Portland lost 3-2
For the eighth game in a row Clay Hensley has gone six or more innings. The workhorse allowed one unearned run over 6.2 innings of work on seven hits and a walk. In seven of his nine starts, Hensley has allowed three runs or less and one run or less in five of those. His average against for the year is just .202 and he held the opposition to one hit in seven chances with runners in scoring position on Thursday.
Marty McLeary, now in the bullpen, blew what was considered his first save opportunity and took the loss. McLeary has made three relief appearances and had tossed 2.2 scoreless innings before Thursday when he allowed two runs on three hits and two walks in an inning of work. McLeary, like manager Craig Colbert, was ejected. While Colbert was tossed in the eighth inning, McLeary was sent packing in the ninth. The right-hander made 37 relief appearances last year and had 13 saves along with a .205 batting average against.
Wilson Valdez went 2-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases against his former club. Acquired for R.D. Spiehs and Mike Bumstead, Valdez has two multi-hit games in his last three games after opening his Portland career 0-for-8. All five of his hits have come with the bases empty and he is 0-for-7 on the year with runners on base.
Mobile won 9-3
Angel Tovar recorded a spot start on Thursday and performed admirably, tossing four innings of shutout ball – his longest outing of the year. He allowed four hits and three walks in his third outing with Mobile. For the year, Tovar has allowed a .345 average against over two different leagues. Lefties are hitting over .400 off the right-hander.
The BayBears pounded out 18 hits with everyone except Luke Carlin had a hit in the game with seven recorded two or more. Seven players scored a run and six had RBI’s.
Joe Gerber has been reborn in Mobile. He has consecutive three-hit nights in the bag and knocked in two runs on Thursday. Gerber had but five hits through 25 games with Portland. It was his sixth multi-hit game over his last 13 contest for Mobile. He is hitting .360 with nine RBI’s as a BayBear.
Ronnie Merrill pushed his hitting streak to six games with a 2-for-5 night. Merrill is 8-for-21 over the streak with a run scored in each of his past four games and two stolen bases. Merrill has drove in nine runs over the last eight games.
“We’re just trying to hopefully take four here,” BayBears outfielder Dustin Delucchi said. “It is important to start the second half strong.”
Lake Elsinore won 13-1
Arturo Lopez continues to string together quality outings. Over his last seven starts, Lopez has allowed one earned run or less in six. Lopez was touched for one run on four hits and two walks in five innings on Thursday night, lowering his ERA down to 3.57. Before his recent run, his ERA was at a season high 5.79. In three June starts he has kept the opposition to a .187 batting average and for the year they are hitting .237.
Drew Macias went 4-for-6 with two doubles and two RBI’s to lead the Storm assault. It was the third straight multi-hit game for the centerfielder and he is hitting .351 during the month of June. Fifteen of his 28 RBI’s on the year have come with runners in scoring position and two outs as he has batted .429 in such situations. Macias also leads the team in runs scored with 46 despite spending 27 games in the bottom third of the order.
Brett Bonvechio reached base five times, going 3-for-4 with two walks. He also scored three runs, accomplishing that feat for the first time this year. Bonvechio batted seventh in the lineup – a spot he has hit .417 in. The third baseman leads the team with a .406 on base percentage and his 43 walks are in the top 20 of the entire minor leagues and fourth in the Cal League.
Fort Wayne lost 6-4
Right-hander Luke Steidlmayer was added to the Midwest League All-Star team on Thursday after Rafael Rodriguez was promoted, thus opening up a roster spot.
The Fort Wayne Wizards now have seven players on the Midwest League's Eastern Division team. The seven players selected ties a franchise record for players picked to compete in the mid-season game. Last year the Wizards also had seven players selected.
Fabian Jimenez lost his third straight start after allowing five runs, three earned, on six hits and four walks in just three innings of work. Over the last 10.2 innings, Jimenez has allowed 23 runs on 28 hits and ten walks. Jimenez has walked three or more in eight of his 13 starts, walking 34 to just 26 strikeouts. After a .104 batting average against in April, Jimenez has been tagged at a .396 clip since and .509 since the beginning of June.
Peter Ciofrone went 0-for-4 but did knock in a run for the fourth straight game. The primary designated hitter has RBI’s in 11 of his last 13 games and 12 for the month of June. His .343 average with runners in scoring position has helped matters. The right-handed hitter has just one homer and 12 extra base hits on the year. Ciofrone is one of the few players in the system with more walks than strikeouts on the year, 28-to-23.
Brian Fryer went 3-for-5 on Wednesday, his third straight multi-hit game, more multi-hit affairs that he had all year long. Fryer has added a stolen base in each of the past three contests. After hitting .120 with Lake Elsinore, Fryer is hitting .308 with Fort Wayne. Just don’t stick him in left field – he is hitless in 13 at bats.