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Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 7 on our list.
May 2: at Express 10, New Orleans 5
A six-run eighth inning gave the Express a 10-5 victory over the visiting Zephyrs at The Dell Diamond. Matt Kata’s two-run single keyed the scoring outburst, which gave Round Rock the season’s first victory when trailing after seven innings.
Trailing 5-4, Tommy Mendonca sparked the comeback with a leadoff single. Yangervis Solarte later singled home Mendonca to tie the game, and Kata’s two-run single proved to be the game-winner. Joey Butler added a two-run double and later scored on a two-out New Orleans error.
The six-run inning matched Round Rock’s highest-scoring frame of the season to that date and remained the team’s highest-scoring eighth inning throughout the season. Coincidentally, the Express also scored six ninth-inning runs at New Orleans two weeks prior.
Ben Snyder was credited with the victory in relief of starter Martin Perez after working around Sergio Pedroza’s leadoff single for a scoreless top of the eighth. Tanner Scheppers retired the side in order in the top of the ninth with two strikeouts in a non-save situation. It was part of an eight-outing stretch for Scheppers in which he did not allow a run, also part of an 11-appearance span in which he allowed one run in 11.0innings (0.82 ERA) with five saves in as many opportunities.
Mendonca finished 3-for-4, including a home run and two RBI. Eight of nine Express starters hit safely; Kata, Solarte, Luis Hernandez, Brad Nelson and Luis Martinez all enjoyed two-hit nights. It was the 13th game of Solarte’s eventual franchise-record, 22-game hitting streak. Greg Miclat, the lone Express batter without a hit, had two sacrifice bunts, including one following Mendonca’s eighth-inning leadoff single.
The victory was part of a 6-1 stretch for the Express that included series victories over New Orleans and Memphis. That run got Round Rock to 17-16, unfortunately the season’s lone day over .500.
No. 8: at Express 2, Oklahoma City 1 (Aug. 20)
No. 9: Express 10, at New Orleans 0 (April 22)
No. 10: at Omaha 9, Express 8 (16 innings; April 10)
No. 11: Express 6, at Oklahoma City 3 (Sept. 1)
No. 12: Express 14, at Reno 1 (Aug. 15)
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 8 on our list.
Aug. 20: at Express 2, Oklahoma City 1
In his antepenultimate start with the Express, Martin Perez delivered the best start of his professional career. The left-hander tossed his complete game and used only 97 pitches in the process. The lone run he allowed was unearned, scattering six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. It was the third of his 21 starts in which Perez did not walk a batter.
Consecutive one-out doubles from Luis Hernandez and Matt Kata in the bottom of the first gave the Express a 1-0 lead. Brandon Snyder doubled with two outs in the fifth and later scored on Julio Borbon’s double.
Oklahoma City’s lone run came in the sixth. Oklahoma City catcher Carlos Corporan squibbed a single down the third-base line. Snyder scooped the ball just in front of the bag; his attempt to get Corporan at first skipped away, allowing Corporan to reach second. Two batters later, Jimmy Paredes lined a 2-2 pitch off Perez’s leg. The ball ricocheted into shallow right-center, and Corporan scored.
Perez buckled down from there. He struck out the next batter – J.D. Martinez – on three straight pitches and induced an inning-inning pop-out from cleanup batter Matt Downs. Mike Hessman led off the seventh with a double but was stranded at third.
The RedHawks hardly made Perez work after he was hit by the comebacker. He used only 23 pitches (20 strikes) the rest of the way, retiring 11 of the game’s 13 batters. The lone Oklahoma City hit after Hessman’s double was a Downs one-out bunt single in the ninth. Perez then got consecutive pop-outs from Hessman and Matt Dominguez to end the game.
Of Perez’s 97 pitches, 71 were strikes. The outing came on the heels of a win at Reno in which he held the Pacific Coast League’s top hitting team to one run on six hits over eight innings. It was his fourth victory in a five-start span.
Perez also continued his dominance of Oklahoma City, improving to 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in three starts against the RedHawks.
Round Rock snapped a three-game losing streak with the win, ending their final skid of at least three games and their lone such slump in the season’s final six weeks. The Express won their next four games, continuing a stretch in which they won 10 of 13 and 15 of 20 games.
TOP 12 GAMES OF 2012
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 9 on our list.
April 22: Express 10, at New Orleans 0
Neil Ramirez, Aaron Heilman and Mark Hamburger combined on a three-hit shutout at Zephyr Field in Metairie, La. It proved to be the most productive start of the season for Ramirez during his time with the Express. Meanwhile, Round Rock batters pounded out 12 hits, including four home runs, pulling away with a six-run ninth inning.
Ramirez struck out six, scattered three hits and walked one over six innings. Heilman then took the baton and struck out two over a pair of perfect innings. Hamburger retired the side in order in the ninth with one strikeout.
