After back-to-back poor starts, right-hander Rafael Montero rebounded with six strong innings, leading the 51s to a 5-2 win over Tucson Saturday night.
Montero (1-2) came into the ballgame having allowed eight earned runs in his last eight innings on the hill, which were the totals from his previous two outings. It was the first time all season he had given up as many as four runs in consecutive starts. That made his performance Saturday all the more important. Montero didn't allowed a run through six innings before stumbling to start the 7th and forcing Wally Backman to turn to the bullpen. In that 7th inning, the 22-year-old gave up a single and run-scoring double to start the frame, at which point Aramndo Rodriguez was summonsed. Rodriguez gave up singles to the next two hitters, scoring another run and closing the book on Montero.
Final line for Montero: 6IP, 8H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 3K, 91 pitches/61 strikes. He lowered his era to 4.65. It was his first win in six AAA starts.
Mike Baxter has struggled badly since being demoted to Vegas nearly one month ago. Saturday was his third game back after missing six games due to the birth of his child. It was also the best game he's played for the 51s, collecting three hits in four at-bats, one of which was a two-run homer (3) in the 5th inning. The three hits raised his batting average to .239, while his OPS stands at .776.
Zach Lutz continues to show off his power since returning from a short big league call up. Lutz smacked his ninth homerun of the season in the 4th inning, his second long ball and third extra base hit in three games back.
Notes: Ruben Tejada was taken off the disabled list and officially optioned (demoted) to Las Vegas. He was 0 for 4 Saturday....Matt den Dekker tripled for his first hit since returning from injury....Wilmer Flores was 1 for 4.