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Crooked Numbers: Injustice in June
All's fair in love and baseball, but odd occurrences fill month
07/05/2011 10:00 AM ET
Marlins prospect Chad James is 0-11 through 16 starts despite a 3.38 ERA.
Marlins prospect Chad James is 0-11 through 16 starts despite a 3.38 ERA. (Kyle McLaughlin)
The more things change...: The Lancaster JetHawks suffered through their worst inning in franchise history June 29, allowing visiting High Desert to plate 13 runs in the second. This nightmarish frame broke the old franchise record of 12 runs allowed in an inning, which had been achieved by Lake Elsinore on May 20, 2007. Lake Elsinore's Yordany Ramirez hit for the cycle in that ballgame, completing the feat with a triple in the record-setting 12-run eighth inning. Amazingly, Ramirez also appeared in the June 29 ballgame -- as a member of the JetHawks' pitching staff! Ramirez, in his first full season as a pitcher after nine as an outfielder, tossed two scoreless innings long after the damage had been done.

Hellish happenings at the Hangar: For the second straight month, the aforementioned JetHawks suffered a horrendous defeat within the not-so-friendly confines of their own ballpark. Rancho Cucamonga posted a Cal League-season high of 25 runs on May 25, and then on June 7 the Lake Elsinore Storm administered a 24-4 shellacking. The Storm scored at least two runs from the second through the seventh innings, resulting in an unrelentingly assailment of misery for the home team.

Crooked Numbers Include

Orem onslaught: The Orem Owlz enjoyed a 23-1 romp over Casper on June 21, with Taylor Lindsey tying a Pioneer League record by crossing the plate six times. The 2010 first-round Draft pick scored in the first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh frames.

The titanium sombrero: Ruben Sierra Jr., of the Spokane Indians, entered the Northwest League record books June 22 by striking out a staggering seven times during a 16-inning tilt vs. Yakima. Sierra fanned in the second, fourth, eighth, 10th, 13th, 15th, and 16th, but he did manage to single and score in the sixth.

All's well that ends well: On June 5 against Pawtucket, Norfolk's Rhyne Hughes struck out in the second, fourth, sixth, ninth, and 11th frames. But the sixth time was the charm, as the designated hitter's RBI single in the 13th lifted the Tides to a 4-3 walk-off victory.

The daring-dash duo: The Tucson Padres' 10-9 come-from-behind victory over Colorado Springs on June 19 was highlighted by not one but two straight steals of home. Everth Cabrera accomplished the feat in the first inning, and Luis Martinez followed suit in the fourth. The victimized hurler in both instances was Sky Sox started Edgar Gonzalez.

It was the best of times: The above T-Padres victory was a precursor of excitement to come, as the club reeled off a remarkable string of victories against Fresno late in the month. On June 26, the club allowed five runs in the top of the ninth but then scored three in the bottom of the frame to eke out a 10-9 win. The next night, they fell behind 11-4 but then scored one in the fifth, three in the seventh, three in the eight and one in the ninth to win 12-11. The thrills continued for one more day, as Tucson fell behind 5-0 before scoring 11 unanswered runs and then hanging on for an 11-9 victory.

It was the worst of times: The T-Pads' run of late June comebacks was in stark contrast to the ignominious defeat they suffered at the beginning of the month. The club was walloped by Tacoma to the tune of 24-3 on June 6, with the Rainiers batting around in the second, third, seventh and ninth frames. T-Pads fans looking for a silver lining amidst the carnage could take solace in the fact that the Rainiers didn't send more than four men to bat in any other inning.

More on the above: Catcher Guillermo Quiroz pitched the ninth inning for Tucson, the final indignity of the eventual 24-3 defeat. The moonlighting backstop allowed five runs on three hits and four walks, finishing his outing with an ERA of 45.00. This marked the second straight ballgame in which a position player pitched for the Pads, as outfielder Bobby Kielty tossed the ninth inning of June 5's 16-8 defeat. Kielty allowed just one run, lowering his ERA on the season to 10.80 (he had also pitched on April 12 against Salt Lake, yielding a run over two-thirds of a frame).

The king of the moonlighting backstops: On the same night in which Quiroz got blasted in Tucson, Oklahoma RedHawks catcher Brian Esposito mowed 'em down. Esposito, who was drafted as a pitcher, hurled a 1-2-3 ninth as his RedHawks suffered a 14-2 defeat to Nashville. This marks the third straight season that Esposito has tossed a scoreless frame in the PCL and fourth straight in which he has taken the mound. While with the Tulsa Drillers in 2008, Esposito took the loss in a ballgame in which both pitchers of record were in fact moonlighting backstops. (Springfield's Matt Pagnozzi earned the win.)

Play 23, then Skidoo: For the second month in a row, June featured a Minor League Baseball game that went 23 innings. This time the participants were the Kinston Indians and Myrtle Beach Pelicans, who played the longest game in Carolina League history before Casey Frawley came through with a game-winning single in the bottom of the 23rd. The ballgame featured 15 pitchers overall, and took six hours and 27 minutes to complete.

A 'Tai' ballgame: Our records here at MiLB.com only date back to 2005, but June 28's ballgame between the Boise Hawks and Tri-City Dust Devils may very well have been a professional baseball first. The pitchers on both ends of the decision hailed from Taiwan, with Boise's Yao-Lin Wang earning the win and Tri-City's Ching-Lung Lo taking the loss.

