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08/01/2008 10:00 AM ET
Beyond the Box Score: July in the Minors
A look at some of the quirkier happenings over the last month
Springfield catcher Matt Pagnozzi earned a win on the mound and doubled off the opposing catcher in a Texas League game on July 14. (Jerry Hale/


The purpose of "Beyond the Box Score" is to take a look back at the month that was in the Minor Leagues, highlighting some of the many curious and absurd incidents that have taken place. Enjoy, and please don't hesitate to get in touch with suggestions for future editions of this column.

You Are About to Enter the Twilight Zone: Games don't get much weirder than Springfield's 7-3, 13-inning win over Tulsa on July 14. In a perhaps unprecedented occurrence, the winning and losing "pitchers" were both catchers. The historic contest was the second game of a doubleheader, and both teams ran out of genuine hurlers as the night wore on. Cardinals backstop Matt Pagnozzi tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings and earned the win, while former teammate Brian Esposito threw three shutout frames for Tulsa before allowing four runs in the 13th -- three of which came as a result of Pagnozzi's bases-loaded double.

Don't Get Too Comfortable: There's nothing very remarkable about Zack Segovia's stats this season -- the 25-year-old right-hander is 5-6 with a 5.60 ERA over 19 appearances. What is remarkable is that Segovia has compiled these numbers while playing for six different teams. He started the year with the Double-A Reading Phillies and was sent to Class A Advanced Clearwater in early May. After being released by the Phillies organization in June, Segovia signed with the Washington Nationals. He began this new phase of his career in the Rookie Gulf Coast League, then made one start for Class A Hagerstown and three for Class A Advanced Potomac before moving up to the Double-A Harrisburg Senators. The Texas native came full circle in a July 29 start, when his opponent that evening was none other than the Reading Phillies.

What's a Phenom Gotta Do to Get a Win Around Here? Twenty-year-old Clayton Kershaw may be one of the most highly touted young players in all of baseball, but wins have been exceedingly hard for him to come by this season. The left-handed Texan began the year with the Jacksonville Suns, where he went 0-2 over 10 appearances despite a 2.28 ERA. He then received a promotion to the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he compiled an 0-2 record and 4.42 ERA over eight starts before being sent back to Jacksonville. On July 11, Kershaw tossed seven innings of scoreless "relief" for the Suns in the completion of a suspended game and finally picked up his well-deserved first "W" of the season.

Starters in Relievers' Clothing: Kershaw wasn't the only starting pitcher to earn a win in an unorthodox relief appearance this month. On July 14, Trenton's Phil Coke pitched a season-high eight innings and notched a career-high 11 strikeouts in relief of rehabbing Yankees reliever Brian Bruney. Three days later, Lehigh Valley's J.A. Happ pitched seven hitless innings and struck out 12 to complete a ballgame that had been suspended July 3. Happ's opponent on the mound for the first two innings of the resumed contest was none other than Bruney, who was then rehabbing for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Walk You Like a Hurricane: The Mahoning Valley Scrappers scored five runs in the fifth inning against the Brooklyn Cyclones on July 7, despite the fact that they did not hit safely in the frame. Cyclones starter Jenrry Mejia walked the bases loaded to start the inning and was summarily yanked from the ballgame. Wendy Rosa then issued a free pass to the lone batter he faced, and Jimmy Johnson followed with three walks before he was removed in favor of Roy Merritt. The fourth time was the charm, apparently, as Merritt went on to retire all eight batters he faced. The Cyclones, meanwhile, went on to lose by a score of 8-4.

And the Walks Just Keep on Comin': On July 14, the Charleston RiverDogs defeated the West Virginia Power by a score of 9-8. The Power pitching staff issued 13 free passes in the ballgame, and the winning run was pushed across in the bottom of the ninth by -- you guessed it -- a bases-loaded walk.

RISP-y Business: The Jacksonville Suns would like to forget the events of July 7 as soon as possible. That afternoon the club went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position and left 20 runners on base en route to losing to Mobile, 4-3, in 15 innings. Ivan DeJesus' RBI single in the seventh inning marked the lone time in the ballgame that a Jacksonville player hit safely with a runner in scoring position.

A Triumvirate of Triples: Dunedin's Adam Calderone has hit four triples over his past 31 ballgames. This fact is not significant in and of itself, of course, but what is significant is that three of the four came in the same game. On July 10, the 24-year-old outfielder laced a three-bagger in the first, fifth and eighth innings as the Blue Jays coasted to a 9-1 win over the Daytona Cubs.

