Ben Johnson humming; Steve Baker talks streak

Ben Johnson knocked in seven and Chris Oxspring was near perfect over seven. Steve Baker has a 12-game hitting streak and talks about the secret to his success. Luke Steidlmayer wasn't rewarded for his masterful outing. Mike Ekstrom and Steve Delabar wish they never got up this morning as each was mauled.

Portland won 11-1

Chris Oxspring gave up one unearned run on two hits over seven innings to take his fifth straight win. It is the fifth time this year he has given up four hits or less in a start. It is the 13 time in 26 starts he has given up two runs or less and tenth time he has given up one run or less. His 4.03 ERA is the lowest it has been this year. Oxspring has a .192 average against during the month of August. The right-hander has a 1.91 ERA in the fourth inning and beyond.

Ben Johnson hit a grand slam in the fourth, a three-run homer in the fifth and added a double in five at bats. Johnson's seven RBI's tied the franchise record, set earlier in the year by Jesse Garcia. He now has 83 RBI's and leads the team in that category, vaulting past Jon Knott's 77. His 79 runs scored are one off the team lead and his two homers gave him 25 to lead the team. Since June he is hitting .348.

Dustin Delucchi has a ten-game walk streak and has reached base in 18 straight games. Greg Sain homered for the second day in a row, the second time this year he has homered in successive days.

Mobile lost 4-0

"We are a good team," said Mobile outfielder Jeff Duncan, who had two hits in the loss. "We are just trying to take it one game at a time and finish strong."

While not on par with the 19.1 innings without allowing a run that Paul Abraham had in Lake Elsinore, he has put together 8.2 scoreless in Mobile to drop his ERA to 4.08, the lowest it has been since his second outing with the BayBears. Abraham has lowered his ERA each month in Southern League play, from 8.53 in June to 4.05 in July and 2.55 in August. The opposition is hitting .408 off him with the bases empty but they are batting .205 off him with RISP.

Steve Baker moved his hitting streak to 12 games on Sunday, giving him hits in 21 of the past 22 games. He is hitting .368 in August which has pushed his average in Mobile above .300.

"I am just really trying to concentrate, especially down the stretch here," Baker said of his success. "It is really easy to think about the end of the season and how there is not many games left. I try and take the mental approach of being at the halfway point so you are not looking towards any end but to finish strong and have good at bats."

Lake Elsinore won 2-1

Luke Steidlmayer lit the fire under the Storm staff that has been lacking since the month began. He did not allow a run over seven innings, scattering four hits. He was matched by the opposition and did not earn the win. The last time he has won was June 14 – when he was with Fort Wayne. Since his first outing in Lake Elsinore – a six-run performance – Steidlmayer has a 3.51 ERA with the team over six starts and one relief appearance.

Brett Dowdy returned from a two-week absence due to personal reasons that placed him on the temporary inactive list. He probably wishes he would have stayed on the list for another day. He went 0-for-3 and grounded into two double plays. It is the second time this year he has hit into two double plays in the same game. Dowdy is batting .241 since joining the Storm after hitting .272 with the Wizards.

Fort Wayne lost 11-5

Mike Ekstrom was shelled for a season-high nine runs, eight earned, in four-plus innings of work. He gave up a season-high 12 hits, walked one, and struck out three. It is the sixth time this year he has given up four or more runs in 27 starts. Ekstrom came into the game with five runs allowed in his previous four starts. Ekstrom's worst inning this year has been the third where he has given up 20 runs in 27 third innings. Two of those came on Sunday.

Brandon Kintzler gave up two runs – on a homer – in an inning of work. He had given up two earned over his previous 11 appearances with Fort Wayne. He has held the opposition to a .232 average against in Midwest League play and has held lefties to a .172 average. He has allowed seven hits in 42 at bats, a .167 average against.

Eugene lost 15-1

Steve Delabar was paddy-whacked on Sunday night, giving up nine runs, eight earned, on six hits and four hit batsman in an inning and two-thirds – his shortest outing of the year. Delabar has hit 15 batters in 14 starts, leading all Northwest League pitchers. He has hit as many people as he has walked this year. His ERA swelled by a full run from 3.36 to 4.33 after his loss. It is just the third time this year that he has allowed more than three earned runs.

Brandon Higelin was tagged for three runs, one earned, on five hits and two walks in two innings of work. The reliever has given up runs in nine of his 18 appearances on the year and three times did not register an out. The opposition has hit .347 off him this year and that number jumps to .400 with RISP. He does have a 3.38 ERA during the month of August.

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


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