Beloit Snappers (Minnesota Twins)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The seventh-place Snappers are 24-32 in the second half, 10.5 games behind Peoria in the Western Division.
WHO'S HOT: RHP Liam Hendriks took a no-hitter into the seventh inning as the Snappers rolled to a 4-0 victory over Kane County on Saturday. INF Leonardo Gil broke up the no-hit bid when he led off the frame with a clean single to right field. Hendricks improved to 2-4 with a 3.49 ERA after giving up just the one hit, striking out five and issuing just one walk over seven innings.
WHO'S NOT: C Daniel Rams is batting a cool .205 (8-for-39) over his last 10 games. ... 3B Nathan Hanson is hitting a mere .208 (5-for-24) over his last seven contests.
DID YOU KNOW?: Despite struggling for most of the season, never winning more than four consecutive games and mired in the Midwest League's Western Division basement, the Snappers still find themselves in the Wild Card race. Thursday's 5-1 victory over Kane County moved Beloit within 2.5 games of Clinton for a playoff berth.
HE SAID IT: "I really can't believe it, for as poorly as we've played this season," RHP Bruce Pugh told the Beloit Daily News after limiting the Cougars to one run while striking out eight in 4 2/3 innings Thursday. "I think we've been playing better lately and the bats are starting to come around, so who knows?"
MORE ON PUGH: The 21-year-old has improved since moving from the Snappers' bullpen to the starting rotation. In 27 appearances as a reliever, Pugh owned a 3.92 ERA over 43 2/3 innings. In five starts, he's 1-1 with a 1.48 ERA over 24 1/3 frames while striking out 26. Opposing batters are hitting a mere .218 against Pugh since the switch.
Burlington Bees (Kansas City Royals)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The third-place Bees are 26-29 in the second half, eight games behind Peoria in the Western Division.
WHO'S HOT: OF Nicholas Francis is batting a healthy .378 (14-for-37) with three homers, nine RBIs and eight runs scored in his last nine games. ... 1B David Wood is hitting a robust .361 (13-for-36) with a homer, nine runs scored and nine RBIs over the same span.
WHO'S NOT: SS Yeldrys Molina is batting a cool .190 with just four hits in his last eight games.
DID YOU KNOW?: The Bees tied a season high with 20 hits in Saturday's 12-4 victory over Quad Cities. Every batter in Burlington's starting lineup had at least one hit. ... The Bees are holding tight to the final playoff spot in a close Western Division race.
ROSTER MOVES: INF Juan Rivera was placed on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 21, RHP Barry Bowden was promoted to Class A Advanced Wilmington of the Carolina League and INF Jason Morales joined the Bees from Idaho Falls of the Pioneer League on Saturday.
ODDS & ENDS: Francis had his 12-game hitting streak snapped Sunday with a 0-for-4 effort. ... Burlington took three of four games from Kane County in a recent series, including a 14-1 rout Tuesday at Community Field.
Cedar Rapids Kernels (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The second-place Kernels are 30-26 in the second half, 4.5 games behind Peoria in the Western Division.
WHO'S HOT: RHP Manaurys Correa flirted with a no-hitter and 3B Jon Townsend homered twice and drove in seven runs in the Kernels' 11-2 win over host Wisconsin on Saturday. Correa, who earned his first win since July 16, gave up two runs -- one earned -- on just two hits over 8 2/3 innings. His no-hit bid was broken up by 2B/3B Mike Brownstein's clean single with one out in the ninth.
HE SAID IT: "(Correa) threw the ball well," Cedar Rapids pitching coach Brandon Emanuel told MLB.com. "He mixed his pitches well, threw effective inside and used his changeup really well. He just kept them off-balance and really just attacked them all game."
