Adam Shabala was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle and Vince Sinisi went 3-for-4 with two homeruns, but that wasn’t enough to string up another win for the 2,640 Beaver fans in attendance on this Cinco de Mayo, as the Sky Sox won 7-6.
Tim Stauffer made his first start of the season against the visiting Sky Sox. Typically a starter, Stauffer began the year in the bullpen because he didn’t see as many innings as needed in the spring to get his arm ready for the starting role. In his five relief appearances, he rarely pitched more than two innings due to a pitch count, and struggled to make outs, as he racked up an 11.88 earned run average and allowed 16 hits in just over eight innings total.
After two strong innings of work, Stauffer ran into some trouble in the third. Leadoff hitter Cory Sullivan tripled off the right field wall to score Tim Olson, who had singled to start the inning. On the next pitch, the ball deflected off of catcher Pete Laforest’s glove and skipped away. Sullivan broke for home, but an alert Stauffer received the toss from Laforest and applied the tag to end the inning, with just the one run scoring.
The Beavers would answer back in the bottom of the frame on a towering blast off from leadoff hitter Adam Shabala. The shot, which landed just over the right centerfield wall, was Shabala’s first home run of the season. He has struggled so far in his first season with the Padres organization, having his average dip to .066 at one point this season, but has raised it to nearly 60 points in the last two days by going 5-for-6 with three walks and three runs scored.
“It was more mental, I was getting a little jumpy at the plate and swinging at balls out of the zone that I normally wouldn’t swing at, like pitcher pitches,” said Shabala, referring to the early struggles. “I was just getting myself out basically, and now it’s all about relaxing, getting my pitch and putting a good swing on it.”
When asked if he had put unneeded pressure on himself to perform with the new organization, Shabala said: “I think I did in the beginning when we first got here. You know, after a couple games, you start wanting to get hits, everybody else is getting their hits. I was putting a little more pressure. But, I realized you just have to relax and let the game come to you. You can’t go get the game.”
The fourth inning saw more troubles for Stauffer. With one out, he gave up two straight singles and then a homerun to Edwin Bellorin. Steve Watkins was brought in relief after the homer, but didn’t fare well either. Watkins would allow just two hits in his 3.1 innings today, but walked four and gave up a homerun in the seventh, as three runs would cross the plate against him.
Sinisi, who also homered last night in the 8-0 Beaver win, shot solo blasts over the wall in right field in the sixth and eighth innings. The eighth inning blast started a rally for the Beavers. With two outs, a Craig Stansberry double and walks to Shabala and Brett Dowdy loaded the bases for Paul McAnulty. McAnulty, representing the tying run, has struggled with the Beavers after starting the season with the Padres. But a frenzied Beaver crowd ignited the atmosphere in the stadium and McAnulty delivered, lining a bases clearing double into the right field corner. McAnulty clapped his hands together loudly and shouted after reaching second, pumped up from the crowd and the hit that brought the Beavers within a run.
Down one, going into the bottom of the ninth, Sinisi singled with one out. The Beavers were looking for one more rally, but Sinisi was left stranded at third base when pinch hitter Luke Carlin struck out to end the game. Stauffer picked up the loss, his first of the season. His counterpart, Jorge De Paula, got the win to improve his record to 2-0, as he pitched six innings, allowing four hits, four walks, and two earned runs.