A's Affiliates Split On Opening Day

Nunez homered on his birthday.

The 2013 minor league season is officially underway. On Thursday, all four of the Oakland A's full-season affiliates got their seasons going. Midland and Stockton took home wins, while Sacramento and Beloit dropped slugfests. We have the details inside...

51's Double-Up On River Cats

The Las Vegas 51s connected on five doubles and one triple en route to a 10-5 win over the Sacramento River Cats on Opening Night.

Starter Andrew Werner struggled in his Oakland A's organizational debut. Werner was tagged for two runs in the first, two in the second and four more in the fifth. He was charged with eight runs in 4.1 innings. The left-hander walked four and allowed seven hits.

Werner was matched up with New York Mets' top prospect Zack Wheeler. Wheeler was far from his best, but Sacramento couldn't overcome the early deficit. Wheeler lasted just 3.1 innings in his 2013 debut. He allowed two runs on three hits and two walks and he was forced to throw 86 pitches before being pulled.

The River Cats had plenty of offense in the losing cause. Grant Green hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning. David Freitas and Michael Taylor each had two hits, while Scott Moore walked three times and Michael Choice walked twice. Shane Peterson had a walk and a double in two plate appearances before he was pulled. He could be heading to Oakland, as A's first baseman Brandon Moss is expected to be place on the paternity leave list.

Travis Banwart, Brian Gordon and Danny Otero threw the final 3.2 innings. Banwart tossed 1.2 scoreless frames, while Otero had a scoreless inning in his A's debut. Gordon was charged with two runs in two innings. He struck-out three.

Sacramento manager Steve Scarsone will be moving players around in the line-up throughout the season, as he has several players who play the same positions. On Opening Night, Scarsone had Green at second, Jemile Weeks at DH, Luke Montz at first, Freitas behind the plate and Andy Parrino at shortstop.


RockHounds Cruise In Opening Day Rout

The Midland Rockhounds played a nearly flawless game in their season debut, defeating the Northwest Arkansas Naturals by a score of 11-0.

Murphy Smith led a quartet of RockHounds' pitchers who combined to three-hit the Naturals. Smith walked the first two batters he faced, but after using a double-play and a strike-out to get out of the inning unscathed, Smith breezed through his next four innings. In total, he threw five shutout innings, allowing two hits and three walks. He struck-out four. Smith is coming off of an impressive spring training and could be in-line for a breakout season.

Darren Byrd, Carlos Fisher and Jeff Urlaub smothered the Naturals over the next four innings. Byrd worked two scoreless innings, and he didn't allow a hit or a walk in his A's organization debut. He struck-out two. Fisher, also making his A's organization debut, struck-out two in an impressive 1-2-3 inning. Urlaub, making his Double-A debut, allowed an infield single to lead-off the ninth, but then proceeded to retire the next three batters in order to close out the game. He struck-out one.

The RockHounds' starting nine combined to reach base 21 times on 11 hits and 10 walks. The Naturals also committed two errors. Every RockHounds' batter reached base safely except for catcher Ryan Lipkin. Jefry Marte went 3-for-5 with two RBI, two runs scored and a walk. One of his hits was a double. Marte served as the DH in the game.

Anthony Aliotti, who was Midland's top hitter in 2012, got off to a perfect start in 2013. He had two hits, including a double, and he walked three times. Aliotti also drove-in two. Jeremy Barfield reached three times and had an RBI, while Chad Oberacker drove-in three in his Double-A debut.


Trio Of Homers Pace The Ports

The Stockton Ports powered their way to an Opening Night win, hitting three homeruns in a 6-2 victory over the Bakersfield Blaze. Josh Whitaker got the ball rolling with a two-run homer in the first and Dusty Robinson followed with another two-run homer in the second to give the Ports a 4-0 lead. The Blaze would answer with two runs in the third, but that was all they would get off of Drew Granier, Pedro Vidal and Jose Macias.

Max Muncy was the offensive star in his first game at the High-A level. The first baseman went 3-for-4 with a solo homerun and two runs scored. Addison Russell went 1-for-4 with a walk in his High-A debut. Both Muncy and Russell were charged with errors.

The Ports collected nine hits and five walks. Tony Thompson, the DH in this game, went 1-for-2 with two walks. Wade Kirkland added a double.

Granier, coming off of strong season in the Midwest League, had a solid first start for the Ports. In five innings, he allowed two runs on four hits and three walks. He struck-out six and was credited with the win.

Vidal and Macias were very effective in relief. Vidal worked two perfect innings, striking out two, while Macias tossed two shut-out innings with one strike-out and one hit allowed.


Snappers Flash Big Bats, But Fall To Kernels

The Beloit Snappers collected 11 hits and seven runs, but it wasn't enough to hold off the Cedar Rapids Kernels in a 9-7 Kernels' win.

Third baseman Renato Nunez, who was celebrating his 19th birthday, hit a three-run homer in the third inning that pulled the Snappers into a 4-4 tie. Chris Bostick, John Wooten and Bruce Maxwell each collected two hits, while Matt Olson went 1-for-4 with a double. Aaron Shipman reached base three times via a hit and two walks out of the lead-off spot. Every Snappers' hitter reached base safely, but the Snappers also struck-out 16 times.

Twins' top prospect and number two overall pick from 2012 Byron Buxton went 2-for-5 with two runs scored out of the lead-off spot and Jorge Polanco went 3-for-5 with a homerun for the Kernels. Dalton Hicks also homered.

The Beloit pitching staff struggled all night. Starter Raul Alcantara was hit hard, as he allowed seven runs (five earned) on nine hits in 3.2 innings. He didn't record a strike-out and he walked one. Both Cedar Rapids' homers came off of Alcantara.

Tyler Vail took over for Alcantara with two-on and two-outs in the fourth inning. He stranded both runners in that inning, but Vail would allow two runs on two hits and a walk over his next two innings of work. He struck-out two. Ryan Dull was the only Beloit pitcher to keep Cedar Rapids off the board. He allowed only one hit in two innings and he struck-out two.


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