars' season.


"We thought it was possible (they could be this good), but we didn't know they could put together these kinds of streaks," Melvin said.


Melvin was particularly high on the resurgence of third baseman Adam Heether, the work of the Stars' bullpen and second baseman Hernan Iribarren who "has just gone nuts."


This year's team perhaps doesn't have the star power of the 1980s Oakland affiliates that featured Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco or even the Baby Brewers from the past few seasons that had Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Yovani Gallardo and Ryan Braun, among others.


But this team has plenty of talent and competitiveness.


"I just think this team is full of a bunch of gamers," Heether said. "Not too often is there this many personalities who refuse to give at-bats away and things like that."


From Day One of the second half last season, catcher Lou Palmisano said, the attitude in the clubhouse has been different. From one of the worst halves ever to a second-half championship, the Stars learned to win.


"Last year in the first half, we got our butts kicked," Palmisano said. "The second half, we thought, 'What have we got to lose? Are we going to fall out of last place?' Now, we understand."


That knowledge has translated into a first for the Stars - winning two consecutive Southern League North Division halves. They're well on their way to making it three in a row. Since Aug. 1 last year, they are 97-57.


In the end, however, the wins record is still secondary.


"We can win every game from here on out, but if we lose the first series of the playoffs, we're out," Palmisano said. "It's not something we're thinking about now, but obviously, at the end of the year, it would be sweet to have the record."


Manager Don Money will miss Monday's game and perhaps others as travels to Milwaukee to be honored among his old teammates to celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the Brewers' American League championship team. The old "Harvey's Wallbangers" team was managed by the late Harvey Kuenn. Money will join the Stars in Jackson, Tenn., on their road trip. For that 1982 team, Money - then 35 - played three positions and DHed while batting .284 with 16 homers and 55 RBIs in only 96 games.




Triple-A Nashville Sounds (71-49 before Sunday's play, first place in Pacific Coast American Division): Rickie Weeks batted .455 (10-for-22) with four extra-base hits, three RBIs and five runs scored in his six games with the Sounds before being sent back up to Milwaukee.


Single-A Brevard County Manatees (25-21 in second half, first place in the Florida State East Division): Relief pitcher Ben Stanczyk got two wins out of the bullpen last week and is 7-1 with a 2.86 ERA this season.


Single-A West Virginia Power (22-27 in second half, seventh place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division): Brewers' No. 1 prospect and former University of Florida standout 1B Matt LaPorta reported this week and is hitting .308 (4-for-13) with a homer and three RBIs.


Rookie League Helena Brewers (4-8, fourth place in second half of Pioneer League North): Fifth-round pick and outfielder Caleb Gindl is hitting .415 with 31 RBIs in 33 games.


On deck


The Stars head to the road for five games at West Tenn. The final homestand of the regular season, a 10-game stretch, starts Aug. 20 and will include five games against Carolina and West Tenn.

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Stars' hitters get Narron over the hump

Eight-run rally allows pitcher to be aggressive


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


An eight-run third inning led the Huntsville Stars to an 11-3 win over the Birmingham Barons before an announced crowd of 1,014 Sunday night at Joe Davis Stadium. Huntsville won three of five in the series.


Stars left-hander Sam Narron (7-6) went seven innings with five strikeouts and allowed three runs, six hits and one walk. He threw 104 pitches, 69 for strikes.


"I thought he threw very well," said Rich Sauveur, Huntsville's pitching coach. "A couple of pitches he left up in the zone today, but he made adjustments.


"Early on he was a little shaky (with his pitch location). He was missing up in the zone. As the game progressed he improved the location."


Narron pitched a scoreless first inning but allowed two runs in the second and one in the third. "Just made some bad pitches," Narron said.


But the Stars' eight-run third enabled him to be aggressive and challenge hitters. "The last thing you want to do when your team's up like that is walk people," he said.


"It was good," Narron said of his night. "Anytime you can give up three early and end up going seven (innings), it's a positive outing. Just give your team a chance to win."


Adam Heether, Brendan Katin and Ryan Crew had three hits apiece for the Stars. Alcides Escobar and Hernan Iribarren added two apiece.


"I just felt comfortable at the plate," said Heether, who had a double, two RBIs, two runs and a stolen base.


Katin had two RBIs, one run and a stolen base.


"Fortunately I was in situations where I was hitting with guys on base," Katin said.


