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This Week in the Minors: August begins

Christian Binford gets a much-needed win; The Great Balbino goes streaking; Terrance Gore is a thief.

Christian Binford pitched seven strong innings against the Iowa Cubs on Saturday.
Christian Binford pitched seven strong innings against the Iowa Cubs on Saturday.
Minda Haas Kuhlmann

This is our weekly look at notable performances from all over the system, from big-name prospects and less heralded guys alike. This week's column covers the dates from Monday, July 25 to Sunday, July 31. As always, I seek to answer one question: "Who had a good week?"

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (48-59)

schedule | roster

As the intro states, we are looking at game results through Sunday's games. However, Omaha had already finished playing at press time, so the fate of Balbino Fuenmayor's 10-game hit streak is known. It ended. Those 10 games stretched back to July 17, and during its course Fuenmayor went 18-35. He hit three doubles and two dingers, only struck out four times.

Veteran catcher Tony Cruz has spent some time at first base to help ease him into game action after an injury. This week, Cruz had nine hits. He homered twice and hit two doubles, and walked five times.

Third baseman Hunter Dozier had an eight-hit week, with two homers and two doubles. The home runs brought his season total to 21, 13 with the Storm Chasers. Dozier is batting .307/.369/.523 in 75 games with Omaha.

Alec Mills left his Sunday start after just one inning, citing neck stiffness. It was a known issue, and Mills had been feeling better prior to taking the field Sunday.

Wins and Losses are imperfect statistics, in so many ways. But Christian Binford survived a stretch where he took eight (!) L's in a row. He bounced back with two solid starts, but did not receive a decision in either one. On Saturday, he finally got his first W since May 22, with his 7-inning performance against Iowa.

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (48-59 overall; 20-18 in 2nd half)

schedule | roster

The Naturals are currently tied for first with rival Arkansas Travelers. The teams won't play each other again until late August, and then they will finish the regular season against each other.

We have not checked in on Terrance Gore in a while, but he has been stealing bases at a steady super fast pace. His 33 steals in 69 games lead the Texas League, and he is just six shy of his minor league total in 85 games last season.

Left-handed reliever Danielf Stumpf rejoined the Naturals after the Phillies returned him to the Royals. Stumpf had been a Rule 5 pick, and his time with the Phillies included a PED suspension. He gave Northwest Arkansas two scoreless innings this week.

Yender Caramo took a hard-luck loss on Saturday. He struck eight men out and only gave up one run, but NWArk got shut out, and lost 1-0.

A-Adv. Wilmington Blue Rocks (39-66 overall; 12-24 in 2nd half)

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24-year-old C/1B/3B Mike Hill was promoted to Wilmington Sunday, and went 2-4 with a double. He previously played in one game for the Blue Rocks, at the very end of last season.

First baseman Samir Duenez doubled twice as part of an 11-for-24 week. He also walked twice, once intentionally, and only struck out twice. In about five weeks at high-A, Duenez is batting .306/.376/.522.

On Wednesday, lefty Matt Tenuta bounced back from a couple of rough starts by throwing six shutout innings with nine strikeouts. He walked a pair and allowed two hits, and hit a batter. It was Tenuta's best start in a shaky season -- in 90 innings, he's allowed 90 hits.

Right-hander Andy Ferguson make strides in his rehab from a shoulder injury, pitching five shutout innings on Thursday. Lefty reliever Jake Kalish is on a bit of a streak, with no runs and no hits given up in his last 7.1 innings (four appearances). In that time, he has punched out 11 out of 27 batters faced, and walked four.

A Lexington Legends (40-64 overall; 15-20 in 2nd half)

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The Legends struggled as a team this week, winning just one game. The offense was largely absent, but several pitchers were fantastic.

22-year-old Emilio Ogando pitched 6.2 shutout innings on Saturday, allowing just a walk and a single. He struck out six. It was not Ogando's longest game of the season -- thrice he has finished seven innings -- but he did match a season-high 95 pitches.

Right-hander Gerson Garabito also shut out opponents in his start, with three hits surrendered in five innings. This was a strong follow-up to his fantastic seven scoreless innings last week. Glenn Sparkman made his second start for Lexington in a comeback campaign from Tommy John surgery. In five innings, he threw 72 pitches, struck out seven, and surrendered two runs on six hits. He did not walk anybody.

Left-handed reliever Mark McCoy had not given up a single hit in five appearances over the last two weeks. He finally allowed a hit on Sunday, but a scoreless streak remains. Over his last six games, he has struck out 13 in seven innings, allowing just the one hit and a pair of walks.

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Mike Minor is with Omaha on a rehab assignment, again. He pitched 2.1 innings on Thursday, throwing 42 pitches with three strikeouts and two walks. He had last pitched on May 30, on a prior rehab assignment, and suffered a setback.

In a pregame ceremony in Omaha, Irving Falu was presented with a framed jersey commemorating his franchise-record 663 hits. According to Omaha broadcaster Mark Nasser, Falu's first hit with the club was in the final game that the previous record holder, Jed Hansen, played for Omaha.

The Royals released veteran outfielder Travis Snider on Sunday. He had spent all season in Omaha, batting .245/.340/.350.