Closers face different outcomes

Brian Sikorski is a closer now. John Madden is too. They had different outcomes to their debuts. Sean Thompson did not walk a single batter. Brent Carter was pounded into submission.

Portland won 6-4 over Colorado Springs (Rockies)

Drafted in 1999, relief pitcher Erick Burke came to the plate in the seventh innings without a hit on his career ledger. One swing of the bat changed that as he recorded a triple and ended up scoring the winning run. Burke pitched two innings of scoreless ball to pick up his first win of the year, throwing 26 pitches and picking off a runner. He has given up one run over his last seven innings of work.

Freddy Guzman went 1-for-5 with an RBI and stole just his second base of the year on Wednesday. The speedy centerfielder has reached base 17 times, giving him one steal for every 8.5 times he reaches base. When he stole 70 bases over three stops in 2004, Guzman notched a theft every 2.6 times he reached base and during his career entering the year he averages a steal every 2.3 times he reaches base.

Brian Sikorski moved into the closer's role, at least for now, to earn his first save of the year. Taking over the role in place of the promoted Jon Adkins, Sikorski struck out the side but did surrender two hits, needing 25 pitches to get out of the inning. The right-hander has whiffed 15 through his first ten innings of work while walking three. Sikorski had walked eight and struck out six in 7.2 innings for the Padres during spring training.

Mobile lost 5-4 to Chattanooga (Reds)

Sure, Sean Thompson gave up four runs. Yes, he surrendered six hits. He even tossed two wild pitches. But in seven innings of work, the lefty struck out nine and, more importantly, did not walk a single batter. Thompson gave up three of the four runs in the fifth where four of the hits took place. The last time he did not walk a batter in a start was July 2, 2005 - a span of 12 starts in between. The lefty also picked off a runner at first base. Thompson, incidentally, took the loss.

Outfielder Steve Baker went 0-for-2 but walked twice and scored a run. He has drawn a base on balls seven times this year in 14 games. It took him 49 games to get seven walks with the BayBears last season. Baker is hitting .229 this year but is batting .385 with runners in scoring position, compared to .120 with the bases empty.

Ryan Trytten made his Double-A debut, giving up one run on a solo homer and striking out three. The right-hander had not allowed a run in three innings of work for the Storm, surrendering just one hit. The former Independent League pitcher gave up seven jacks in 65.2 innings of work last season, split between Lake Elsinore and Fort Wayne.

Lake Elsinore lost 9-1 to Rancho Cucamonga (Angels)

Brent Carter had his worst start as a professional. He was hammered for eight runs, seven earned, a career-high with 12 hits allowed and a walk in just 3.2 innings. He left with the bases juiced. Carter had never given up more than four runs in a start, had never given up more than three earned, and had never given up more than seven hits.

Skip Adams went 3-for-4 with the sole RBI. He entered the season with five hits over his first ten games. While he is hitting .205 on the season, Adams is batting .313 with runners in scoring position.

Chris Jaile replaced Ekstrom, allowing one of three inherited runners to score on a walk. The walk was his first of the year. He allowed a run on two hits in 2.1 innings of work, giving up his first hit of the year with runners in scoring position. He has allowed two runs in his first eight California League innings.

Fort Wayne won 12-4 over Burlington (Royals) to complete the suspended game and lost 3-2 on Wednesday

The Wizards exploded for eight runs in the tenth inning to win the suspended game 11-4. Nic Crosta hit a grand slam and knocked in five runs, going 4-for-6 with two doubles and two runs scored.

Fort Wayne stole five bases on the night with Will Venable netting two, Mike Sansoe and Josh Alley snaring their fifth and Abraham Aguilar netting his first. For a team that ranked second to last in thefts a year ago with 107, Fort Wayne is on pace to steal over 200 bags. While those are lofty expectations, they should be in position to nab more steals this year than last when their top man, former prospect Chris Kolkhorst, had 19. Both runs scored by Fort Wayne came after a stolen base.

Venable also went 1-for-2 at the plate with two walks. The outfielder has reached base in each of his last seven games, going 9-for-23 with four walks and seven runs scored. Venable is hitting .310 with the Wizards this year.

John Madden got his first chance at a save with Neil Jamison moving up to Lake Elsinore. It is the second time in as many years that he has taken over for Jamison after a callup. After a single and two strikeouts, it was two consecutive throwing errors, one by Aguilar – his second of the day – and another by Madden led to a one-run lead turning into a one-run loss.

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