Portland and Mobile lose

The Portland Beavers lost a game they had plenty of chances in, getting edged 5-4 by Sacramento. Sacramento leads the series 2-1.<br><br> The Mobile BayBears were smacked around on Friday, losing to Birmingham 8-1. They remain up two games to one in the best of five series.

Portland lost to Sacramento 5-4 (Sacramento leads series 2-1) Chris Oxspring allowed homers in the second, third and fourth innings of his playoff start. He lasted just four innings and allowed five runs, all scoring on the three homers he allowed, on five hits and three walks. He also struck out six. Oxspring allowed just seven home runs in 85.2 innings pitched during the regular season. Ironically, he allowed three homers to Sacramento on June 23, the only other time he allowed more than one homer in a game. Oxspring has had two poor performances in a row. Last time out, during the regular season, he allowed five runs in three innings of work.

Humberto Quintero knocked in two in the third inning to close within one. A double steal from Freddy Guzman and Bernie Castro made it possible. Guzman had two steals in the game, his 49th and 50th of the season for Portland.

Portland went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and with the bases loaded and nobody out in the seventh, they were only able to get one run – on a two out walk from Jon Knott.

Mobile lost to Birmingham 8-1 (Mobile leads series 2-1)

Ronnie Merrill was perfect on the night. After starting the playoffs without a hit in six at bats, Merrill was 3-for-3 with a walk, a double and a triple. He was the only Mobile batter to reach base through the first 5.2 innings and he reached base three times during that span as Dennis Ulacia retired 16 of the first 18 batters in the game. Thus he only scored once – after he tripled in the sixth and scored on a Ben Johnson shot to second that was ruled an error. Rico Washington added the only other hit of the day for Mobile in the sixth inning and that happened after the error which would have been the third out of the inning.

Brian Whitaker was pulled after just two and one third innings of work. He allowed four runs, one earned, on six hits. It was his error in the second that helped extend the inning and allowed three unearned runs to score. Whitaker had given up one run in his previous 11 innings of work entering the playoffs and had gone just two innings in his last start on September 6.

Natanael Mateo made his Southern League debut for Mobile on Friday. After going 6-3 with Lake Elsinore with a 2.79 ERA, Mateo allowed one run on three hits in two innings of work. Mateo allowed runs in 13 of 29 appearances with the Storm. He did allow runs in four of his last seven outings before joining the BayBears.

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