Wizards playoff bound; Storm flop at home

Portland readies itself for the playoffs with a loss. Mobile gets a win on its way to the playoffs and Colt Morton homered in his Southern League debut. Lake Elsinore bows out of the race when the competition gets hot. The Fort Wayne Wizards powered its way into the playoffs with 15 wins in 20 games. Skip Adams made the most of the season finale and Leo Rosales came up big in the end.

Portland lost 8-5

Tim Stauffer set himself up for the playoffs by going just three innings, but it wasn't the three innings that Germano threw a day prior. Stauffer allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits, including a home run. Stauffer has now given up 15 homers in 14 Portland starts. An error by Ben Risinger in the first inning lengthened the inning and allowed two runs to score. Stauffer also threw his first wild pitch since joining Portland and third on the year.

It is tough to argue the dominance of Marty McLeary at the Triple-A level. He pitched an inning and has allowed just one run over his past 16 outings, spanning 18.2 innings. Over that time he has allowed eight hits and has seen his ERA drop from 3.70 to 2.99.

William Killian went 0-for-3 with a walk in his third game with Portland. Killian has gone 1-for-7 and has grounded into two double plays since being called up from Peoria – skipping everything in between.

Jon Knott heads into the playoffs on a high note. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and three runs scored. Knott is 9-for-20 over his last four games with three homers, seven RBI's and eight runs scored.

Mobile won 6-2

Colt Morton banged out a home run in his second Southern League at bat. He grounded out in his first at bat, grounded into a fielder's choice and walked. He was also charged with a pass ball. Morton skipped High-A Lake Elsinore. He had never played above Low-A Fort Wayne and was most recently with short-season Eugene of the Northwest League. He led the Northwest League in homers with 17 and ends the year with 22 between three leagues.

Ben Johnson moved past John Kern on the Mobile home run list with his 23rd blast of the season. Johnson has homered in back-to-back games. Johnson also drove in two with a single and ends the year with 85 RBI's, five behind league leader Josh Barfield. Johnson knocked in five over his last two games and his 57 extra base hits lead the Southern League.

Brian Whitaker, setting himself up for playoff action, went two innings and walked one while striking out one. Whitaker could be ready to pitch as soon as Thursday if the BayBears felt the need for him to start.

Rene Miniel got his first win of the season pitching in two different leagues. Miniel went two innings and struck out four. He has struck out four or more only once before – on May 15 while with Lake Elsinore. Miniel has had three straight games without allowing a run. He gave up runs in seven of his previous nine outings.

Lake Elsinore lost 6-4 (knocked out)

With the playoffs on the line, Kevin Beavers took the hill. Beavers had allowed four homers over his last two starts and 14 runs in his last 15 innings. By the third inning, five runs had scored as Beavers had just allowed a three run homer. He hit the next batter and was pulled. That runner would also score. Beavers ended his night with 2.1 innings of work, six runs on six hits and a walk. The homer he gave up was his sixth in four games. Beavers was in the hospital last week for pneumonia-like symptoms and still felt weak as late as Saturday.

Clark Girardeau came on in relief and allowed the inherited runner to score, charged to Beavers. His line read 2.2 innings, three hits and a strike out. It was his third game pitching in relief and Beavers took his spot in the rotation because of a sore elbow. With Beavers reportedly just getting well, the question is why Girardeau didn't get the start ahead of him with the playoffs on the line.

Michael Johnson tried to carry the team on his back down the stretch. Johnson hit a three run homer in the first inning to give Elsinore an early lead. It was his third homer in five games and fourth in eight. Johnson knocked in six runs in his last three, 11 in his last eight, and 22 over his last 16 games.

The Storm left 11 men on base, including six in scoring position. They failed to score despite having the bases loaded in the fourth and ninth. It was the first time in five years the Storm has missed the playoffs and just the fourth time in 11 seasons.

Fort Wayne won 7-6 (playoff bound)

It wasn't easy for Leo Rosales and the sweating Wizards. His save on Monday tied him for the Midwest League lead with 26. It also pushed the Wizards into the playoffs. After getting the first two outs, Rosales induced a grounder that Sean Kazmar gloved and tried to get the runner at third who rounded the bag too far. After a rundown they were able to get the final out of the game. Rosales gave up more hits, three, than in his previous 11 outings. His season ending ERA is 1.40 and he gave up just nine earned runs all season. All of his saves came after June 1.

Mike Ekstrom came close to self-destructing in the first inning. After allowing one run to score, Ekstrom threw two wild pitches, one coming as he walked a batter. After getting the second out of the inning, Ekstrom made a throwing error that scored two runs. He settled down to get the final out of the inning. Ekstrom went five innings and allowed four runs, two earned, on six hits and a walk. He struck out five. Ekstrom has allowed four runs in each of his three Fort Wayne starts.

Nothing like waiting until the end. Skip Adams did not have a single three hit game all season, in 71 games played. That changed on Monday when he went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base. July 10 was the last time he scored twice in a game and before that it was back in April. It is one of the reasons Adams continues to play. Rumor is he comes up with only big hits and big games, despite his .177 season average. Adams scored the eventual winning run in the seventh inning on a Brian Wahlbrink sac fly.

Brian Wahlbrink drove in two with sacrifice flies, plating Adams each time. He entered the game with just one sac fly on the season. Wahlbrink has driven in six in his past four games.

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