Two blown leads; two blowouts

Two blown leads and two blowouts were on the docket in the minors. Travis Chick was on in his Mobile debut while R.D. Spiehs was off. Matt Varner didn't close and Portland closed early. Jared Wells, meanwhile, built on the success of late last year.

Portland won 10-2

Marty McLeary went 4.1 innings before being lifted. He allowed just two runs on four hits but walked four batters. Brian Falkenborg registered the win and kept two inherited runners from scoring.

McLeary made seven starts with the Portland Beavers in '04 and was put in the closer role in early July. In 21 appearances, he was 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA, giving up just 12 hits in 22.2 innings of work. He also made his major league debut on Aug. 22, tossing two innings of one run ball against the Marlins, his former team.

Ben Risinger and Bobby Scales each hit homers for the Beavos on Saturday. Risinger hit a two-run blast, drove in a run with a single in the ninth and scored two runs, while Scales hit a solo shot, scored twice and went 4-for-5. Risinger's first homer last year came on June 20 and Scales lone homer while playing in 73 games with Portland came on May 8.

Kerry Robinson went 2-for-6 with four runs scored. He also swiped three bases, a feat he accomplished three times in 2004.

Portland drew three bases loaded walks, with Michel Hernandez drawing two of those. The Beavers walked eight times total on the night.

Mobile won 8-7 in 13

Travis Chick lasted 5.1 innings, allowed a run on three hits and two walks, and left with a 4-0 lead. He also doubled in two at bats. One run would be charged to Chick but the BayBears still held a 4-1 advantage. A certain win was taken away when usually reliable R.D. Spiehs allowed five runs, four earned in the top of the seventh inning. A three run homer capped the rally and Chick left the game feeling good about skipping Lake Elsinore but without the most important thing – a victory. The game would go four extra innings before the BayBears scored in the bottom of the 13th.

Interestingly enough, Tye Waller, the Padres Director of Player Development had said Spiehs was off this spring and needed to regain some of the swagger he had a year ago:

"You will always see movement," Waller said of Spiehs heading to Portland. "R.D. didn't have the best of spring but he will get a shot once he shows he can command the zone like he did last yet."

Jason Clements had a nice day at the plate, reaching base four times, but he personally helped three members of the Smokies reach base because of three errors.

Ronnie Merrill fell a homer shy of the cycle, going 4-for-7 with two RBI's and two runs scored. He has eight hits and seven runs scored through three games.

Dale Thayer, Craig Breslow and Jack Cassel combined to throw five scoreless innings of relief, with Breslow and Cassel not allowing any hits over three innings.

Kennard Jones was ejected in the third inning.

Lake Elsinore won 7-1

Jared Wells allowed one run over 6.1 innings of work to get the win. He struck out six, hit a batter and allowed five hits. In 2004, Wells went 4-6 with a 4.52 ERA for the Storm. He allowed two runs or less in five of his 13 starts, including each of his last three to end the year. He has yielded just four runs in his past four California League starts, spanning 25.1 innings.

Michael Johnson went 3-for-4 with a walk and drove in one. He has RBI's in each of his first three games this year and has a six game California League RBI streak going, dating back to last year. He has knocked in nine over that span. He did ground into a double play for the second straight day.

Paul Abraham pitched out of a jam in the seventh. He inherited two runners from Wells but kept both from scoring. He went on to pitch a scoreless eighth. Abraham went 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 37 appearances for Fort Wayne last year.

Fort Wayne lost 8-6

With the game well in hand, at 6-2, Matt Varner came on for his first save opportunity of the year. After the game closed to 6-4, Varner loaded the bases with two outs. The next hitter smacked a grand slam to give Lansing the lead, a six run inning and a loss for Fort Wayne. Varner threw 40 pitches, 21 of those balls. Varner was 2-2 with a 1.61 ERA for Fort Wayne last year, holding the opposition to a .211 batting average.

Joel Santo threw a 66-pitch gem on Saturday, tossing six innings of one run ball. He allowed just three hits and a walk, while striking out four. Santo made seven starts for Eugene in 2004 and allowed two runs or less in just two of those starts. The six innings he pitched tied his professional career high (7/31/04).

Lachlan Dale took a 3-2 pitch and singled on the way to driving in his first run as a Wizard. It also marked the first time this year that Fort Wayne took a lead. Matt Bush would later score on a sacrifice fly in the first inning from Tom Vincent. Dale had two hits on the day, both singles. Dale hit 15 homers and 49 RBI's in 74 games for Eugene in '04.

After the Wizards executed a hit and run to perfection, Colt Morton hit a titanic home run, a three-run blast, that left the ballpark. Morton also lined a double to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning and would score. He is 3-for-7 on the year with two runs scored. Morton batted just .150 in 36 games with Fort Wayne, striking out 45 times.


MadFriars Top Stories