Waller On Mexican League Prospects; Varner Ks Side

Tye Waller talks about the Padres relationship with the Mexican League, and two top prospects down there right now; JJ Furmaniak flashes perfection at the plate; Extra innings without extra hits in Mobile; Clark Girardeau knows a 'W' is a 'W'; Peter Ciofrone gets it done in the clutch.

Luis Cruz and Edgar Huerta updates from the Mexican League, including Tye Waller on both prospects.

Mexican League play

Luis Cruz and Edgar Huerta have been on loan to the Mexican League - and the Padres can pull the player at any time if they feel it is necessary.

"We have a working agreement with Mexico City," Tye Waller, the Padres Director of Player Development, explained.  "We help each other out and that is how we got Miguel Ojeda."

Talk about a turnaround for Cruz.  Since joining Red Devils in the Mexican League, Luis Cruz has been on fire.  In 31 games with Mobile, the shortstop had 16 hits, six runs scored and one extra base hit.  With Mexico, Cruz has 15 hits in 11 games with nine runs scored and six extra base hits.  Through Sunday, Cruz has a ten-game hitting streak.

"He is a prospect and still is," said Waller.  "He struggled in Mobile but that wasn't the reason we sent him down there.  They lost (Los Angeles prospect Oscar) Robles and they asked if we could spare him.  After the season we will bring him back and if there is a need prior to that we can bring him back."

Turnaround part II.  Edgar Huerta has appeared in six games for the Angelopolis Tigers, going 2-1 with a save.  He has allowed one run and holds an ERA of 1.69.   With Lake Elsinore, Huerta allowed 15 runs in 12.1 innings of work.

"Huerta has had some struggles," Waller admitted.  "He had a hip injury and some nagging injuries that have held him back.  We thought that he could get more use and play against decent competition."

"Playing well down there can boost their confidence."

Portland won 10-5

J.J. Furmaniak tallied nearly half of Portland's 12 hits on the night.  He went 5-for-5, recording his first five hit night since May 5, 2003.  He has reached base in 15 of the last 16 games and raised his batting average by 25 points in one night, from .233 to .258.  He also added two RBI's, giving him nine over his last eight games after recording four over his first 32 contests.  Furmaniak is hitting .417 when he plays third base but just .202 when he plays shortstop.

Bobby Scales homered for the third time in two days, giving him a new career high in dingers with six.  Scales had his third straight multi-hit game and third consecutive multi-RBI game.  He is 6-for-9 with seven RBI's over the last three games with two walks.  He has an on base percentage of .456, placing him fifth in the Pacific Coast League in that category, pending the outcome of
Monday's games.

Marty McLeary had allowed two runs through six innings of work but was tagged for three more in the seventh.  He ended his night after 6.2 innings of work having yielded five runs on eight hits and a walk.  He gave up two homers to Prince Fielder.  McLeary has been boom or bust on the mound this season.  He has given up four or more runs in four starts and two or less in his other five starts.  The opposition is hitting .270 off him.

Mobile lost 1-0 in ten

Despite getting an extra frame, the BayBears managed just two hits.  Nick Trzesniak and Ronnie Merrill recorded the only hits of the night for Mobile. 

Kennard Jones struck out three times - the first time he has whiffed that many times in a game this season.  Greg Sain pinch hit in the ninth - in his only at bat - and flied out, ending his ten game hitting streak.

Jack Cassel had gone ten outings without allowing an earned run, a span of 11.2 innings.  He allowed the game winner - a solo home run.  It was the first jack he has surrendered all year.  Cassel, you may recall, had a span of 182 innings between 2001 and 2003 where he did not surrender a home run.  Away from the Hank, hitters are batting .339 off Cassel, as opposed to .159 at home.

We are in every game," outfielder Paul McAnulty said. "I mean, there is over 90 games to go this season. We are a good team."

Jose Oyervidez' gem was lost in the scoreless game.  He pitched 6.1 innings, scattering three hits and three walks while striking out four.  It is the third time this year he has gone six plus innings and allowed three or fewer hits.  Oyervidez has walked three or more in six of his nine starts.  He has limited the opposition to a .176 average with runners in scoring position.

Lake Elsinore won 11-7

Fernando Valenzuela added another three-plus hit night to his resume, pushing the total to nine for the year while giving him 20 multi-hit games in 42 contests.  He also added his second three RBI night of the season.  Despite hitting .319 in May coming into the game, Valenzuela had knocked in just four runs during the month.  He had been hitting .234 with runners in scoring position (RISP) on the year.  He went 3-for-3 with RISP on Monday.   Valenzuela did get charged with his first error of the season.

Steve Baker had a base clearing double in the fifth inning and knocked in four on the day.  Lancaster actually walked Valenzuela to pitch to the hottest Storm hitter.  It was his first four RBI game since April 21, 2004.  He has 12 RBI's over his last nine games and has nine multi-RBI games on the year.  Adding to the miracles, Baker also drew his third walk of the year - coming in his 31st game.

Brian Burgamy went 3-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and four runs scored.  The last time he scored four runs in a game was August 11, 2002.  The outfielder has 16 runs scored in his last 13 games and is in the midst of a six game hitting streak.  He is 9-for-24 over the streak with five RBI's.

Clark Girardeau struggled through five innings, allowing five runs, four earned, on eight hits and two walks but managed to get the win behind Storm hitting.  There was a baserunner in every inning off the right-hander.  In nine starts between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore, Girardeau has made it through the sixth just once and is credited with just two quality starts.

Fort Wayne won 1-0

Clayton Hamilton won his seventh game of the year and seventh straight winning decision behind a seven inning, two hit masterpiece.  He is now second in the Midwest League in wins, pending the outcome of Monday's games.  He walked just
one and struck out a season-high nine.  Over his last seven starts, Hamilton has allowed six earned runs.  He has limited the opposition to a .159 batting average in May. His 2.11 ERA is seventh best in the league and he beat the pitcher with the sixth best ERA in the league.

"Clay has been consistent from day one," Waller said of the Fort Wayne hurler.

Matt Varner picked up his Midwest League leading 13th save of the year, striking out the side in order.  The Wizards closer has allowed one run over his last 12 outings and has struck out 19 in 15 innings of work.  In May, he is holding the opposition to a .185 batting average and he has gotten the leadoff man out in 12 of his 15 appearances.

Peter Ciofrone's double in the first inning plated the only run of the game and extended his hitting streak to seven games, a season-high.  Ciofrone is 11-for-29 during the streak with four RBI's and five runs scored and is hitting .316 during the month of May.  He has struck out just once over the last 13 games.  He did ground into a double play for the second time in as many games.


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