Jack Cust homers thrice; Geer near complete

Jack Cust

Jack Cust went deep, and then again, and again. Mike Ekstrom was pounded for season-highs. Josh Geer came within two outs of a complete game. Orlando Lara was exceptional, as was the whole staff, in a close game in Eugene. While Rayner Contreras puts up ridiculous numbers at the plate, Matt Handley is doing the same on the mound.

Portland won 7-5 over Omaha (Royals)

If anyone had been on base during Jack Cust's at bats the Beavers could have taken advantage of his three homers, all solo shots. Cust became the first Beaver to tally three homers in a game since Adams Riggs accomplished the feat on July 14, 2001. It is the third time this year he has notched a multi-homer game and he has homers in two of his last three games. Seventeen of Cust's 21 home runs have come off right-handed pitching. Cust took over the Pacific Coast League lead in runs scored with his three on Friday.

Manny Alexander added four hits in five at bats and drove in three runs. The shortstop has an RBI in three straight games and has hits in 10 of his last 11 games. Over his last 14 contests, he is 21-for-63, a .333 average with ten runs scored and eight RBI's. He also stole his 12th base of the year in 16 attempts but first since July 7.

Matt Blank made his first appearance of the year for Portland, giving up a run on three hits in an inning and two-thirds. Blank was 2-2 with a 4.98 ERA for the Albuquerque Isotopes of the PCL. The opposition hit .318 off him, netting 56 hits in 47 innings. He had given up 18 hits in 54 at bats with runners in scoring position.

Mobile lost 9-4 to Huntsville (Brewers)

Mike Ekstrom was pounded for eight runs, seven earned, tying a season-high with eight hits allowed and setting a new season-high with five walks issued in 4.1 innings. It is the fourth time this year that he has given up more than three earned runs in a game and three of those outings have come in his last seven starts. Ekstrom had walked eight over his first 46.2 innings in the Southern League. Sixteen of his 27 earned runs have come in the fifth inning, including all seven on Friday.

After going more than one inning in just four of 43 appearances with Lake Elsinore, Ryan Klatt has gone more than an inning in each of his four outings of Double-A play. While he did not allow a run in those four games with the Storm, he has given up a run in each of the four outing in Mobile, split over two stints. Klatt gave up one run on a hit and a walk in his two innings Friday. He has given up nine hits on the road in two games and just two hits at home in two contests.

Lake Elsinore won 4-1 over Lancaster (Diamondbacks)

Josh Geer missed out on a complete by two outs, throwing eight shutout innings on four hits before allowing a run on two hits in the ninth. He did not walk a batter and struck out three to pick up his third win. Geer has been hot and cold with Lake Elsinore – four times giving up just one run in his start and giving up five runs or more in each of his other five outings. Eleven of the 28 earned runs to score on him have come in the fifth inning.

Shortstop Skip Adams hit his 100th game of the year, going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Over his last 23 games, Adams is hitting .314 with 11 runs scored. He came into the game with a stolen base in each of his last two contests but did not add to his season total of 11 on Friday. Adams did commit his 22nd error of the year. He came into the game with the third best fielding percentage among shortstops with more than 33 games played at .956.

Fort Wayne won 6-4 over Wisconsin (Mariners)

A.J. Davidiuk came into the game in a 0-for-19 slump and without an extra base hit in the Midwest League. The infielder snapped each of those when he went 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and an RBI on Friday. Davidiuk began the year with a five-game hitting streak and is hitting .304 with runners on base, but ironically just .188 with runners in scoring position. Davidiuk tied the game in the ninth inning with a single and ended up scoring the game-winning run.

Brandon Higelin picked up his second win in six appearances but gave up a run on four hits in two innings, striking out four. The left-hander has given up runs in three of his last four outings after giving up runs in three of his previous 15 contests. He has limited left-handed hitters to 14 hits in 75 at bats, a .187 average and has given up just seven hits in 57 at bats with runners in scoring position.

Steve Delabar allowed three runs on four hits and three walks in six innings of work. The right-hander also tossed three wild pitches and has uncorked 11 this year. It is the 12th time in 22 starts that he has allowed four hits or less but the eighth game in a row and 13th time he has walked three or more. His 55 walks rank just outside the top five of the Midwest League.

Eugene won 1-0 over Boise (Cubs)

Orlando Lara pitched five innings to secure the win, allowing four hits and striking out five to improve to 2-0 on the year. The left-hander has given up one run over his last 10.2 innings while striking out 13 and he has is striking out 10.80 batters per nine innings on the year. Lara has posted a 3.03 ERA as a starter in eight games with a .218 average against versus his 7.94 ERA as a reliever.

Jackson Quezada allowed one hit and struck out two over two frames, posting scoreless outings in successive games for the first time this year. The right-hander has given up two runs in his last 8.1 innings on three hits while striking out nine. He had given up runs in each of his first six appearances, including four starts, totaling 11 runs, nine earned, in 14.1 innings.

Ernesto Frieri allowed a hit and hit a batter in his lone inning of work, coming a day after he earned the win in extra innings. Frieri, a right-hander, has held left-handed batters to a .184 average against while right-handed hitters are batting .304 off him. While 12-of-21 leadoff men in an inning have reached base off Frieri, he has allowed just seven hits in 35 at bats with runners in scoring position.

AZL Padres won 7-4 over AZL Royals in 12 innings

Pablo Menchaca threw bullets over five innings, giving up just one hit and striking out four. It was the second time in as many starts that he has tossed scoreless ball over five frames and has not been rewarded with a win. Over those two starts he has given up three hits and struck out eight in ten innings. Menchaca has an ERA of 1.00 in four starts and has held the opposition to a .200 average.

Rayner Contreras continued his tear, driving in two runs in the 12th inning thanks to his first triple of the year. It was his only hit of the day but gave him an RBI in seven straight contests. Contreras has six multi-RBI games over that span and 21 RBI's. His 34 RBI's in 24 games rank him second in the Arizona Rookie League. Playing third base for the second time, he did commit an error, his fifth of the year.

Matt Handley picked up his first win of the year, tossing two scoreless extra frames and striking out one. Handley improved his scoreless streak to 10.1 innings and lowered his average against to .056 with just two hits allowed in 36 at bats on the year, including shutting lefties out of the hit board. His three walks on the year amount to a .128 on base percentage for opponents.

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