The Barons opened the scoring in the second on back-to-back doubles down the right-field line by Cory Aldridge and Chris Kelly. Michael Myers made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly. Huntsville (31-19) halved the deficit in the bottom of the second when Carlos Corporan's sacrifice fly scored Iribarren, who had a leadoff single.


Birmingham (22-28) went up 3-1 in the third on Shawn Garrett's RBI single which scored Adam Shabala, who had a leadoff hit.


Escobar doubled to open the Stars' third and scored on Lou Palmisano's single. Crew evened the score 3-all with his RBI hit. And the Stars took the lead when Corporan drew a bases-loaded walk. Another bases-loaded walk to Mel Stocker made it 5-3. Escobar followed with an RBI hit to chase Barons left-hander Gio Gonzalez (8-6).


The Stars added a two-run hit by Heether and Katin's RBI hit to complete the eight-run inning.


Huntsville upped its lead to 10-3 in the fifth when Heether doubled and scored on Katin's single. The Stars added Iribarren's run-scoring hit in the eighth.


Huntsville outhit Birmingham 15-7 on the night.

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It doesn't take a big brain to appreciate Braun

Former Star showing power as Brewers rookie

Contact Mark McCarter at markcolumn@aol.com

Huntsville Times


HOUSTON - Are you going to believe your eyes or your ears? Because your eyes say it looks easy.


But your ears hear Ryan Braun protest, "It's not easy. Not by any means is it easy. It definitely hasn't been easy by any means."


Lurking nearby, teammate Geoff Jenkins interjects.


"For some of us," he says, "it's easier than others."


The greatest make the difficult look easy. Tom Hanks makes you believe he could be a half-witted rube or he could fly to the moon.


Hemingway could write with a house full of cats. Emeril could make a seven-course gourmet meal from things found in a vending machine.


And Ryan Braun, the rookie third baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers and former Huntsville Star, makes baseball look easy.


To be sure, within hours of his mild protest, Braun made it look difficult. He looked like Popeye with a spinach shortage.


Then, the next night, he went Roy Hobbs on the Astros. He jacked a two-out, 0-1 slider for a three-run homer to win the game.


Doug Melvin, the Brewers' general manager, isn't the Delta-house, gotta-give-everybody-a-nickname type. But he has come up with one for Braun.


"I don't use it around here (with the team) but I do in the front office," Melvin said. "I call him the 'Braun-tosaurus.' That's a nickname I put on him early. Because he's going to put up monster numbers."


He already has.


After Sunday, in which he extended his hitting streak to 10 games, Braun has 22 homers, 59 RBIs and is batting .348 in 70 games.


He's earned a statistical parallel with another former Huntsville third baseman, a guy whose Double-A numbers he almost mimicked. Braun hit his 21st homer on Tuesday in his 65th major league game. Not since Mark McGwire, in 1987, has a player reached the 21-homer mark so quickly.


(For the record, in 59 games in Huntsville last season, Braun batted .303 with 15 homers and 40 RBIs, to .303, 10 homers and 53 RBIs for McGwire in 55 games in 1986.)


This time a year ago, Braun was playing for the Stars, with barely a full season of pro ball experience after being the fifth overall pick in the 2005 draft. (Proving that baseball has far too many statistics and too much minutiae, somebody reported that he was the highest-drafted Jewish-American player in baseball history.)


"Everything's gone by really quick," he said. "It's been a whirlwind of events. I'm trying to take everything in stride."


He said he wasn't necessarily surprised by what has happened, "that I've always been very confident in my abilities. I always felt as long as I got here and continued to make adjustments quickly and never was content with where I was, that I'd continue to have success.


"Obviously," he said, "I feel like I've got a long way to go to be where I want to be."


One afternoon last season, with Braun shooting the breeze in a folding chair near the Stars dugout, the subject of transportation somehow came up.


Maybe it was because of the enormous white Hummer driven by Stars catcher Lou Palmisano. Maybe it was the fleet of other nice rides parked outside the Huntsville clubhouse.


Ryan Braun drove a Honda. Even with first-round-draft money (a reported $2.45 million bonus), he was still in the 2000 Honda Accord he drove in high school.


"I'll reward myself (with a new car) when I make it to the big leagues," he said then.


Braun still drives the same old Honda. Smiling at the memory of the conversation, Braun admitted, "This offseason, I'll reward myself."

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Brewers edge out Owlz
By Helena Independent Record Staff

OREM, Utah - The Helena Brewers narrowly avoided another loss to the Orem Owlz on Sunday.

