Leads uncharacteristically leave Christian Bergman

The following are updates on local baseball players at the minor league level.

Christian Bergman (St. Francis High, 2006) starting pitcher, Modesto Nuts: Modesto has watched Bergman uncharacteristically cough up two healthy leads in his past two outings. The Nuts ace gave up just five hits Thursday but three of them were home runs in a 9-8 loss to the Visalia Rawhide.

Bergman appeared to be sitting pretty up 4-1 through four innings — retiring the side in order in the bottom of the first and fourth innings — after giving up a solo home run to Visalia's Yazy Arbelo in the second. Keon Broxton put Rawhide within two, 4-2, with a leadoff homer in the fifth and Jonathan Griffin knotted the score at four with a two-run bomb in the sixth.

Bergman was pulled to start the bottom of the seventh, but was still in line for the win after Modesto, the class-A advanced affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, went back up, 5-4, in the top of the frame on a Jared Clark solo shot.

Visalia cracked the Nuts, though, with three runs in the seventh and two more in the ninth for the walk-off win.

Bergman's eight-game unbeaten streak remains in tact, as he stayed at 14-5 after barely picking up the win in Modesto's 8-6 victory over the San Jose Giants on July 27.

The former Golden Knight gave up 11 hits and six runs through 5 2/3 innings. It stands as his worst start of the season, as he hadn't given up more than five runs in a game this year.

After his past two starts Bergman's ERA has ticked above 3.00 to 3.13. He has given up 47 earned runs through 135 innings and 22 starts in which he's struck out 105 batters.

The Nuts (56-54) are now in a first-place tie with Visalia in the second half of the season in the California League North Division after the Rawhide swept them at home with Thursday's victory. Modesto will look to rebound in a three-game homestand with the Bakersfield Blaze this weekend.

Eric Smith (La Cañada High, 2009) catcher/designated hitter, Ogden Raptors: Smith's bat has become a valuable weapon in Ogden's lineup, as evidenced by the Raptors' game Friday when he batted No. 2 as their designated hitter.

The former Spartan saw his seven-game hitting streak come to a close in the game, an 11-3 loss to the Grand Junction Rockies, as he went 0 for three with a walk and a run scored.

Smith's batting average remains at a hefty .363 (53 for 146) with 31 runs batted in, 10 doubles, six triples and a home run after he went two for two with a RBI Thursday in Ogden's 4-1 win over the Idaho Falls Chukars.

The Raptors, a rookie affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, are tied for first in the Pioneer League South Division with the Rockies with a 23-21 record.

Nik Turley (La Cañada native) pitcher, Tampa Yankees: Turley added to what's been his best season — out of five — at the minor league level Wednesday when he pitched a scoreless five innings in a 6-1 win over the Charlotte Stone Crabs for Tampa, a class-A advanced affiliate of the New York Yankees in the Florida State League.

The La Cañada native, who graduated from Harvard Westlake, picked up the win after he gave up five hits, four walks but no runs and struck out five in five frames. The victory — his third in four games — brought his record to 7-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.67. He has one shutout, which came July 23 against the Lakeland Flying Tigers, and 95 strikeouts in 16 starts that spanned 87 2/3 innings.

Turley pitched all seven innings of the game July 23 — a makeup of a postponed game from June 22. He surrendered two hits, a walk and struck out nine in the 7-0 win for the Yankees, who are in first place in their league's North Division with a 26-16 record.

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