Matt Bush debuts in Eugene; Oxspring back

Chris Oxspring made a successful return to the Portland Beavers. Clay Hensley pitched well but no one is hitting in Mobile. Dirk Hayhurst is back on track. Matt Lauderdale knocked in the game winning run to conclude the suspended game and Travis Chick did the rest in the second game. Matt Bush made his debut in Eugene and knocked in two. Craig Johnson talks about his new role with the Ems over the last week of the season. Julio Cruceta is back hitting well in Peoria.

Portland won 7-0

Chris Oxspring, in his return to Portland after pitching his team into Gold Medal game at the Olympics, went six innings without surrendering a run. He allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out five. Including his Olympic stint, Oxspring has gone three straight games without allowing a run. Back in Portland, Oxspring has given up just one run in his last three outings, spanning 19.1 innings of work.

Xavier Nady homered and doubled in two, going 2-for-5 with three RBI's. Nady has 26 RBI's in his last 17 games. He also has eight homers in his last 15 games.

Edgar Huerta went two innings and allowed just one hit in his longest outing since July 8 when he was with Mobile. Huerta has given up just one run with Portland in 7.2 innings of work. Compare that to his time with Mobile where he gave up nine runs in nine innings work.

Mobile lost 2-1

Clay Hensley went seven innings and allowed two runs on six hits and a walk. He struck out seven but did allow his second homer in as many games. Hensley has pitched seven innings or more in each of his past five games. Over his last 21 innings he has given up five earned runs while striking out 22. Hensley has made 27 starts on the year and has earned a decision in 20 of them, going 11-9.

R.D. Spiehs, the new Mobile closer, has not had many opportunities at his craft. That does not mean he has not been effective. Spiehs has gone eight straight games without allowing much. Sunday marked just the second hit he has allowed in his last eight innings and he has walked three while striking out a batter in each game and ten overall in that time frame.

Rico Washington went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. While he went hitless, he has still reached base safely in 12 straight games. Washington has hits in eight of the twelve games and has walked in each of the others. He is 13-for-41 with nine walks and has knocked in eight runs.

After reaching a .242 average, the highest it has been since his third game with Mobile, Kennard Jones has gone 2-for-30 with ten strikeouts. Jones has scored just one run and has reached base just four times over his last eight games.

Lake Elsinore won 12-3 despite five errors

Every single Storm player had a run scored and all but Pagan had a hit. Casey Baker extended his hitting streak to ten games but also committed an error.

Dirk Hayhurst got off the schnide with the Storm, getting his first win by going six innings and allowing one run, unearned, on six hits and a walk. Hayhurst is rebounding from his worst outing ever where he allowed nine runs in three innings of work. It was just one blemish on an otherwise stellar year. Hayhurst has allowed two runs or less in 14 of his 21 starts.

Luis Cruz went 4-for-5 at the plate and stroked three doubles, scored three runs and drove in two. Cruz also committed two of the five errors. Cruz has been on an RBI tear of late. He has driven in four runs over his last two games and has 11 RBI's over his last seven. He is 11-for-26 over his last six games with six doubles and a homer. Cruz had been much better on the defensive aspect of his game until Sunday. He had two errors in his last 19 games coming in.

Before Sunday, Michael Johnson had not hit a homer since June 13. While the time has been huge, the actual games played were 23. Johnson hit a two run homer in the eight and went 2-for-4 with a walk. He has knocked in seven runs over his last three games and his 56 RBI's place him third on the team in that category, amazing considering he missed nearly two months of action.

Antonio Osuna finally cracked. He gave up two runs on two hits and a walk, leaving the game with one out and the bases loaded. An error and a single meant two runs charged to the formerly perfect for Lake Elsinore reliever.

Fort Wayne won the suspended game 7-6, game two 7-1

Travis Chick continues to dominate the Midwest League. He tossed seven innings of shutout ball, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out seven. Chick has pitched seven innings in three of his last four starts and has given up three runs, two earned, over the past 26.1 innings. He has also struck out 42 in his past five outings, an average of 8.4 per outing. He got his fourth win of the year compared to zero losses and has won each of his past three starts.

Brett Bonvechio drove a ball down the right field line with two on and no one out to put the Wizards up quickly in sixth inning of the rain suspended game, 4-3, bringing Fernando Valenzuela Jr. in. Valenzuela had walked before the rain began. Bonvechio drove in three runs on the day. Bonvechio went 2-for-3 with a double and has driven in nine runs in his last eight games.

The Wizards went on to score two more runs in the inning the game resumed in to go up 6-3. Matt Lauderdale brought in the game winner with a single off the walk to bring in a run in the bottom of the ninth. Lauderdale went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. He did commit his second errors in as many games.

