Hicks is hot but has he turned a corner? (Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

On the Pond Daily (7/8): Two Home Run Day for Amaurys Minier

On July 8th, 2013 the Twins organization went 4-5 as six of the nine starters failed to pitch past the 5th inning.

Minnesota Twins (37-49): 7-4 loss to Tampa Bay (50-40)

RHP Sam Deduno (6.0 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO) gave up more than nine hits for the first time all season. Ron Gardenhire let him take the mound in the 7th which proved to be a crucial error in judgment. Deduno gave up a home run and triple to the first two batters he faced before he was lifted. Caleb Thielbar game in and struck out Luke Scott before allowing a 2-run homer to Ben Zobrist. That home run sadly ended Thielbar’s scoreless streak at an even 20.0 innings pitched.

1B Justin Morneau (1-3) hit a solo shot in the 4th inning. It was his fourth home run in his last 10 games after hitting just three in 71 games to start the year.

More encouraging than Morneau’s recent power surge has been the play of CF Aaron Hicks who looks far more comfortable at the plate since he came off the disabled list. He went 4-4 yesterday with two double, a triple and two runs scored. For the month of July Hicks has 10 hits in 25 at bats, has pushed his average up over 0.200 (0.205) for the first time all season and is hitting a robust 0.400/.444/.720 (7 G)

Rochester Red Wings (47-46): 6-3 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (45-46)

LHP Andrew Albers (5.0 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO) established a new single season high in innings pitched in yesterday’s start. He eclipsed his previous high of 103.0 set last season in New Britain (98.1) and the GCL (4.1) and now has an even 104.0 IP thus far. Albers has put together a solid 2013 campaign with a 3.29 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 91-26 SO-to-BB but he’s prone to mixing in the occasional clunker. Yesterday was just one of those days.

Chris Herrmann hit his first home run with the Red Wings this year in the first inning bit did little else finishing 1-4 with 2 SO. LF Eric Farris put together a 3-hit game with his 9th double of the year.

New Britain Rock Cats (44-45): 2-1 win over Portland (45-42)

RHP Virgil Vasquez (9.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO) fantastic outing by the 31-year old veteran that helps the Rock Cats get ever closer to 0.500.

Four of New Britain’s seven hits on Monday went for extra bases. Both runs came by way of solo homers off the bats of RF Daniel Ortiz (2-4) and CF Jordan Parraz (2-4, SO).

Fort Myers Miracle (54-29): 5-3 loss to St. Lucie (45-39)

LHP Jason Wheeler (6.1 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO) appears to have returned to his steady, reasonably effective ways after he failed to get out of the 5th inning in back-to-back starts on June 19th and 25th.

SS Aderlin Mejia (2-5, 2 R) hit in his fifth straight game and is 8-23 during the streak. C Matt Koch (2-4, 2B, RBI) is also on a nice run with seven hits in his last 16 at bats (0.438).

Cedar Rapids Kernels (53-33): 5-3 win over Clinton (42-45)

RHP Jose Berrios (4.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 1 SO) failed to get past the 5th inning for the second straight start but his bullpen covered for him. Steven Gruver and Tyler Jones combined to throw 5.0 innings or 2-hit shutout relief. They walked just one and struck out seven.

DH Dalton Hicks had two of the Kernels four hits and his 27th double of the season was the team’s only extra-base hit. Even when the bats sputter for Cedar Rapids they find other ways to score and win games. On Monday they got the job done by drawing nine walks as a team.

Elizabethton Twins (12-5): 4-1 and 2-0 losses to Burlington (10-7)

Game 1: LHP Hein Robb (4.2 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO)

Game 2: LHP Randy Rosario (5.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO)

Elizabethton managed just eight hits and three walks combined in the two games (0.160). SS Ryan Walker went 2-2 with a walk and scored the only run in the first game. RF Romy Jimenez went 2-3 with a double – the team’s only XBH – in the second contest.

GCL Twins (9-6): 11-4 win over the GCL Rays (5-8)

RHP Nick Blackburn (5.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO)

Unlike the E-Twins, the GCL affiliate had no trouble hitting the ball (16-37) and hit for plenty of power as well (3 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR).

Both home runs were of the solo variety and came off the bat of 3B Amaurys Minier (2-4, BB). Both triples were courtesy of 2B Jonatan Hinojosa (3-4, 3 R, 4 RBI). DH Zach Larson also had a 3-hit, 4 RBI game with a run, double and stolen base.

DSL Twins (16-16): 2-0 win over the DSL D-Backs (12-19)

RHP Onesimo Hernandez (3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO)

3B Carlos Martinez (2-4, 2B, SO, SB)

Transactions:

Outrighted to Rochester: RHP P.J. Walters – It’s not a surprise that the righty cleared waivers and stayed in the organization and he can certainly help bolster the Red Wings rotation as they continue to surge. In 9 Triple-A starts he has a 3.31 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 46-16 SO-to-BB (54.1 IP). Unfortunately he’s been unable to generate results even close to that in the big leagues and it seems unlikely that he’ll get another chance to start in Minnesota this season.

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