Minor Matters: Lofgren Stands Out

Chuck Lofgren ... back on track.

Chuck Lofgren turned the clock back to 2006 on Sunday with an outstanding performance for the Akron Aeros. The left-hander carried a perfect game into the fourth and a no-hitter into the fifth in a 6-3 win at Bowie. It was shades of Lofgren's 2006 season at Kinston, when he went 17-5 with a 2.32 ERA. He hadn't been that good in nearly two complete seasons, including a very disappointing 2008.

Lofgren went 12-7 with a 4.37 ERA at Akron in 2007 and was expected to move up to Triple-A ball last year. Instead, his mother became ill, he had difficulty dealing with it, and he lost his focus on the mound. Lofgren went only 2-6 with a 5.99 ERA for the Aeros, walking 52 and allowing 93 hits in 85 2-3 innings.

Sunday, he was firing his fastball and crackling curve past Baysox batters.

In six innings, Lofgren (1-0, 1.80 ERA) gave up two hits, one walk and one run, striking out three.

Neil Wagner (6.35 ERA) gave up a run over two innings, Randy Newsom (2.08 ERA) walked two and yielded a run in two-thirds of an inning, then Vinnie Pestano fanned the only man he faced for his fifth save.

Akron improved to an Eastern League-best 8-2.

Left fielder Nick Weglarz (.103) broke out of his season-opening slump with three RBI, including a two-run homer, his first.

Carlos Rivero (.216), Beau Mills (.268) and John Drennen (.179) all had a single and double.

Here's a look around the Tribe farm system:

COLUMBUS CLIPPERS (AAA)
West Division/International League
5-6 (.455)
SUNDAY:
The Clippers got their first home win, 7-5 over Toledo. ... RHP Jack Cassel (1-1, 9.64 ERA) went six strong innings, allowing four runs on four hits. ... INF-OF Josh Barfield went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI and 2B Luis Valbuena was 3-for-3 with a walk, RBI and two runs. OF Matt LaPorta belted the first Clippers' homer at their new ballpark, a 2-run shot in the seventh inning. ... RHP Matt Herges gave up one run and two hits before recording his second save.

NOTABLE: News & Notes: Valbuena has reached base safely in 11 straight games and is hitting .342 (13-for-38) with a .468 OBP and is tied for the league lead with nine walks. 1B Michael Aubrey is second in the league in average (.472), hits (17) and on-base percentage (.500) ... LaPorta is hitting .314 (11-for-35) with a .368 OBP and .714 SLG (2nd in IL). ... LHP Jeremy Sowers is 0-1 but has given up just two earned runs and struck out 12 in 11 innings (1.64 ERA).

The Clippers have moved up their start times on April 21 vs. Louisville and April 23 vs. Indianapolis to 6:05 p.m. Gates to Huntington Park will open at 5:00 p.m.

AKRON AEROS (AA)
Southern Division/Eastern League
8-2 (.800)

NOTABLE:
Catcher Carlos Santana leads the Eastern League with 14 RBI and is tied for first with four homers while hitting .229 (8-for-35). ... OF Jose Constanza leads the team with a .308 average (8-for-26) and three steals. ... 1B-3B Beau Mills is hitting .268 (11-for-41) with a .318 OBP and .366 SLG. ... RHP Hector Rondon is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA. ... RHP Vinnie Pestano's five saves are tied for the league lead.

KINSTON INDIANS (High-A)
Southern Division/Carolina League
5-6 (.455)
SUNDAY:
Kinston had a season-high 13 hits in a 9-7 win over visiting Winston-Salem. ... OF Roman Pena went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer. ... OF John Allman went 4-for-5 with two RBI, while OF Matt Brown, 2B Cord Phelps and C Alex Castillo combined to go 6-for-12, each collecting two hits. ... RHP Jonathan Holt gave up one hit over two innings to get the win and RHP Josh Judy worked the ninth for his third save.

NOTABLE: Brown leads the Carolina League with a .457 (16-for-35) average and .537 OBP. .. 1B-OF Matt McBride leads the team with 10 RBI and third in the league in hitting at .390 (16-for-41). ... LHP Kelvin De La Cruz is 2-0 with a league-leading 19 strikeouts and 1.50 ERA 9fifth in the league).

LAKE COUNTY CAPTAINS (A)
Northern Division/South Atlantic League
4-7 (.364)
SUNDAY:
The Captains lost at Delmarva, 4-3. DH Donnie Webb led off the second inning with his second homer. ... OF Ryan Blair hit his first homer and went 2-for-3 with two RBI. ... RHP Santo Frias fanned two over two hitless innings of relief. ... RHP Matt Langwell (0-1, 4.50 ERA was the loser in relief, allowing two runs on two hits, walking two and striking out one.

NOTABLE: 1B Nate Recknagel has three multi-hit games in his last five (7-for-20, two RBI). ... OF Adam White has gone 9-for-29 (.310) with four stolen bases. White and INF Karexon Sanchez have 12 of the team's 19 steals. ... RHP Alexande Perez has given up one earned run (a homer) in 13 innings for an 0.69 ERA of 0.69.

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