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D-backs Farm Rumblings: Kevin Cron reaches 20 … again

Reno Aces (Triple-A Pacific Coast League)

For the Week: 3-3
On the Season: 61-58
In the Standings: 2nd place in Pacific Northern Division; 7.0 games behind Fresno

Consistent power – Third baseman Kevin Cron belted a solo home run, his 20th of the season, in the Aces’ 6-5 win over Oklahoma City Monday night. The round-tripper came in a four-run seventh inning for Reno and they’d add two more in the eighth to rally for the win. It’s the fourth straight season Cron has had 20 or more home runs. His career high came in 2015, when the former 14th-round pick out of TCU clubbed 27 for Visalia.

Sudden power – Left fielder Jamie Westbrook continued his home run binge, hitting two more for Reno in an 8-2 win over Oklahoma City Tuesday night. The Gilbert native had solo shots in the sixth and seventh innings, which gives him four home runs in his first six Triple-A games. It was also Westbrook’s second multi-homer game for Reno.

Unstoppable – Ildemaro Vargas wasted no time in extending his hitting streak to 34 games. Vargas led off Friday’s game with a home run off of Las Vegas starter Cody Martin in Reno’s 9-5 win in Sin City. It was Vargas’ first homer during the prolific streak, which started on June 24 in Vegas against the 51s. The streak hit 35 on Saturday night, when Vargas singled in his first at-bat of a game that was suspended due to a haboob in Las Vegas (or a baboon…right, Pedro Gomez?).

Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and the streak did Sunday night. Vargas went 0-for-3 in a seven-inning game to to cap the streak at an amazing 35 games.

Jackson Generals (Double-A Southern League)

For the Week: 3-3
On the Season: 24-25 (2nd half)
In the Standings: 2nd place in North Division; 5.0 games behind Montgomery

Welcome back – Right-hander Jon Duplantier, the D-backs’ top overall prospect, made his first Double-A start since May 27 Monday, and he threw five perfect innings against the Tennessee Smokies. Duplantier was pulled after the fifth after he had thrown 69 pitches (43 for strikes). Daniel Gibson came in from the bullpen and allowed two runs in the sixth, and that was enough for a 2-1 Tennessee win. Duplantier was strong again Sunday, going 5.2 innings and allowing just four hits and one run in a 6-1 win over Chattanooga. Duplantier did walk four, but struck out two in pushing his season record to 4-1.

Rolling – Right-hander Taylor Widener was brilliant Thursday, throwing seven shutout innings while scattering three hits and striking out nine in a 2-1 win over Chattanooga. The win was Widener’s first since June 13 — a span of nine starts — but the 23-year-old continues to rack up strikeouts. Widener now has 151 Ks in just 119.1 innings this season, a mark that leads the Southern League by a wide margin.

Visalia Rawhide (High-A California League)

For the Week: 4-2
On the Season: 22-28 (2nd half)
In the Standings: 2nd place in North Division; 1.0 game behind Stockton

No matter the shade of Grey, you can’t hit it – Anfernee Grier, Ramon Hernandez and Luis Silverio all homered and Connor Grey was unhittable in an easy 11-0 win for the Rawhide over Lake Elsinore Thursday night. Grey allowed just one hit — a two-out double by Chris Baker in the sixth inning — while striking out 11 on the night. The 24-year-old right-hander notched his second double-digit strikeout game of the season. The first came when Grey struck out 12 against Stockton on April 19.

Speaking of unhittable – Right-hander Riley Smith was strong again Saturday night, allowing just two hits and one run while striking out eight over seven innings in a 6-1 win over Modesto. Smith, a 24th-round pick out of LSU two years ago, is 3-0 with a 0.49 ERA over his last three starts. In that span, he’s struck out 21 batters in 18.1 innings while walking only five.

Kane County Cougars (Single-A Midwest League)

For the Week: 4-2
On the Season: 24-24 (2nd half)
In the Standings: 6th place in Western Division; 6.5 games behind Cedar Rapids

Getting to know Almonte – Nice story from Matt Leon on Kane County southpaw Abraham Almonte, who is adjusting to his second year of pro ball.

Scratching out a win – Jose Caballero had a two-run double and Yan Sanchez added an RBI-single as Kane County rallied for three runs in the seventh inning of a 3-2 win over Burlington Sunday afternoon.

Hillsboro Hops (Short Season-A Northwest League)

For the Week: 3-1
On the Season: 10-7 (2nd half)
In the Standings: 1st place in South Division; 1.0 game ahead of Salem-Keizer

All-Star Hops – Hillsboro catcher Andy Yerzy, the D-backs’ 15th-best prospect, along with right-hander Josh Green, represented the Hops in the annual Northwest League-Pioneer League All-Star Game in Grand Junction, Colorado. Yerzy started and batted second for the NWL squad, going 1-for-3 with a run scored and a double, but the Pioneer League stars would win the game, 13-10. Green pitched two-thirds of an inning and registered a strikeout.

