Seth Johnston extra; Luany Sanchez debut

Portland hitters continue to struggle. There were some positives to Luany Sanchez' debut in a Mobile loss. Fort Wayne was the sole place that showed some excitement with Seth Johnston hitting the gaps, Brandon Higelin pitching well and a debut from Nic Crosta that saved a run.

Portland lost 6-1 to Salt Lake (Angels)

A day after netting three hits, Portland was limited to four against the Bees. Ricky Gutierrez notched a single in three at bats, his third base hit in 19 at bats on the year. The shortstop was then picked off first base by catcher Mike Napoli. Gutierrez played in 36 games for the Charlotte Knights of the Triple-A International League last season and hit just .186.

Walter Young has also started the year in a deep funk. He is 2-for-18 to begin the year, a .111 average. The big slugger hit .288 over 123 games for the Ottawa Lynx last year and earned a call up to the majors late in the year, hitting .303 in 14 games. This year, he does not have a hit with runners on base.

By the end of the second inning, Seth Etherton had given up six runs, all earned, on seven hits. He would settle down and give up two hits the rest of the way but the damage was done. He surrendered two homers on the night and has allowed three over his first two starts. Last year, the right-hander yielded 11 bombs over 112.1 innings.

Mobile lost 6-2 to Mississippi (Braves)

Luany Sanchez made his debut behind the plate for Mobile. He had a throwing error in the first when he attempted to throw out a stealing baserunner and later in the inning could not nail a runner who stole third. The catcher went 1-for-2 at the plate with two walks and was one of two to reach base more than once in the game. Sanchez played in the Arizona Rookie League last year where he hit .302 with 15 doubles, a homer and 26 RBI's in 43 games.

Sean Thompson was pulled after four innings and it wasn't because he was awful but Mobile loaded the bases with one out and got a run home on an RBI fielder's choice from pinch hitter Kennard Jones. The lefty ended his night with two runs against on his ledger on four hits and a walk while striking out four in a no-decision. He has pitched in just seven innings over two starts to begin the year for Mobile.

Juan Ciriaco went 1-for-4 to raise his average to .179 on the year. It is in sharp contrast to the start of his 2005 season with Lake Elsinore. The shortstop was hitting .350 on May 20, more than a month into his season. Already this year, Ciriaco has whiffed ten times in 28 at bats compared to just one walk.

Lake Elsinore game versus Visalia (Devil Rays) was postponed

Fort Wayne won 6-4 over Dayton (Reds)

Josh Geer allowed four runs, all coming in the first inning, before settling down and getting through the next four frames unscathed. Geer gave up five hits, walked his first batter of the year, and struck out five. He also picked off a runner at first base. The right-hander walked four batters in his first 31.2 innings with the Eugene Emeralds last season before issuing a free pass to nine hitters in 29.2 innings with the Wizards.

Brandon Higelin struck out the side in his first inning of work and retired six in a row in relief of Geer to pick up the win, his first as a pro. It was also the first time in his professional career that the lefty whiffed the side and he had never struck out more than two in a game until this year, a feat he has now accomplished twice. Higelin has nine strikeouts in five innings of work to begin the year and has given up just one hit in 16 at bats.

Seth Johnston more than doubled his RBI output on the year, knocking in three on a 2-for-4 night to push his RBI total to five. He doubled twice, his first two extra base hits of the season, notching his third multi-hit game in the process. He entered the game with one hit in nine at bats with runners in scoring position but added two such hits to his resume on Friday.

Nic Crosta made his debut in the Padres' system. He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts at the plate. The outfielder was credited with an outfield assist, throwing out Eric Eymann at the plate in the fifth inning.


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