Mike Hogan and Enrique Burgos had a rough introduction to the California League on Wednesday. The latest additions to the Ventura County Gulls' roster were the first and third pitchers on the mound as the Modesto A's took batting practice at Ventura College.
The 13-0 loss wasn't exactly what Ventura Manager Glenn Ezell had in mind for a welcome party. Burgos, who lasted 3 innings, looked promising at the start, striking out seven hitters in the first three innings. But the left-hander gave up two runs in the fourth and left the game after throwing 79 pitches and giving up six walks.
Hogan relieved Tom Wasilewski in the seventh, and in two innings gave up three runs on four hits while striking out one.
Matters improved little in the ninth, when William Shanks allowed three runs on three hits.
"I don't like to look at so many pitchers in a ballgame," Ezell said. "Burgos had a back injury. I don't think he's thrown that many pitches in a long time. I thought for his first start here, he did a relatively good job. But I'd rather see one pitcher go for nine innings."
While Gull pitchers were busy walking from the bullpen to the mound to the showers, Modesto received a fine performance from Mark Beavers (4-3). Selected by the Oakland A's in the 14th round of the June amateur draft, Beavers pitched in the Medford, Ore., rookie league until June 24. In eight innings, the left-hander allowed two hits, had nine strikeouts and faced only two batters over the minimum.
"This was the first time since I left Oregon that I've had my breaking ball," Beavers said. "In my other six outings I haven't had it. It's been kind of floating up there and not breaking very sharp. In my last outing I got rocked pretty bad."
On Wednesday, it was the Gulls who took a beating. Modesto paid particular attention to the gap in right-center field. Eight of Modesto's 14 hits bounced near the gap. Three rolled to the wall for triples.
"It's a big hole out there," Ezell said. "They find that place out there and they can run for days."
They did. In the sixth, the A's scored three runs on two singles followed by triples by Felix Jose and Jeff Blankenship.
The Gulls had singles in the second and fourth from Santiago Garcia and Geronimo Berroa. Garcia was stymied after that, grounding out in his last two at-bats. Berroa flied out to center field in his other two at-bats.
"It seemed like they were real aggressive up there," Beavers said. "I just tried to mix everything up and keep them off balance."
Tyler Brilinski led Modesto at the plate, going 3 for 5. He doubled in the fourth and fifth innings, and singled home Mike Duncan in the ninth. Jose was 2 for 6, including a triple in the sixth that scored Roy Anderson and Jerry Peguero.
The Gulls had one hit off Jose Santana, who relieved Beavers in the ninth. Domingo Martinez led off the inning with a single to right, but Kevin Batiste and Eric Yelding flied out. Mike Jones, who entered the game for Luis Reyna in right field in the seventh inning, then grounded out to second.
Ezell doesn't believe the losses to Modesto--which is next to last in the Northern Division--mean much.
"We're professional people and they're professional players," Ezell said. "It doesn't matter who your opponent is. It's just a matter of going out and playing as hard as you can everyday."