Whiffing away – The Fresno Grizzlies struck out a season-worst 18 times Saturday during a 9-5 loss to the Iowa Cubs before an announced crowd of 8,396 at Chukchansi Park. Jon Singleton, Andrew Aplin and Chan Jong Moon each struck out three times. The Grizzlies did generate eight hits, including home runs from Jon Kemmer and Singleton. But Fresno starting pitcher Edison Frias was rocked for seven runs off six hits and four walks before he was chased off with two outs in the fourth. Because first-place Tacoma (70-50) won at Memphis on Saturday, Fresno (66-54) fell back to four games back in the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Northern Division with 23 games remaining.
Staying in blue and orange – As expected, Fresno and major league parent club Houston announced a two-year extension of their player-development contract ahead of Saturday’s game. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow flew in for the news conference. The Grizzlies joined the Astros’ chain ahead of the 2015 season, on an initial two-year agreement, after the franchise spent its first 17 years with the San Francisco Giants.
Up next – Fresno RH Mike Hauschild (8-9, 2.96 ERA) faces Iowa RH Drew Rucinski (6-12, 5.96) at 5:05 p.m. Sunday.
Over the Moon reaction – When Moon hit his solo homer in the sixth inning of Friday night’s game, it marked the first time he went yard in Triple-A. Moon, who is batting .333 in his first 18 games with the Grizzlies, started the season in Double-A Corpus Christi, where he had just one home run. He has just 16 home runs in his seven-year minor league career. “It was kind of an accident,” Moon said. “But the coaches have been telling me I need to hit the ball up more and not as much on the ground.”
The Fresno Bee