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A’s minor league recap: Simmons shines in Sacramento

Here’s a brief look at what happened down on the farm Friday for the A’s affiliates:

SACRAMENTO (Triple-A)

RiverCats 8, Albuquerque (Dodgers) 1: Story l Boxscore

Former 2007 1st-round pick James Simmons turned in his most impressive start of the season. He had a one-hit shutout after six innings and finished with a three-hitter in a season-high seven innings. Simmons allowed just one run and one walk and struck out three.

Daric Barton went 2-for-4 to stretch his hitting streak to nine games. Thanks to a .298 average in May, Barton’s now batting a season-high .211. Eric Patterson went 5-for-5 and is now hitting .314. Patterson has been starting in center field lately for the Cats.

When the A’s decide they need to bring up a lefty specialist in the bullpen, one possibility is former San Jose State pitcher Brad Kilby, a Sacramento area native who was Oakland’s 29th round pick in 2005. He’s probably behind both Jerry Blevins and Jay Marshall in the A’s pecking order at Sacramento. To be sure, a call-up to the majors would be a dream come true for the 26-year-old, whose career nearly ended last Halloween when he was hit in the head by a line drive during winter ball.

Speaking of relievers, Albuquerque’s Nick DeBarr, a former Amador Valley High standout, gave up two runs in two innings Friday. The Isotopes’ bullpen includes two former East Bay Athletic League pitchers in DeBarr and Livermore’s Erick Threets.

MIDLAND (Double-A)

San Antonio (Padres) 9, RockHounds 3: Story l Boxscore

Bad fielding was apparently contagious in the A’s organization Friday as the RockHounds did Oakland one better (worse?) by committing five errors _ all in the first three innings, including a pair by shortstop Josh Horton.

Midland remains in first place by 1/2 game over Corpus Christi (Astros).

Corey Brown went 1-for-4 with an RBI double, but struck out three times. Brown has struck out five times in the past two nights.

Chris Carter went 0-for-3 and saw his average dip to .268. The big first baseman has gone a season high six games without an RBI.

STOCKTON (High Single-A)

Ports 10, High Desert (Mariners) 3: Story l Boxscore

David Thomas and Frank Martinez each had two RBI as the Ports have now won three of four and five of their last seven. Still, Stockton had four errors to continue the organization’s theme of the night.

Shortstop Michael Richard had two hits and stole his team-leading sixth base.

KANE COUNTY (Low Single-A)

Cougars 3, Burlington (Royals) 2: Story l Boxscore

Shawn Haviland continued to impress for the first-place Cougars (22-12). Last year’s 33rd-round pick improved to 3-1 with five innings of two-run ball, featuring five strikeouts. Haviland’s ERA stands at 2.48.

Jeremy Barfield went 2-for-3 with an RBI and is now hitting .354.

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Billy’s a genius

Face it, that’s what everybody was thinking last night, right. Sean Gallagher dazzles the Angels in the opener of a series showdown. Matt Murton makes a great catch and adds a two-run single.

Nothing to it for Mr. Beane, huh.

Hey, I loved what I saw from Gallagher. Kids threw hard. Seemed to have the “I’m in control, here” demanor that you like to see from your starter. And he seemed to have an idea what he was doing. But before we go overly crazy, let’s remember that he’s facing a new league with little information on him. Let’s give him four or five starts, including a couple against the same team, before we hail this traded as a runaway success.

Murton, meantime, already moves toward the top of the A’s outfield chart, at least as far as defense goes. No reason ever to have Jack Cust out there or even Emil Brown if it can be helped. Murton was able to cover some ground and seems to know what he’s doing when he’s tracking the ball, unlike the two players mentioned above. Not sure how well he will hit, and obviously, he’ll need to contribute offensively. But better outfield defense makes an outstanding pitching staff that much better.

By the way, noticed a stat last night that indicated the A’s team ERA trails only their 1990 mark for their best before the All-Star break. It was generated on Comcast, and since A’s expert David Feldman is usually in charge of those, I imagine that’s accurate.