Bush Drives In 2; Kolkhorst Reaches in 30 Straight

It's not supposed to happen, but Portland allowed seven home runs Tuesday night and still won; It's not supposed to happen but lefties are hitting .400 off Rusty Tucker; It's not supposed to happen; but Fernando Valenzuela Jr. leads his team in hits but is hitting just .235 with RISP; It's not supposed to happen but Mike Eckstrom allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in six innings and still gave up only one run; All this and more in the minor league roundup.

Portland won 12-11

Chris Oxspring came into the game having not allowed a homer through five starts. He made up for it by serving up four long balls in four innings of work, tying a Portland record. He allowed seven runs on eight hits and three walks. The right-hander allowed three homers in a game on June 23, 2004. Up until Tuesday, that was the most homers he had allowed in a game. Portland allowed seven homers in the game.

Angel Tovar got his first at bat of the season and his career, doubling to plate two runs. He also had his first scoreless outing in seven appearances, tossing two innings and yielding one hit and a walk to get the win.

Josh Barfield went 3-for-4 with a walk, double and three runs scored. It is the third straight multi-hit game for the second baseman. Barfield is batting .319 when he bats fifth in the order and just .186 when he bats sixth.

Mobile lost 7-3

Drafted in the seventh round of the 2000 draft, Ronnie Merrill had the first multi-homer game of his career on Tuesday, both solo shots. His last three hits have been homers. Merrill accounted for two of the three Mobile hits on the day with Kennard Jones netting a solo homer for the last hit. Merrill is already halfway to his career high in homers after 28 games. Merrill did commit his third error of the year, one of five Mobile errors on the day.

Mike Thompson had his worst outing of the year. He went six innings and allowed four runs, two earned, on seven hits and a walk. Thompson has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any of his seven starts this year. Despite a 1.88 ERA, Thompson is 1-2. Thompson has a WHIP of 1.09 on the year.

Left-handed reliever Rusty Tucker allowed three runs, one earned, on two hits and a walk in an inning of work. Tucker has allowed runs in three of his last four appearances and in six of 12 on the year. Tucker has struck out 15 in 13.1 innings and after holding the opposition to a .172 average in April, Tucker is allowing a .353 average against in May. Amazingly, left-handed hitters entered the game hitting .400 off him.

Lake Elsinore won 6-5

Playing first base for the fifth straight game, Fernando Valenzuela went 2-for-4, his third multi-hit game in the last four. He has 14 multi-hit games in 30 contests this season. Valenzuela leads the Storm with 42 hits but is batting just .235 with runners in scoring position.

Paul Abraham saved his third game of the year and has yet to allow an earned run in 16 appearances. He has gone 15.1 innings without allowing a run. He has allowed ten baserunners over that time span. The opposition is hitting .169 off the right-hander. Abraham is tied for the California League lead in appearances.

Wilmer Villatoro pitched a perfect inning, striking out one. The right-hander has allowed hits in just six of his 16 appearances. He is holding opponents to a .175 batting average against which is vital since they are batting .350 when runners are on base. Of the six games he has allowed a hit, he has also walked a batter in five of them and has given up multiple hits in four.

Fort Wayne won 3-1

Matt Bush threw out a runner at home plate in the 4th inning. Bush gunned the ball to Colt Morton who blocked the plate with a leg and performed a sweep tag to get the runner. Bush then drove in two with a timely two-out single and tried to stretch into a double, getting thrown out in the process. It was the only hit of the night for Bush but he does have four multi-RBI games over his past ten contests.

Michael Ekstrom played with fire for most of the night but allowed just one run in seven innings of work. In innings two through seven, the opposition's leadoff hitter reached base and four times they reached on a double to open an inning. Ekstrom allowed seven hits and two walks and was aided by two double plays. Ekstrom has allowed two runs over his last 15 innings of work and has allowed a run or less in five of his seven starts.

Lachlan Dale went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to six games. He has two doubles and two homers over that span but has not had a multi-hit game, going 6-for-23, a .261 average. Half of Dale's 22 hits on the year have gone for extra bases.

Chris Kolkhorst extended his on base streak to 30 games on Tuesday. He has had two hitting streaks of eight games or more and has drawn a walk in five straight games. The outfielder is hitting .311 with an on base percentage of .414. He has drawn 19 walks on the season while striking out 20 times. Kolkhorst leads the team in hits with 37, placing him in the top five of the Midwest League.


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