Shaky defense leads Portland to loss

Luis Cruz is normally sure-handed

Portland, OR— Coming into Friday night's game, both Mike Thompson and Eric Stults were in dire need of a quality outing. Battling through a cold and constant drizzle, Stults was able to come through, while Thompson fell a bit short. Consistent hitting by the Vegas lineup coupled with shoddy defense by the Beavers' infield gave the 51s a 6-1 win over the Beavers.

In his last four starts (all losses), Stults had surrendered 27 runs. Similarly unimpressive, Thompson has allowed at least five runs in every appearance with the Portland after coming down from San Diego.

After seeing his ERA skyrocket from 2.91 to 8.58 over his last four starts, Stults moved to bring his stats back down to earth by holding the Beavers to just one run in his six innings of work.

The Beavers defensive mishaps proved to be costly Friday night. A total of four errors allowed three unearned runs to score for Las Vegas.

"Today wasn't one of our best games. Any time you give a club extra outs, you give them opportunities to capitalize and they definitely did that tonight" Beavers manager Rick Renteria said.

Capitalizing on an error by shortstop Luis Cruz, Las Vegas took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Matt Kemp reached base on Cruz' bobbled grounder up the middle, swiped second, and was driven home on a perfectly executed hit-and-run.

The 51s widened their lead to 3-0 in the second. Following Sergio Garcia's solo home run to lead off the inning, Luis Maza raced home to score on Tony Abreu's triple to the wall in deep center.

Two consecutive errors by Cruz and Craig Stansberry in the fourth inning allowed Las Vegas to knock home two unearned runs, stretching their lead to 5-0.

The Beavers answered back with a lone run in the bottom half of the frame when Michael Johnson's sacrifice fly to right drove in Pete Laforest from third base. Portland had the bases loaded with no outs but their opportunity was largely squandered as Cruz and pinch-hitter Adam Shabala were unable to get balls out of the infield.

After tossing 90 pitches, 55 of them strikes, Mike Thompson was relieved by Steve Watkins in the top of the fifth inning. While Thompson did allow five runs, only two were earned due to three errors by the left side of the Beavers infield. Given Thompson's rough streak, this outing was seen as a positive.

"I think tonight was a better outing for him to be honest with you... He worked down in the zone pretty consistently," Renteria said.

Watkins plowed through three innings of relief, surrendering one run on back-to-back doubles off the bats of Young and James Loney. Lefty sidewinder Royce Ring and Leo Rosales closed out the game for the Beavers with two scoreless innings of relief.

Game Notes:

- Friday was the second time this season the Beavers committed four errors in one game. The other came on April 14 at home against Fresno.

- Rick Renteria currently has 499 career wins as a manager.

- Clay Hensley will be making a rehab start for Portland on Sunday afternoon. Hensley is recovering from a strained right groin. He will be allowed to throw roughly 75 pitches.

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