Ryan Ketchner (0-4) looked sharp in the first inning, despite giving up a run. A mixture of a curveball that stayed down in the zone and an adequate changeup kept Las Vegas hitters somewhat off-balance. Starting the third inning giving up a single, the lefty followed with three consecutive walks. Then, a Ken Huckaby single drove in two more to give the 51s enough to topple a struggling Portland team.
The Beavers’ punchless offense mustered just one hit through the first eight innings while leaving five runners on base and getting just one runner into scoring position.
Pete Laforest, who played third base for the first time since 2005, was the only spark in a dead Portland offense. Alongside making a nice diving stop at the hot corner early in the game, Laforest reached base three times, and provided a towering homerun to right field to lead off the bottom the ninth frame. It was his second ninth-inning homerun in the last five games. His last was a game-tying grand slam on Tuesday May 15 in Round Rock.
It would be too little too late for a Beaver lineup that was retired in order four consecutive innings. Laforest’s hit was just the second of the game for Portland. It was the third time the Beavers have been two-hit this season.
So far in the three game series versus Las Vegas, Portland has been outscored 16-3.
Out of the Beaver bullpen on an extended rehab assignment, Scott Cassidy worked a stellar inning by striking out the three batters he faced in the top of the sixth.
Reliever Aaron Rakers pitched two solid innings. The right-hander set down Las Vegas batters in order in the seventh inning. He gave up a walk to the first batter he faced in the eighth inning but forced Delwyn Young into a 6-4-3 double play and got Choo Freeman to ground out.
The Beavers batsmen failed to capitalize on the ample middle relief from their pen. The top of the Portland lineup struck out in order to start the eighth inning. After committing four costly errors the previous evening, the Beavers defense was hale, but Portland’s hitting bafflement and Ketchner’s rickety third-inning proved to be the bottom line in the 4-1 defeat.