Shutout ball, happy minors

Brian Sweeney earned his 11th win on the same day he was named to the All-Pacific Coast League Team. Ronnie Merrill returned to the lineup for Mobile. Lake Elsinore had the night off but season honors were doled out. Sean Thompson has been near unhittable lately as George Kottaras returned. Steve Delabar made a strong start for Eugene and David O'Hagan is back. Christopher Rayborn, thought to be a potential callup pitched well but Juan Jimenez was better the next day.

Did you know?

The Cubs and Padres were the only ones to scout in Greece, sending Gary Hughes and Tom McNamara, respectively.

Portland won 7-4

Brian Sweeney became an eleven game winner on Monday when he went seven innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits and a walk. Sweeney has allowed three or fewer runs in 16 of his 23 starts this year. He has allowed a homer in four straight games. Sweeney has been named to the 2004 All-Pacific Coast League Team, the only Beaver to make an appearance with the team.

Xavier Nady is becoming habit forming. He has been in this column so much over the past week it would seem he owns a piece of it. The truth is he is smoking hot and continued to blaze on Monday. Nady went 2-for-3 with a triple, a homer and four RBI's. He has knocked in seven runs in his last two games and 30 in his last 18 games. The homer was his ninth in 16 games. He now has 63 RBI's in 70 games this year. He also added his third stolen base of the year.

J.J. Furmaniak has another seven game hitting streak going for him. The shortstop has now had four hitting streaks over the last 44 games of significance. He has one of six games, two of seven games and one that lasted nine games. He was batting .250 way back then and has raised his average to .291 on the year. His current seven game streak has seen him go 10-for-24 with four RBI's.

Mobile won 10-4

Roger Deago pitched another seven innings and surrendered two runs, one earned, on five hits and three walks. Deago has allowed seven earned runs, ten total, since he began starting for the BayBears, a span of seven games. Minus a four run outing he has given up just three earned runs in six of those starts. Deago gave up his second homer of the year in 74.2 innings between three different leagues (the stint he had in Tijuana not included). He struck out the side in the sixth inning, three of the five strikeouts he had on the day.

Ronnie Merrill returned to the lineup after a week off to recover from neck spasms. Merrill went 2-for-5 with two doubles and one run scored. Merrill is hitting .255 on the year and has three multi-hit games in his last five.

Steve Morales went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI's. Morales has now had three hits in a game three times over his last 14 games. Unfortunately, he has only had three hits in all of the other games combined. Morales had three RBI's over his previous 15 games coming into play on Monday and it was his first three-RBI night of the year and just his second multi-RBI game in 52 contests.

Ben Johnson had two assists from right field, throwing out a runner at second in the first inning and nailing a runner at third in the third inning.

The BayBears and Biscuits will play a doubleheader Tuesday starting at 6:05 PM. Mike Thompson (8-2, 3.70) will start game one for the BayBears while recently-drafted Clayton Hamilton will be summoned from Single-A Eugene to start game two.

Lake Elsinore had the night off

Andres Pagan and Joe Lima were the co-recipients of this year's Gerik Baxter Award, presented to the player who "most exemplifies the love of the game through desire, hard work, dedication and team play." Pagan and Lima follow Nick Trzesniak, Andre Gomez and Ben Risinger in receiving the award, presented in honor of the pitcher who died in a car crash during the 2001 season, when he was rehabilitating with the Storm.

Paul McAnulty was named the team's MVP, and former closer Dale Thayer received the team's Cy Young award.

Fort Wayne won 3-1

Sean Thompson threw six innings and allowed one run, unearned, on four hits and a walk. Since suffering his two worst outings of the year, Thompson has given up just two earned runs in four starts, spanning 23 innings. Despite the gaudy statistics, Thompson got into the win column for the first time sine July 19 on Monday.

George Kottaras returned to the Fort Wayne lineup after a tour in Greece for the Olympic games and went 0-for-2 with two walks. He broke an eight game hitting streak that he had prior to his tour of duty snapped in the process. He was 11-for-30 over that span. Kottaras has reached base in 17 straight games.

