Thursday recap: Tony Kemp and Jonathan Villar had RBI singles and Villar later stole home, all part of a five-run second, to help Fresno blow out to a 7-1 lead after four and the Grizzlies held on to beat Reno 10-7 and snap a four-game losing streak. The Grizzlies tacked on insurance runs in each of the final three innings to thwart a comeback by the Aces, who twice pulled within two. Fresno’s Asher Wojciechowski (6-2) had another rough July start, allowing four runs in six innings, but got the victory with the help of a 17-hit attack. Wojciechowski, who entered with a 9.28 ERA for the month, allowed a pair of solo homers among six hits. Joe Sclafani drove in three runs for Fresno, eight days after he had a season-high four at Las Vegas, and also pushed his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games. L.J. Hoes, in his first game back with Fresno after being sent down by major league parent club Houston, was 3 for 6 with a pair of steals — one of those drawing the throw that set up Villar’s theft of home.
Grizzlies on Friday: Fresno will end July playing its 19th road game of the month when it faces Reno at 7:05 p.m. The Grizzlies won nine of their first 13 away games in July but had lost 5 of 6 and given up double-digit runs in three straight entering Thursday. Grizzlies RH Dan Straily (8-6, 3.59 ERA) will take the mound against Aces RH Aaron Blair (3-1, 4.55). Straily is 3-2 with a 2.18 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 41.1 innings in seven games away from Chukchansi Park this season. Blair is considered the top pitching prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system and will be making his second start since helping the U.S. win the silver medal at the Pan American Games. He held the Grizzlies to one run in six innings in a June 28 start.
So long Santana: OF Domingo Santana, one of Houston’s more highly regarded prospects and second on the Grizzlies in home runs and runs, was traded Thursday as part of a six-player deal between the Astros and the Milwaukee Brewers. Two-time major league all-star outfielder Carlos Gomez and Brewers starter Mike Fiers were the key pieces acquired by the playoff-contending Astros. Santana hit .320 with 16 homers, 62 runs and 59 RBIs for Fresno this season. It was Santana’s departure that opened a spot in Thursday’s lineup for Sclafani.
Stat of the day: 89 — steals for the Grizzlies entering Thursday, fifth in the Pacific Coast League. It’s a somewhat surprising total, given that Fresno is now part of an Astros organization that relies heavily on advanced analytics — a school of thought that often favors conservatism on the base paths. The Grizzlies have provided some ammo in support of the conservative stand, with their 45 failed steal attempts leading the league. As for the big league club, the Astros also are a running team, ranking first in the American League and third in the majors with 75 steals. Jose Altuve (28) and two other players have combined for 56 of Houston’s total. The Astros had been thrown out 27 times, the 10th most in MLB.