Crooked Numbers: Baffling big flies

Pair of slams, bevy of back-to-backs highlight wild June

Gregorio Petit belted a pair of grand slams for the RedHawks on June 22. (Todd Shurtleff/

By Benjamin Hill / Special to | July 1, 2010 5:52 AM ET

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.

To Be Continued...: The box score will note that Wilmington's Chris Dwyer pitched the first complete game of his professional career on June 13. But this nine-inning effort was achieved in an exceedingly unique fashion as the game took place over a five-day period. Dwyer started against Winston-Salem on June 13 and pitched three scoreless innings before the game was postponed due to heavy rain. The action resumed June 18 in Wilmington with the Blue Rocks playing as the road team in their home ballpark. Dwyer picked up right where he left off, striking out 11 batters over the game's remaining six innings en route to his fifth win of the season.

Making Up for Lost Time: Gregorio Petit of the Oklahoma City RedHawks hit a grand slam in the fifth inning of June 22's game against New Orleans, marking the first time in 2,795 at-bats that he had done so. The 25-year-old shortstop didn't have to wait long for his next one, however, as he blasted another grand slam in the eighth to break a 5-5 deadlock. Petit became just the fourth player in Pacific Coast League history to hit two grand slams in one game, joining Pete Schneider (1923), Babe Pinelli (1929) and A.J. Pierzynski (2000).

Charlotte Shutdown: The Charlotte Stone Crabs' bullpen went 18 games and 48 1/3 innings without allowing a run, a streak of superb relief work that finally came to end when Chris Andujar yielded an RBI triple on June 16.

A Little Help: On June 15, the Corpus Christi Hooks tied a Texas League record by recording just one assist in the entirety of a nine-inning ballgame. The lone assist occurred with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning when second baseman German Duran fielded a groundout and threw to first to retire Mitch Canham. The Hooks recorded 13 strikeouts, 10 fly outs and three ground outs to first during this most anomalous contest and edged the San Antonio Missions, 6-5.

Back-to-Back Goes Back-to-Back with Back-to-Back-to-Back: The Indianapolis Indians hit five home runs in the span of just two innings en route to a 15-3 romp over Toledo on June 27. Jeff Clement and Brian Myrow hit consecutive shots to lead off the second, but were trumped one-inning later when Brandon Moss, Alex Presley and Steve Pearce hit three in a row. The icing on the cake of this offensive explosion was that Presley ended up hitting for the cycle.

Adventures in Game Saving: Wilmington's Eric Basurto entered June 5's contest against Potomac with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning and retired the lone batter he faced in the frame. The right-hander still managed to allow two runs, however, issuing a pair of balks before inducing Jose Lozada to fly out to left field. Basurto returned to pitch the ninth, striking out the side in order. His efforts earned him a save in the Blue Rocks' 6-4 victory.

Ups and Downs: On June 8, the Visalia Rawhide managed to overcome a four-run deficit and blow a five-run lead over the span of three innings. Down 4-0 after five, the club scored five in the sixth and four in the eighth to take a 9-4 lead. The Lancaster JetHawks scored sixth in the bottom of the eighth, however, setting the stage for a three-run Visalia ninth that resulted in an 12-10 victory.

The 639th Time's the Charm: It took three seasons and 639 at-bats, but on June 6 Peter Hissey of the Salem Red Sox did something he had never done before: he hit a home run. The 20-year-old's first dinger came in the third inning of a game against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans and proved to be the difference as the Red Sox eked out a 5-4 win.

Take Your Base: Seth Loman was hit by a pitch five times in the month of June, running his season total in this painful category to a whopping 21. Loman is on pace to far exceed the Carolina League single-season record for plunks; the current mark of 24 was set by Rusty Crockett in 1989.

Pitcher Designated to Hit: Marcus McBeth is a reliever by trade, but on June 13 he served as the designated hitter for the injury-decimated Sacramento River Cats. The moonlighting hurler acquitted himself well in the unfamiliar role, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. McBeth was drafted by the Athletics as an outfielder in 2001 but switched to the mound in 2005. His stint as a DH marked the first time he had batted in a regular-season game since Sept. 6, 2004.

Rarities: The bottom of the second inning of June 23's contest between Lehigh Valley and Norfolk included two seldom-seen occurrences. Josh Bell reached on catcher's interference to start the frame, benefiting from the wayward glovework of backstop Paul Hoover. Three batters later, Robert Andino ended the inning when he was called out on the rarely utilized "automatic strike" (apparently he failed to comply with home plate umpire Travis Brown's warning to get back in the batter's box). Andino was thrown out of the game after arguing the ruling, and as an encore Hoover was called for yet another catcher's interference the following inning.

Anything but a Miracle: The Fort Myers Miracle lost the first seven games they played against the Palm Beach Cardinals this season, with three of those defeats occurring in the ninth inning or later. The most demoralizing of this string of defeats occurred June 14 when Richard Racobaldo hit a two-out grand slam on an 0-2 count to give the Cardinals an 8-5 advantage. The game-winning slam was the only home run that Racobaldo has hit in 258 at-bats this season, and it made a loser out of Billy Bullock. The 22-year-old Bullock went 0-4 for the Miracle before receiving a promotion, and three of these losses were to Palm Beach.

Doublin' Port: The Stockton Ports pounded out a season-high 21 hits in a blowout 14-3 win over Bakersfield on June 15. Eleven of these hits were doubles, tying a California League record. The first seven batters in the Ports lineup all had at least one two-bagger, with third baseman Steven Parker contributing four. Parker's two-base prowess marked the 14th time in Cal League history that a player was able to accumulate so many doubles within the span of a single game.

At Home on the Road: Matt McBride of the Akron Aeros reached basely safely in his first 30 road games of the season, a streak that was finally snapped on June 20 in Portland. This remarkable streak has only resulted in modest stats as McBride is batting .286 on the road this season while reaching base at a .352 clip.

Cycle of the Month: Cycles don't come any speedier than the one Dexter Fowler enjoyed on June 20 against the Las Vegas 51s. The Sky Sox center fielder needed just five innings and four at-bats to accomplish the feat, and did it in reverse order to boot. Fowler homered in the first, tripled in the second, doubled in the fourth and singled in the fifth as the Sky Sox coasted to a 13-4 victory.

The Third Out Is the Hardest: The Reno Aces scored 11 runs in the seventh inning June 21, a massive frame that gave them a decisive 13-5 win over Fresno. The Aces were able to put together this big inning despite the fact that nine runs scored after there were two outs no one on. Ed Rogers was caught stealing for the second out of the frame, but this miscue was followed by three walks, a two-run single, a hit batter, another two-run single, a walk, an RBI single, a run-scoring fielder's choice, yet another two-run single and an RBI single before John Hester lined out to finally end the inning.

Irreplacable: Second baseman David Narodowski took the mound for the South Bend Silver Hawks on June 30, assuming mop-up duty with his team on the short end of an 11-3 score. The moonlighting middle infielder pitched a 1-2-3 eighth against his West Michigan opponents, recording three consecutive ground outs. Narodowski then switched places with shortstop Victor Estevez in the ninth, but Estevez allowed four runs while retiring just two batters. This precipitated a return trip to the mound for Narodowski, who retired Michael Rockett on a ground ball to shortstop Estevez to end the frame. All told, Narodowski pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings over the span of 10 batters.

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

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