Dirk Hayhurst and Vern Sterry solid in losses

Dennis Tankersley returned to the mound just in time for a win and extended division lead. Brad Baker made history with the Mobile BayBears. Dirk Hayhurst walked more batters than ever but allowed just two hits in his Lake Elsinore debut. The downward spiral in Fort Wayne continues despite a solid debut from Vern Sterry. Clayton Hamilton was subjected to three errors in one inning from his defense. Pete White had his best day with Peoria.

Portland won 7-2

Dennis Tankersley, hit by a line drive in the left forearm last week and removed from the game with a severe bruise, was back on Saturday. He went seven innings and gave up two runs on four hits and three walks. He gave up just one hit through five innings, a solo homer. He has allowed two runs or less in each of his past three starts. The three walks he allowed were the most he has given up in nine games. He also allowed a homer for the third time in four games.

Xavier Nady had his fourth straight multi-hit game. He went 3-for-4 with a homer, two runs scored and three RBI's. He was also hit by a pitch. It was the second straight game he has homered and he has eight RBI's over his last two. He has scored seven runs in his last four games and is 10-for-17 over that time frame.

Ramon Vasquez has a five game hitting streak. He has four multi-hit games in his last five games and is 9-for-18 over that span. He went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI on Saturday. It was his fifth double in the last four games and Vasquez is tied for fifth on the team with 17 doubles this year. His have come in just 40 games.

Portland has won nine straight games at home, a franchise record. They have a 1.5 division lead over Tacoma. The lead is the largest first-place margin for Portland this season.

Mobile won 2-1

Brad Baker walked the lead-off man in the ninth inning but retired the next three to break Rusty Tucker's single-season saves record set in 2003. Baker leads the Southern League in saves and could challenge the all-time league record of 36. Baker has allowed runs in just eight of his 53 appearances this year. His highest ERA this year has been 2.00 and it sits at 1.63 after Saturday.

Kennard Jones is 10-for-23 over a six game hitting streak. It is his longest hitting streak since joining Mobile. Jones has had four extra base during the streak. He had four extra base hits over his previous 42 games. He even stole his first base in 18 games and has five with Mobile.

Mike Thompson went six innings, allowing one run on five hits and two walks. He has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his 14 starts. He has also allowed six hits or less in nine of the 14 starts. Thompson is 6-2 since becoming a starter.

Rico Washington hit a tie-breaking home run in the sixth inning to give Thompson the victory. Washington's home run tied the BayBears team single-season record of 117 set in 1998. Washington has reached base via a hit in 13 of his past 16 games, going 20-for-57.

Lake Elsinore lost 3-1

Dirk Hayhurst went five innings in his debut for the Storm. He allowed two runs on just two hits but walked four. Hayhurst had not walked more than three in a game this year and had just five through his first nine starts of the year. He has walked a batter in each of his last nine. Hayhurst has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last 15 starts and has only allowed more than three earned runs once in a game this year.

Wilmer Villatoro came in with a man on third and one out in the seventh and allowed the inherited runner to score. He was saved of further damage when Skip Adams threw out a runner at home. Villatoro has been charged with runs in just one of his last 13 appearances. His ERA is at a season low of 3.10 after being as high as 12.96.

Michael Johnson got his first hit since rejoining the Storm on Saturday, singling in the fifth. He also walked and hit a double, going 2-for-3. He was the only member of the Storm to record multiple hits.

Fort Wayne lost 5-4

Vern Sterry made his Wizard debut on Saturday and went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk while striking out six. His sole mistake was a two run homered he gave up with two outs in the seventh inning. Sterry had been the best starter for Eugene, pitching in ten games and allowing three runs or less in seven of those games, including a one hitter he tossed in his first start of the year. He has allowed homers in each of his last five starts.

A fielding error on Peter Ciofrone in the eighth led to three unearned runs and a loss. It was his tenth error of the year since joining Fort Wayne and the seventh in his last 17 games.

Howie Pence took the loss, his second of the year. It was the second time this year in 33 appearances that he has allowed three runs in a game and each time some were not earned. The first time out only one was out as opposed to none being earned on Saturday.

Brian Wahlbrink was the only batter to have two hits on the day. He doubled, tripled and scored a run. It was the first time in 55 games that Wahlbrink had two extra base hits in the same game. He has only had seven extra bases in his last 50 games.

"It is interesting here as we have lost (10-of-11) games and are fighting to stay in the playoff hunt after it looked like a lock that we would make it," Wizards General Manager Mike Nutter said in frustration. "Yesterday the Padres promoted our best pitcher in Dirk Hayhurst. Don't get me wrong – I am very happy for Dirk who is a GREAT kid and deserved the promotion. It becomes a tough sell to the fans each year when this happens down the stretch. We know injuries happen and sometimes rosters get shuffled – it is tough convincing fans that.

"It has been a crazy year with our roster and we have blown away the (former) high number of players used in a season by a lot.

Unfortunately, it might be time to look and see what other teams are available as I am sure there would be a lot of interest in other clubs to have Fort Wayne as their low class A affiliate. That is not to say we will change, but it is probably time to look at our options. We are in the East Division in the MWL and there are only 6 teams in the East. Four of six teams make the playoffs each year. Not counting whatever happens this year as we could still qualify – we have only made the playoffs in 2 of the past 5 years."

Nutter is concerned that the Padres are not serious about giving them a winning product. Even in the minors, it matters a lot when playoff revenue is on the line. In the midst of a terrible stretch, their best starter has been pulled from them and they have already had well over 50 roster moves on the year. Maybe it is the plea of a clearly frustrated man in the face of a losing streak but the truth burns through him. Fort Wayne may be an affiliate now, but for how long into the future is a cloudy mystery.

Eugene lost 10-3

Clayton Hamilton had to endure three errors in the first inning alone. One on Billy Hogan opened the inning (Hogan was replaced in the second inning). It was followed by an error on Jose Lobaton before the second batter had even batted. Brett Burnham then committed an error that scored two more runs. Hamilton ended up allowing four runs, one earned, on three hits and three walks while walking four. It was his second outing in a row with just one earned run allowed.

Omar Falcon had another field day against his former team. He hit a grand slam of Danny De La O in the fourth, capping a five run inning. De La O went two innings and gave up the five runs on six hits, a walk and a hit batter. He gave up two homers in the fourth innings and over the last two games he has given up 11 runs in just four innings.

Jose Lobaton went 3-for-4 with a double, a homer and two RBI's. It was his first three hit game of the year and just his fifth multi-hit game in 31 games. Thirteen of Lobaton's 22 hits have gone for extra bases and he has now homered in three of his last five games and has six RBI's over that stretch.

Peoria lost 8-4

Pete White was the only batter to record more than one hit on the day. White went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. It was his first three hit game of the year and fourth multi-hit game in 24 games this year. He has RBI's in two straight after going nine games without one. The double was his first in ten games and fourth overall.

Christopher Rayborn went six innings and yielded four runs on six hits and a walk. It was his longest outing of the year and the third time he has given up four or more runs in ten games overall. He had given up four runs in his previous 10.2 innings entering the game.

Billy Jenkins gave up three runs on three hits and a hit batter in one inning of work. He did, however, manage to strike out the side. After allowing runs in two of his first nine appearances, Jenkins has allowed runs in each of his last three outings. He has given up five runs over his last 2.2 innings of work.

Matt Bush is one for his last 17 with seven strike outs over his last five games. He has also committed four errors over that time frame.

MadFriars Top Stories