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Aviators top 10: Jeffries, pitching staff coming around

1. Getting (more) guys out

In this space last week it was noted the the Aviators’ Daulton Jeffries had lowered his earned-run average to a “closer to respectable” 5.25. On Tuesday, the right-hander checked El Paso on two runs over six innings during which he struck out a season-high nine and lowered his ERA to an even closer to respectable 5.00.

2. James dandy

If Jeffries keeps getting guys out, he soon may be joining James Kaprielian in Oakland. The Aviators’ opening-night pitcher tossed six shutout innings against the Angels Tuesday to improve his record to 5-3 and lower his ERA to 2.65.

3. Back to (almost) normal

After lighting up the scoreboard during most of the season, the Aviators beat struggling El Paso five times in six tries during the recent homestand with most of the wins coming in relatively low-scoring games. The Aviators scored double digits only once, and their only loss came in a 3-2 game they led 1-0 after seven innings.

4. Pitching in

The Aviators’ starting rotation allowed just 23 hits and seven walks in 33 innings against El Paso. Jesús Luzardo, Miguel Romero, Paul Blackburn and Jefferies all went at least five innings, with Jeffries doing it twice.

5. Baseball gods respond

And then the Aviators’ 4-3 extra-inning victory over the Chihuahuas Tuesday was twice delayed by lightning. Draw your own conclusions.

6. Frank the Tank: Distant rumble

After tearing up Triple-A West with 16 homers, 41 RBIs and a .317 batting average that earned him a promotion to the A’s (where he homered in his first at-bat), first baseman Frank Schwindel was sent back to Las Vegas July 12 — and claimed off waivers by the Chicago Cubs six days later. In his first game with the Iowa Cubs, Schwindel went 2-for-5 with another long ball and drove in four.

7. They all count

After splitting a rain-suspended doubleheader at Salt Lake Friday, the Aviators have won 12 of their past 17 games. Five of the victories were against El Paso (27-38). But when the pitching staff sports an ERA of 6.29, sometimes you don’t throw the little fish back in the lake.

8. For Pete’s sake

Aviators shortstop Pete Kozma extended his latest mini-hitting streak to six games in the opener at Salt Lake, giving him five hitting streaks of at least five games this season. Good for him, though Joe DiMaggio probably wouldn’t have been that impressed.

9. Hitless Homer

Homer Bailey has allowed five hits in five innings for the Aviators since signing a minor league contract with the A’s — which is five more than he allowed on both Sept. 28, 2012, and July 2, 2013, when he tossed no-hitters against the Pirates and Giants. It was the third time in MLB history and the first since Nolan Ryan in 1974-75 that a pitcher fired the last no-hitter of one season and the first of the next.

10. Aviators quick quiz

Who was the only player to steal more than 15 bases in his rookie big league season, hit an inside-the-park home run and hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run in the same game) as a Triple-A player in Las Vegas: A: Roberto Alomar. B. Carlos Baerga. C: Kevin McReynolds. D: John Kruk.

(The correct answer is John Kruk, who stole 18 bases for the 1987 San Diego Padres and was the first Las Vegas Star to hit an inside-the-park HR (vs. Portland in 1985) and hit for the cycle (vs. Edmonton in 1984).

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