DID YOU KNOW?: The Kernels' last no-hitter came Aug. 7, 1997, when Ramon Ortiz completed the feat against Quad Cities. ... Townsend is only the second Kernels player to homer twice in a game this year. (C Beau Brooks went deep twice June 13 at Quad Cities, going 4-for-4 with seven RBIs.) SS Darwin Perez was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs on Saturday and utility man Roberto Lopez hit his 11th home run, a solo shot in the fifth inning.
WE'LL TAKE IT: The Timber Rattlers took advantage of plenty of mistakes by the playoff-bound Kernels in an 8-5 win Sunday at Time Warner Cable Field. Cedar Rapids walked five batters, hit five others and threw three wild pitches.
CHARMING MAN: Tyler Chatwood (8-6, 3.69 ERA) tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings in a 4-1 victory over the Timber Rattlers on Friday, halting Wisconsin's four-game winning streak. Chatwood, who scattered two hits and four walks while striking out six, is 3-0 against the Timber Rattlers this season. In those three outings, Chatwood has scattered six hits, walked 12 and struck out 19 in 18 1/3 scoreless innings.
Clinton LumberKings (Seattle Mariners)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The fourth-place LumberKings are 25-30 in the second half, nine games behind Peoria in the Western Division.
WHO'S HOT: RHP Cheyne Hann extended his scoreless streak to 35 innings with 1 1/3 shutout frames in a 4-1 win over Peoria on Sunday at O'Brien Field. In 47 appearances this season, he is 2-0 with a tidy 1.00 ERA and has 10 saves in as many opportunities.
WHO'S NOT: 3B Nate Tenbrink is batting a mere .152 with five hits over his last 10 games. ... 2B Luis Nunez is batting just .138 with only four hits over his last eight contests. ... 1B Ian Bladergroen is batting a cool .176 with six hits over his last nine games.
DID YOU KNOW?: RHP Kenn Kasparek (10-6, 2.42 ERA), winner of six straight decisions, had the streak snapped Tuesday after giving up five runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings against Cedar Rapids at Alliant Energy Field. Kasparek's streak dated back to July 10.
ROSTER MOVES: OF Dwight Britton joined the LumberKings from Short-Season Pulaski when DH Kris Sanchez was placed on the disabled list.
Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The fourth-place Dragons are 26-29 in the second half, 13.5 games behind Fort Wayne in the Eastern Division.
WHO'S HOT: RHP Mark Serrano pushed his streak without allowing an earned run to 26 2/3 innings Saturday, helping Dayton defeat West Michigan, 7-5, on Saturday at Fifth Third Field. Serrano (2-0, 1.88 ERA) did not allow a run until the fourth inning, when the Whitecaps scored three times.
WHO'S NOT: RF Byron Wiley is hitting at just a .212 clip over his last nine games. ... 2B Cody Puckett is batting a cool .167 with five hits over his last nine games.
DID YOU KNOW?: Fort Wayne RHP Simon Castro fired the first no-hitter in franchise history Tuesday as the TinCaps defeated Dayton, 6-0, in seven innings to complete a sweep of a suspended doubleheader game. ... The game marked just the second time the Dragons have been no-hit in their 10-year history. Brian Wolfe of Quad Cities threw a no-hitter against the Dragons on Aug. 12, 2001.
STREAK SNAPPED: The host Dragons came from behind Thursday to defeat West Michigan, 5-4, at Fifth Third Field, snapping a six-game losing streak.
Fort Wayne TinCaps (San Diego Padres)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The first-place TinCaps are 40-16 in the second half, eight games ahead of Great Lakes and West Michigan in the Eastern Division.
WHO'S HOT: RHP Simon Castro threw Fort Wayne's first no-hitter in 17 years during the nightcap of Tuesday's doubleheader, a 6-0 win over visiting Dayton. Castro, who faced just one batter over the minimum, struck out a career-high-tying nine batters to add to his league lead (142).
