Rodolfo Fernandez had been good in 23 relief appearances for the Class-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers this season, his first as a professional after signing with the Milwaukee Brewers in June 2012 following his defection from Cuba.
His first professional start on Sunday afternoon was dazzling. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed just one run on four hits over six innings with five strikeouts and the Timber Rattlers picked up some ground in the Midwest League playoff chase with a 3-1 win over the Kane County Cougars at Grand Chute.
Fernandez was touched for a run in the sixth, ending a streak of 22 scoreless innings that dated to July 19.
Alfredo Rodriguez got the Rattlers on the board with a third-inning RBI single and Parker Berberet drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in the fourth to make it 2-0.
Kane County finally got to Fernandez (4-3) in the sixth, but Wisconsin got the run back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI double by Max Walla.
Mike Strong came out of the bullpen and worked three scoreless innings to notch his first save of the season. He allowed three hits and struck out five.
Victor Roache had a pair of hits and scored a run for the Rattlers, who pulled to within three game of the Western Division second-half wild-card spot with eight games to play.
Third baseman Stephen Parker was 3-for-5 and fell just a single short of the cycle as the Triple-A Nashville Sounds snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 10-5 win Sunday night over the Albuquerque Isotopes at Albuquerque, N.M.
Parker put the Sounds up for good with a solo homer to center field, his eighth of the season, in the sixth inning.
Albuquerque led 1-0 after one inning, but Nashville came back with four in the top of the fifth. Starting pitcher Johnny Hellweg bounced an RBI single up the middle to tie the game, Sean Halton drew a bases-loaded walk to force home a run and Hunter Morris laced a two-run single to right-center.
But the Isotopes tied it with three in the bottom of the fifth, chasing Hellweg. The 6-foot-9 right-hander was touched up for four runs on four hits while walking six and fanning seven in 4.2 innings. His ERA jumped to 3.16 in the no-decision, pushing him behind Brian Flynn of New Orleans for the Pacific Coast League lead.
After Parker’s homer gave the Sounds the lead in the sixth, Nashville padded the advantage with four more runs in the seventh. Parker once again had the big blow—a bases-clearing triple—and Robinzon Diaz also had an RBI single in the frame.
The Sounds added a run in the eighth on a double-play grounder by Halton.
Donovan Hand (3-1) picked up the win for Nashville with 2.1 innings of relief, allowing a walk and striking out three. Dustin Molleken got the final six outs, allowing a run on a hit and two walks.
Parker led the Sounds’ 13-hit attack, which also got two hits apiece from Kentrail Davis, Josh Prince, Eugenio Velez and Morris.
The Mississippi Braves got to starter Taylor Jungmann early and the Double-A Huntsville Stars lost a 6-2 decision Sunday evening at Pearl, Miss.
Jungmann gave up two runs each in the first and second and was chased after allowing another tally in the fourth that put the Stars in a 5-0 hole. Jungmann (9-10) struggled with his control, walking seven in just 3.1 innings, while allowing five runs on three hits. Frankie De La Cruz allowed a run on three hits in 1.2 innings, while Micah Owings, Michael Olmstead and Eric Marzec each pitched a perfect inning of relief.
Huntsville did get on the board in the eighth on a two-run homer by Brock Kjeldgaard, his 21st of the season, tying him with teammate Jason Rogers and Joc Pederson of Chattanooga for the Southern League lead.
The Stars managed only five hits and struck out 12 times. Third baseman Mike Walker coaxed out three walks.
The High-A Brevard County Manatees were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday night, losing a 6-5 decision to the Dunedin Blue Jays at Viera, Fla.
The Manatees took a 5-1 lead with four runs in the bottom of the third, but Dunedin came back with a run in the fourth and took the lead for good in a four-run fifth.
Starter Brent Suter (7-9) took the loss for Brevard, allowing six runs—five earned—on 10 hits in 4.1 innings. He walked one and struck out four. Stephen Peterson allowed just a hit and a walk in 2.2 innings and Eric Arnett gave up a hit and struck out three in two innings of relief.
The Manatees got the game’s first run in the opening frame on an RBI single by Cameron Garfield.
The third-inning outburst was fueled by a two-run single by Mitch Haniger and RBI knocks for Greg Hopkins and Brandon Macias.
Garfield was 3-for-4 and Ben McMahan had a pair of hits for Brevard.
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