Another Anomaly Involving the Triple: On July 11, the Lancaster JetHawks hit five triples en route to defeating Lake Elsinore, 17-8. They managed to hit nine three-baggers over the other 24 games they played this month, however.

Not Nearly as Impressive As It Sounds: The Norfolk Tides defeated the Durham Bulls in a rain-shortened contest July 6, and the starting pitcher from both teams went the distance. The ballgame was hardly a taut pitcher's duel, however. The winning pitcher was Chris Waters, who allowed three runs on three hits and two walks over five frames. Mitch Talbot took the loss after yielding eight runs on 12 hits over six innings.

Thirsty for a Win on Thursday: The Lake Elsinore Storm went 0-14 on Thursdays this season before finally breaking through with a win against Lake Elsinore on July 17. That triumph came on "Guaranteed Win Night," as the club's frustrated front office had promised fans free tickets to the following evening's game if the Storm did not emerge victorious. Unfortunately, the club went back to their losing ways the following Thursday.

Hammerin' Hank: Over his first 101 at-bats of the season, Rancho Cucamonga's Hank Conger managed to hit two home runs. The 20-year-old DH significantly increased this meager total July 16, when he went yard three times in one game against High Desert. Then, for good measure, he added another two home runs the next evening as well. Unfortunately, Conger has not gone deep since this anomalous outburst, and his season total remains at seven.

One Legendary Day: Lexington Legends catcher Jonathan Fixler hit three home runs against Columbus on July 20. He did not hit another long ball throughout the entire month of July.

When It Rains: From July 20-22, Bowie's Sebastian Boucher enjoyed a stretch where he hit four home runs over three games. Prior to this power outburst, the center fielder had mustered a lone homer over his previous 79 games -- dating back to last season.

Consolidating His Output: Ryan Roberts of the Oklahoma RedHawks drove in a season-high seven runs against Colorado Springs on July 27, all of which came in the second inning. The second baseman jump-started the 11-run frame with a three-run homer to left-center field, then capped the scoring with a grand slam. Prior to his breakout inning, Roberts had gone 10 games without an RBI.

An All-Star Break Sandwich on Delicious Two-Homer Bread: Chattanooga's Dan Dorn wasn't about to let a man-made aberration such as the Southern League All-Star break affect his hitting groove. The 24-year-old outfielder enjoyed a two-homer game against Huntsville on July 12, then received three days off due to the All-Star break. He returned to action July 16 against Mobile and once again blasted a pair of dingers.

By Any Means Necessary: Clinton third baseman Jonathan Greene has drawn an unremarkable 37 walks this season, but he'd probably have more if he didn't have such a remarkable penchant for getting plunked. The 22-year-old has been beaned 28 times this season, including a stretch of five games from July 10-14 in which he was hit five times.

Muffing His Way into the Record Books: Ed Lucas set a Northwest Arkansas Naturals record July 21 by collecting six hits in a ballgame, a remarkable performance that was highlighted by his game-winning triple in the 13th inning. But the only reason Lucas was able to reach those lofty heights was because of his ninth-inning throwing error, which allowed Springfield to tie the game, 7-7. Without this miscue, Lucas would have finished the day with a far less remarkable four hits.

At Least It Was a Creative Way to Lose: It isn't often that a game ends on an appeal play, but that's what happened in New Britain's 7-6 win over Reading on July 22. With runners on first and third and one out in the top of the ninth, Reading's Jeremy Sellers drove home Lou Marson with what appeared to be a game-tying sacrifice fly. But after an appeal by New Britain, it was ruled that Marson had left third base before the catch was made by right fielder Matt Moses. Marson's run was negated and Sellers' sac fly was transformed into a game-ending, 9-1-5 double play.

Canceling Each Other Out: Albuquerque's 16-13 win over Sacramento on July 23 was a grueling affair, and not just because inclement weather caused the game to be played over the course of two days. The most noticeable aspect of this 37-hit slugfest was that it featured two pitchers who gave up 10 or more runs, and neither of these bruised and battered hurlers factored into the decision. Isotopes starter Steve Woodard was touched for 10 runs over four innings, while Brad Knox of the RiverCats yielded 11 runs over 5 1/3 frames.

A Victorious Strikeout: In a scene eerily reminiscent of Charlotte's June 24 win over Norfolk, the Toledo Mud Hens defeated the Pawtucket Red Sox on July 28 thanks to a walk-off strikeout. With runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning, Timo Perez fanned on a wild pitch uncorked by Lincoln Holdzkom. He then beat out catcher Dusty Brown's throw to first base as Freddy Guzman scampered home with the game's winning run.

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