Three of the Grizzlies first four hits off Ryan Ketchner left the yard – all solo shots. Ketchner gave up one run on two hits through five before surrendering two bombs in the sixth frame. His final tally reads three runs on five hits over 5.2 innings with six strikeouts. Ketchner struck out the side around a solo homer in the second. The left-hander matched his career-high for homers allowed in a single contest – the last coming on May 21, 2004. He has given up five bombs in three starts this season.
"He kept the ball down," manager Rick Renteria said. "There were just a couple of pitches he elevated, but, other than that, he attacked the zone down and got a lot of ground balls."
Adam Shabala came through verses his former club with a pinch-hit single to tie the game before a sacrifice fly put Portland ahead for good. The outfielder came into the game with three hits in 39 at bats over his first 10 games of the season. He is now 2-for-11 with runners on base. Shabala hit .277 last year for Fresno with his worst stint a 7-for-40 stint during the month of July. But, he hit .420 last April with 10 doubles.
Leo Rosales collected his second save of the year by retiring the side in order in the ninth. Traditionally a slow starter, Rosales has yielded just one hit and zero runs over five innings to begin the year. The right-hander had an April ERA of 7.27 in 2006, and a 4.91 ERA over April and May in 2005 before ending those seasons with a 3.21 and 3.18 ERA, respectively. He has tossed 14 pitches or less in three of his four appearances.
"I am working on that," Rosales said of his slow starts over the last few years. "Hopefully we can get out of the chute and start out by having a good April and keep going from there."
San Antonio won 6-1 over Wichita (Royals)
Sean Thompson was named Pitcher of the Week in the Texas League on Monday night for his dominant work over the first two weeks of the season, posting a 2-0 record with a 0.75 ERA with ten strikeouts.
Thompson pitched well in San Antonio's Opening Night win over Tulsa, allowing a run over five innings of work. He faced the Drillers once again on Thursday and was even better, yielding just two hits over seven scoreless innings while striking out six. The 24-year-old has held opponents (Tulsa, more specifically) to a .146 average against him thus far.
Peter Ciofrone doubled in two runs to extend his RBI streak to four games. The outfielder has collected RBIs in six of his nine games to open the year, despite notching just two extra base hits. He added another double on a 3-for-4 night that included a walk and two runs scored. He is hitting .357 with runners in scoring position this year. Ciofrone had 74 RBIs in 86 games last season for the Lake Elsinore Storm, hitting .343 with runners in scoring position.
Will Venable upped his average to an even .400 by going 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. The outfielder has posted four straight multi-hit contests, going 9-for-17 over that span, and he now has six multi-hit games through ten games on the year. The outfielder hit .314 over 124 games last year for the Fort Wayne Wizards, setting a franchise record with 91 RBIs.
Mike Ekstrom went 5.1 innings, allowing one run on five hits and a walk while striking out four to pick up his first win of the season. It took 12 starts for Ekstrom to see his first Double-A win last year – starting the year 0-7 over his first 11 starts in Mobile before winning his final three. Ekstrom has given up just five hits in 26 at bats with the bases empty.
Lake Elsinore had a scheduled day off
Fort Wayne lost 8-4 to Dayton (Reds)
Kyler Burke made a great diving catch on a short line drive into right field in the second inning. After making the grab, Burke fired the ball to first baseman Jeremy Hunt to double off a runner. The outfielder had four outfield assists a year ago in the Arizona Rookie League. Burke singled, stole a base and scored a run in the bottom half of the same inning. It was his lone hit in four trips to the dish.
Cedric Hunter hit a solo homer in the seventh inning – his first extra base hit of the year. It also matched his homer total from last season – he went yard on August 18 for his lone homer of the season. The outfielder went 1-for-2 with two walks – his first two free passes since opening day. Hunter, who started the year with one hit in his first 15 at bats, has three hits in his last ten. He did get caught stealing second in his first stolen base attempt of the year.
Dayton batted around on Aaron Breit in the fourth inning, scoring four runs – all coming with two outs – en route to his second loss in as many starts. The right-hander was on the hook for six runs on nine hits and two walks over four innings and never seemed to check a runner – seeing three successfully notch stolen bases off him. The opposition is hitting .500 off him – 6-for-12 – with runners in scoring position.