Ryan Ketchner, Portland’s starting pitcher, hasn’t contributed much in the win column this season for the Beavers, posting a 0-7 record. But, on the other hand, he hasn’t asked for much either. In seven of his 13 starts this season, Ketchner hasn’t given up more than three runs, but due to a lack of run support, the elusive first win has slipped away time and again.
The Beavers looked to give Ketchner some of the offense they exhibited in Monday night’s seventh inning rally, that gave them their third straight home win. Pete Laforest ignited the offense early, blasting his tenth homer of the season over the center-field wall with a man on in the second inning to put the Beavers up 2-0. Brian Myrow, who scored on Laforest’s blast, had reached on a single that extended a current hit streak to 11 games. During the streak, Myrow is hitting .425 (17-of-40). He was 2-for-3 in the game, with a double, an RBI and two runs scored.
Myrow hasn’t felt particularly hot himself during current hot streak at the plate. Saying that he hasn’t felt great at the plate, but has found the holes with his hits and worked in some walks that help with seeing the ball. He has been working on controlling his bottom half through his swing, but says: “Even at the games, at times, I can’t control it. And then, I’ll get it right, I’ll hit a pitch, and I’ll finally put one in play and I’ll find a hole.” If this is Myrow when he’s not feeling good with his swing at the plate, the Padres have something to look forward to when he does hit his groove.
The offense batted around in the third en route to four more runs. Mike Sansoe scored when Craig Stansberry lined a pitch off the top of the left field wall for his 22nd double of the season, tying him for the PCL lead. Sansoe had singled up the middle to reach base and stole second base to get in scoring position for Stansberry, who is hitting nearly .400 when he has teammates ready to score. A single by Myrow was followed by a ground-rule double by Royce Huffman to plate Stansberry and put runners on second and third. Both runners would finish circling the bases when Oscar Robles singled to right, giving Ketchner a six run lead to work with.
The lead wouldn’t last long. A homerun by Adam Jones that squeezed fair past the right field foul pole in the fourth inning plated the first run for the Rainiers. In the fifth, Ketchner was touched up for more. Two singles and two walks led to another run and loaded the bases with two outs in the inning, which subsequently led to Ketchner’s exit from the game. Ketchner’s hope for his first win was rested on the shoulders of his bullpen.
Jared Wells entered in relief of Ketchner and was unable to douse the Tacoma rally when Bryan LaHair plated two more runs on a base hit to right before the inning ended. Jon Nelson tripled and scored on a single in the sixth for the Rainiers to make it a one-run game.
Aaron Rakers, Andrew Brown, and Scott Cassidy each pitched a scoreless inning to close the game out and preserve the 6-5 win. Cassidy picked up his second straight save and Wells earned the win for his 1.1 innings of work. Ketchner, who gave up four runs on three hits and four walks in 4.2 innings, fell one out shy of picking up his first win, as he couldn’t last the required five innings to earn the win.
“It feels good to win anytime,” said Myrow, about the win and possibility of a sweep of Tacoma. “We’ve been playing pretty good ball. Our bullpen has been fantastic, we’ve started to swing the bat a little better and our starting pitchers keep us right there. As long as we keep battling, we’ll get up to .500 and hopefully be able to contend a little bit.”