Jason Hill clutch; Ciriaco close to cycling

Justin Leone tagged his seventh. Jason Hill is money in the clutch. Mobile bats come alive with George Kottaras cranking one out and Juan Ciriaco coming close to hitting for the cycle. Josh Howard is used to getting on base and Mike Ekstrom has a first.

Portland won 7-4 over Salt Lake (Angels)

Jason Hill went 2-for-5 with a double and three RBI's to raise his average to .290 for the season. The catcher tallied hits in his first five games before going 0-for-7 over the last two. The double was his second extra base hit of the year but he has still managed to knock in eight because he is 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position. Hill has knocked in the winning run in three of Portland's five victories this year. Hill notched just three at bats in Triple-A last season, playing in 116 for Double-A Carolina where he hit .296 with 18 homers, 33 doubles and 74 RBI's. Salt Lake did manage to go 2-for-2 on him in stealing bases.

Tim Stauffer gave up four runs on six hits and three walks in five innings of work to pick up his first win of the year. He also hit a batter and uncorked a wild pitch. The right-hander walked three batters or more just twice last year for Portland. The opposition is hitting .303 off him to begin the year after they hit .296 off him last year.

Paul McAnulty came into the game hitting .154 through ten games with four hits in 26 at bats. The first baseman went 2-for-3 with two walks to raise his average to .207 but he has just one RBI on his ledger. He has now walked 12 times compared to seven strikeouts in the early going and still sports an on base percentage of .439. He has reached base in all but one game.

Mobile won 7-6 over Chattanooga (Reds)

Three batters up, three runs scored. George Kottaras capped the string of hits with a three-run homer, his first of the year. It was his only hit of the night but doubled his RBI output on the year. The catcher is 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Normally a contact-hitter, Kottaras has whiffed five times in his last nine at bats. Kottaras has thrown out two of nine runners attempting to steal.

Falling a homer shy of the cycle, Juan Ciriaco ended the night 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. It was the firs three-hit night of the season for the shortstop and second multi-hit game of the year. On May 16 last year, Ciriaco collected four hits in six at bats. He has walked just once this season. Ciriaco also did commit his first two errors of the year, which is impressive considering the 45 errors he had a year ago.

Cesar Carrillo gave up four runs pm six hits in four innings of work, striking out five and walking one. Carrillo has allowed the leadoff man to reach base in six of the 15 innings he has worked this year. The right-hander has not earned a decision through three games.

Lake Elsinore lost 3-1 to Visalia (Devil Rays)

Josh Howard went 3-for-5, scoring the only run for the Storm. Howard has been on base in each of the seven games he has had a plate appearance. While he scored in the first inning, Howard was thrown out at home in the third. Howard reached base in 23 straight Arizona Rookie League games to begin his professional career last season.

Mike Ekstrom took his first loss of the year, yielding three runs, two earned, on six hits and three walks. The three walks matched his highest total from last year, as did the seven strikeouts he compiled. The right-hander has given up three earned runs over his first three starts to begin the year. He did commit an error, which led to a run scored.

Kyle Stutes pitched a perfect inning of relief and has given up one hit to ten batters so far on the year. The left-hander posted a 2.42 ERA for Fort Wayne last year and gave up runs in 14 of his 52 appearances and earned runs in ten of those affairs.

Fort Wayne had the day off

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