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MiLB report: Howard extends streak

Starting pitcher Sam Howard recorded another strong outing for the Albuquerque Isotopes Friday night, extending his stretch of innings having not allowed a run to 13 and one-third dating back to July 22.

Howard retiried 18 of the 21 batters he faced in six innings Friday as the Isotopes edged Round Rock 1-0. The southpaw limited the Express to two hits and one walk while striking out four batters.

The start resulted in a non-decision for Howard, but his ERA dropped to 3.98 since moving up to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League June 16. He is now 4-2 in 10 starts for Albuquerque after opening the 2017 season 1-4 with a 2.33 ERA for the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats of the Eastern League. The former Cartersville High School and Georgia Southern University standout has 86 strikeouts in 98 innings with only 32 walks. Opponents have a .227 batting average against him.

The Isotopes are 57-55 and only one game behind the Salk Lake Bees in the PCL Pacific Southern Division.

Howard, 24, 3rd round selection in 2014 by the Colorado Rockies, is 26-27 in his minor league career with a 3.59 ERA. He is widely considered one of the Rockies top pitching prospects.

Connor Justus, shortstop for the Inland Empire 66ers had a 6-for-23 performance over six games last Sunday through Friday. He scored three runs, drove in three, walked twice, and stole two bases in that stretch across three series with Rancho Cucamonga at home and in away games at Stockton and San Jose.

Justus had a pair of two-out RBIs and was 2-for-5 in a 9-8, 11-inning home loss to Rancho Cucamonga July 30. The next day he was 3-for-5 with a double and a stolen base. He had a rare start as the 66ers designated hitter Saturday night, but received most of the night off. He was lifted after one at-bat. He has played in 94 games this season -- almost all starts at shortstop.

Justus, 22, 5th round selection of the Los Angeles Angels in 2016, has a .212 batting average with 5 home runs and 27 RBIs this season . He has drawn 51 walks for a .332 on-base percentage and has 12 stolen bases.

Angels’ affiliate Inland Empire is 22-20 in the second half standings of the Advanced Class A California League South Division. The 66ers trail Rancho Cucamonga (LAD) by four games.

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