The purpose of "Crooked Numbers" is to take a look back at the month that was in the Minors, highlighting some of the curious and absurd incidents that have taken place. Enjoy, and please don't hesitate to get in touch with suggestions.
Heady approach: Of all the triple plays that have been turned in the Minor Leagues this season, the one accomplished by Logan Schafer and his Nashville Sounds stands head and shoulders above the rest. The Omaha Storm Chasers had runners on first and second when Clint Robinson ripped a line drive into center field. Schafer gave chase, and the ball bounced off of his glove and then his head before he made the putout. He relayed the ball to second baseman Eric Farris, who stepped on the bag and threw to first baseman Mat Gamel to complete this most cerebral triple play.
Let's take two: The Iowa Cubs banged out 17 hits en route to a 14-7 victory over Oklahoma City on Aug. 23, and of these 17 hits a whopping 10 were doubles. Bryan LaHair led the way with four doubles, and Lou Montanez chipped in with a pair.
All in a day's work: Not only did West Virginia's Kevin Mort collect three hits in a 19-inning loss to Greensboro on Aug. 25, but he pitched the final 5 1/3 frames as well. The second baseman became a reliever in the 14th with his club holding a 4-2 lead. He allowed two runs in the inning, unfortunately, but held the Grasshoppers scoreless for the next four frames before finally taking the loss in a game that took more than five hours to complete.
So much more: Frederick suffered a 12-1 loss to Lynchburg on Aug. 21 in which each of the Keys' four pitchers possessed monikers that were more than a little bit similar. Nathan Moreau started for the Keys and took the loss, and he was followed on the mound by Justin Moore, Kenny Moreland and, in a mop-up role, moonlighting backstop Kyle Moore.
The grandest slam of all: It's oft been said that the inside-the-park home run is the most exciting play in baseball. And, surely, the most exciting type of inside-the-park home run is that which occurs with the bases loaded. Winston-Salem's Nick Ciolli accomplished just this in the third inning of a game against Wilmington on Aug. 2, hitting a two-out, two-strike offering off the top of the wall in right-center field and coming around to score. The unlikely four-run shot propelled the Dash to a 6-4 victory.
Everett AquaSox catcher Larry Gonzalez joined the "inside-the-park grand slam" club two weeks later, accomplishing the feat in the third inning of a game against Eugene. Gonzalez's "insider," a two-out drive to the left-field corner, remains the only home run he has hit in 115 at-bats this season.
Anomalous in Albuquerque: On Aug. 9, the Albuquerque Isotopes hit back-to-back-to-back home runs for the first time in club history. This tater triumvirate occurred in the seventh inning of an eventual 19-6 romp over the Salt Lake Bees, but it didn't come east. Jerry Sands hit a two-run homer, and Jamie Hoffmann followed with a dinger of his own, his second of the game. Then, after both a pitching change and a 15-minute delay due to a faulty light tower, Justin Sellers came to the plate and hit yet another home run.
Anomalous in Omaha: Entering Aug. 13's game against Salt Lake, Omaha's Jarrod Dyson had hit exactly one home run over 1,161 career Minor League at-bats. But he went long in that evening's ballgame and then, for good measure, blasted another home run the very next day. The 5-foot-9, 160-pound center fielder capped the month with yet another long ball, giving the newly turned 27-year-old a whopping four career home runs in 1,394 at-bats.
Had a bad day: Spokane right fielder Guillermo Pimentel has committed four errors over 60 games this season, and three of them came in the same game. The 21-year-old made a throwing error in the third, setting the stage for a seventh-inning misadventure in which he made a fielding and throwing error on the same play. But Pimentel wasn't the only Spokane player to have a tough day with the leather -- the Indians made seven overall.
Going in cycles: On Aug. 13, Jared Yakubik of the Orem Owlz and Daniel Mateo of the Idaho Falls Chukars both managed to hit for the cycle. This marked the fourth and fifth time in 2011 that a Pioneer League player had accomplished the feat, after three seasons in which no one had done it. Billings' Bryson Smith capped the month with a cycle of his own, while teammate Ryan Wright fell a single shy in the same game, nearly giving the league its seventh cycle this season.
I learned it from watching you: Left-hander Shawn Teufel was called up from Class A Advanced Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo on Aug. 18 to make a spot start. His opponent that evening was the Buffalo Bisons, managed by none other than his father, Tim Teufel. Youth ruled the day, as Shawn pitched six scoreless frames and earned the win as Toledo cruised to a 4-0 win.
Four-four time: The Altoona Curve enjoyed a successful bottom of the second inning against Binghamton on Aug. 2, scoring four times en route to an 11-3 win. But not only did the team score four runs in the frame, they struck out four times as well. Jeurys Familia recorded the first three strikeouts, with Quincy Latimore reaching first base after whiffing at a wild pitch (one of three wild pitches Familia uncorked in the inning). Erik Turgeon eventually came on in relief of Familia and struck out Andrew Lambo to end the frame.
Destiny: It was fitting that the lone 23-11 game to be played in 2011 took place on the 23rd day of the month. The Salt Lake Bees were the victors, enjoying just such a romp over Colorado Springs. Not only did every player hit safely and score a run, but everyone except leadoff man Alexi Amarista enjoyed a multi-hit game. Four of these eight individuals collected a whopping four hits apiece.
Down with the sickness: The month's lone 21-11 ballgame wasn't played on Aug. 21, unfortunately, but the contest nonetheless has an interesting backstory. The Asheville Tourists walloped Hagerstown, hitting a team-record eight home runs (Corey Dickerson led the way with three). But this offensive explosion occurred on a night in which the Tourists were hardly at their healthiest.
"Eleven guys on the team were sick with a stomach virus," Dickerson told MiLB.com after the game. "Avery Barnes had to leave the game, and we only had one bench player who was not sick."
Welcome to the club: On Aug. 2, second baseman Steve Singleton received word that he was being promoted from Class A Lakewood to Double-A Reading. He made his R-Phils debut later that day, batting as a pinch-hitter with the bases loaded in the sixth inning. The 25-year-old promptly blasted a grand slam on the first pitch he saw as a member of the team, propelling Reading to an 8-4 victory over Harrisburg.
Taking it to the next level: Third baseman Kyle Seager suited up for the Tacoma Rainiers on Aug. 2 and had a game to forget, going 0-for-5. But any failures at the plate were quickly forgotten, as after the game the 23-year-old received a promotion to the Seattle Mariners. He drove immediately to Seattle's Safeco Field, arriving in time to make an eighth-inning pinch-hit appearance during that evening's game against Oakland.
More than a Workman-like effort: Outfielder Andy Workman made his Cedar Rapids debut Aug. 23 and immediately made a huge impression. The 2011 Angels draftee pinch-hit in the bottom of the seventh inning and blasted a three-run homer, then remained in the game and delivered a walk-off single in the ninth as the Kernels stunned Peoria, 4-3.
Nothing but glove: Kelly Dugan of the Williamsport Crosscutters has shown a special flair for reaching base in perhaps the most unorthodox way possible: catcher's interference. The 21-year-old outfielder has reached base six times via this method over just 47 games. He has as many catcher's interferences as he does doubles (four) and home runs (two) combined.
Making 'em count: Aberdeen managed to defeat Lowell by a score of 1-0 on Aug. 3, despite collecting just two hits over the 11-inning contest. Kyle Hopper, the ninth hitter in the IronBirds' lineup, singled in the third before delivering a game-winning triple in the 11th.