After a scoreless first inning, Jonathan Lucroy opened the second for the Brewers with a double to right field. Steffan Wilson, who went 4-for-5 on the day, singled a line drive to right, enough to drive in Lucroy for the game's first run.

But the Owlz didn't let Helena's lead last long. Jeremy Moore, on third after grounding into a force out and stealing second, was driven in by a double by Trevor Pippin. Ryan Kennedy scored on a single by Rian Kiniry and Pippin made it home on a single by Andrew Romine.

Helena managed to tie it up in the third when Matt Cline was hit by a ptich, then came home on a triple by Mike Goetz. Caleb Gindl reached on a fielder's choice out, but Goetz was out at home. Gindl then scored on a single line drive by Lucroy.

But Orem didn't let that stand, either. The Owlz scored one run on a homer by Moore in the bottom of the third to put them back on top, 4-3.

Helena remained down by one until the sixth inning, when Wilson homered on a fly ball to center field. They followed that up with a two-run single by Goetz that drove in Curt Rindal and Kurt Crowell.

The 6-5 score wasn't a comfortable lead for Helena, but the Brewers managed to hold onto the advantage.

In the seventh, Helena batted in two more as Lucroy scored on a double by Wilson and Wilson followed with a run on a line drive by Zelous Wheeler.

Orem didn't manage any more runs until the eighth, when Moore, who was 2-4, scored on a single by Anel De Los Santos, and Ryan Kennedy (2-3) came home on a Romine line drive single.

It still wasn't enough to beat the Brewers, who kept the Owlz scoreless in the ninth and held onto their one-run advantage.

Roque Mercedes pitched the win, while Orem's David Hurst took the loss.

The Brewers are now 5-8 on the second half of the season. They travel to Ogden, Utah, today to play the Raptors at 7:00 PM (8:00 Central).

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Power looking like a playoff team again

Christopher Wade

For the Charleston Daily Mail


Playoff excitement is officially in the air for everyone involved with West Virginia Power baseball.


The organization began selling 2007 playoff packages this past weekend, and according to Power ticket sales account executive Jeremy Crookshanks, they are selling fast.


The Power was suffering through a lackluster second half of the South Atlantic League season after losing five in a row, seven of eight, and 15 of 19 games before the eight-game homestand began Wednesday.


However, the players are again playing like the team that earned the Power a spot in postseason play by winning the first half Northern Division title.


The Power won its third consecutive game and fourth out of its last five with a 10-3 victory over the Charleston Riverdogs at Appalachian Power Park on Sunday night.


With the win, the Power is 23-27 in the second half and 71-47 overall. Charleston falls to 29-20 and 66-53 overall.


"We went through a little bit of a funk in the second half and are now trying to find that rhythm again," second baseman Kenny Holmberg said. "The homestand is helping us with that."


Holmberg helped the 10-run, 11-hit Power offensive explosion with a home run, two RBI and three runs.


"We are playing better baseball and things are going our way again," said Power Manager Mike Guerrero.


"We've played good defense, are getting some timely hitting, and the pitching is doing the job."


Some of the Power players believe the team's success of late may be attributed to the playoffs that start on Sept. 7.


"The playoffs are right around the corner and we are just looking at each other more harder," said Holmberg. "We're just looking to enjoy the rest of the season, play some good ball, and take momentum going into the playoffs."


"The intensity level has picked up and momentum is on our side right now," Power third baseman Taylor Green said. "We had lost quite a few games but are trying to go into the playoffs on a roll."


Green has been swinging the bat well of late, going 8-for-13 in the three out of four games the Power took from the Savannah Sand Gnats to begin the homestand.


Against Charleston Sunday, Green delivered for the Power, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and reached base three out of his four trips to the plate.


Green and Holmberg wasn't the only players doing damage for the Power against the Riverdogs as four of the nine batters had multiple hits and only one batter failed to reach base.


Leadoff hitter Chuckie Caufield and No. 8 hitter Steve Chapman recorded two hits each.


The Power had two or more runs in four of its eight team at-bats.


"The bottom of our lineup could be our top of the lineup," Holmberg said. "Our 7-8-9 guys could easily be our 1-2-3 guys. We've got a very tough lineup."


Power first baseman Andrew LeFave got the Power off to a quick start with a two-run homer in the second inning. Two more runs were scored in the second inning to give the Power a 4-1 lead.


The Power broke the game open with two more runs in the fourth inning on three walks and three wild pitches by Riverdog pitching.


First baseman Kevin Smith led the Charleston offense, going three-for-four with a home run, and all three RBI.

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