Howie Pence was rocked for three runs in one inning of work as he tried to preserve the lead. Pence has blown two games in the last three, taking a loss in one. He surrendered three hits and two walks and has given up eight runs in his past 3.2 innings, raising his average from 1.82 to 2.91.

Chris Tierney injured his back in the fourth inning, causing him to leave the game early. His official tally was three innings, four hits, two runs – one earned, and three walks. He faced two batters in the fourth, both reaching base, before leaving the game. Neither runner scored as Greg Conden shut Lansing down. Tierney had his best game of the year in his last outing, pitching shutout ball into the seventh.

Matt Thayer, who started on Sunday, had an interesting journey to Fort Wayne before the game. He went from Eugene to San Francisco to Chicago before getting out to Fort Wayne. Needless to say, he was quite surprised when he was inserted into the starting lineup for game two. He got his first hit as a Wizard in the fourth inning of the second Wizards game and ended his night going 2-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base and two RBI's. He has now had three straight multi-hit games.

George Kottaras was expected back from his Olympic tour with Greece on Sunday. He should be back in the lineup on Monday.

Eugene won 5-2

"I felt a little more comfortable yesterday and it felt good to be back playing here and felt nice to get a few hits," Craig Johnson explained of his 3-for-5 day on Saturday.

Johnson went 1-for-4 on Sunday, batting leadoff for the second straight day. He was caught stealing and played in centerfield, likely where he will play the rest of the way.

"(Centerfield) is going to take a couple of games to get used to. When I was in Peoria I was playing right and left field – back and forth so I felt really good. Centerfield is just a little different position. You have to cover more ground, take a little more charge out there and be the captain of the outfield."

In his first game as an Emerald, Matt Bush tried to double off a runner on first base but threw the ball away costing a run. He also made a leaping catch to rob a hit. Bush added a two-strike RBI ground out to push across the final Emerald run. He flied out in his first at bat, grounded into a fielder's choice, doubled in a run and had the RBI groundout. His .250 average is his highest on the year. He has knocked in four runs over the last two games dating back to his time with Peoria and has seven RBI's in his last six.

Only two No. 1 overall picks had played in the Northwest League before Bush. Al Chambers, the No. 1 pick by Seattle in 1979, and Ken Griffey Jr., picked No. 1 by the Mariners in 1987, both played for Bellingham.

Jake Vose went five innings and gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out three. It was just his second start of the year after spending his time in the bullpen. He has given up five runs, four earned in his nine innings of work from the starter's role. The error by Bush in the fifth inning ruined his chance at getting the victory.

Brandon Kintzler picked up his first save of the game in his first Ems game. Kintzler worked the ninth and gave up one hit while striking out one. Down in Peoria, Kintzler netted six saves for the Padres rookie team.

Jose Lobaton had just one homer all year with Idaho Falls in 2003. He hit his seventh on Sunday. Colt Morton reclaimed sole possession of the Northwest League lead with his 16th homer of the year and has homered in consecutive games.

Peoria won 11-3 on Saturday

Every player in the Peoria lineup had a hit and seven players scored a run and seven players had RBI's. Luany Sanchez was the only player to neither score a run or knock in a run.

In what turned out to be Matt Bush's last day with Peoria, he went 2-for-4 with a walk and two RBI's. Bush has hits in four of his last five games and has knocked in five runs over that time span. His time with Peoria ends with a .181 average with ten RBI's and two extra base hits. He drew 11 walks and committed ten errors in 21 games.

Adam Kroft went six innings and gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits and a walk. He has gone six innings in three of his last four starts and has not allowed more than two earned runs in his last five games. He did allow his second homer of the year but got his third win and second in a row. Kroft has been promoted to Eugene.

After seeing his average drop to a season low .284, Julio Cruceta has banged out five multi-hit games in his last nine games. On Saturday he went 4-for-5 with a triple, his fifth of the year, two ruins scored and two RBI's. He has six RBI's in his last five games after going 20 games with just two. He is batting .311 on the year.

Pete White went 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and three RBI's. White has a five game hitting streak, going 9-for-21 with three doubles. He has also hit safely 12 of his last 14 games. His average has skyrocketed from .238 to .311 by going 22-for-56 over the time frame. He has had eight multi-hit games and has knocked in 12 runs. He has also scored a run in six straight games and ten during that time.

Nate Whitney went 1-for-4 with two runs scored to give him a nine game hitting streak. It ties the mark for the longest streak by a member of the Peoria squad, previously set by Trey Johnston. Whitney is 14-for-40 during the streak.


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