Josh Barfield rocking; Luke Steidlmayer healthy

Josh Barfield is establishing himself as the man in Portland. Luke Steidlmayer is back on track - and feeling better than ever, he says. Chris Kolkhorst is a hitting machine - if he can stay away from the double play. Chris Steinborn had a tough day in Fort Wayne. Grant Varnell debuted in Eugene and three players, Josh Howard, Richie Daigle and Geoff Vandel made their first appearances as professionals.

Portland lost 17-8

Tim Stauffer was back in the Portland rotation and was welcomed back with open arms – by the opposition. They tagged him for seven runs on eight hits and two walks over five-plus innings of work. Stauffer did strike out seven but allowed the first four runners to reach base in the sixth – all of whom scored. His last outing in Portland, on May 5, he pitched a complete game six-hitter. Stauffer had been with the Padres, going 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA.

Josh Barfield went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to nine games. While his streak of consecutive games with a double ended at five, Barfield drove in three, his first three-RBI game since May 5. He has five RBI's in his last two games and seven in his last four. He is hitting .385 since the beginning of July, going 37-for-96 and leads the BayBears with 31 multi-hit games.

Mobile lost 4-0

Luke Steidlmayer was back to being Luke Steidlmayer on Thursday. The right-hander dealt 5.1 innings of two run ball, one earned, allowing five hits and tying a season-high by walking four. Unfortunately, he still took the loss as the Mobile bats went silent. Steidlmayer had given up 12 runs in his first two Double-A starts. During his stint with Fort Wayne, he allowed three runs or less in seven of his eight starts. He allowed three runs or less in one of his four Storm starts and this is his first as a BayBear.

"Pretty much every time I came back I was going to give it everything I got," Steidlmayer said of his thought process coming back from an injury to his right shoulder that shelved him for much of 2004. "I didn't want to hold anything back from the first time last year when I was coming back. I trusted it and it let me down a few times. I think now is probably the best it has been."

Six of the last seven inherited runners have scored against left-hander Rusty Tucker, including one on Thursday. Tucker also allowed two of his own runs in one inning of work. The former closer has given up runs in 21 of his 39 appearances on the season. He had gone three straight without allowing a run, tying his longest stretch of the year between runs allowed. Tucker holds a 5.17 ERA.

BayBears catcher George Kottaras had two hits of the team's five hits in the loss. "My approach is just to be still and try to see good pitches," he said after his third game as a BayBear. "I just hope to have success and help this team."

Lake Elsinore lost 10-3

Chris Kolkhorst pushed his hitting streak to 12 games with a single in four at bats but did hit into a double play, his fourth in the last five games and seventh in the last 15. A fact that is hard to believe is he has hit into 16 double plays this year, leading the Padres' minors. During his 12 game streak, Kolkhorst has scored just three runs. He has, however, knocked in nine over the streak.

Arturo Lopez dropped his fifth straight decision, lasting just 3.1 innings and getting charged with six runs on six hits and four walks. It is the sixth time in 22 starts he has walked three or more and the third time in his last five games. Since the start of July, Lopez has surrendered 36 runs, 28 earned, in 37.1 innings of work. He had given up 39 runs, 34 earned through the first three months of the season.

Fort Wayne lost 10-5

It wasn't a pretty for spot starter Chris Steinborn, facing 11 batters in the first inning. He was pulled after one inning with six runs in, four earned, on five hits and two walks. A fielding error by Peter Ciofrone allowed two two-out runs to score. Steinborn entered the game with a 3.60 ERA since joining Fort Wayne but left the game with a 4.30 ERA. In relief, his ERA has held at 3.08 but in five starts his ERA is 5.95 with the opposition hitting .364 off him.

On a day that Josh Alley extended his hitting streak to nine games, Yordany Ramirez pushed his to a modest three. But all three have been multi-hit affairs and he added two runs scored to give him five over the three game span. Ramirez had just three multi-hit games through the entire month of July. His .218 average is the highest it has been since June 13 when he was hitting .219.

Eugene won 6-3

While Mike Sansoe extended his hitting streak to nine games, Santiago Guerrero stretched his to 11 on Thursday with one hit in five at bats. That one hit left the yard, a three-run homer. He has 13 RBI's in the last ten games and has nine multi-RBI games on the year. Guerrero has actually lowered his batting average over the life of the streak from .287 to .286, going 13-for-46.

For the third straight start, Josh Geer went six innings or more and gave up two runs, all wins. He was pulled with one out in the seventh and a man on base. Geer allowed six hits, walked one and struck out three. He has issued a free pass just four times in 31.2 innings. Geer did allow a homer, the fourth consecutive game he has given up a long ball and fifth time over that span.

Grant Varnell made his Northwest League debut in relief of Geer and held the one inherited runner from scoring. He has kept the last eight inherited runners from crossing the plate. He was charged with a run in an inning and a third of work, the eighth time in 15 appearances that he has surrendered a run.

AZL Padres lost 6-3 on Wednesday

Three players made their debuts with Peoria on Wednesday.

Geoff Vandel, a 34th round draft pick out of Shaw High School in Georgia, signed with the Padres last week, pitched one inning, striking out one. He had committed to Chipola Junior College before inking his deal with San Diego. Vandel, a left-handed high schooler, combines a lively fastball with a curve and a change. He once struck out 18 in a game.

Richie Daigle was pressed into his first pro action, taking over for John Hussey in the second inning. Daigle went three innings and allowed one run on three hits and a walk. The converted outfielder has a fastball that is consistently between 88-90 and tops out at 93, coupling that with a slider in the 77-81 MPH range.

Josh Howard, an outfielder who played for St. Thomas in Minnesota, went 2-for-4 with a walk in his professional debut. Howard hit .363 in 42 games for St. Thomas, collecting 44 hits and 31 RBI's. He had 13 doubles, four triples and five homers with an on base percentage of .407. Howard, a former third baseman, also stole eight bases in nine attempts.

Thursday's AZL Padres was not available in time for inclusion in this report


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