Sparks Shines; Chick Struggles

Fernando Valenzuela Jr. bombs away while Travis Chick is roughed up, and Steve Sparks refuses to knuckle under. The Padres went 2 and 2 in the minors Wednesday and has more than the boxscore.

Portland won 5-2

Not only did Steve Sparks pitch eight innings of one run ball, scattering five hits and a walk while striking out four, he was also one of only two Beavers to record two hits on the night. He singled, doubled and scored a run while winning his second straight start. And the run he allowed wasn't earned.

Robert Fick got the nod behind the plate. In a tough assignment, catching knuckleballer Sparks, Fick was charged with two passed balls. He threw out one of three baserunners attempting to steal. At the plate, Fick went 1-for-4 with two RBI's.

Through 13 games played, Ben Risinger has three homers and 13 RBI's, leading the Beavers in both categories. Risinger didn't hit his third homer until July 2 during 2004 and ironically his 13th RBI of the year came on the same day – 52 games into the season.

Mobile lost 10-7

For just the second time since joining the Padres system, Travis Chick was roughed up. Chick allowed eight runs, all earned, on eight hits and a walk in 3.2 innings. It was the shortest outing Chick has ever had as a member of the Padres farm. He had never worked less than five innings in an outing prior to Wednesday. Chick even had an error on an attempted pickoff move.

Luis Cruz was taken out of the game in the first inning after popping out right behind the first base bag. Instead of running down the line, Cruz never left the batters box and walked to the dugout. He was taken out of the game before the next inning – likely as a message to him and his teammates to never take anything for granted. Ronnie Merrill moved to short for Cruz and Jason Clements was inserted at second base.

Paul McAnulty, the BayBears leftfielder, ran into the outfield wall trying to make a catch in the third inning. He missed the ball and fell hard to the ground on the warning track after he crashed into the wall. It was until after the play that he got up, favoring his left ankle. The play result was an inside-the-park home run as Kennard Jones had to race over and make the relay throw. McAnulty ended up staying in the game after the manager and trainer checked him out. It wasn't until the seventh inning that he was taken out of the game, replaced by Casey Baker. McAnulty knocked in two runs before exiting the game.

Greg Sain collided with the Huntsville first baseman in the fifth inning. Sain sprawled to the ground on the first base line after the collision. Sain was able to get up and make his way back to the dugout. He was ruled out because of interference and did not return to the game. Nick Trzesniak, normally the starting catcher, replaced Sain at first.

"The mood of the team isn't always good right now," BayBears outfielder Kennard Jones said of the teams nine game losing streak. "It's been a long road trip, but that is part of baseball. We'll come out of it. Once we get something going, whether it's a bunt single, or a broken bat hit to the outfield, it will get us going."

Lake Elsinore won 7-4

Fernando Valenzuela went 2-for-3 with a homer and two RBI's on Wednesday. He now has five RBI's and two homers in his last four games. Valenzuela also has seven multi-hit contests in his first 13 games with the Storm. The first baseman/designated hitter has been hit by four pitches this year.

Jared Wells pitched six innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out seven. It is the second outing in a row that Wells has yielded four runs in his start. Wells allowed four runs or more in six of his 13 starts for LE last year.

Brett Bonvechio has reached base in his first 13 games of the year. He has reached base safely two or more times in 10 of those contests and has an on base percentage of .450. On Wednesday, Bonvechio went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI's.

Fort Wayne lost 8-3

After retiring eight straight batters, Joel Santo allowed four straight hits, including a three-run homer to cap off the outburst in the fourth. After the homer, a downpour ensued; suspending the game and Santo's night was ended. They were the only four hits he issued on the day in three innings of work. After allowing one run in his first six innings of work, Santo has surrendered seven runs in the last 5.2 innings.

When the game resumed, Vern Sterry took the hill. He pitched three innings and allowed four runs on four hits and three walks. All four runs scored on one hit, a grand slam in the sixth inning. Sterry has allowed runs in each of his four appearances this year.

Yordany Ramirez went 0-for-2, seeing his average drop to .086 on the season. Although he has but three hits on the year, Ramirez has RBI's in consecutive games and has knocked in five this year. He has also thrown out two base runners at home plate this year.

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