Astros Minor League Recap Aug 13-26: Fresno clinches division title

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: J.D. Davis #28 of the Houston Astros rounds the bases after his three run home run in the second inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 28, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City.MLB players across the league are wearing special uniforms to commemorate Memorial Day. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 28: J.D. Davis #28 of the Houston Astros rounds the bases after his three run home run in the second inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 28, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City.MLB players across the league are wearing special uniforms to commemorate Memorial Day. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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The Houston Astros’ Triple-A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies clinched the division title on Saturday, capturing a spot in the postseason.

A lot has happened since the last Fresno recap. The team completed a 9-4 stretch, capping it off by clinching the division title. A pair of players contributed some incredible offensive performances to propel the team to the postseason. The Grizzlies will close out the regular season this upcoming week before beginning their playoff run on Sept. 5.

Beating Las Vegas – Aug. 13-15

Fresno took the series opener against Las Vegas 4-0 behind six scoreless innings from Kent Emanuel. They took the second game 6-3 thanks to a four-RBI day from J.D. Davis. But the bullpen faltered in the series finale, as the Grizzlies lost 9-6 despite homers from Davis and A.J. Reed.

Split with Tacoma – Aug. 16-19

The Grizzlies dropped the opener of the road trip 10-6 as Brady Rodgers struggled, though Davis went deep twice to continue his hot streak. They rebounded to win the second game 8-1 with six strong innings from Trent Thornton and two more homers from Davis. Fresno took the third game 3-1 behind a strong start from Josh James and a Jack Mayfield homer. But they dropped the series finale 6-4 as Emanuel struggled on the mound.

A Sweeping Victory

Following an off day on Aug. 20, Fresno opened a three-game series at Sacramento with a 9-2 win on Tuesday. Rogelio Armenteros improved to 8-1 with 5.2 solid innings. Davis had a three-run homer among his three hits, while Mayfield also went deep.

The Grizzlies scored six in the top of the ninth to win 10-8 on Wednesday. Brock Dykxhoorn struggled, giving up seven runs in five innings. In his return to Fresno, Kyle Tucker crushed two homers, including the game-tying grand slam in the ninth.

Fresno completed the sweep with a 15-1 beatdown on Thursday. Rodgers earned the win, firing six innings of one-run ball. Tucker, Davis and Reed all went deep, while Yordan Alvarez added three RBIs.

Clinching at Home

The Grizzlies opened the season’s final homestand with a 7-5 loss to Salt Lake on Friday. Thornton gave up five runs in six innings, settling for a no-decision. Tucker hit a pair of solo homers, while Jake Marisnick also went deep.

Fresno clinched the division title by scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth to win 7-6 on Saturday. James gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings. Tucker hit the walk-off three-run homer, while Reed added a two-run shot in the first.

For the second straight game, the Grizzlies walked it off, as they won 10-9 in 10 innings. Emanuel struggled again, giving up six runs in 3.1 innings. Marisnick went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, while Myles Straw had three hits, two RBIs and two steals. It was Tucker, of course, with the walk-off single.

Players of the Week: J.D. Davis and Kyle Tucker

For the week of Aug. 13-19, Davis was the key standout. He hit six homers in a four-game span, driving in 14 runs. He also homered twice more this past week, giving him 17 homers and 78 RBIs in 79 Triple-A games this season. His batting line sits at .350/.414/.605.

For the week of Aug. 20-26, Tucker had the big bat. He had at least two hits in all five games he played this week, adding six homers, 13 RBIs and two walk-off hits. He now has 23 homers, 87 RBIs and 20 stolen bases in 94 games for Fresno this season, with a .327/.387/.580 line.

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What’s Next

Fresno will finish up the regular season this week. They play the finale of the Salt Lake series on Monday before closing out the home schedule with three games against El Paso beginning Tuesday. They end the regular season with four games at Salt Lake beginning Friday before facing El Paso in the first round of the playoffs beginning Sept. 5. The Grizzlies sit at 77-55 on the season with a nine-game division lead.

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