D-backs minor league report: Blair continues to deal for Aces
Monday was a feel-good day for the Diamondbacks organization, with only a loss by the Dominican Summer League D-backs keeping the organization from a top-to-bottom sweep of eight games.
As it was, a 7-1 ledger isn't bad. It started with a 4-1 victory for the big guys over Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Also in the win column were Triple-A Reno (a double-header sweep), Visalia, Hillsboro, Missoula and the Arizona Rookie League D-backs. Mobile and Kane County had the night off.
This type of success doesn't come out of the blue. Visalia (73-47) and Hillsboro (34-23) both rank at the top of their league's overall standings, with Kane County (72-45) and Missoula (33-21) in striking distance of the best record in their leagues.
RENO: Aaron Blair continues to pitch well for the Aces, improving his record at Reno to 6-1 with six strong innings in a 3-2 victory over Colorado Springs in the first game of a double-header sweep on Monday night. Blair gave up seven hits and two walks and struck out four. He's now 12-4 with a 2.95 ERA over two levels. Catcher Gerald Laird drove in two runs and is now hitting .444 on his rehab assignment.
--In the second game, a 7-3 Aces' victory, Mike Freeman had four hits and Jamie Romak, just back from two weeks with the big club, had two hits, including his 23rd home run, and pushed his RBI total to 90, second best in the PCL. Jordan Pacheco also had a home run among his two hits.
VISALIA: The Rawhide erupted for 23 hits on Monday to eke out a 13-12 victory over Modesto in 10 innings. In a bit of a statistical oddity, the 23 hits consisted of 22 singles and one extra-base hit -- a home run by Gerson Montilla. A pair of Arizona products led the way, as Kevin Cron had five hits and drove in two runs, giving him 90 on the year, and Jamie Westbrook had four hits and reached base six times (two walks) in seven plate appearances. Infielder Phil Gosselin, acquired in the Bronson Arroyo-Touki Toussaint trade, went 2 for 5 in the fifth game of his rehab stint. Gosselin was playing his first game for Visalia after four with the Diamondbacks' Rookie League team.
--Cron hit his league-leading 24th home run in a 7-5 loss to Stockton on Sunday, and teammate Daniel Palka belted his 22nd. Palka also has 21 stolen bases and 33 doubles in 430 at-bats.
KANE COUNTY: Wei-Chieh Huang pitched five hitless innings on Saturday in a 3-0 victory over Lansing. Huang walked two, struck out three and improved his record to 7-2 with a 2.04 ERA. Zac Curtis pitched the ninth, retiring all three batters he faced for his club-record 27th save. Curtis, a sixth-round draft pick out of Middle Tennessee State in 2014, has been dominant in his two years as professional. At 5-feet-9, the organization felt he was better suited for a relief role, and he's responded with two dominant seasons. He had 14 saves, a 1.00 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 27 innings last season for Hillsboro and has followed that up with a 1.57 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 46 innings for Kane County.
HILLSBORO: No. 1 overall draft pick Dansby Swanson continues to acclimate himself to pro ball with the Hops. In four games, he's 3 for 17 (a .176 average), with all three of the hits going for extra-bases (two doubles and a triple).