Here is hoping everyone gets to enjoy a fireworks show at a ballpark near home on this Fourth of July Weekend. Baseball does these events really well.
The Lincoln (NE) Saltdogs might have been expecting fireworks when Jarrett Gardner took the mound Tuesday at St. Paul, MN since he had hurled the franchise's first no-hit game his last time out, allowing only a single walk to El Paso and winning, 4-0. Gardner (5-3, 4.10) gave up seven hits and four runs against the Saints, leaving with one out in the seventh and a 6-4 lead. The Saltdogs' bullpen coughed up the lead, eventually losing 8-7 in the American Association battle.
GAGNE CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE
Longtime major league closer Eric Gagne probably would have traded places with Jarrett Gardner since he is continuing to struggle. Now 33 and trying to return to form as a starting pitcher, Gagne's earned run average for Quebec in the Can-Am League jumped to 10.80 when New Hampshire bombed him for 14 hits and nine runs (eight earned) in only five innings on Monday.
The most telling statistic may be that the once overpowering right-hander has only been able to strike out eight Can-Am League hitters in 20 innings covering four starts.
It is an understatement to say it takes a while to collect 1,000 professional hits, but the feat was accomplished twice in a short span in Independent Baseball.
Brockton, MA first baseman Clyde Williams achieved the feat in style when he slugged two home runs, scored four times and drove in five runs as the Rox routed the American Defenders of New Hampshire, 10-3. Saving the best for last, Williams blasted a towering three-run homer to cap off a 3-for-3 performance in a Can-Am League game.
Meanwhile, Gary, IN shortstop Jay Pecci's 1,000th hit (in only 1,024 games) landed behind the pitcher's mound against Northern League rival Kansas City, KS. Like Williams, Pecci got to enjoy his accomplishment in front of home fans.
AN EXCEPTIONAL MONTH
It is no wonder Wichita, KS outfielder Greg Porter was named American Association Player of the Month for June. He had 50 hits in a mere 27 games, good for a .481 average. Porter also drove in 21 runs, scored 23 times and had a blistering .571 on-base percentage.