Matt Kata led off the second with a double and later scored on a Luis Martinez groundout. Then, the home runs. Joey Butler, who played collegiately at the University of New Orleans, clubbed a two-run homer in the fourth, and Yangervis Solarte added a solo shot in the sixth.
Round Rock sent 11 men to the plate in the six-run ninth. Solarte led off with a double, and Martinez followed with a two-run homer. After walks from Julio Borbon and Luis Hernandez, Mike Bianucci drilled a three-run homer that was his fifth in 18 games at the Triple-A level. Back-to-back doubles from Kata and Butler capped the scoring.
Solarte finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk, while Bianucci, Kata, Butler and Martinez all enjoyed two-hit games.
The win began a 16-game stretch during which the Express were 11-5 – the season’s best stretch until the torrid stretch over final five weeks.
TOP 12 GAMES OF 2012
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 10 on our list.
April 10: at Omaha 9, Express 8 (16 innings)
The lone loss that makes our list was a definite memorable game, simply for the length. It went down as the longest game in franchise history both in terms of innings and time of game (five hours, 24 minutes). The game started at 11:06 a.m. and concluded during rush hour.
It was a boat race for the first five innings, and neither starter made it that far. David Lough was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, starting the scoring spree. Tommy Mendonca’s two-out RBI double tied the game in the top of the second, but the Storm Chasers answered with a three-spot in the bottom half that included a Johnny Giavotella’ two-run homer.
Round Rock again tied the game in the top of the third on Mike Bianucci’s three-run homer, but Omaha again answered with a three spot – this time on an Irving Falu three-run homer. The Express knotted the game in the top of the fifth on a Yangervis Solarte RBI double and a Mendoca two-run single.
That 6-6 score held until the 10th inning when Greg Miclat scored on a Leonys Martin RBI groundout. Once again, Omaha answered in the bottom of the inning when Derrick Robinson plated Irving Falu with a single to right. The Storm Chasers finally put the game away in the 16th when Falu reached on a two-out infield single and Jerrod Dyson followed with a game-winning triple.
Both teams had ample opportunities throughout the final nine innings. The Express stranded two runners in the seventh and two in the 15th. The Storm Chasers left the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and stranded two runners in the 10th and 11th innings.
Mendonca had four of Round Rock’s 16 hits, while Robinson and Falu both enjoyed four-hit games for Omaha. The game’s only players to get at least three at bats and not get a hit were Express catcher Luis Martinez (0-for-3) and Storm Chasers catcher Max Ramirez (0-for-4, two walks). Round Rock used six pitchers, while Omaha used seven.
It was the first of seven straight one-run games for the Express – also a franchise record. It also was the first of seven Round Rock games to last at least 11 innings, including a pair of 13-inning games.
As we’ve mentioned before, several former Express players are now enjoying a postseason run with the Baltimore Orioles. Chris Davis is 4-for-10 through three games, including a two-run double that erased a 1-0 deficit in the Orioles’ 3-2 Game 2 win. He had two hits in each of the first two games before going 0-for-2 with a walk in Wednesday’s Game 3. Fellow former Express member Endy Chavez replaced Davis for defensive purposes in the late innings. Another former Express member – Darren O’Day – worked one scoreless inning of relief Thursday night after striking out the lone batter he faced in Game 2 and working a scoreless frame in the series opener.
The Texas Rangers announced their active roster for tonight’s American League Wild Card Game Friday morning. The 25-man crew features six former Express members, including five that played for the Express this season. Another nine rehabbed with Round Rock at some point over the past two seasons – four this season.
Here is a look at the 15 players who have donned an Express uniform over the past two seasons (* – rehab):
*Adrian Beltre (2011)
*Nelson Cruz (2011)
*Scott Feldman (2011)
Craig Gentry (2011)
*Josh Hamilton (2011)
*Derek Holland (2012)
Michael Kirkman (2011, 2012)
Leonys Martin (2011, 2012)
Luis Martinez (2012)
*Mitch Moreland (2012)
*Mike Napoli (2011)
*Alexi Ogando (2012)
Roy Oswalt (2012)
Yoshinori Tateyama (2011, 2012)
*Koji Uehara (2012)
TOP 12 GAMES OF 2012
Throughout the fall, we’ll take a look at the top 12 games of 2012. Today, we look at Game No. 11 on our list. Click here to read about Game No. 12 and nine others that were considered for the list.
Sept. 1: Express 6, at Oklahoma City 3
It was the last victory in a rather subpar year, but it was a good one to end on. Round Rock plated five runs in the top of the ninth to erase a 3-1 deficit and all but end Oklahoma City’s playoff hopes. The RedHawks were eliminated the following day despite winning the season’s penultimate game.
Julio Borbon reached on an error to start the game and later scored on a wild pitch. However, that was the extent of Round Rock’s offensive production until the ninth inning. Oklahoma City wrestled away the lead with a three-run second, but the RedHawks managed only three hits the rest of the way.
