Valenzuela triples? Stiedlmayer starting again

Fernando Valenzuela

Clay Hensley returned to Texas for the Beavers first ever game with Round Rock. Brian Whitaker wasn't sharp in a rain shortened game. This is not a misprint - Fernando Valenzuela tripled - running his lap in 30.65 seconds (that last part is a misprint since it probably took longer). Luke Steidlmayer made his first start of the year after a successful tour in the bullpen.

Portland lost 3-1

Texas native Clay Hensley, pitching in front of friends and family, tossed six innings of three run ball allowing five hits, walking one and striking out six. Hensley has limited the opposition to a .188 batting average on the year but they are hitting .417 off him when runners are in scoring position. Four of the five hits he allowed came in the second inning.

Jon Knott extended his hitting streak to seven games with a double in three at bats. He has raised his average from .215 to .240 over the life of the streak and is hitting .286 for the month of May. Knott, a right-handed hitter, is hitting left-handed pitching at a .216 clip and righties at a .250 pace. He is batting .315 when he bats third in the lineup and just .179 when he bats cleanup.

Jesse Garcia returned to Portland after batting .167 with two homers and four RBI's with the San Diego Padres. Garcia went 0-for-4 and is 0-for-8 on the year with Portland.

Mobile lost 6-5 in seven (rain shortened)

A rain delay prior to the start of the fifth, with the BayBears down 6-0, seemed like a nail in the coffin once the game resumed with play being halted at any time. But Mississippi left their starter in the game and Mobile scored five runs to open the next frame.

"I think it was only a matter of time before we got to their starting pitcher," second baseman Jason Clements said. "It was a mistake to bring him out after the rain delay. We have some guys in out lineup who really hit the ball well."

Brian Whitaker went four innings, allowing six runs, all earned, on seven hits and two walks to drop to 1-4 on the year. He also hit two batters bringing his total of hit batsmen to six on the year. The right-hander has allowed four or more runs in four of his last five outings and the opposition is hitting .324 off him.

Craig Breslow picked off his fourth runner of the year in 19.1 innings of work. He has pitched scoreless ball in 13 of his 15 appearances on the year and while the left-hander has been dominant against right-handed batters, batting .179 off him, he has been less than ordinary against lefties who are hitting a whopping .412 off him.

Lake Elsinore won 12-6

Fernando Valenzuela tripled for the third time in his career and first time this year. Valenzuela does not have much speed and triples are generally gift wrapped, as was the case on Saturday when Inland Empire outfielder Carlos Arroyo misplayed a ball that went all the way to the wall. Valenzuela went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

"It was a little cheap one but I will take it," Valenzuela said of his triple. "It works both ways. I have been hitting the ball hard and getting out. This is just one of the times where they said ‘we will give you one.'

"I haven't had one of these days where I have had three hits in a game in a while, since the start of the season, and it felt good to see the ball well."

It is the seventh time this year that Valenzuela has recorded three or more hits in a game. The last one came on May 8, not quite the start of the season. The triple was his first extra base hit in 12 games.

Juan Ciriaco had two errors in the game, his third two-error game of the year. Ciriaco now has 16 errors on the year, tying him for the lead amongst all minor leaguers. Although he went 1-for-5, he was robbed of two hits, one on a diving catch by the centerfielder and another nice pickup by the third baseman ranging to his left and gunning out Ciriaco at first. Ciriaco did add an RBI, his 24th, and his fifth stolen base.

Fort Wayne lost 12-5

Luke Steidlmayer, making his first start of the year, went 5.1 innings, surrendering four runs on seven hits while not walking a batter. He struck out three and yielded a two-run homer. He left with to men on in the sixth and both ended up scoring. The right-hander has allowed just one hit in 38 at bats when runners are in scoring position, a .036 batting average against. Steidlmayer had a scoreless streak of 13.1 innings entering the game.

In his second Midwest League appearance, Phil Polanco allowed both inherited runners to score and was tagged for five runs on three hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. A grand slam off Polanco capped the inning. It is the third grand slam Fort Wayne pitching has yielded on the season.

Lachlan Dale hit a solo home run in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to nine games. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and has gone 11-for-32 over the streak with three homers and three doubles. All three homers have been solo homers and five of his last six RBI's have come by way of the long ball. The slugger is hitting .273 for the month of May but just .114 with runners in scoring position.

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