Padres MLN: Closing time an interesting time

Extra! Extra! Portland and San Antonio each went into extra innings and both win – and the Missions win both sides of the doubleheader. Leo Rosales earned the save for the Beavers. Sean Thompson earned the game won victory and Drew Macias homered in the 11th. Lake Elsinore wasn't so lucky – John Madden blew his first California League save opportunity.

Portland won 6-4 over Fresno (Giants) in 11 innings

Four relievers combined to throw six innings of shutout ball before Portland scored two runs off former Beaver Ryan Meaux in the 11th inning. Leo Rosales earned the save – throwing seven of ten pitches for strikes in a 1-2-3 inning. Rosales went 5-6 with a 3.21 ERA for Double-A Mobile last year in a setup role. The right-hander, added to the 40-man roster this off-season, saved 53 games over his previous two seasons. Rosales allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits in 4.1 innings in Spring Training.

Royce Huffman went 2-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs, giving him successive multi-hit games to open the year. The first baseman was 6-for-33 in Spring Training after hitting .299 in 98 games for Triple-A Round Rock of the Pacific Coast League. The last time he notched two doubles in one contest came on June 15 last year.

Ryan Ketchner surrendered four runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out two over five innings to take the loss. Ketchner was charged with two errors – both coming on pickoff attempts – and a wild pitch. Ketchner allowed one unearned run on two hits in four Spring Training frames. The left-hander logged just 26.2 innings since 2004 after elbow surgery but came into the year with a career 31-27 mark and 3.03 ERA over 127 games, including 65 starts, in a career that began in 2000.

San Antonio won 7-4 in game one (seven innings) over Tulsa (Rockies), won 6-4 in 11 innings in game two

Sean Thompson picked up the game one win, tossing five innings of one run ball, yielding four hits and three walks while striking out four. Thompson went 6-10 with a 3.86 ERA for Double-A Mobile last year and did not pick up his first win until his eighth start of the year on May 17. He allowed two runs or less in 12 of his 27 starts last year. Thompson did blow a sacrifice bunt chance in the third inning but would end up coming around to score. One inning later he dropped down a solid sacrifice that led to a sure run when Mike Sansoe doubled in Sean Kazmar.

San Antonio first basemen Michael Johnson and Tim Brown accounted for four of the seven game one runs. Johnson went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs and Brown went 1-for-1 with a walk and two runs scored. They each added doubles in game two.

While five different Missions notched multi-hit games in the opener, only Mike Sansoe accomplished the feat in both games. The outfielder went 4-for-11 over the two-game set with a double, an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. Sansoe hit .293 over 74 games for the Fort Wayne Wizards last year, including a .357 average over his final 39 games. Sansoe has notched a multi-hit game in eight of his last ten games dating back to last year.

Drew Macias homered to open the top of the 11th inning, the eventual game winner. It was his first hit of the year, although he added a sacrifice fly RBI earlier in the game. Macias went 5-for-20 with nine runs scores in Spring Training. The outfielder matched his homer total on the road from last season in Mobile. Macias hit .182 on the road in 2006 and .319 at home.

Will Venable notched the first hit of the year for the Missions in the top of the first inning and reached base in three of his four plate appearances, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Venable was also hit by a pitch – one of four players to get plunked in game one – and went 0-for-1 with a strikeout in a pinch-hitting role in game two. Venable went 9-for-25 in Spring Training after hitting .314 with 91 RBIs last season for Fort Wayne. Venable also led the Hawaiian League in batting with a .330 average.

Jon Searles struck out five of the seven batters he faced over two innings, walking one and inducing a ground out. Searles went 7-4 with one save and a 4.19 ERA for the Portland Seadogs of the International League last season. In 77.1 innings he allowed 72 hits, walked 38 and struck out 56. He had never struck out more than three in any game last year.

Neil Jamison notched the game one save with a 1-2-3 seventh inning on three groundouts. A two out error in the eighth inning of the second game, with no one on base and the Missions up by two, extended the inning – and the game. Jamison served up a two-run bomb to the next hitter to send the game into extra-extra innings in a contest scheduled for seven.

Lake Elsinore lost 5-4 to Rancho Cucamonga (Angels)

"We have nothing to lose," manager Carlos Lezcano said of facing Jered Weaver after losing 1-0 to Colon the previous night. "Go out there with a good attitude. We play 144 games and you can't be thinking too much early. Go out and play the game."

John Madden saved 20 games for the Fort Wayne Wizards last year – blowing just four opportunities. He gave up runs in just eight of his 49 appearances, holding the opposition to a .202 average. The Storm closer blew his first save opportunity on Friday. Armed with a two run lead, the sidearmer was tagged for three runs on five hits in the bottom of the ninth. He did not allow more than three hits in any relief appearance last season.

Nic Crosta homered off Weaver in the fourth inning – one of just two hits they managed off the rehabbing pitcher. After hitting seven homers over 37 Midwest League games, Crosta belted just six over 71 games with the Storm in 2006. Crosta launched five balls out of the park during batting practice on Thursday, including three in a row, alternating between pulling the ball and hitting it the opposite way.

Matt Buschmann matched Weaver and more, yielding one unearned run on six hits over 5.2 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. The right-hander made two starts for Lake Elsinore last year, going 1-0 with a 3.55 ERA over 12.2 innings and won his lone playoff start. Buschmann began the year in Eugene where he went 3-4 with a 3.12 ERA. The Buschmann/Jose Lobaton pair did surrender four stolen bases, catching a fifth. Buschmann was on the hill for 13 steals in 18 attempts over two leagues last year.

Lake Elsinore surrendered two unearned runs before the ninth – both coming thanks to Matt Bush throwing errors. The shortstop tossed one away in the bottom of the first, leading to a run, and another errant throw in the seventh paved the way for the second.

Fort Wayne postponed at Dayton (Blue Jays)

The Lansing Lugnuts have announced that Friday's game against the Fort Wayne Wizards has been postponed due to inclement weather and icy field conditions. It marks the second straight night that the Lugnuts have had to cancel a game due to the weather.

The Lugnuts and Wizards will play a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon beginning at 2:05 p.m. Each game of the doubleheader will be seven innings in duration and there will be a 30 minute break between games. The teams will make up the final game of the series at the end of the first half in Fort Wayne.


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