DID YOU KNOW?: Tuesday's historic no-hitter also marked Fort Wayne's 16th shutout of the year, tying a franchise record from the 1993 season. ... Friday's 8-6 win over Lansing at Parkview Field gave manager Doug Dascenzo his 210th win as skipper in Fort Wayne, passing current Padres hitting coach Randy Ready for the franchise record.
HE SAID IT: "That's kind of unbelievable," Castro told MLB.com. "I never expected something like that to happen to me. In the fourth inning I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm throwing a no-hitter right now.' [Then] it was like, 'OK, keep focused, keep working.'"
GAME, SET, MATCH: OF Blake Tekotte homered in the 13th inning to hand Fort Wayne a 3-2 win over Lansing on Sunday at Parkview Field. The long ball snapped Tekotte's 0-for-27 skid and marked the first walk-off homer at Parkview Field. However, it was the second time this year Tekotte ended a game with a hit; he drove in the winning run with a double off the wall against Kane County to May 6.
RECORD-SETTING: Sunday's victory, the TinCaps' eighth walk-off win of the season, included two records. Fort Wayne set a franchise record with 95 home runs in a season, passing the 93 hit by the 2005 team. It was also the 48th home victory of the season, a franchise best. ... Fort Wayne allowed a season-high 15 runs and 18 hits in Thursday's 15-7 loss to Lansing. The Lugnuts' eight runs in the top of the first tied for the most runs allowed in an inning by the TinCaps this year.
Great Lakes Loons (Los Angeles Dodgers)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The Loons are 32-24 in the second half, tied for second place with West Michigan in the Eastern Division and eight games behind Fort Wayne.
WHO'S HOT: RF Jerry Sands is batting .294 910-for-34) with three homers, 10 runs scored and eight RBIs over his last 10 games. ... RF Kyle Russell is batting a healthy .313 (10-for-32) with a homer, eight RBIs and seven runs scored over his last nine contests. ... SS Dee Gordon is batting a robust .400 (14-for-35) with six RBIs and six runs scored over his last nine games.
DID YOU KNOW?: RHP JonMichael Redding tossed seven strong innings to lead Great Lakes to a 3-2 win over South Bend on Sunday at Coveleski Stadium as the Loons finished an eight-game road trip with a 5-3 record, their first winning trip of the second half.
ALL HANDS ON DECK: Russell hit his league-leading 25th home run of the season, LHP Aaron Miller allowed just one run through 5 1/3 innings and RHP Jordan Pratt recoded two outs in a 6-0 rain-shortened win over South Bend on Saturday.
GETTING OFFENSIVE: The Loons matched a franchise record, scoring 18 runs in a rout of host South Bend on Thursday at Coveleski Stadium. Great Lakes homered three times, pounded out 22 hits and every Loons starter picked up a hit and reached base at least twice.
SITTING 'EM DOWN: LHP Aaron Miller struck out eight over three innings, RHP Steve Smith hurled five frames for the win and LHP Cole St. Clair threw a scoreless ninth to notch his 12th save in the Loons' 7-5 win over Lansing on Monday at Oldsmobile Park. The trio combined to strike out 14 batters.
Kane County Cougars (Oakland A's)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The fifth-place Cougars are 25-31 in the second half, 9.5 games behind Peoria in the Western Division.
WHO'S HOT: 1B Stephen Parker is batting .300 (12-for-40) with two homers, eight RBIs and three runs scored over his last 10 games. ... LF Franklin Hernandez is hitting .324 (11-for-34) with three RBIs and two runs scored.
WHO'S NOT: RF Jeremy Barfield is batting a cool .139 with just five hits over his last nine games. ... SS Tyler Ladendorf is hitting just .211 with eight hits in his last nine games.
DID YOU KNOW?: RHP Mathieu Leblanc threw five wild pitches -- one short of a Midwest League record -- in a 14-1 loss Tuesday to Burlington at Community Field. Leblanc allowed eight runs on seven hits in just 3 1/3 innings to take the loss.
Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The last-place Lugnuts are 22-33 in the second half, 17.5 games behind Fort Wayne in the Eastern Division.
WHO'S HOT: 1B Michael McDade is batting a robust .444 (20-for-45) with two homers, eight runs scored and seven RBIs over his last 10 games. ... RF Johermyn Chavez is hitting .359 (14-for-39) with two homers, nine runs scored and six RBIs over his last nine contests. ... 3B Mark Sobolewski is batting .343 (12-for-35) with a home run, nine RBIs and four runs scored in the same span.
DID YOU KNOW?: Fort Wayne rallied in each inning from the third through the eighth to top Lansing on Friday at Parkview Field. The three-hour, 26-minute contest (plus a 23-minute rain delay in the middle of the seventh) featured 22 hits, 13 walks, five hit batsmen, 10 pitchers and 20 men stranded on base.
OFFENSIVE ONSLAUGHT: Lansing scored eight runs in the first inning Thursday en route to a 15-7 thrashing of first-place Fort Wayne in the opener of a four-game series Thursday at Parkview Field. The Lugnuts collected 18 hits as each member of the starting lineup scored a run by the fifth inning. Sobolewski went 4-for-6 with a home run and four RBIs, while McDade singled, doubled and tripled and 2B Justin McClanahan added a home run.
Peoria Chiefs (Chicago Cubs)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The first-place Chiefs are 34-21 in the second half, 4.5 games ahead of Cedar Rapids in the Western Division.
WHO'S HOT: 1B Rebel Ridling is riding a season-high 12-game hitting streak, owns a team-high 44 multi-hit games and ranks second in the league with 146 hits this season.
WHO'S NOT: RHP Justin Bristow has allowed 20 earned runs in the first inning over his 21 starts this season. Overall, he is 5-7 with a 4.12 ERA and has given up seven home runs.
DID YOU KNOW?: Chicago Cubs RHP Carlos Zambrano struck out five batters over five scoreless innings in a rehab start Thursday for Peoria against Clinton. Pitching for the first time since Aug. 1, Zambrano scattered four hits and did not walk a batter in front of a standing-room crowd.
MORE ON ZAMBRANO: On the Major League disabled list with back spasms, Zambrano retired the first five batters he faced before giving up a single in the second. He also tuned up for his return to the plate, hitting six balls over the fence during batting practice in Peoria.
NOT A BAD GIG: C Michael Brenly, son of Cubs TV broadcaster Bob Brenly, caught Zambrano in his rehab start Thursday. The backstop caught Angel Guzman and Ted Lilly in their rehab starts as well.
Quad Cities River Bandits (St. Louis Cardinals)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The sixth-place River Bandits are 24-31 in the second half, 10 games behind Peoria in the Western Division.
WHO'S HOT: When holding a lead in the ninth inning, Quad Cities owns a flawless 32-0 record. A large portion of the credit goes to the righty duo Casey Mulligan (9-for-9 in save opportunities with 36 strikeouts in 20 innings) and Dave Carpenter (11-for-12 in save opportunities with 66 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings).
WHO'S NOT: After a hot start in his MWL debut, 1B Xavier Scruggs is batting a cool .171 with just six hits over his last 10 games. ... 3B Domnit Bolivar is hitting just .182 with only six hits over his last nine games.
DID YOU KNOW?: Quad Cities served up a season-high 20 hits in a 12-4 loss to Burlington at Modern Woodmen Park on Saturday.
THIS ONE HURTS: A costly misplay in the sixth inning proved to be the turning point in a 14-1 blowout loss to Peoria on Tuesday. RHP and newcomer Scott Schneider had struck out a team-high nine batters in his home debut, including seven consecutive, before a two-error play in the sixth allowed the Chiefs take the lead. Riding the momentum, Peoria's league-leading offense sparked to life with 10 runs against the River Bandits' bullpen to cruise to the win.
