Brian Sweeney with the bat; Ben Krosschell unlucky

Brian Sweeney can swing the bat as well as pitch. Manny Alexander debuts. Arturo Lopez pitches better and receives a no-decision – which is an improvement. Josh Howard gets two hits in the California League. Yordany Ramirez has been hitting .300 over the last month. Ben Krosschell has another solid outing but does not nab a win.

Portland won 5-4

Brian Sweeney held the opposition to three runs on nine hits over seven innings but it was his work at the plate that gets recognition. He went 1-for-2 with a double and two walks, knocking in three. He walked in a run in the second and doubled in two in the fifth. On the mound, Sweeney has given up 12 runs in his previous two starts coming in. He posted a 5.46 ERA in August after two months of sub-3.00 ball in June and July.

Manny Alexander made his debut with the Beavers, going 1-for-4 with a double. He was once considered the heir apparent to Cal Ripken Jr. and Ripken's move to third base was made with Alexander in mind. The 34-year-old Dominican has played for five major league clubs, most notably the Baltimore Orioles from 1992-96. Alexander took over at shortstop when Cal Ripken moved to third base on July 15, 1996.

"Manny had a career year offensively and, a glove whiz as always, played all over the field – mostly shortstop but also saw time at 3B, 2B, 1B, and CF," reporter and authority on minor league coverage in Texas Jamey Newberg explained. "He's a good clubhouse guy and probably belongs on an NL bench. Could be useful."

Mobile is off until Friday

Lake Elsinore won 8-5

Arturo Lopez had his best start since July 23 and it was the first time since that day that he did not surrender five or more runs – a span of six starts. Lopez lasted 4.2 frames, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits and three walks. He was pulled with two on in the fifth. Sixty-four of the 174 hits he has surrendered this year have gone for extra bases and the opposition has hit .346 off him with runners in scoring position and lefties have hit .328 against Lopez.

Ryan Klatt got the win but did allow a run in his two innings of work. It is the seventh straight relief appearance that he has given up exactly one earned run in. After posting a 2.87 ERA with the Wizards, Klatt has a 7.25 ERA with the Storm in 16 appearances. While he has been stellar with the bases empty in Lake Elsinore, holding the opposition to a .197 average, he has been dismal with RISP as batters have hit .467.

Josh Howard went 2-for-4 in his California League debut and played left field. The outfielder, brought up from Arizona Rookie ball, also added a stolen base and an RBI. He batted leadoff and notched an infield single to open the game.

Fort Wayne lost 7-3

Cesar Ramos allowed five runs on a season-high ten hits to take the loss. The left-hander had given up five earned runs over his previous three starts, a span of 17.2 innings. Of the 39 innings he has started, the leadoff hitter has reached base nine times, or 23 percent of the time. While he has kept that number down, the opposition is hitting .341 off him with RISP. He has given up two runs or less in four of his starts with Fort Wayne and four runs or more in three outings.

Yordany Ramirez went 3-for-4 on Thursday to raise his season average to .223. You have to go back to June 7 to find a time when Ramirez had a better batting average (.226). Since the start of August, Ramirez has hit .301. On July 31 he had been batting .202. He also added his 15th stolen base of the year and fifth in the last 11 games. Ramirez is hitting .244 at home this year but just .203 away from Fort Wayne.

Eugene lost 4-2

Ben Krosschell put a nice end to his second year in the system. The lively-armed right-hander went seven innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits and two walks while striking out seven. Interestingly, the Ems have scored nine runs in his seven losses on the year. Each of his last two outings have established season-highs for innings pitched with six last time out and seven this time. Krosschell has given up two earned over that 13-inning span.

Adam Gold allowed his first runs in over a month on Thursday and it cost the team the game and Gold a loss. He had a scoreless streak of 13.1 innings, holding the opposition to a .156 average against. With two runs allowed his ERA went up to 5.45, even with the scoreless streak. That is because his ERA was at 9.17 before he went on his run. Of the 13 extra base hits he has surrendered this year, nine have come with runners on base.

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