Padres Minors: Down, not out

Ramon Vasquez went 2-for-2 with a double and homer for Portland in a drubbing. Steve Watkins was victimized and then beaten some more. Lake Elsinore got a well balanced attack to crush their competition, but Marcus Nettles was not in on the fun. The bottom of the eighth had significance in Mobile and Fort Wayne on Thursday. Eugene starts playing Friday night!

Joe Gerber was sent from Portland to Mobile. Mike Wodnicki was released.

Portland lost 14-3

Steve Watkins was drilled on Thursday in what was his shortest outing of the season. Watkins lasted just 3.2 innings after surrendering seven runs, all earned, on ten hits and a walk. The seven earned runs tied a season high allowed for Watkins, but that came in Mobile. He did allow eight runs in one Mobile start, but only five were earned. Watkins had not given up more than three in his four previous Portland starts. His ten hits allowed were also a season high.

While Jose Nieves' 12-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-4 night, Humberto Quintero's streak went to nine. Quintero is 16-for-35 over the stretch after a 2-for-4 night. He has had five multi-hit games over the streak and has pushed his average from .267 to .304, the first time it has crossed the .300 barrier this year. Quintero did, however, commit an error and give up two stolen bases.

Mobile won 6-4

Mike Thompson made his fourth Mobile start after spending the beginning of the year in the pen. He went 4.1 innings and gave up four runs on six hits while walking two. Since taking over as a starter Thompson has given up five homers, one coming on Thursday. He had surrendered just one all year long heading into the starting rotation in 17 appearances.

Alan Webb has earned wins in his last two appearances and has won three of his last six appearances. He also has not allowed a run in eight outings spanning 10.1 innings.

"It is gooonnne…goooonnne! Home run Greg Sain!" was the call from BayBears announcer Tom Nichols in the bottom of the eighth.

Sain took a 1-1 pitch and sailed one over the fence for his league leading 19th homer which gave the BayBears a two run lead and the win. Sain has hit homers in three straight is 6-for-10 over his last three games with four homers. He has driven in six during that time and has scored four times.

Jake Gautreau has homered in four of his last seven games after homering just once in his previous 30 games. Gautreau hit his tenth homer in the first inning on Thursday, a two run shot.

Lake Elsinore won 12-2

The Storm pounded out 12 runs and 15 hits and the only player not to get in on the action was Marcus Nettles, formerly known as the 15 game hitting streak – snapped on Thursday night. Nettles was 0-for-4 with a walk and three strikeouts.

Steve Baker was the sole Storm batter with three hits on the night. He also drove in two and has six RBI's in his last five games, going 7-for-19 over that span. Luis Cruz, Paul McAnulty, Kervin Jacobo and Andres Pagan each had two hits apiece and seven of the ten position players to play in the game knocked in a run.

Gabe Ribas won for the first time since May 11, 37 days ago. Ribas gave up two runs on four hits and two walks. Ribas has allowed two runs or less only two times over his last seven starts but has not allowed more than four runs during that stretch.

After struggling mightily in his first seven games, allowing runs in six of them, Wilmer Villatoro has settled in. Villatoro has given up runs in just two of his last ten games, bringing a 12.96 ERA down to 5.32.

Fort Wayne won 4-2

Clark Girardeau pitched into the ninth for the second time in his last three games. The starter went 8.2, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. A double in the ninth that scored a run ended his night one out shy of a complete game. It would have been the first nine inning complete game of the season for Fort Wayne or any other Padre minor league team and it was the longest outing of any pitcher in the system.

Fernando Valenzuela hit a three run homer in the eighth inning to give the Wizards the lead and eventual win. He has a seven game hitting streak and is 9-for-25 over the stretch. Five of his nine hits have gone for extra bases and he has driven in eight over the streak. He is 25-for-64 over his last 17 games which has brought his average from .277 up to .305.

Drew Macias is 1-for-7, has been hit by a pitch and stole his first base in 20 games batting in the leadoff spot after taking over for Brian Wahlbrink who suffered a concussion in a collision at first base. Macias is expected to drop down in the order again on Friday as Wahlbrink returns. What is amazing about the return of Wahlbrink is he was rushed to the hospital for tests and reported losing his vision for 10-15 minutes after coming to.


The 2004 season marks the franchises 50th Anniversary since its inception in 1955. They open the season against Salem-Keizer on the road Friday night.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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