Ryan Spilborghs’ RBI double started the five-run ninth. Later, Borbon delivered a bases-loaded, two-run single that proved to be the game-winning hit. Luis Hernandez followed with a two-run triple for good measure.
Borbon’s ninth-inning single was his 158th of the season, breaking Mark Saccomanno’s 2008 franchise record.
The game may have gone somewhat unknown – the 142nd game of the season and on the road can be that way. But it capped a stretch in which the Express went 9-3, and it was Round Rock’s 26th victory in 38 games after July 25.
ENGLE IN THE OUTFIELD
Congratulations are in order for Frisco center fielder Engel Beltre, who Friday was named a 2012 Minor League Baseball Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner. Although not as prestigious as its major league equivalent, the minor league award is more difficult to win. Consider: There are 30 major league teams and 120 full-season minor league teams.
Beltre, 22, played 119 games in center and committed only one error with 12 outfield assists. He led all Double-A outfielders with a .997 fielding percentage. Beltre was deemed the “Best Defensive Outfielder” in the Rangers’ farm system by Baseball America prior to the 2012 season. He also was rated the Texas League’s best defensive outfielder in the publication’s “Best Tools” issue in August. A mid-season and postseason Texas League All-Star, Beltre hit .261 with 13 homers, 55 RBI, 80 runs scored and 36 steals. He also finished second in the minors with 17 triples.
Originally signed by the Red Sox out of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in 2006, Beltre was acquired by the Rangers along with David Murphy in the Eric Gagne trade one year later.
Expect to see Beltre at The Dell Diamond in 2013.
ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (66-72) 20 Julio Borbon, lf 26 Yangervis Solarte, 2b 27 Leonys Martin, cf 16 Joey Butler, rf 19 Ryan Spilborghs, dh 15 Matt Kata, 3b 33 Mike Bianucci, 1b 21 Alberto Gonzalez, ss 23 Koyie Hill, c 48 Chad Bell, lhp (4-4, 4.41 ERA) NEW ORLEANS ZEPHYRS (73-65) 21 Gil Velasquez, ss 9 Brett Hayes, c 8 Chris Coghlan, lf 35 Mike Cervenak, 1b 5 Scott Cousins, rf 12 Shawn Bowman, 3b 10 Chase Lambin, 2b 30 Luke Montz, dh 4 Kevin Mattison, cf 24 Brad Hand, lhp (11-6, 3.65 ERA)
Perfect 10: Yangervis Solarte clubbed his 10th homer of the season in the top of the first, a two-run shot to right. Express lead 2-0.
First Pitch: We’re got underway at straight-up 8 p.m.
One Down, One to Go: Tanner Scheppers struck out the side in the seventh in his first game back with the Express. His save preserved Round Rock’s 5-4 win. Game two in about 30 minutes.
Back-to-Back Blasts: Leonys Martin (12th) and Brad Nelson (24th) clubbed back-to-back homers with two outs in the top of the fourth, giving the Express a 5-3 lead. Round Rock’s last back-to-back homers were July 8 at Albuquerque – Matt Kata and Joey Butler. Nelson matched his 2011 home-run total with that blast.
Go Figure: Joey Butler, who played collegiately at the University of New Orleans, clubbed his 19th home run of the season in the top of the third, tying the game at 3-3. Ironically, it will go down as his 14th “road” homer of the season.
Chaser: Chase Lambin’s three-run homer in the bottom of the first put the Zephyrs up 3-2.
Mr. 200: Matt Kata delivered a two-out, two-run single in the top of the first. He now has 200 career RBI with the Express, joining Mark Saccomanno (236) and Brooks Conrad (221) as the only players in franchise history to reach the milestone.
First Pitch: We got underway at 5:48 p.m. – a 13-minute delay. Temperature at first pitch was 90 degrees – that’s 32 degrees in Nice, France.
Yes, We’re at Home: Round Rock “hosts” New Orleans tonight for a doubleheader at The Dell Diamond. However, the Zephyrs will be the designated home team and will bat last. First pitch of the opener is scheduled for 5:35 p.m. They’ve just pulled the tarp, so we should start on time.
NEW ORLEANS ZEPHYRS (73-63) 21 Gil Velasquez, ss 9 Brett Hayes, c 8 Chris Coghlan, lf 35 Mike Cervenak, dh 5 Scott Cousins, rf 30 Luke Montz, 1b 12 Shawn Bowman, 3b 10 Chase Lambin, 2b 4 Kevin Mattison, cf 31 Omar Poveda, rhp (4-2, 4.45 ERA) ROUND ROCK EXPRESS (64-72) 20 Julio Borbon, lf 21 Alberto Gonzalez, ss 27 Leonys Martin, cf 30 Brad Nelson, 1b 16 Joey Butler, rf 15 Matt Kata, dh 26 Yangervis Solarte, 2b 29 Brandon Snyder, 3b 23 Koyie Hill, c 28 Greg Reynolds, rhp (10-8, 4.94 ERA)