South Bend Silver Hawks (Arizona Diamondbacks)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The fifth-place Silver Hawks are 25-30 in the second half, 14.5 games behind Fort Wayne in the Eastern Division.
WHO'S HOT: DH Richard Racobaldo is batting a healthy .317 (13-for-41) with a homer, five runs scored and five RBIs over his last 10 games.
DID YOU KNOW?: There were a lot of words disgruntled South Bend manager Mark Haley could have uttered after his team's loss to Great Lakes on Thursday, when the Silver Hawks dished up a season-high 18 runs on 22 hits and the defense committed four costly errors. Haley, however, settled on "unacceptable."
HE SAID IT, PART I: "That's three nights in a row our starting pitching hasn't been able to do anything, and if we're going to do anything, it's all going to start on the mound," Haley told the South Bend Tribune. "We win on the mound; we lose on the mound. That's not saying all the mistakes were on the mound. Guys weren't paying attention to detail. I'm talking about backing up bases, base-running mistakes. Everything you could do wrong, we did. It's going to have to be addressed. ... It's totally unacceptable. Everybody had a piece of it."
HE SAID IT, PART II: "This is championship season," Haley continued. "It's championship time. Everybody's battling for playoff spots. If that's the way we're going to play, we don't deserve to be in the playoffs. Everybody is going to have to do a gut check, because we flat-out got our butts whipped in every facet of the game."
West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The Whitecaps are 32-24 in the second half and tied with Great Lakes for second place in the Eastern Division, eight games behind Fort Wayne.
WHO'S HOT: DH Billy Nowlin is hitting a healthy .359 (14-for-39) with three homers, 10 RBIs and eight runs scored over his last nine games. ... 1B Jordan Lennerton is batting a robust .353 (12-for-34) with three homers, seven runs scored and eight RBIs. ... 2B Mike Gosse is hitting at a .429 clip over his last six games with nine hits in 21 at-bats.
WHO'S NOT: 1B Ron Bourquin is batting a mere .206 with seven hits over his last nine games.
DID YOU KNOW?: Dayton 1B Humberto Sosa gave the Dragons their third walk-off win over the Whitecaps this season as his home run capped a four-run ninth inning that ended with a 5-4 victory.
ROSTER MOVE: LHP Jade Todd was activated from the disabled list Friday. He had appeared in just one game for West Michigan before being sidelined April 23. Todd, selected by the Tigers in the seventh round of the 2008 Draft, pitched five innings in a rehab assignment with the GCL Tigers last week.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Milwaukee Brewers)
THE SEASON SO FAR: The last-place Timber Rattlers are 23-32 in the second half, 11 games behind Peoria in the Western Division.
WHO'S HOT: RHP Cody Scarpetta must have ice in his veins. How else to explain going 3-1 in one-run games this season? Scarpetta (4-9, 3.40 ERA) did it again Tuesday, beating Beloit, 1-0, on Tuesday at Time Warner Cable Field.
DID YOU KNOW?: Judy Youngquist of Neenah, Wis., entered Time Warner Cable Field on Sunday afternoon as the 233,798th fan of the season, setting a single-season attendance record set in 1996 (the teams' first year as a Brewers affiliate.)
STREAK HALTED: OF Brock Kjeldgaard saw his team-high 10-game hitting streak come to an end Saturday with a 0-for-4 effort in an 11-2 loss to Cedar Rapids at Time Warner Cable Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
JUST ONE HIT: Cedar Rapids righty Manaurys Correa flirted with a no-hitter Saturday until 2B/3B Mike Brownstein's clean single with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning.
A LITTLE HISTORY: The Timber Rattlers have been no-hit twice in their 15-year history. However, no single pitcher has no-hit Wisconsin over nine innings. Dayton's Johnny Cueto tossed a five-inning no-no in 2006, and Burlington's Dusty Hughes and Jake Mullis combined on a no-hitter in 2004.