Jack Cust smoked a three-run homer in the first inning, his fourth homer in five games. He has a six-game hitting streak – and a five game extra base hit streak. Over the last six he is 10-for-21 with three doubles and four homers. He has knocked in all 10 of his RBIs over that span and has scored six runs. Cust is hitting .455 when he is ahead in the count and just .125 when he is behind.
Oscar Robles went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. It was the first time this year that Robles has scored multiple times in one game. The infielder is hitting .480, 12-for-25, with the bases empty but has just one hit in 12 at bats with runners in scoring position. In 44 at bats, Robles has whiffed just two times.
Jared Wells lasted just 3.2 innings, tagged for four runs on four hits and five walks while striking out five. Wells tossed 94 pitches in his short outing – 54 strikes. Wells walked five or more in four different outings last season for Portland, including a seven-walk outing on June 23. Wells has also plunked a batter in each of the last two games. Seven of 14 leadoff men have reached base against Wells. He left with the bases loaded and two of the runs charged to him came after he left the game.
San Antonio lost 4-0 to Wichita (Royals)
Juan Ciriaco broke up Luke Hochevar's bid for a no-no in the fourth with a bunt single before Peter Ciofrone hit a ground-rule double in the sixth. Ciofrone extending his hitting streak to five games with the double, his third in two games. Ciofrone also notched an outfield assist. Ciriaco's hit gave him a four-game streak and he also swiped his second base of the year. Hochevar tallied 11 strikeouts, pulling a hat trick on Michael Johnson. Four players had multiple strikeouts on the evening.
Despite walking six batters, Sean Thompson actually lowered his ERA to 0.54 but still took the loss, dropping to 2-1 on the year. He was on the hook for three runs – all unearned thanks to a Chase Headley error – and gave up four hits while striking out four. Thompson picked off one runner. The left-hander had walked four over his first 12 innings – allowing just six hits over that span. Thompson did not walk more than four batters in a game last season with the last time he walked six coming on August 25, 2005.
Roger Deago picked up the long relief assignment, stranding two inherited runners in the fifth. He would pitch 3.1 frames, allowing one run – coming on a solo homer. He gave up three hits and struck out two. In seven innings he has allowed just one leadoff runner to reach base – and that came on the homer on Tuesday. It was the first run he has issued in 5.1 relief innings.
Lake Elsinore won 7-6 over Rancho Cucamonga (Angels)
Mike Baxter collected singles in each of his first two at bats, extending his hitting streak to six games. Baxter has been on base in all but one game this season and has five multi-hit games in ten contests. Baxter also walked twice in the game – the second time this year he has reached base four times in one game. Baxter batted leadoff and has reached base in seven of his 16 chances leading off an inning.
Kyle Blanks pounded a solo homer in the fourth inning and fell a triple shy of the cycle, doubling in a run in the eighth. Blanks also stole a base – his second theft of the year. Blanks stole two bases all of last year over 86 games. The first baseman also notched an infield single and a walk before being replaced in the ninth inning. It was his first three-hit game of the year but the second time he has reached base four times in one game.
"I have been working with Maxy (hitting coach Max Venable) making adjustments," Blanks said. "I am trying to get a lot more hands incorporated into the swing. There is always something you can be doing better, whether it is waiting back, using more hands, taking pitches better - .300 is good but there is always that 70 percent."
Matt Buschmann lasted five – giving up three unearned runs on six hits while striking out four. It is the second time in three starts he has not yielded an earned run and he has yet to walk a batter, but he has given up at least six hits in each start with the opposition hitting .328 off him. Opponents are also hitting .407 off him with runners in scoring position.
"I felt pretty good," said Buschmann. "I felt like I was following through to the plate so all my pitches were down. My two-seamer really helped me out. It was moving a lot when I needed it.
"Going into Spring Training I really wanted to work on releasing all my pitches in the same spot and not really changing my motion from one pitch to another. I think I am there. The first couple of starts I was mostly fastball. I didn't feel like I could come with a changeup behind in the count but today I did. My velocity was up today – and I have a feel for three pitches now."
Fort Wayne won 2-1 over Burlington (Royals)
Andy Underwood improved to 2-0 and did not allow a hit over six brilliant frames, walking one and striking out four. Over 11 innings to begin the season, the right-hander has given up one unearned run on two hits and a walk while whiffing six. One one runner has reached scoring position on Underwood and lefties have one hit in 20 at bats off the California native.
The first hit for Burlington came after an error to open up the eighth inning off Rolando Valdez – a double by Michael Thompson. A ground out would score one unearned run before Valdez struck out the final two batters looking. The right-hander has whiffed six over four frames this year and has given up two hits and the unearned run he suffered on Tuesday. He has not given up a hit to a southpaw this season – they are 0-for-9 off him.
Tom King went 1-for-3 with a walk, a double and a run scored. The second baseman has reached base safely in each of his first six games to open the year. The double was his first of the year; he placed second in the Northwest League last year in two-baggers – notching 19. King, who is hitting .389 this year, hit .231 last year over 69 games.