Oxspring Sharp, Ekstrom Not, Both Win

Chris Oxspring has won three straight in impressive fashion; Travis Chick struggles on the road again; Juan Ciriaco is struggling with the bat and the glove; Mike Ekstrom not his best, but good enough to win.

Portland won 6-3


Chris Oxspring won his third straight start, allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks while striking out seven in seven innings of work.  The right-hander has posted a 2.02 ERA over the past three games, on the heels of allowing 18 runs over 11.1 innings in his previous three games.  He has lowered his ERA from 6.80 to 5.12 in the process.


While Kerry Robinson extended his hitting streak to eight and Josh Barfield pushed his to nine, Michel Hernandez was the star at the plate on Monday.  The catcher went 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI.  It was his first extra base hit in 12 games for the red hot Hernandez.  He is 24-for-64 over his last 18 games, a .375 average.


Ben Johnson went 2-for-4 to push his hitting streak to six games.  He is 10-for-24 over the streak with an RBI and a run scored in each game.  He has scored nine runs and knocked in eight over the streak and has actually scored a run in ten straight games and in 15 of the last 16.


Mobile lost 5-1


Travis Chick went six innings and allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits and a walk while striking out five.  It is the third time this year in 12 starts that he has given up five runs or more.  Chick had gone seven straight starts without allowing more than three runs.  In seven games away games, Chick has an ERA of 7.36 and hitters are batting .319 off him, as opposed to a 2.33 ERA and .210 average against at home.


Rusty Tucker pitched two innings of scoreless ball, breaking a streak of four games with runs crossing the plate against him and in eight of the last ten.  Tucker has gone four straight games without walking a batter after issuing a free pass to 16 batters over 19.1 innings.  The opposition is hitting .298 off him on the year and .354 off him since the beginning of May.  He did pickoff his first baserunner of the year on Monday.


"It is important that our bullpen is sharp every night," said BayBears reliever Geoff Jones. "On any night we're going to be brought in for big spots."


Paul McAnulty went 1-for-4 with a double, scoring the only run for the BayBears.  He may have a four game hitting streak but he is hitting just .192 through the first six games in May.  McAnulty is hitting .252 away from Hank Aaron Stadium but .326 at home.


Lake Elsinore lost 6-4


Arturo Lopez entered the game with three runs allowed over his previous four starts.  That string of good fortune was broken when he gave up five runs on six hits and a season-high five walks, including two round trippers.  Lopez had walked two batters over his previous four starts but has walked three or more on three occasions.  It was the second time this year that Lopez has surrendered two homers in the same game.


Adam Bourassa went 2-for-3 with a homer, two RBI's and two runs scored on Monday, giving him six hits in ten at bats since joining the Storm with four RBI's, three runs and two walks.  Bourassa had just six RBI's and six runs in 31 games for the Blaze – his ex-team.


After going 0-for-3, Juan Ciriaco is six for his last 45, dropping his average from .348 to .300.  He also committed two errors on the day and has three in his last two games.  His 24 errors on the season are tied for the overall minor league lead.  He has four multi-error games on the season.


Fort Wayne won 13-11


There goes the top ten in the ERA battle but Mike Ekstrom did earn his eighth win of the season, helped by an 11-run inning by the Wizards.  Ekstrom was tagged for a season-high eight runs on eight hits and three walks.  He also allowed two gopher balls, including a grand slam – more than he had served up all year.  Ekstrom had allowed seven runs over his previous seven starts and 11 earned runs in his first 11 starts coming into the game.  His ERA rose from 1.43 to 2.31.


Bizarro world appeared again later in the game.  Ricky Steik allowed a run – the first time he surrendered a run in 19 appearances, spanning 23 innings of work.  It marked just the third time this year runs have crossed the plate against Steik.  Since the start of May, Steik has allowed just ten hits in 54 at bats, a 185 average against.


Every Wizard scored a run and all but two was credited with at least one RBI on the night.  Matt Lauderdale returned to the lineup in style after missing a few games for personal reasons.  The catcher went 3-for-5, falling a homer shy of the cycle.  He drove in three runs, giving him six RBI's over his last five games.  It was his second three-hit game in four games and sixth multi-hit game on the year.  Yordany Ramirez also fell a homer shy of the cycle and drove in three.  He has seven RBI's in his last five games.

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