Arms Go Wild Against Bandits: Four LumberKings’ pitchers issued six walks and hit five batters in a 10-4 loss to the Quad Cities River Bandits last night…the loss was Clinton’s first by more than four runs. Starter Walter Suriel struggled, allowing runs in the second, third and fourth innings before serving up three in the fifth…Niko Vasquez doubled, Paul Cruz walked and Osvaldo Morales reached after being hit in the hand, loading the bases. Suriel (L, 0-2) was lifted in favor of right-hander Blake Nation…he then hit Chris Swauger to force a run home and then allowed back-to-back sacrifice flies to Roberto Espinoza and Jon Edwards. Trailing 6-0, the Kings were also dealing with right-hander Kevin Thomas (W, 2-0), who was perfect through the first five innings. The offense finally broke through against piggyback lefty Hector Cardenas as the perfect game bid ended on Kalian Sams’ line shot to the left-field berm…his first home run of the year made it 6-1. Quad Cities piled on four more runs against Nation in the seventh, including a two-run single by Brett Lilley. Clinton again scored on a Mario Martinez RBI double, a Denny Almonte RBI triple and a Scott Savastano groundout, but Cardenas (S, 1) shut the door in the ninth…he worked the final 4.0 innings, allowing four runs (three earned).
You Gotta Have Power: Kalian Sams became the sixth-different LumberKing to homer on this current 10-game homestand, taking left-hander Hector Cardenas deep to the left-field berm in the sixth. It was not only the first longball of the year for the South Holland, Netherlands native, but it also broke up a perfect game bid. The Kings have slugged seven of their 12 home runs on this homestand…the 12 HR are third-most in the MWL.
Streaking Again: Having already recorded hitting streaks of five games and eight games this year, Denny Almonte is back at it again…he went 1-for-4 with an RBI triple last night to reach another five-game hitting streak. The second-round pick by the Mariners in 2007, Almonte is hitting .350 (7-for-20) during the streak, including a double, two triples, two home runs (back-to-back nights, 4/30 and 5/1 vs. Fort Wayne), four runs scored and five RBI. He has driven in at least one RBI in three-straight games and leads the club with 12.
Triple Trouble: Almonte and Daniel Carroll both tripled in last night’s action, giving the LumberKings a league-high 14 triples as a team. Great Lakes and West Michigan are both second with 11 team triples. Carroll, who just a night prior had snapped an 0-for-22 skid with a 2-for-4 night, delivered the triple off the right-center wall in the sixth…it was the first extra-base hit this year for the 2007 third-round pick.
Texas Toasted: After being shelled for nine earned runs over his first two starts (6.1 IP), right-hander Kenn Kasparek posted just the second 10-strikeout game for the Kings this year on Friday night…right-hander Brett Lorin fanned 10 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in a win on 4/17. The former Texas Longhorn Kasparek has allowed just two runs (one earned) over his last two starts (11.0 IP), walking two while striking out 12.
Remember Me?: Thursday night’s win for 25-year-old right-hander Adam Harben was his first in the Midwest League since 8/29/04 in game two of a double-header against Peoria. He was a member of the Swing of the Quad Cities at the time…Harben gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits, walked five and struck out three over 5.0 innings. The 15th round pick by Minnesota way back in 2002, Harben is 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA (2 ER / 17.0 IP) so far in his third stint in the league. He was acquired by Seattle in February.
Rotation Domination: Clinton boasts the league’s best team ERA at 2.51 thanks to stellar starting pitching. Even with Hensley moving up, the Kings still have the #2 and #3 pitchers in ERA. Right-hander Brett Lorin is second with a 0.75 ERA over 24.0 innings and is 2-0 on the season…his 24 strikeouts are tied for fourth-most in the league. Right-hander Aaron Pribanic dropped out of the top three after allowing four earned runs on 4/29, but right-hander Adam Harben has taken over his #3 spot…his 1.06 ERA is third-best.
Great in the Eight: Although eight-hole hitter Terry Serrano failed to extend his hitting streak to five games Friday night (0-for-2, walk, run scored), he is still hitting a scorching .400 (6-for-15) over his last five games. On this homestand, Serrano has been the hero twice…he fisted a two-run homer over the wood wall in left-center for his first blast of the year as part of Tuesday’s 10-2 win over Burlington and added a walk-off RBI double the next night in a 1-0 win. His eight RBI are tied for third-most on the club (Mendez/Savastano).
Happy Sunday to you.