Manny Alexander has a hit in 25 of his last 30 games after hitting a solo homer on Wednesday. The shortstop is hitting .270 over his last 32 games with 28 runs scored. He has raised his average from .216 to .243 in the process. Fourteen of his 16 extra base hits have come with the bases empty. Alexander is 1-for-11 with the bases loaded this year.
Roger Deago pounded out six solid innings where he surrendered one unearned run on four hits and three walks while striking out five. He lowered his ERA to 3.27 on the year in Portland. It is the ninth time in 14 starts over two leagues that he has given up two runs or less. Deago, a lefty, held left-handers hitless on the night and has given up just one hit to them since joining Portland and ten his in 62 at bats this season.
Mobile was rained out
Lake Elsinore lost 6-3 to Inland Empire (Mariners)
Peter Ciofrone accounted for two of the three RBI's on the night and one of the three hits. He was 1-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. The outfielder has driven in five runs in his last three games and has an RBI in five of his last six. Since returning to Lake Elsinore over a span of 18 games, Ciofrone has driven in 20 games and is hitting .400. He also has 21 hits in 51 at bats with runners in scoring position.
Manny Ayala got his first start of the season and took the loss, despite allowing just one run on three hits in four innings. He struck out seven and did not walk a batter. He has gone 17 innings without issuing a free pass. Ayala has limited the opposition to a .193 average against since joining the Storm and has given up three hits in 17 at bats with runners in scoring position.
Fort Wayne lost 14-6 to Quad Cities (Cardinals)
Sloppy defense led to nine unearned runs, eight while Jarrett Gardner was in the game. The recently signed right-hander was on the wrong side of three errors in one frame, which led to a ten-run inning, two of which were earned. He gave up eight hits, including a homer and did not walk a batter, giving him more runs scored than men on base versus him thanks to many a gaffe. The opposition is hitting .455 off him with runners in scoring position over two games.
Grant Varnell came on in relief and was on the hook for another unearned run, the only run that would score on him in five innings. The right-hander has pitched in two games of long relief and has given up just one run, holding opponents to a .243 average. As a starter, Varnell has a 4.61 ERA and the opposition is hitting .312. Varnell has a 3.21 ERA on the road and a 5.20 mark at home.
The entire infield defense recorded an error, as did Mike Baxter. Seven teams in the Midwest League have more errors than the 104 for Fort Wayne. Kyle Blanks came into the game with a .991 fielding percentage, Seth Johnston at .968 at second base but just .911 at third, Matt Bush at .926 – though he does have six errors in 14 games now, and Jesus Lopez at .978 at shortstop and .977 at second base. Baxter had a .971 fielding percentage.
Eugene lost 5-2 to Salem-Keizer (Giants)
Aaron Breit was on the hook for an unearned run in five innings of work, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out three. The right-hander has not allowed an earned run over his last 11 innings of work and has given up one earned over his last 14.1 innings. He has given up eight hits over that span and has held the opposition to a .207 average against. He has given up just one hit in 20 at bats with runners in scoring position.
Brooks Dunn has accounted for half of the team's losses this year after dropping his Northwest League leading fourth game of the year. In an inning and two-thirds, the left-hander gave up three runs, one earned, on three hits and two walks. He has lost the last four times he has appeared in a game and has given up 17 runs, 13 earned, on 19 hits over that 11.2 inning span. While lefties are hitting .240 off him, righties are batting .359.
Another day, another David Freese RBI. The third baseman hit a solo homer, his fifth of the year, and added two runs scored on a 2-for-4 evening. Freese has notched three straight multi-run games and has ten RBI's over his last three. He has an eight-game hitting streak, going 14-for-30 with six doubles, three homers, 13 runs scored and 18 RBI's. He leads the Northwest League in runs scored, RBI's, slugging percentage and extra base hits.
AZL Padres won 6-3 over AZL Mariners
John Hussey pitched four scoreless, giving up two hits and three walks while striking out two. The right-hander had given up three runs, two earned, over his first six innings but does sport a .306 average against on the year. While the opposition is hitting .364 off him with the bases empty, they have hit .143 with runners in scoring position.
Matt Huff picked up his second blown save of the season, allowing a run on a solo homer in 2.2 innings of work. The right-hander was able to pick up his second win of the year and struck out five. All of the runs against Huff this year have come via the long ball and four of the six hits he has allowed have gone for extra bases. His three homers against have all been hit by right-handed batters. The righty had just two strikeouts in his first four appearances coming into the game.
Justin Pickett made it into his second game for the squad and went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI's. He now has recorded a multi-RBI game in each of his games to open the year and all three of his hits on the season have come with runners on base. A right-handed hitter, Pickett is 3-for-6 off right-handed pitching.