Leo Rosales pitched the ninth for his 23rd save of the year. Rosales had another 1-2-3 outing. It was his 22nd perfect outing of the year. He has given up just three hits and a walk over his past nine outings without allowing a run. His ERA has been above 2.00 just once since mid-May and all of his saves have been recorded since June 1.

Brian Wahlbrink hit a two run jack in the fifth inning, which turned out to be the game winner. It was the only hit Wahlbrink recorded on the night but he did extend his hitting streak to six games. He is 9-for-26 over the streak and has four RBI's in his last two games. Wahlbrink did not have an RBI in his previous 12 games and three in his previous 21.

Eugene won 4-0

The Ems put two wins together for the first time since the second week of July.

Steve Delabar tossed 6.2 scoreless innings in his second start for Eugene. He allowed three hits and two walks while hitting a batter and striking out two. It was his finest performance of the year. Delabar had spent the majority of his season with Peoria before the late callup. He gave up five runs, three earned, in his first Eugene start and had given up two earned runs in his previous two starts with Peoria.

Matt Bush went 2-for-4 and is hitting .375 in two games with Eugene. He has a modest three game hitting streak, dating back to his time with Peoria. It ties his longest hitting streak this year. Bush did commit an error for the second straight day.

Tom Vincent went 2-for-4 with an RBI from the leadoff spot. He now has three straight multi-hit games, going 7-for-12 with three doubles. Vincent is hitting .219 on the year, the highest his batting average has climbed since he went 1-for-3 to leadoff the year.

David O'Hagan returned to the lineup, relieving Delabar in the seventh. It was only O'Hagan's sixth appearance of the season due to a shoulder injury that has kept him out since the first of July. O'Hagan only threw two pitches in a third of inning, enough to get a groundball out. He has allowed runs in just one of his six outings and has one save and one blown save.

E.J. Shanks made his Emerald debut in the eighth. Shanks, drafted out of Oklahoma City University, was 2-1 with a 1.63 ERA in nineteen games for Peoria. Shanks pitched the eighth and ninth, allowed one hit, two walks and struck out a pair. Shanks had allowed two earned runs in his last eight appearances with Peoria. After walking just three batters through his first 18 outings, Shanks has walked six in his last three.

Padres lost 5-4 on Sunday

Christopher Rayborn went six innings and gave up three runs on seven hits and two walks. Rayborn has pitched six innings in each of his past four games and has gone five innings in each of his past six games. He has given up three earned runs or less in five of his last six games.

Daniel Baca had not given up runs in consecutive games until Sunday. Baca had given up runs in six of his 21 appearances prior to his last two games. His ERA jumped from 1.42 to 1.93, the highest it has been at all year. He also allowed his first homer of the year, coming in his 23rd appearance.

Kelvin Vasquez hit his team leading twelfth double, going 1-for-2 with two runs scored. Vasquez has walked in four straight games and has drawn a walk in 11 of his last 12 games. With his walk on Sunday he took over the team lead with 22. While his average is .277 for the year, his on base percentage is .360.

Peoria won 1-0 on Monday

Last time, Juan Jimenez came on in relief and tossed seven innings of two run ball. This time Jimenez got the start and went seven innings. He one-upped his previous performance by not allowing a run on five hits and a walk. His ERA this year is a slim 0.89 in four games. He has pitched in 20.1 innings and allowed just the two earned runs.

Brian Medley, hitting .177 on the year for Peoria, knocked in his fifth run of the season and made it count, the only RBI of the game. Medley has reached base safely in five straight games, a season high.

Pete White had the pleasure of scoring the only run of the game. He went 2-for-4 and was the only member of the Peoria team to have two hits. He also extended his hitting streak to seven games in the process, going 12-for-29 over that time frame with five multi-hit games.

Ironically, every hitter except Kelvin Vasquez had a hit and even Vasquez reached base. He was plunked, the second consecutive game he was hit with a pitch.

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