This week the Top 10 features very few new names, but a few new places, and the lower levels…
Ben Johnson and Chris Oxspring Dominate Tucson
Smokin' Ben Johnson hit his 13th homer of the year on Sunday, a solo homer with two outs in the first inning. Johnson went 2-for-4 with two RBI's to extend his hitting streak to ten games. Johnson has at least one RBI in nine of his last ten games and at least one run scored in 13 of his last 14. He is hitting .393 in June and has struck out just five times in 43 at bats this month.
Chris Oxspring began the ninth with a chance for a complete game but an error and two hits forced him out of the game after 8.1 innings of work. He was charged with four runs, one earned, on seven hits and two walks while striking out a season-high nine. Oxspring has allowed six earned runs over his last four starts – all wins for the 5-2 right-hander. He has pitched through the eighth in three of his 12 starts.
J.J. Furmaniak homered for the tenth time this year, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI's. Furmaniak has hit all ten of his homers in the past 30 games after logging zero in his first 30. All but two of his 29 RBI's have come in the same time span. Furmaniak is hitting .383 in June and hasn't struck out in his past five games, his longest streak of the year without a K. He did, however, commit an error which allowed two unearned runs to score. It was his third error in his past four games.
Mobile lost 8-3, lost 1-0 Mobile BayBears broadcaster Tim Hagerty caught up to BayBears manager Gary Jones prior to the doubleheader on Sunday:
"The guys felt the momentum change," Jones said about Saturday's come from behind victory. "Casey Baker had a couple of ground balls that went through. Dustin hit a couple of line drives. It was nice to see Sain to put together some better and more consistent AB's."
The same can't be said for Sunday…
Mike Thompson, the ERA leader in the Southern League entering the game with a 2.30 ERA, braved through a rough outing to notch a complete game. He allowed a season-high eight runs on 11 hits and a walk, the second outing in a row where he has allowed five or more runs after not allowing more than three runs in his first 11 starts. One run crossed the plate on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze. Thompson has allowed 28 hits over his past 19 innings. His ERA shot up to 2.95 on the year.
Travis Chick followed the complete game thrown by Thompson with one of his own. Chick allowed one hit over his seven innings of work but that hit, a triple in the first inning, plated a run – the only run of the game in a 1-0 loss. He struck out a season-high nine and walked three. It is the fourth time in his last five games that he has allowed one earned run or less. It was the fifth time Chick has walked three or more in an outing and he has not surrendered more than three runs in any of those starts.
Kennard Jones went 1-for-3 with a double in game one and 2-for-6 for the day. His game one double knocked in two, giving the centerfielder eight RBI's in a four game span. It was his eighth multi-RBI game of the year and gave him 28 for the year. Jones had just nine RBI's in 82 games for Mobile in 2004 and 27 RBI's in 132 games split between Lake Elsinore and Mobile for all of '04. His season high for RBI's with one team is 30 (Fort Wayne in '03) and for a season is 35, also accomplished in 2003.
Paul McAnulty extended his hitting streak to nine games with hits in each game of the doubleheader. He is 11-for-38 over the streak with six extra base hits and nine RBI's. He had his streak of RBI's in four straight games broken in the nightcap. McAnulty, third on the team in walks, has not drawn a base on balls during the streak and has struck out just four times.
Lake Elsinore lost 10-4
Dirk Hayhurst took some hard luck earned runs on Sunday when Peeter Ramos misplayed a ball but did not receive an error. Hayhurst was ultimately charged with seven runs on eight hits, two walks and two hit batsmen over 5.2 innings. In away games, the opposition is tagging Hayhurst at a .371 clip while he has a .194 average against at home. His ERA is 10.53 and at The Diamond it is 3.38.
Chris Tierney made his fifth relief appearance of the year after beginning the year as a starter. Tierney allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in an inning and a third. The right-hander has given up six runs in 7.1 innings of relief for an ERA of 7.36 compared to his 5.91 ERA as a starter. The opposition is hitting .290 off him as a reliever after swatting .340 off him as a starter. He has walked more batters (29) than he has struck out (28) this season.
Brian Burgamy's 15 game hitting streak came to an end on Sunday with an 0-for-4 performance, striking out three times for the first time this year. He has struck out twice in six different games and had whiffed 12 times in his previous 21 games. After playing the field in every game this year, Burgamy has been the designated hitter in three of his past four games, including Sunday.
Fort Wayne won 10-7
After not allowing more than three earned runs in any of his first 11 starts, Mike Ekstrom has given up seven or more in each of his past two. Ekstrom lasted just five innings after allowing seven runs, all coming in a tough third inning, on seven hits and a walk. Ekstrom has given up 15 runs in his last ten innings after allowing just 14 runs, 11 earned, in his first 69 innings. His ERA has ballooned from 1.43 to 2.96 in the process.
Brett Dowdy went 2-for-3 and drove in five runs on Sunday. Two came on a double in the third, two more on a single in the seventh and one insurance run came on a sacrifice fly in the ninth. It is the eight multi-RBi games on the year for Dowdy and gives him 34 on the year, good for second place on the team. His sixth double was his first two-bagger in 12 games and he has recorded more triples on the year, eight. Dowdy has ten RBI's in 12 June games.
The first homer since June 4 for the Fort Wayne Wizards jumped off the bat of Lachlan Dale, a two-run blast, in the seventh inning, his tenth homer of the year, to give the team a 9-7 lead, capping a six run inning with all the runs scoring with two outs. Dale has knocked in eight runs over his last eight games. The homer was his only hit of the day and he struck out twice. Dale has not had a two game span where he did not strikeout throughout the whole season.
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