Hayhurst hitting stride, offense is not

Portland was shutout for the second straight night. Edgar Huerta suffered his first loss of the year but two wild pitches from Chris Rojas proved a difference maker. Michael Johnson hit a homer for the third straight day, another Elsinore loss. Gabe Ribas pitched well but the offense was stagnant again. Dirk Hayhurst is beginning to settle into his role as a starter and has performed quite well, culminating with a stellar outing on Wednesday.

Portland lost 2-0

Portland was shutout for the fourth time this year and second game in a row. The Beavers have scored two runs or less in 18 games and have won only one of those games.

The Portland bullpen pitched four innings of scoreless relief after Steve Watkins, making his second start in Portland, gave up two runs on six hits and four walks in five innings of work.

Matt Hampton has gone two innings in each of his last seven outings. He has kept the opposition off the board in four of those seven games. While pitching in Mobile earlier this year, Hampton never had a game where he was used for more than an inning in 13 appearances.

Bobby Scales went 2-for-4 with the only extra base hit for Portland. His last extra base hit came on May 7. Even with the two hits, Scales is 4-for-30 over his last 11 games. His average has plummeted from .348 to .281.

Mobile lost 6-5

Chris Rojas went six innings and allowed four runs, three earned on six hits and three walks. He surrendered one homer and had two wild pitches in one inning that brought a run in for Chattanooga. Rojas is tied for second in the league with six wild pitches.

Edgar Huerta took the loss, his first of the year. He gave up two singles with two outs that scored one in two-thirds of an inning of work. Jack Cassel came on in relief and allowed one of those inherited runners to score.

Todd Donovan continues his torrid pace of stolen bases. He swiped two on Wednesday and has had five over his last five games. He has also been thrown out twice in that span. He also has a five game hitting streak where he is 8-for-20 with six runs scored.

The bad news for Donovan may be a broken bone in his hand, rumored to be his thumb, after sliding into first on a bunt play in the seventh inning.

Ronnie Merrill committed an error for the third straight game and has four in that span.

Lake Elsinore lost 4-2

Justin Smyres was placed on the disabled list and Trino Aguilar was sent up from extended spring training. Aguilar is a former Phillies farmhand.

Gabe Ribas, the reigning Padres Minor League Pitcher of the Year, had his longest outing of the year on Wednesday. He went seven innings and pitched into the eighth before he was removed after two straight hits. Natanael Mateo inherited one runner and allowed him to score. Ribas was charged with four runs, three earned. He struck out a season high eight batters and also threw his first wild pitch of the year.

In what has become a common occurrence, Michael Johnson hit a solo homer for the third straight game. They represent the only hits he has over his last three affairs and he has a hitting streak of six. He is 9-for-22 with seven extra base hits and nine RBI's.

Since reaching a season high batting average of .320, Paul McAnulty has seen his average drop to .279. Over his last nine games, McAnulty is 3-for-33 with eleven strikeouts.

Kervin Jacobo, after raising his average from .211 to .250 has seen another swing, this one downward. He is 4-for-28 over his last eight games and has struck out 18 times during that stretch. He has whiffed at least twice in every game except one when he went down swinging just once.

Andres Pagan was flagged for two errors on Wednesday, one costing Ribas an unearned run. Pagan has now been charged with three in his last two games and five in his last six.

Fort Wayne won 5-1

Dirk Hayhurst had his best outing of the year. That is saying something since he had a string of consecutive innings without giving up a run of 17.1 innings and did not allow an earned run in all of the time he spent as a reliever. As a starter he has given up three runs or less in five of his six starts and two runs or less in four of six. Hayhurst went 7.2 innings, his longest outing of the year, giving up one run on eight hits with a season high ten strikeouts.

Leo Rosales ran his string of scoreless innings pitched to 8.1 over nine outings. He also earned his first Fort Wayne save. Rosales had saved three games last year playing for the Eugene Emeralds. He is also averaging 11.93 strikeouts per nine innings after averaging 12.14 per nine last year. It is not hard to envision Rosales taking over the closing duties from now on.

Brian Wahlbrink extended his hitting streak to eleven games with a single to open the game.

Chris Miller drove in his third run of the year in his second game playing for the Wizards.

George Kottaras has been on base 11 times over his last five games. He has three hits and eight walks, drawing at least one walk in each game. Although he has played in 28 games, 21 less than the team leader, Kottaras is tops on the team with 17 walks on the year. His average is .273 and his on base percentage is .390.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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