You don't tend to get many bench-clearing incidents in the minors, perhaps because players are focused on moving on up. But we got them tonight in Michigan, as the South Bend Silver Hawks battled the Great Lakes Loons. This seemed to start when South Bend slugger Daniel Palka was hit in the third and fifth innings. By the time a Loons batter was hit by Hawks' reliever Tom Jameson to lead off the eighth, warnings had been issued, and the dugouts emptied after pitcher and hitter exchanged words. Five participants were ejected after the dust had all settled, including the managers of both sides.
3 Stars: Hector Hernandez, South Bend 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K
2 Stars: Tom Belza, Mobile 3 for 4, TPL, RBI, BB
1 Star: Bennie Robinson, Hillsboro 3 for 3, 2 R, RBI, BB
0 Stars: Socrates Brito, Visalia, 0 for 4, 2 K
Tripla-A Reno 1 @ Tacoma 5. Charles Brewer, called back up from Mobile, got the start, and initially pitched well, blanking the Rainiers into the sixth. However, he left with one out and the bases loaded, then Eury de la Rosa allowed all three runners to score, plus one of his own. There wasn't much doing for the Aces on offense tonight. 3B Andy Marte had a pair of hits, while RF Alfredo Marte and LF Aaron Cunningham each had a hit and a walk. 2B Ronnie Cedeno stole his first base with the organization, and CF Tony Campana threw a runner out at home.
Double-A Mobile 4 @ Jackson 3. A.J. Schugel pitched a gem early on, retiring the first 17 batters faced, up until a two-out single in the sixth. He then took a one-hitter into the eighth, but surrendered three hits there without recording an out, and all three runners scored, to spoil what had been a pristine line. He ended with a no-decision, as Mobile pushed across the winning run on a Generals' error in the ninth. LF Tom Belza had a triple, two singles and a walk, while 3B Jake Lamb got two hits, including his 12th home-run of the season.
High-A Visalia 0, Bakersfield 5. Braden Shipley's struggles since his promotion continued, as he was tagged for five runs on six hits and two walks in five innings tonight, with a three-run homer in the fifth the big blow. He now has a 5.56 ERA in six starts for the Rawhide, though his K:BB ratio is a respectable 40:14 in 34 innings. He fell to a 1-3 record, as the Rawhide were held to five hits, and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Justin Van Grouw worked three scoreless innings of two-hit relief.
Class A South Bend 4 @ Great Lakes 3 (10). Hector Hernandez struck out ten over seven innings on three hits, and allowed no earned runs, but his own error allowed the Loons to score three in the second, before the Silver Hawks tied things up in the third. Hernandez stranded a lead-off triple in the fifth with two K's and a groundout, and as described above this, got heated later on, with a fistful of ejections during the eighth. In the 10th, 2B Jamie Westbrook doubled home the go-ahead run, one of his two hits on the night.
A-short Hillsboro 7, Everett 6. The Hops blew two leads before SS Justin Gonzalez's three-run homer in the seventh, his fourth in 18 games, proved just enough. 1B Bennie Robinson reached base four times, with three hits and a walk, and RF Jordan Parr doubled and singled. Starting pitcher Ben Eckels went five, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks, with five strikeouts, and the win went to Alex Byo for his 2.1 frames of hitless relief work. Cody Geyer got his third save despite two unearned runs; he has allowed three hits in 9.1 innings, but has walked seven
Rookie Missoula 2, Billings 3. The home team scored two in the second, on a single by C Yosbel Gutierrez, and held the Mustangs scoreless until the eighth. Starter Carlos Hernandez worked four scoreless, but walked five in addition to four hits. However, Brody Greer gave up four hits in the eighth, including a pair of home runs, and took the loss. 3b Jake Meyers went 2-for-2 with a walk, and CF Dane McFarland reached base twice, on a walk and a hit.