Teamwork – Matt Mercer, Ryan Miller, Trevor McKenna, Wesley Rodriguez and Chester Pimentel combined on a four-hit shutout in a 3-0 win over Tri-City Thursday night.

Another shutout – The Hops notched their second straight shutout with a 1-0 win over Tri-City Friday night. Joey Rose supplied the offense with a solo home run in the eighth inning while the quartet of Jackson Goddard, Harrison Francis, Yeison Santana and Josh Green combined on a seven-hit blank job of the Dust Devils.

Missoula Osprey (Rookie Pioneer League)

For the Week: 3-1
On the Season: 9-6 (2nd half)
In the Standings: 2nd place in North Division; 3.0 games behind Billings

Contributing to an All-Star win – Buddy Kennedy, Zachery Almond, Deyni Olivero and Marcos Tineo all suited up for the Northwest League-Pioneer League All-Star Game Tuesday. Kennedy went 0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored while Almond, who started as the designated hitter, went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in the Pioneer League’s 13-10 win. Tineo, a 21-year-old right-hander, pitched one inning, giving up three hits and two runs while striking out two. Olivero, a 20-year-old right-hander, pitched only two-thirds of an inning, but ended up getting the win for the Pioneer League. The game which featured 23 runs, also saw 23 different pitchers get used in sum.

Hot bats – Alek Thomas homered and drove in three runs while Zack Shannon had three hits and drove in three more, but it wasn’t enough as the Osprey fell 12-7 to Orem Thursday night.

Not done yet – Shannon had a big game Saturday in a 5-3 win over Orem. The 22-year-old, whom the D-backs drafted in the 15th round out of Delta State in Mississippi in June, went 2-for-5 with a run scored, a home run and five RBI. Shannon is hitting .361 (13-for-36) with four home runs and 18 RBI in his last 10 games.

Murderer’s row – The Osprey took three of four games from the Orem Owlz over the weekend, and there was a quartet largely responsible. Alek Thomas, Blaze Alexander, Buddy Kennedy and Shannon combined to hit .446 (25-for-56) with 18 runs scored, 10 doubles, a triple, three home runs and 18 RBI in the four-game set against Orem.

DSL D-backs 1 (Rookie Dominican Summer League)

For the Week: 4-2
On the Season: 41-19
In the Standings: 1st place in Baseball City Division; 7.0 games ahead of Blue Jays

Late rally – The D-backs rallied for five runs in the eighth inning and five more in the ninth to beat the Reds 12-6 Tuesday. Third baseman Neyfy Castillo led the offensive charge, going 3-for-4 with three runs scored, a double, a home run and three RBI.

(Really) Young guns – Right-hander Victor Rodriguez, a 16-year-old, and right-hander Yaramil Hiraldo combined to shut down the White Sox in a 5-1 win Wednesday. The duo combined to allow just one hit and one unearned run while striking out six. Rodriguez moved his record to 3-1 with a 1.42 ERA while Hiraldo’s ERA shrunk to 0.84 through 32 innings in the Dominican Summer League this season.

DSL D-backs 2 (Rookie Dominican Summer League)

For the Week: 2-4
On the Season: 20-40
In the Standings: 8th place in San Pedro Division; 21.0 games behind Rangers 2

5-spot – Alexander Hernandez, a 19-year-old shortstop, went 5-for-6 with four runs scored, a double, two home runs and three RBI in the D-backs’ 12-9 win over the Mets Thursday. Hernandez’s fifth hit, an RBI single, was part of a three-run 10th inning that helped secure the victory.

AZL D-backs (Arizona Rookie League)

For the Week: 5-1
On the Season: 9-5 (2nd half)
In the Standings: 2nd place in East Division; 1.5 games behind Cubs 1

It’s good to be the King – Alex King, a shortstop picked in the 35th round of June’s draft, had a big night in the D-backs’ 11-6 win over the Padres. King, hitting in the leadoff spot, went 4-for-6 with three runs scored, a double and two home runs on the night.

Dazzling – Michel Gelabert, a 21-year-old Cuban lefty, was brilliant Thursday night at Salt River Fields in a 2-1 win over the Padres. Gelabert hurled five innings of no-hit ball while allowing one run, two walks and striking out eight. He didn’t figure in the decision, but lowered his ERA to 0.64 in Arizona. For the 2018 season, which includes work with both of Arizona’s Dominican Summer League clubs, Gelabert is 4-1 with a 1.85 ERA, a 0.71 WHIP and an opponents’ batting average of just .117.

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