J.D. Davis and Jon Singleton are as dangerous a 3-4 combination as there is in the Texas League, if not in all of Double-A Baseball in 2017.
The pair powered a Corpus Christi comeback on Thursday night as the Hooks erased a 3-0 deficit to defeat the RockHounds, 6-3 at Security Bank Ballpark.
Singleton, who played in 114 games for the Houston Astros over two seasons (2014-15), belted a solo home run to the power alley in left- center in the fourth inning to put the Hooks on the board and Davis made the score 3-2 with a line drive single to center in the fifth.
In the top of the seventh, Antonio Nunez sent a line drive double to right and Bryan De La Cruz singled to center, putting runners at the corners. Ramon Laureano's ground out tied the game and Joel Seddon struck out Kyle Tucker for the second out. Aaron Kurcz relieved Seddon, but fell behind Davis, 2-0. The Hooks third baseman then lifted his league-leading 20th home run of the season - a drive to virtually the same spot as Singleton's solo homer - to put Corpus Christi on top, 5-3.
Relievers Ryan Thompson and Andrew Walter each pitched two innings to close out the game. They surrendered a combined six hits, but the 'Hounds could not convert any of the base runners into runs. The RockHounds did out-hit Corpus Christi, 13-10, but left 11 men on base).
The RockHounds built the early lead scoring once in the first and twice in the third. Jordan Tarsovich's double and B.J. Boyd's single set the table in the first with J.P. Sportman's opposite field single bringing Tarsovich home. Boyd - who had a three-hit game -singled in the third, followed by RBI doubles from Viosergy Rosa and Sportman.
A.J. Puk, making his fourth start, had his best outing at the Double-A level. Oakland's #2 prospect allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and one walk, while striking out seven. One of the runs came on Singleton's solo shot and Puk left the game with a 3-2 lead.
Joel Seddon (1.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R/2 ER, 0 B, 1K) was tagged with the blown save and the loss, while Aaron Kurcz struggled for the first time since returning from Nashville (1.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R/2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K).
The RockHounds and Hooks have split the first two games of the four-game series. the 'Hounds are 40-50 for the season. have now dropped six of their last eight games, fall back to 24-20 at home (16-30 on the road) and to .500 against the South Division at 27-27 (13-23 against the North). The 'Hounds lead the season series with Corpus Christi 10-8 (6-4 at Security Bank Ballpark).
Jon Singleton - while hitting just .223 for the Hooks - now has 16 home runs and 54 RBI, with more than one-third of his HR (6) and RBI (19) coming at the RockHounds' expense. Singleton has also struck out 88 times (fourth in the league) but has 78 walks. No other player in the league has more than 46 bases on balls.
Viosergy Rosa's RBI double in the third was his league-leading 66th run batted in and ties him for the league lead in doubles with 23.
B.J. Boyd (3-for-5, run) and Tyler Ramirez (3-for-4) led the RockHounds with three hits each. Boyd is 4-for-8 in the series and back to sixth in the Texas League batting race at .304, while Ramirez has hit in three straight games (5-for-10) and is hitting .324 in 11 games with the RockHounds.
J.D. Davis became just the 10th minor league hitter to reach the 20-home run plateau in 2017. Former RockHound Renato Nunez (now with Triple-A Nashville) leads the minors with 24.
The RockHounds and Hooks continue their four-game series on Friday night with the first 1,000 fans receiving a free Addison Russell Bobblehead, gates open at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch is at 7:00 p.m.
At the time of his trade from the Oakland A's to the Chicago Cubs, Russell was a member of the RockHounds. He played in just 13 games, due to injury, but was with the club from Opening Day through the July 3 trade that sent him to Chicago. He went on to win a World Series ring (an historic one, at that) with the Cubs last season. Saturday night's series finale will feature postgame fireworks (first pitch at 7:00).
The RockHounds hit the road Sunday for a quick four-game series at San Antonio (July 16-19) versus the Missions. Friday's probable starters are RHP Yoanys Quiala (1-1, 2.60) for the Hooks and RHP Grant Holmes (5-9, 5.20) for the 'Hounds.
Quiala makes his fifth appearance (fourth start) since being promoted to the Hooks. The 23-year-old from Mayari, Cuba was signed as an international free agent by the Astros in 2015. He posted a 5.10 ERA at the Class-A level in 2016, but has had a breakout campaign this season, going 5-1 with a 2.31 ERA with Buies Creek of the Class-A Advanced Carolina League before earning his promotion to the Hooks.
Quiala's Corpus Christi season line (three starts): 17.1 IP, 18 H, 2 BB, 15 K (1.15 WHIP, .261 batting average against, 7.50 K/BB ratio).
Holmes is coming off a rough start that followed a stretch in which he had recorded a quality start in five of his last six appearances. However on July 8 at Tulsa, the right-hander surrendered a home run to Tim Locastro on the first pitch of the first inning and the Drillers rolled to a 13-2 win. He allowed eight runs - all earned - on eight hits (half of them being homers) with four walks and five strikeouts. He enters Friday's game tied for second in the Texas League with 91 strikeouts. Acquired by Oakland from the Los Angeles Dodgers in last year's Josh Reddick trade, Holmes is rated the A's #6 prospect by Baseball America and #3 by MLB.com.
Holmes' season line (19 G/14 GS): 90.0 IP, 110 H, 35 BB, 91 K (1.61 WHIP, .301 batting average against, 2.60 K/BB ratio).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.