You look familiar: Veteran backstop Corky Miller has never suited up for the Toledo Mud Hens, yet he's appeared at the team's Fifth Third Field in every season of the facility's existence. Miller has visited as a member of the Louisville Bats (2002-04, 2009-11), Rochester Red Wings (2005), Pawtucket Red Sox (2006) and Richmond Braves (2007-08).

Anything you can do I can do equally well: On June 7, Chattanooga's Nathan Eovaldi concluded his eighth-inning relief appearance with a pitch clocked at a smoking 100 miles per hour. In the bottom of the frame, rehabbing Aroldis Chapman hit 100 with his first offering. To simplify: that's two consecutive pitches, thrown by two pitchers, both clocking in at 100 miles an hour.

D'oh!: "Walk-off botched fielder's choice" doesn't have quite the same ring to it as "walk-off homer", but the Arkansas Travelers were more than happy to win a ballgame that way against visiting Northwest Arkansas. The Travs had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the 10th when Alberto Rosario hit a ground ball to third baseman Kurt Mertins. Mertins stepped on third for the second out of the frame and then threw home, but back-up catcher Ben Theriot forgot that there was no longer a force play after the out at third was made and allowed Chris Pettit to breeze home with the winning run.

Little help?: Chad James of the Jupiter Hammerheads is currently in possession of a horrendous 0-11 record, despite possessing a respectable 3.38 ERA. The tough-luck lefty has allowed four runs or fewer in 15 of his 16 starts, and he has lost eight of his 10 home starts while posting a 3.21 ERA.

In spite of it all: Four Altoona Curve pitchers combined to allow a franchise-record 20 hits against New Hampshire on June 15, but no matter. The Curve were still able to pull out an 11-10 victory, highlighted by a three-run 10th inning that included just one hit.

Déjà vu: The Midland RockHounds turned a triple play against Tulsa on May 29, and it took just 22 days for them to repeat the accomplishment. This time Frisco was the victimized team, with Michael Bianucci lining into a 4-3-4 triple play. Second baseman Adam Heether began and ended the play, a fitting counterpoint to the 5-4-3 play on May 29, in which he was the middle participant.

The purposeful Tourist: Corey Dickerson of the Asheville Tourists finished the month of June with seven homers and 21 RBIs, accumulating nearly half of that within the span of a single ballgame. The Rockies prospect tied a South Atlantic League record by driving in 10 runs against Augusta on June 4, connecting for a sacrifice fly in the first, three-run homer in the third, another sac fly in the fourth, a two-run homer in the sixth and another three-run homer in the seventh.

An E-mazing evening: The Montgomery Biscuits have made 70 errors on the season, tied for fourth fewest in the Southern League. A wildly disproportionate number of these miscues were made on June 4 against Jackson, as five fielders combined to make eight errors. Three belonged to third baseman Henry Wrigley (including two on the same play), and catcher Nevin Ashley made a pair of throwing errors.

Not the intent: The Biscuits' "E"-laden loss occurred just one night after an equally excruciating defeat at the hands of the Jackson Generals. Montgomery put three runs on the board with two outs in the ninth to take a 3-1 lead, only to have Jackson tie it in the bottom of the frame. The teams then traded runs in the 10th. In the 11th, Paul Phillips allowed the winning run to score after uncorking a wild pitch during an intentional walk.

Bottom feeders: The Carolina Mudcats concluded the first half of the season by winning four of five games against the Jackson Generals. This effort snapped a 21-series losing streak, one that dated all the way back to July of 2010, when the Jackson team was called the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx.

Upon further review: Tyler Colvin of the Iowa Cubs entered the Pacific Coast League record books on June 17, hitting for the cycle as part of a 13-10 loss to Albuquerque. Then, nearly as quickly, his name was erased. After the game, the official scorer ruled that Colvin's ninth-inning single (which had completed the feat) was, in fact, an error.

Well-rounded: Through their first 50 games of the season, the Salem Red Sox collected 400 hits over 1,600 at-bats (a .250 average) en route to compiling a record of 25-25.

Better late than never department: The following two items should have been included in the May edition of "Crooked Numbers", but weren't brought to our attention in time.

Making the best of it: Buffalo earned a doubleheader sweep of Gwinnett on May 29, doing so amidst a unique set of circumstances. The Bisons won Game 1 by a score of 5-3, despite having just two at-bats with runners in scoring position (one of which was Val Pascucci's fifth-inning grand slam). Game 2 was even more anomalous, with the Bisons winning 2-1 despite not having a single at-bat with a runner in scoring position. Both runs were scored in the fourth inning, thanks to solo homers by Michael Fisher and Lucas Duda. The Bisons left just three runners on base throughout the entire doubleheader, all of them in Game 1.

Heads-up baserunning: Clinton's 4-3 victory over Fort Wayne on May 31 was aided and abetted by the alert 10th-inning baserunning of Anthony Phillips. With Phillips on second and no outs, batter Kalian Sams wandered over to the third base coach for a quick conversation while TinCaps infielders held a meeting on the mound. Phillips, realizing that time had not been called, darted to third and ended up scoring the go-ahead run on Sams' sacrifice fly.

Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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