Germano above Triple-A; Ayala a winner

Brett Dowdy has seen his average spike over the last two games. Justin Germano is proving Triple-A is no challenge. Josh Geer gets hit hard for the first time this year. Manny Ayala won his third straight game. Nathan Culp is back on track in Rayner Contreras is showing signs of breaking out.

Portland won 4-1 over Tucson (Diamondbacks)

Brett Dowdy has as many hits over his last two games as he did in his first 15. Dowdy went 4-for-5 with a double, a run scored, and a stolen base. He is 7-for-11 over his last two after going 7-for-39 over his first 15. He has upped his average from .179 to .280 in the process. Dowdy is 6-for-12 when he is ahead in the count but is hitting just .188 when he is behind in the count.

Justin Germano improved to 3-0 with another solid outing. He went seven innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out five. It took just 79 pitches for the right-hander to accomplish his task, thanks to 56 strikes. Germano has allowed one run or less in three of his four outings and has gone seven and allowed three hits in two outings. Eleven of the 17 hits he has allowed have gone for extra bases.

"I wanted to go out there and just pitch and not worry about too much," said Germano. "Of all the little things, I think that was part of my problem last year. I started thinking too much instead of going out there and pitching."

Scott Strickland picked up his first hold of the season, pitching a perfect eighth. After allowing seven runs over his first four outings, including runs allowed in three of the four contests, Strickland has pitched 7.1 scoreless and has allowed just three hits during that time while striking out nine. His average against has dropped from .348 to .234 in the process.

San Antonio lost 8-4 to Frisco (Rangers)

Josh Geer was pounded on for eight runs, six earned, on ten hits – included three homers – over four innings to take the loss, his first of the year. He had allowed four runs over his first three starts – all wins – as he saw his ERA more than double from 2.04 to 4.15. The three homers allowed was a career-high. He had given up two in a game on three occasions in his previous two seasons in the system.

Tim Brown clobbered his fifth homer of the year in the fourth inning and his third in four games. The first baseman had 10 homers all of last season over 130 games and already has half that number in 17 games this season. He did not have any last April and never hit more than three in any month. Brown is now tied for second in the Texas League in homers.

Frank Brooks dropped his ERA to 0.68 with two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out two. His scoreless streak has reached 9.1 innings, and he has allowed seven baserunners over that span. The opposition is hitting .170 off him this season and has given up one hit in 11 at bats with runners in scoring position.

Lake Elsinore won 5-2 over Modesto (Rockies)

Matt Antonelli went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run scored. And, for the second time in his career, he swiped two bags in the same game. It was two of four bags they stole on the day after netting 11 over their first 20. His last two-steal game came on June 22, 2006 while with the Eugene Emeralds. He is 5-for-6 on the season and has three steals over the last two games. He has scored seven runs over his last six games.

Matt Bush went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to push his season total to 14. He is now tied for third on the team in RBIs and has collected nine RBIs over his current five-game hitting streak. Bush has eight hits in his last 19 at bats after netting five hits in his first 40. The shortstop is hitting .294 with runners in scoring position and just .167 with the bases empty.

Manny Ayala improved to 3-1 on the year, lasting 6.2 innings and yielding two runs on nine hits and a walk while whiffing three. He has won his last three starts and has given up two runs or less in each of his five starts to begin the year. Ayala has, however, surrendered a homer in four straight contests – all solo shots. While the opposition is hitting .328 off him with the bases empty, they are hitting just .056 with runners in scoring position.

Fort Wayne won 3-1 over Wisconsin (Mariners)

Rayner Contreras went 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI – the latter coming on a sacrifice fly. The third baseman has a five game hitting streak and has reached base safely in all but one of his 14 games. After hitting over .400 with runners in scoring position last season, Contreras is batting .154 in the same situations this season. He also committed his ninth error of the year and came into the game with a .771 fielding percentage.

Nathan Culp improved to 2-1, allowing an unearned run on four hits and a walk over a career-high eight innings, striking out seven. It is the third time in four starts that he has not surrendered an earned run and his seven K's set a new career-high. The southpaw has allowed one hit in 19 at bats to left-handed hitters.

After striking out in his first two at bats, Daryl Jones singled, doubled, and scored a run to secure a 2-for-4 night. It was his first start since tweaking a hamstring on April 20. Jones is hitting .389 off right-handed pitching. He did commit his third error of the year, dropping his fielding percentage from the .938 he entered the game with.

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