Portland comes from behind in 6-5 win

Craig Stansberry

Portland, OR – The Portland Beavers came back from a four run deficit to beat the Tacoma Rainiers 6-5 Monday night at PGE Park.

Tacoma received a quality start from right-handed Justin Lehr who allowed just one run over six innings of work. The Beavers sent Mike Thompson to the hill in search of his second win but he did not fare so well, allowing five runs over 6.1 innings. Both starters were credited with no decisions since the game was not decided until the exciting and action-packed seventh inning.

Miscues by both ends of the Beavers' battery, and a sharp double off the bat of Rob Johnson gave the Rainiers a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Bryan LaHair led off the with a single into right field and advanced to second base on a passed ball by Pete Laforest. Thompson subsequently plunked designated hitter Jeff Clement to put runners at first and second. Johnson's double drove home both LaHair and Clement, and Johnson advanced to third base on the throw home. Johnson came in to score on a wild pitch by Thompson, giving Tacoma the 3-0 lead.

The Beavers threatened in the third inning as back-to-back singles by Mike Sansoe and Vincent Sinisi put men at first and second with one out. Portland was able to put up one run in the frame, when Brian Myrow's single to center plated Sansoe, making the score 3-1. Myrow has been wreaking havoc at the plate lately. On Monday night, Myrow extended his hitting streak to 10 games, during which he has gone 15-for-37 (.405).

The seventh inning just dripped with drama. Following a lead off single to Johnson, Ronnie Prettyman tagged a two-run homer off the ivy in left field, giving Tacoma a 5-1 lead. Catcher Pete Laforest apparently said something to home plate umpire Jacob Uhlenhopp and was ejected. This sent Laforest into an animated tirade in which he made violent advances towards the umpires. Mike Thompson's attempts at restraining Laforest looked feeble, as he was basically trampled by his powerful catcher. Manager Rick Renteria stepped in as quickly as he could, but it was too late to save Laforest. Luke Carlin sprang into the game to replace him behind the dish.

"It was just a difference of opinion. Those guys have a tough job. They go out there and have to deal with so many things. His emotions just got the better of him." Renteria said.

In the bottom half of the frame, Portland's offense teed off against the Rainier's bullpen and surged ahead to take a 6-5 lead. Jaime Cerda was brought in to relieve starter Justin Lehr. Cerda was unable to record an out as he walked two batters and gave up three singles before being yanked. Craig Stansberry's 2 RBI single makes him 6-for-7 with the bases loaded this season. Byron Embry took the bump to try and salvage the inning for Tacoma. The first batter he faced, Royce Huffman, laced a two-run double into the gap in right-center, tying the game 5-5. The Beavers were able to take the lead when Ray Chang's sacrifice fly to right pushed Portland ahead 6-5.

"That was a big inning. We had some big on-base situations there with guys getting on, and some big hits and some timely hits and some very, very good at-bats in that particular inning. We were just trying to take advantage of whatever it is we were being given, because up until that point Justin (Lehr) had thrown pretty well." Renteria said.

The Rainiers threatened again in the eighth inning when Prettyman sliced a soft liner into right field with a runner on second base. The Beavers were bailed out by the clutch fielding of Josh Howard in right field who made a tough sliding catch to preserve the Beaver's lead.

Scott Cassidy came on to earn his first save of the year for Portland by pitching a scoreless ninth inning.

Game Notes:
- Mike Thompson had been stellar over his last two starts, going seven innings in each appearance while not allowing more than one earned run.
- This is the first series between Portland and Tacoma in 2007. The two teams will play 15 more games against each other before the season's end.
- Royce Huffman had an 11-pitch at bat in the fifth inning. He wound up flying out to shortstop.
- Tacoma's Jeremy Reed had his 11-game hit streak snapped Monday night.

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