Junge leads Beavers to seventh straight

Despite losing pitcher Jon Adkins to a role in the Padres' bullpen, Portland pitching continued to improve behind Eric Junge's seven-inning solid outing.

After a somewhat tottering second inning in which Albuquerque small ball produced a lone run, the lanky 6-foot-5 right-hander settled down on his way to punching out eight Isotope batters and giving up seven hits while walking none.

He had at least one strikeout in all but one of his seven innings and faced no more than five batters in any of those innings. Junge ascribed his prosperity to making adjustments between the second and third inning.

"I used my warm-up pitches between innings," he said. "The ball was cutting. These early adjustments (helped my) slider get better, my fastball more accurate. We had great defense, too."

Beavers' pitching coach Gary Lance agreed that Junge's key was adjustment: "He found his rhythm and showed maturity. He started extending and making (the proper) shifts."

Beavo's reliever Aquilino Lopez adjourned the Portland pitching dominance with two hitless innings. Five of the six final Albuquerque outs came as strikeouts, as Lopez collected his first save of the season.

"He had great location down in the zone." Added Lance who attributed his reliever's strong performance to "shifting focus from throwing past the hitters to just locating."

The Beavers offense, sans Paul McAnulty (recalled with Adkins to San Diego), came at the hands of Jack Cust's double followed by Jon Knott's two-run homer, his seventh of the year, in the bottom of the sixth inning. Knott's centerfield blast was his second in two days despite his lowly .188 average.

Portland added two more runs in the bottom of the eighth with a single by Justin Leone and three consecutive walks at the bottom of the order followed by a sacrifice by pinch-hitting Terrmel Sledge.

The win marks the Beavers seventh straight and the ninth in their last ten outings and puts Portland within a half game of first place Salt Lake in the PCL North.

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