June 10, 2009 - Texas League (TL) - Corpus Christi Hooks
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - Wednesday was a unique night at Whataburger Field. Second baseman Kaz Matsui and closer Jose Valverde of the Houston Astros were in town to begin rehab assignments. Catcher Jason Castro, the Astros\' first-round pick in last June\'s draft, was making his Double-A debut. The opponent - the red-hot Midland RockHounds - winners of 11 of their last 14 and the first place club in the Texas League South.
Enter Polin Trinidad. Corpus Christi\'s southpaw starter allowed just one hit through seven innings and retired the last 20 men he faced to steal the show and lead the Hooks to an 8-1 thumping of Midland in the opener of this four-game series.
Josh Horton, batting second in the Midland order, singled to left with one out in the first. He was the only man to reach against Trinidad (5-4), who struck out five and threw just 75 pitches over his seven innings of work.
His teammates gave him the lead in the third. Matsui singled to left with one out and went to third on Drew Locke\'s double inside the right-field line. Mark Ori drilled a sacrifice fly to center to plate Matsui for a 1-0 Corpus Christi lead.
The Hooks added three unearned runs in the fifth off Midland starter Jason Fernandez (6-5). Matsui reached with one out on an error by Hounds first baseman Chris Carter. After a wild pitch, a walk for Locke and a strikeout of Ori, Jimmy Van Ostrand came up with two on and two outs.
Van Ostrand belted a 3-1 pitch onto the berm in left to make it 4-0 Hooks, a home run that hastened Fernandez\' exit. The homer was the ninth this season for Van Ostrand, seven of which have come against the RockHounds.
RBI singles by Mitch Einertson and Drew Meyer in the sixth gave the Hooks a 6-0 lead. Collin DeLome capped the scoring with a two-run homer to left in the seventh. DeLome now leads the league with 12 home runs this season.
Matsui played five innings and went 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs. Valverde came on in the eighth and kept the Hounds off the scoreboard, though he walked two and threw 24 pitches. Valverde also notched a pair of strikeouts. Castro went 1-for-4 in his debut with a run.
Meyer, who replaced Matsui in the sixth, was 2-for-2 with an RBI. He extended his hitting streak to six games.
The Hooks improved to 25-30 with the win and now trail the RockHounds by seven games with 15 remaining in the first half.
Game two of the series takes place Thursday night at 7:05. Sergio Perez (3-5, 5.26) battles Midland lefty Bobby Cramer (3-3, 3.58).