Minnesota Twins Minor League Report - July 12th
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ROCHESTER RED WINGS - A 9-2 win over Durham to start the week on July 5th gave the Red Wings a lot of promise, the only problem was it meant very little as the team then dropped four in a row and finished the week at 3-5. The club lost a pair of extra-inning affairs and split a doubleheader on July 11th, leaving Rochester with a record of 47-44 in the North Division of the International League. Now in third place and six games out of first, the Wings will have plenty of time to contemplate where they are heading at the moment, with the Triple-A All-Star Game slated for Pawtucket on July 14th and the team's next outing not until the following day versus the Richmond Braves at home. Jason Kubel appeared in only five games for the team but still hit an even .500 with five RBI and seven runs scored. Terry Tiffee (.348) added eight RBI on the same number of hits, while slugger Justin Morneau (.217) struggled a bit at the plate in five games but still had two home runs and four knocked in. He is currently tied for third in the league in home runs with 22. Pitcher Dave Gassner shined on the mound as he won both his starts, holding opposing hitters to a .167 average and coming up with a 0.64 ERA over 14 innings of work. Gassner currently leads the league in wins with 11, to go along with five losses, and is carrying a 2.95 ERA over 109 2/3 innings of work. NEW BRITAIN ROCK CATS - The Rock Cats may have been out-hit on July 11th by the Reading Phillies, 8-4, but New Britain kept the league's best hitter (Ryan Howard) and the rest of his teammates inside the park in a 2-0 victory. The win was the second in the last three games for the Cats, who started the week on July 5th with four straight losses before sneaking by Reading on July 9th in a 3-2 decision. New Britain is tied for last place in the Northern Division of the Eastern League with a record of 41-48, 11 games out of first with the All-Star Game taking place on July 14th in Bowie, Maryland. The Rock Cats had the second lowest batting average of any team in the league last week at .222. The team showed some pop with six home runs, but ended with only 15 runs scored. Luis Maza hit .321 with two home runs and five scored, while Garrett Jones (.154) struck out 12 times in 26 at-bats and Rob Bowen had only one hit in his 21 plate appearances (.048). FORT MYERS MIRACLE - It appeared as though the Miracle were going to get back into the win column on July 10th, but in the top of the ninth the team surrendered a pair of runs to Sarasota in a 2-1 setback at home. It was the second straight game in which the team scored only one run, the third consecutive setback overall for a club that finished 2-4 last week with a pair of victories over Palm Beach at home on July 6th and 7th. Fort Myers is currently tied for last place in the West Division of the Florida State League, showing a 6-13 record which places it five games out of first with the second half of the season still in its infancy. Even though the team had some trouble scoring runs last week, posting just 24 in all, it led the league in batting at a .268 clip. The problem was that the Miracle had only nine extra-base hits. Of those, only Garrett Guzman (.500) had more than one with a double and a home run to his credit, producing two RBI and scoring four runs in 16 at-bats. SWING OF THE QUAD CITIES - After losing the last three games in the month of June, the Swing bounced back to start off July with six consecutive triumphs, including wins over Dayton on both July 5th and 6th. After a 9-4 loss to Dayton, Quad Cities proceeded to split the next four with Kane County, outscoring the Cougars by a combined 13-2 in the victories and being outscored itself 16-4 in the last two losses. The Swing is still in the hunt for first place in the Western Division of the Midwest League with a record of 11-7, just a half game out of the top spot now that the second half of the season is about three weeks old. Quad Cities managed to go 4-3 last week even though it had the third-lowest batting average in the league at just .226. The team was certainly full of free swingers as they fanned a total of 63 times in 243 at-bats. Paul Rutgers batted .412 to lead the group, but he produced only one RBI and a pair of runs, while further down the list batting at .250 was Brock Peterson who drove in five and scored three on just six hits for the Swing. ELIZABETHTON TWINS - It was a wild week for the Twins, starting with a 6-5 loss in 10 innings to Johnson City on July 5th. The next two games Elizabethton tallied nine and 10 runs in wins, but then also had power shortages with a 7-1 loss to Greeneville on July 8th and an 8-0 shutout versus Kingsport two days later. Overall the Twins finished the week with a record of 4-3, making them 12-9 in the West Division of the Appalachian League, which at this point is good enough for first place by a game and a half over both the aforementioned Astros and Cardinals. The club actually had the lowest batting average of any team in the league last week at just .247, while 66 strikeouts and 15 fielding errors didn't help much either. The pitching staff for the Twins also began to crack under the pressure, surrendering 10 home runs in 63 innings of work, resulting in a combined 5.00 ERA. Deacon Burns was one of the more productive hitters, even though he struck out eight times without drawing a single walk, hitting .407 with two home runs and five knocked in. David Winfree (.125) had one of the team's five long balls, but he also struck out nine times in 16 at-bats.