Terrmel Sledge went 2-for-4, smashing two home runs, including the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth inning. The outfielder has five RBI's over his last two games and four runs scored while reaching base seven times. Sledge is hitting .284 over his last 18 games after batting .250 over his first 30. He has 11 RBI's over his last nine games and is hitting .326 with runners in scoring position.
Kennard Jones got the start in centerfield in place of Ben Johnson. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and later in the game it was Jack Cassel who pinch-hit, pointing to Johnson joining the big league club, although no announcement has been made. Meanwhile, Jones got just his third start since joining Portland on June 2. He is 3-for-9 with two walks as a starter but was 0-for-8 as a pinch hitter.
The last time Ryan Meaux took the mound to start a game it ended in a combined perfecto. Things didn't go quite that way on Monday. The second batter he faced singled and he ended up allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits while striking out seven over four innings. He had not struck out more than four in a game before Monday. Since returning to Portland, Meaux has a 2.81 ERA.
Mobile won 5-1 over Huntsville (Brewers)
Sean Thompson allowed one unearned run over seven innings on four hits and a walk, winning just his second game of the season – coming on the first day of the second half of the season. He came into the game with six homers allowed over his previous four games but did not allow a bomb on Monday. It is the second time in three starts he has not allowed an earned run and eighth time in 13 starts that he has allowed two earned runs or less. He has a 2.81 ERA over his last four starts. Thompson also picked off another runner – the ninth time he has caught a runner leaning this season.
Joey Gomes cracked a three-run homer to left field and had four RBI's for the day, his most RBI's in a single game this year after netting three on June 9. Gomes last drove in four runs on May 2, 2005. He now has six multi-hit games in 17 games and is hitting .393 with ten of his 11 RBI's in seven home games. By contrast, he is batting just .219 in ten road games. The outfielder is hitting .400 with runners in scoring position.
Dirk Hayhurst made his first appearance of the year in Double-A. He pitched two scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out one. Hayhurst had given up four innings in 4.2 innings in a spot start for Portland after posting a 3.97 over 12 appearances, 11 starts, for Portland. Last year, Hayhurst made one start for Mobile, allowing two runs over seven innings to net the win in his only previous action above High-A Lake Elsinore.
Lake Elsinore lost 1-0 to Rancho Cucamonga (Angels)
Josh Geer made his California League debut riding a 25.1 inning scoreless streak. He ran that streak another 6.2 frames before a solo homer off the bat of Sean Rodriguez snapped the streak at 32 innings, the longest of the season for any pitcher in the system – and longest in recent memory. Ironically, that lone run would be all Rancho needed to get the win, giving Geer his first loss in the Cal League.
Colt Morton broke an 0-for-12 slump with a two-hit night, just his third such night over his last 17 games. Morton has eight hits in his last 47 at bats, a .170 average – this coming off a .289 mark in April prior to his injury. He also has just seven hits in 44 at bats with runners in scoring position. The catcher has been solid in throwing out 22 of 61 baserunners, good for 36 percent.
Matt Varner hasn't allowed a run since his return, throwing a scoreless inning on Monday. The right-hander allowed a hit and walked one while striking out one. He has given up five hits this year and has limited the opposition to two hits in 16 at bats with the bases empty. Varner has given up runs in one of his eight relief appearances.
Fort Wayne had the day off
Eugene won 11-7 over Boise (Cubs)
Six players secured multi-hit games and the only player not to get on board with a hit was Matt Antonelli. They ended the night with 18 hits with five extra base hits. They also drew five walks.
Opening day starter Brooks Dunn did not allow a run over three innings, allowing one hit while walking one. A 23rd round pick out of Mississippi State, the left-hander compiled an 8-6 record with a 4.40 earned run average as a senior, registering a staff-high 71 strikeouts in 94 innings. He made 62 career appearances, posting an 18-9 record with two saves, a 4.81 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 204.1 frames.
Craig Cooper smashed a homer off the right-field foul pole, the Emeralds first of the season and his first as a professional. A seventh round pick out of Notre Dame, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound first baseman ended his collegiate campaign, as a senior, with a .425 average over 57 games with nine homers and 38 RBI's, earning Big East Conference Player of the Year honors. He also scored 79 runs, a number that led the nation when his season was done.
Luany Sanchez took the very next pitch after Cooper's bomb and launched it over the right field wall, back-to-back jacks – and he ended the night 5-for-5 with four runs scored. Sanchez, the veteran of the group in terms of playing time in the minor leagues this year, fell a triple shy of cycle in his fourth at bat and threatened that with a double in the seventh inning, his fourth hit of the day and second double. Sanchez came into the game 6-for-20 over ten games split between Fort Wayne and Mobile. His last four hit night came on July 25, 2005 while playing for the Arizona Rookie League Padres but he had never notched a five hit night nor did he ever record three extra base hits in the same game.