Astros Minor League Recap April 9 – 15: Grizzlies surge into first place

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Drew Ferguson #78 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 21, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Drew Ferguson #78 of the Houston Astros poses for a portrait at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on February 21, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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The Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies posted an impressive 6-1 record to surge into first place.

After starting the season 2-2, the Fresno Grizzlies pulled off an impressive first full week of the season. The team went 6-1, including their current five-game win streak. Timely hitting and some solid pitching have lifted the team into first place in the division.

Notching a Series Win

Fresno defeated Reno 11-5 on April 9 to win the opening series 3-2. Starter Kent Emanuel pitched five innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts. Jack Mayfield homered, doubled and stole home, driving in three runs. Jon Kemmer also homered and drove in three. Grizzlies hitters only struck out three times in the entire game.

First Homestand

The Grizzlies opened their home schedule with a thud, falling to Tacoma 13-0 on Tuesday. Starter Mike Hauschild tossed six shutout innings with nine strikeouts, but the bullpen cratered. Tacoma scored 11 runs in the top of the ninth against the Fresno bullpen. Drew Ferguson went 2-for-4, but the Fresno offense failed to record an extra-base hit or a walk.

Fresno bounced back on Wednesday, defeating Tacoma 13-9. Starter Trent Thornton took a no-decision, surrendering five runs in 4.1 innings. Tony Kemp went 3-for-3 with two doubles, two walks, two RBIs and a stolen base. Alejandro Garcia and Antonio Nunez each drove in three.

The Grizzlies took the rubber match of the three-game series with a 5-3 win on Thursday. Starter Cy Sneed earned the win, hurling five shutout innings with four strikeouts. Ferguson smacked two doubles and drove in two, while A.J. Reed went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI.

Hello Again

Fresno opened a four-game home series against Reno on Friday, winning 7-6 in 12 innings. The Grizzlies scored three in the eighth and one in the ninth to tie it, and then scored three in the bottom of the 12th after giving up two in the top half of the inning. Kyle Tucker hit the walk-off single off former Ranger Neftali Feliz after Ferguson tied it with a bases-loaded walk.

Francis Martes went six innings, giving up two runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Kemmer hit a two-run homer and walked twice, and Tyler White added a solo shot in the eighth.

A three-run eighth inning propelled the Grizzlies to a 4-1 win against Reno on Saturday. Rogelio Armenteros settled for a no-decision despite giving up just one run in seven innings with eight strikeouts. Tucker had two doubles and an RBI, while White homered and drove in three.

Fresno pitching allowed just one hit in a 5-0 victory on Sunday. Emanuel tossed six shutout innings, allowing the lone single and no walks. Garcia blasted a three-run homer, while Ferguson and Kemmer each had a double and a single.

Player of the Week: Kent Emanuel

Good pitching was hard to come by for Fresno last season, and Emanuel was no exception. He posted a 7.71 ERA across eight starts and one relief appearance after being called up from Double-A. The 25-year-old lefthander has turned those numbers around here in 2018.

Through his first two starts this season, Emanuel has allowed just one run in 11 innings. He’s only given up five hits and two walks while striking out nine. If you’re keeping score, that’s good for a 0.82 ERA and 0.64 WHIP. He’s looked sharp early on and will look to continue the hot streak next week.

Next: Astros could face Shohei Ohtani at home on April 24th

What’s Next

Fresno did achieve the four-game sweep of Reno on Monday before hitting the road again. They’ll play four games at Las Vegas starting on Tuesday, then play three at Reno starting Saturday. Through Monday, the Grizzlies are 9-3, leading their division by three-and-a-half games.

***Statistics courtesy of MiLB.com***

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