Chris Oxspring suffered his worst outing ever and Jon Knott tried to single-handedly get Portland back in the game. Sean Thompson was on – on the hill and at the plate. Streaks are becoming common in Lake Elsinore. It was a tough night for the Jimenez family. Fabian Jimenez continues to struggle in Fort Wayne while Juan, no relation, had four dropped on him in the first in Peoria. Also, Jon Link talks about his success through two starts with Eugene.
Portland lost 9-7
Chris Oxspring was mauled on Saturday, lasting just two-plus innings as nine runs crossed the plate against him on nine hits and a walk. It was his shortest outing of the year and of his career as a starter. Oxspring is 2-3 on the road this year, as he was on Saturday, with a 6.89 ERA and .307 average against, while he is 4-1 at home with a 3.11 ERA and .207 batting average against.
Jon Knott was a perfect 3-for-3 with a walk. He also knocked two out of the park and knocked in five of the seven Portland runs. It is his fourth multi-homer game of the year and his five RBI’s are his highest total since he drove in five on May 24, 2004 while with Mobile. His 54 RBI’s place him in the top ten in the Pacific Coast League while his 18 homers are one shy of the league lead, pending the outcome of Saturday’s games. He also paces the league with 44 extra base hits, pending the outcome of the night’s games.
Mobile won 10-3
Ever batter to begin the game had at least one hit with seven notching two hits. Eight different players scored a run and seven had RBI’s. Even reliever Paul Abraham got in an RBI with a sacrifice fly.
Steve Baker went 2-for-6 and knocked in his third run since joining Mobile. Baker has hit safely in eight of his last ten games with Mobile but Saturday marked just the second time that he recorded a multi-hit game. As a result, Baker is batting just .213 during his tenure with the BayBears. He is also 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Sean Thompson went 6.2 innings and gave up two runs on seven hits while tying his Mobile high in strikeouts with eight. Thompson whiffed nine in his last start with Lake Elsinore before being promoted. The lefty did not walk a batter for the second time this year in 16 starts. Over his last eight starts with Mobile, Thompson has notched seven quality starts (three earned runs or less over six plus innings of work) and has given up two earned runs or less in six of those games. Thompson also contributed two hits at the dish and is 6-for-14 at the plate since joining Mobile.
"Our defense has been strong, and we have some guys who can hit the ball on this team," said BayBears shortstop Ronnie Merrill.
Lake Elsinore lost 7-5
Three players have hitting streaks of eight or more games for the Storm. Fernando Valenzuela has a seven game streak, Adam Bourassa has an eight game streak while Peeter Ramos extended his to nine games.
The most impressive streak goes to Bourassa who has six consecutive multi-hit games. He is 16-for-35 over the streak and has doubled five times over the last three games, his only extra base hits during the streak.
Valenzuela has the least impressive streak. His batting average has actually dropped over the life of the streak, from .318 to 313. He is 7-for-26, a .269 average, in his last seven. He has been hit by three pitches over that span as well.
Eddie Bonine, back in the starting rotation for the third straight game, had his worst start to date. After allowing three earned runs over his first two starts, Bonine surrendered seven runs on 11 hits in five innings of work. He was tagged for three homers against, the second time this year he has given up three homers in a game. His ERA in June had been a slim 3.78 with a .234 average against.
Fort Wayne lost 6-2
Peter Ciofrone is out of the lineup with a strained hamstring. He is listed as day-to-day.
The struggles for Fabian Jimenez continued on Saturday. The young left-hander has made it out of the fourth inning just once over his past five starts. He was pulled with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth on Saturday, with five runs, four earned, on nine hits and two walks already on the ledger. Chris Steinborn got the final out without allowing another run. Jimenez has seen his ERA shoot upwards over his last five outings, from 4.17 to 7.19, the result of 35 runs, 30 earned, in 16.2 innings. He has lost all five, dropping him to 4-9 on the year.
Steinborn, who prevented three inherited runners from scoring lasted 3.2 innings and was charged with one run on one hit. It is the third time this year Steinborn has worked three or more innings as a reliever. Of the 12 runners he has inherited on the year three have scored. Steinborn has a 3.32 ERA since coming over to Fort Wayne and a 5.29 ERA overall, including his time with the Modesto Nuts of the California League. He has limited the opposition to a .237 average against since joining the Wizards.
Eugene won 14-2
Right-handed pitcher Jon Link talked about how he has been so successful after two starts with Eugene, allowing two earned runs in 12 innings of work:
“Seeing a hitter up there with a wooden bat is a lot more comforting than seeing them up there with an aluminum bat,” Link admitted. “I am on page with my catcher (Nick Hundley) since the first start. I met him the day before he caught me. I have a lot of confidence in him and what he calls. We work well together. Having confidence in your catcher is kind of a big deal.”
Link, coincidentally, also played the field – seeing time at third base and first base during his collegiate career. He is now a full-time pitcher but committed an error in his first game. Link talks about that error:
“Your first outing out there and you put a pickoff play on and I just got anxious. Errors happen. Physical mistakes happen. As long as you can cut down the mental mistakes. If it was an error where I threw to the wrong base or something that would be one thing but I just let the ball go. My arm got a little long and I overthrew the second baseman. Fortunately I don’t think it would have mattered, the next kid doubled off the wall anyway so he was going to score no matter what. You just have to do what you can to slow your body down I guess.”
Santiago Guerrero tripled, his third of the season and second in as many games, to score two in the fourth inning. All of his extra base hits have been triples to start the year. The outfielder has a seven game hitting streak and has eight RBI’s during the streak, including three on Saturday. He is 8-for-22 with five walks and two hit by pitches over the streak.
After allowing nine runs over his first two starts, Ben Krosschell pitched five innings of shutout ball on Saturday, limiting the opposition to just two hits and two walks while striking out three to get his first win in Northwest League play. Only one baserunner reached scoring position against Krosschell on the night. He lowered his batting average against from .361 to .288.
Peoria lost 4-3
William Venable has reached base safely in every game this year. He went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI on Saturday, giving him seven RBI’s for the season. In nine games, Venable has hits in seven and was a pinch runner in one game. He added two stolen bases on Saturday, his first since opening day. Venable, a left-handed batter, has hit .429 off right-handed pitching to begin the year.
Juan Jimenez was rocked for four runs, three earned, in the first which was enough that the team could not overcome. He ended up going five-plus innings and allowing six hits and two walks to take his first loss. The right-hander has given up 14 runs, 11 earned, in 15.2 innings this year. Six of the 11 earned runs have crossed the plate in the first inning. The opposition is hitting .313 off him early in the year.