Seattle Mariners Minor League Report - July 5th
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TACOMA RAINIERS - The Rainiers had an impressive week, winning five of six games including the last four in a row. As a result, the team has opened a six-game lead over second-place Edmonton in the Pacific Coast League's Northern Division standings. A.J. Zapp continues to hit well, going 8-for-18 with three home runs and eight RBI since June 28th, while Greg Jacobs also slammed a trio of long balls in the last week and finished with seven RBI. Greg Dobbs has nine hits in his last 22 at-bats (.409) and has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games. Relief pitchers Randy Williams and Scott Atchison both had solid weeks, with Williams tossing four innings of shutout ball and Atchison appearing in three games and yielding just one run in 3 1/3 innings of work. Starter Gustavo Martinez didn't have nearly the same kind of success, getting touched for eight runs on 13 hits in a combined 12 innings in his two trips to the hill. SAN ANTONIO MISSIONS - The Missions have shot out of the gate here in the second half of the Texas League season, winning eight of 11 games and opening a four-game lead in the West Division. The team has won three straight and is a stellar 6-1 at home thus far. Several players have shined recently, including T.J. Bohn and Dustin Delucchi. Bohn has nine hits in his last 19 at- bats, while Delucchi batted .500 for the week (6-for-12). Vince Faison collected a team-high 10 hits, two of which were home runs. Shin-soo Choo led the way with eight RBI. As for the San Antonio pitching staff, the stars were starter Chris Buglovsky (1-0, 2.38 ERA in a pair of starts) and relievers Rick Guttormson (1-0, 2.08 ERA in four appearances), Emiliano Fruto (0-0, 0.00 ERA in three outings) and Aaron Taylor (2-0, 0.00 ERA in a pair of contests). INLAND EMPIRE 66ERS - With losses in three straight games, the 66ers need a win in the worst way. The team is just 2 1/2 games out of first place in the California League's South Division, but is in jeopardy of falling even farther behind if it continues on its current downward spiral. Despite the club's recent woes, both Jesus Guzman and Carlos Arroyo have been tearing the cover off the ball. The two have combined for 14 hits in their last 34 at-bats, have scored six runs and knocked in four. In stark contrast, Juan Gonzalez, Frederico Balet and Michael Garciaparra have just six hits in their last 42 combined plate appearances. There are only a couple of Inland Empire pitchers were noting at the moment, one being reliever Melvin Pizzaro, who saw action in two games last week and allowed just one hit and no runs over a span of three innings. The other is starter Juan Sandoval, who tossed a gem his last time out, going eight innings and yielding just four hits and no runs in a 2-1 loss at Rancho Cucamonga on July 2nd. WISCONSIN TIMBER RATTLERS - With victories in four of their last six games, the Timber Rattlers have begun to show signs of life here in the second half of action in the Midwest League. The team still finds itself in a three-way tie for fifth place in the Western Division, but it trails first-place Burlington by just two games. For the second time this season, Wladimir Balentien has captured the league's Player of the Week award. The 20-year old outfielder slammed a league-leading three home runs and drove in five runs last week and led the league in slugging with a 1.150 average. Balentien also hit .450 for the week with a double, a pair of triples and six runs scored. Not to be outdone, Nick Orlandos has been of fire as well, hitting a robust .560 for the week (14-for-25). Pitcher Jason Mackintosh enjoyed a solid week, going 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA after permitting just three runs over a span of 14 innings. He fanned a league-high 18 in the process. EVERETT AQUASOX - Everett won five of seven games this past week and is in the midst of a three-game win streak. As a result, the AquaSox continue to lead the Northwest League's West Division, three games ahead of second-place Salem Keizer. The team's offensive stars for the week were Robert Johnson (11- for-27, 10 runs scored, three RBI), Mike Wilson (9-for-23, one home run, four RBI), Yung-Chi Chen (10-for-26, five RBI), Brandon Green (9-for-28, two homers, nine RBI) and Asdrubal Cabrera (one home run, eight RBI). As for the pitchers, starter Aaron Jensen improved to 3-0 on the young season by tossing six innings of five-hit, one-run ball in a 5-1 win at Vancouver on July 3rd. The real star for Everett here in the early going, however, has been Shawn Nottingham, who has allowed just one run on 11 hits in his three starts, a span of 18 2/3 innings. He has amassed 21 strikeouts thus far while walking just four.