Memphis Redbirds 8, Chihuahuas 6
Key Stats: CF Franchy Cordero 0-for-4, 3K; RF Wil Myers 1-for-4, HR (1), 2K; 2B Luis Urias 1-for-3, BB; C Austin Hedges 2-for-4, HR (2), E; 3B Carlos Asuaje 2-for-4; RHP Seth Simmons 5IP, 4H, 4R (3ER), 2K, 3BB
Prospect Watch: The top four in the Chihuahuas lineup included three rehabbing big leaguers and Luis Urias, for whom many fans have been clamoring since the start of the year. Wil Myers and Austin Hedges – whose rehab was transferred to El Paso Sunday to join Myers and Franchy Cordero – each homered in the game, though the three rehabbers combined to strike out six times in 12 plate appearances. … Urias, whose brother Ramon pinch hit for Memphis in the contest, had a hit and walk. Despite season numbers that don’t measure up to his typically stellar performance, Urias has hit in eight of ten and has reached base at nearly a .500 clip in that stretch. … Seth Simmons had his first start that was anything short of strong. The just-turned 30-year-old walked three and gave up a pair of homers in allowing three earned runs five innings. He had given up three runs total in his first four PCL games. … Jesse Scholtens‘ rough stint in Triple-A has followed him into the bullpen. The 2016 ninth-rounder, who dominated for San Antonio to open the year, took the loss after allowing one earned run in 1.2 innings. He’s allowed a .320 average to opponents since joining the Chihuahuas and has seen his strikeout rate plummet and walk rate jump against higher competition.
Corpus Christi Hooks 8, Missions 6
Key Stats: SS Fernando Tatis Jr. 0-for-5, K; LF Josh Naylor 2-for-5, K, E (10); 3B Ty France 2-for-5, HR (10), 2K; DH Webster Rivas 3-for-4, HR (2); LHP Jerry Keel 6.1IP, 5H 4R, 8K, 2BB
Prospect Watch: Through five innings, Jerry Keel turned in his best start of the year, striking out a season-high eight and allowing only one runner to reach scoring position. In the sixth, the lefty got the first two outs quickly, but after a single, Astros top prospect Yordan Alvarez pulled a two-run homer. Keel had been holding lefties to a sub-.500 OPS before that blast. He was charged with two additional runs when the Hooks he left-on-base when he left with one out in the seventh came around to score in a rare bad outing by Eric Yardley. The sidewinding righty didn’t retire any of the three batters he faced. … Backup catcher Webster Rivas has seen limited action all year – he recently drew just three plate appearances in a 13-day stretch – but has made the most of his opportunities. The 27-year-old, signed as a minor league free agent prior to the 2017 campaign, went 3-for-4 as the DH Sunday and sports a solid .325/.361/.468 with a strikeout rate below 20 percent. He’d never finished a US level with an OPS above .700 until his 39 games in San Antonio last year. … After his 0-for-5 Sunday, Fernando Tatis Jr. is hitting .305/.406/.441 in June with a 24.6% strikeout rate. … Josh Naylor went 2-for-4 against three left-handed Hooks pitchers. He came in hitting just .253 against same-handed pitching. He has just three extra-base hits this month.
Storm 2, Lancaster JetHawks 1
Key Stats: LF Nate Easley 2-for-4; 1B Brad Zunica 2-for-4, 2B, R; RHP Michel Baez 5IP, 3H, 1ER, 8K, 3BB
Prospect Watch: Brad Zunica led off the ninth with a double to left and came around on a walk-off single by Jorge Ona to help the Storm finish the first half on a high note a day after they lost their chance at a playoff spot. Michel Baez matched his season high with eight strikeouts, but issued three walks and needed 88 pitches to get through five innings of work. Though the big man’s velocity has been off this year, he still goes into the All-Star break with a 2.79 ERA and better than a strikeout an inning while opponents hit .215 against him. The 22-year-old from Cuba sports a 1.65 ERA over his last five outings. … It’s fitting that Zunica’s double was the team’s only extra-base hit of the game. Following a slow April, when he somehow slugged only .300 as he adjusted to his new swing mechanics, the big first baseman has pounded the ball to the tune of a .625 slugging percentage this month.
TinCaps 7, Great Lakes Loons 4
Key Stats: CF Jeisson Rosario 2-for-5, CS (6); RF Tirso Ornelas 2-for-4, 2B; 1B Luis Campusano 2-for-3, 2B, BB; Justin Lopez 2-for-3, 2B, BB; SS Gabe Arias 2-for-3, SB (2); RHP Mason Thompson 4.2IP, 9H, 4R (3ER), 4K, 1BB;
Prospect Watch: Six different teenagers in the TinCaps lineup had two hits each and the bullpen turned in 4.1 scoreless frames to give the TinCaps a victory to cap their first half. Luis Campusano, playing first base for the second time this week and this season and Justin Lopez put up identical 2-for-3 lines with a double and walk. The 19-year-old is still seen by the organization as a catcher but worked extensively at first during the spring to add options in Fort Wayne. He finished the first half with a .293/.368/.384 line with a strong 28:17 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 185 plate appearances. With Carlos Belen‘s conversion to pitching, expect to see more of Campusano at first through the second half of the year. … After a lot of hard contact in May, Lopez had only had one extra-base hit in June before his third inning double Sunday. While his production has fallen, he’s cut his strikeout rate below 20 percent and jumped his walk rate this month.
Dust Devils 11, Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 0
Key Stats: 1B Luis Asuncion 3-for-5, 3 2B; CF Tre Carter 3-for-5, 2B, HR (2); DH Blake Hunt 1-for-3, BB, SF; RHP Cole Bellinger 5IP, 3H, 0R, 4K, 2BB
Prospect Watch: Tri-City claimed their first victory of the year in decisive fashion, clicking in all aspects of the game in an 11-0 laugher. Luis Asuncion, who has finally moved to first base for his third pass at the Northwest League, had three doubles in the middle of the Dust Devils lineup. The six-foot-four righty, who’d been in the outfield previously, posted a .932 OPS in June last year but faded badly down the stretch. … Tre Carter struggled mightily in his first exposure to full-season ball this year, posting a .522 OPS in 31 games with the TinCaps. After homering in the opener and coming up a triple shy of the cycle Sunday, he already has more extra-base hits in three games for Tri-City than he managed for Fort Wayne. A two-sport star in high school, Carter has often wowed the organization in back-field work but has struggled to take that success with him into more typical game settings. He came out of the gate hot for Tri-City last year too, but swing-and-miss issues caught up to him over the season. He’ll be asked to show more consistent pitch recognition this year. … Cole Bellinger picked up where he left off in limited action in the AZL last year, tossing five scoreless innings. The Phoenix-area native has held opponents to a .175 average in his early professional work. He is one of several picks from last year’s draft who won’t turn 19 until after this season is over.