Blown saves; bullpen blunders

Mike Bynum blows a save opportunity for Portland. Jake Gautreau had a four RBI game. R.D. Spiehs lets up a homer in the eighth inning. Completing the trifecta, the Storm bullpen took the loss on Monday. Sean Thompson walked six batters and allowed just one run. Eugene was clobbered as errors continue to hamper the team. Christopher Rayborn debuts in Peoria.

Portland won 9-8

Mike Bynum entered the game with Portland clinging to a 7-5 lead and the Beavers needing just one out to end the game. With a runner on second, Bynum gave up a single to the first man he faced to make it 7-6 and the very next batter homered to give Edmonton the lead. Bynum, who was thrust into the closer's role three appearances ago, got his first blown save in the same span. Four of his five wins have come in games where he has allowed a run or more. He leads the team with ten decisions.

The first time this year that Dennis Tankersley does not walk a batter is also his worst outing of the year. He allowed four runs, all earned, on a season high nine hits in 5.2 innings of work.

Pitcher Brian Sweeney was used as a pinch hitter in the game and drew a critical walk. He ended up scoring on a three run homer off the bat of Jake Gautreau. Sweeney is hitting .353 on the year! For Gautreau it was his first Portland homer. He punctuated the night with a game tying single in the ninth inning, scoring Ben Risinger – a pinch hitter who also drew a critical walk – and capping a 2-for-4, four RBI night.

Bernie Castro has had RBI's in two consecutive games. In his previous 34 games, Castro managed just two RBI's. Jon Knott's hitting streak ended at 13 but he has reached base in 25 straight.

Mobile lost 2-1

RD Spiehs has been the Akinori Otsuka of Mobile and it was perhaps a matter of time before he fell from grace, albeit just a blip. Spiehs allowed a solo homer in the eighth inning and took his first loss of the year (4-1). It was the first earned run he has allowed in 11 games.

Clay Hensley had another one run outing go to waste. Hensley has allowed one run in six of his last eight starts and only has one win to show for it. The last five times he has allowed one run in a game he has come away without a decision, yet he is 5-7 on the season. It was actually the ninth time in 17 starts that he has allowed one run in a start. He yielded five hits and four walks while striking out three.

Josh Barfield committed an error for the first time in 24 games. Kennard Jones was thrown out for the second time in Mobile and has been caught stealing eight of the last nine times he has tried. Ronnie Merrill stole his second base of the year and first in 27 games.

Lake Elsinore lost 5-3

Grant Gregg has allowed runs in three straight appearances and five of his last six. He took the loss on Monday, allowing a run on one hit and a walk. Gregg has now allowed runs in six of his 11 Storm appearances on the season and has given up runs in five of his 12 Fort Wayne appearances.

It was Wilmer Villatoro who gave up the big blow with Gregg's man on third. Villatoro gave up a two run homer to the first man he saw. Rubbing salt in the wound was Darwin Soto, a former Padre farmhand, who chalked up the save.

Luis Cruz has hit in four straight and has RBI's in three consecutive games. The shortstop continues to falter in the field, however, as he had another error on Monday. Cruz has 26 errors, two more than teammate Kervin Jacobo.

Fort Wayne won 2-1

Sean Thompson lasted just four innings, not because he had allowed an exorbitant amount of runs, but from the six walks that he yielded. Amazingly he allowed just one run, coming on a bases loaded walk, the third consecutive walk he allowed with two outs in the fourth. Thompson has twice walked five in a game this year and has only had one start out of 15 that he has not walked a batter. Thompson has surrendered five runs over his last four starts.

Juan Ciriaco knocked in the first run of the game for the Wizards, his eight RBI in his last nine games. He is 19-for-51 in his last 14 games, raising his average from .202 to .238.

Ernesto Garay went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Garay has had one hit in each of those games, going 7-for-23. He has knocked in one run, his only RBI of the year, and has scored four runs.

For the first time all year, Fernando Valenzuela has struck out twice in consecutive games. He also has whiffed in three consecutive games, another first for the year. He had led the team for most of the year with the best strikeout ratio but he has been surpassed by Drew Macias. Valenzuela whiffs once every 8.00 at bats and Macias every 8.73 at bats. Valenzuela did save a run in the seventh when he forced a runner out at home after Chuck Bechtel loaded the bases with one out.

Eugene lost 10-3

Gary Gallegos moved to the pen after three starting gigs with the Ems. He lasted 1.2 innings and allowed two inherited runners (charged to Henry Colbert) to score. His first duty was throwing a wild pitch to bring one run in and then he followed that by walking the batter and inducing a sac fly before closing the door with a fly out. He opened the next inning by allowing a home run, the only run charged to Gallegos.

William Ponce allowed the fewest amount of base runners in his fourth start of the year but it ended up being his shortest outing of the season. Ponce was pulled after four having given up four runs, three earned, on five hits and a walk. A three run homer in the first inning was the devastating blow.

Brett Burnham drove in three runs with a bases clearing double in the eighth inning. Unfortunately it was the only offense of the day for the Emeralds. Burnham has driven in five over the past two games and eight over the last four.

Lachlan Dale flubbed a ball for the second consecutive game and all five of his errors have come in the last six games. He is also slumping horribly. Dale is 5-for-47 over his last 14 games.

Sean Kazmar's 14 game hitting streak came to an end but he has been on base in 15 straight after getting hit by a pitch. Kazmar committed his seventh error of the season on Monday, a team high.

Peoria lost 5-3

Pete White became just the second member of the Peoria team to hit one out of the park. It was also his first RBI of the year and one of just three hits the Peoria Padres managed on the day. White has appeared in six games and has four hits.

Christopher Rayborn made his debut in the system, signing as a draft and follow just before the 2004 amateur draft. He went one inning and allowed three runs on three hits, including a two run homer.

Joel Santo lasted four innings and gave up one run on a solo home run in the fourth to take his second consecutive loss. Santo has pitched in eight innings this year and has allowed eight runs, four earned, on 13 hits and three walks.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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