Girardeau Stellar; Germano's Best Yet

Portland split their double header, Justin Germano was brilliant, Brian Sweeney is back; Sean Thompson drops his fourth straight in Mobile, but got little help from his defense; Clark Girardeau has his best start of the season; Geivy Garcia makes his presence felt in Fort Wayne.

Portland won 3-1, lost 4-3


Catcher Michel Hernandez went 2-for-3 with two RBI's in the first half of Sunday's doubleheader.  It was just the fourth multi-hit game for Hernandez this season but he has hit safely in 10 of the past 11.  Hernandez has knocked in runs in three straight games and has five RBI's over that span.   After hitting .196 in April, Hernandez is hitting .290 in May.  He also has walked more times (18) than he has struck out (17).  Hernandez has scored just two runs over his last 21 games and has just five runs scored on the year.


Justin Germano did not allow a home run for the first time this year as the starter in the first game of the doubleheader.  He gave up one run on three hits, while not walking a batter and striking out five.  It is the first time this year that Germano has limited the opposition to one run – coming in his tenth start of the year.  Germano has won three of his past four starts and has allowed two earned runs or less in seven of his past eight starts.


Brian Sweeney started the back half of the doubleheader – his first start in his return to Portland.  Sweeney was signed just days after his release from Durham, the Triple-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  Sweeney signed a free-agent deal with Tampa during the off-season, going 3-4 with a 4.06 ERA in 10 starts.  The 30-year old right-hander went 1-0 with a 5.63 ERA with San Diego last season and was 11-5 with a 3.83 ERA for Portland, earning a spot on the Pacific Coast League All-Star team at season's end.  Sweeney went five innings in his season debut with Portland, allowing three runs on six hits.  He did not figure into the decision.  Sweeney had a 3-4 record with the Bulls in ten starts with a 4.06 ERA.  Hitters were swatting .333 off him for the year and his WHIP was up at 1.76.


Mobile lost 7-2


Corey Smith committed his team high 14th error of the year.  Smith has five errors over the last 12 games and his gaffe cost four unearned runs to cross the plate on Sunday.  He is tied for seventh among all third basemen in the minors with his error count.  Smith did go 2-for-4 at the dish with a double and a triple.


Sean Thompson took the loss, his third straight in Double-A and fourth consecutive losing decision overall.  He went five innings and gave up five runs, one earned, on seven hits and two walks.  All five runs against crossed the dish in that fateful second inning, his worst inning by far in Southern League play.  Six of his 11 earned runs have come in the second inning and ten of his 16 overall runs are from second frame fame.  Hitters are batting .319 off the lefty through four games.


Rusty Tucker went two innings and allowed a run on two hits while striking out three.  The run scored on a solo homer – the first homer Tucker has yielded since April 11.  Tucker had walked a batter in six consecutive appearances until Sunday and has walked 16 on the season in 21.1 innings of work.  The left-hander has allowed runs in ten of his 18 appearances but has held the opposition to a .227 average with runners in scoring position and has not yielded an extra base hit when in that situation.


Lake Elsinore won 2-1


Clark Girardeau had his longest outing of the year.  He lasted 7.2 innings and allowed one run on five hits while tying his season-high in strike outs with seven.  After not walking a batter for the fourth time this year in ten starts, Girardeau upped his strikeout to walk ratio to better than 3-to-1.  The right-hander has a 1.17 ERA on the road and has allowed the opposition to bat .196 off him away from the Diamond.  He also recorded his first pickoff of the season.


Leo Rosales came on with two outs in the eighth and earned his first multi-inning save of the year.  After blowing two saves, Rosales has allowed just one hit in 3.1 innings of work and has struck out four.  Rosales is averaging 11.45 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.  He has allowed runs in six of his 20 appearances but has allowed just four hits in his 14 scoreless outings. 


Steve Baker accounted for 60 percent of the Storm's hits on the night, going 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.  It was his eighth three-hit night of the year and 17th multi-hit game in 36 contests.  The outfielder has knocked in 17 runs during the month of May and his 13 doubles on the year lead the team.


While Brian Burgamy extended his hitting streak to 11 games, Peeter Ramos' streak was halted at ten.


Fort Wayne won 11-7


Broadcaster Mike Maahs and General Manager Mike Nutter, in an effort to change the luck of the team, each received haircuts.  While they denied the shaved look, Maahs did admit it was short.  It seems like the magic has already started to rub off.


Joel Santo had the longest outing of his career, going eight innings and allowing two runs on three hits and a walk.  Over his last three starts, spanning 18 innings of work, Santo has given up nine hits.  Santo lowered his average against from well over .300 to .268 on the year and .224 against when pitching at Memorial Stadium.  Both runs against Santo came in the fourth inning, by far his worst inning throughout the season. He has allowed nine earned runs in the fourth inning of games and has not allowed more than five in any other inning pitched.


Phil Polanco, who is good friends with Lake Elsinore Storm closer Leo Rosales – the two worked out together this past summer, served up a grand slam home run in the ninth inning and gave up five runs in what was an 11-2 game.   All five batters he faced crossed the plate.  In his last 5.1 innings of work Polanco has been tagged for 14 earned runs.  He has given up four home runs during that time frame.  Hitters are batting .500 off the right-hander and his WHIP is a ghastly 3.79.


Geivy Garcia came on to put out the fire, shutting down the opposition in order in the ninth.  In six appearances, Garcia has yielded six runs, but only two have been earned.  His ERA sits at 2.35 and he has not allowed an inherited runner to score this year.  Batters are hitting .194 off him this season and he has a WHIP of .91.  He has yet to allow the leadoff batter of an inning reach base.


Brett Dowdy went 4-for-5 with three runs scored, a homer, and three RBI's.  Dowdy has seven extra base hits over the past nine games after netting just five over his first 33 games.  He is tied for second in all the minors in triples with seven, leads the Wizards in hits (49) and runs scored (33) and is second on the team in RBI's with 22.  For all his speed, Dowdy has stolen just two bases.   It was the first four-plus hit game for Dowdy since August 19, 2003.   The third baseman is now hitting .356 at home this year.

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