Contreras finds power; Howard finds the mound

Things got so bad in Portland that Josh Howard was on the mound, again. Mike Thompson had another bad outing. Mike Ekstrom bounced back from a tough first but San Antonio still lost. Rayner Contreras finds a part of his game that he has been searching for.

Portland lost 11-3 to Colorado Springs (Rockies)

Josh Howard made his second appearance of the year as a pitcher. After not allowing a run in his first go-round on the bump, Howard allowed a two-run homer in his one inning of work on Monday. Howard had never pitched in a professional game until this season. He also drew a walk and scored a run, just his second run scored in 16 games this season and his second walk compared to 10 strikeouts. Howard had drawn 45 walks compared to 47 K's last year.

"He is actually a guy that has pitched in college so being on the mound isn't a surprise for him, even though being on the mound as a professional is a whole new ballgame," manager Rick Renteria said. "We need someone who is going to go up on the hill and at least look comfortable and get the ball over the plate and let those guys get those guys out."

Mike Thompson was tagged for seven runs on nine hits and two walks over 4.2 innings – giving up two homers – as his record dropped to 0-2. The right-hander has surrendered four bombs in 8.1 innings in Triple-A and 18 runs have crossed the dish on 23 hits over that time. The opposition is hitting .511 off him and 11 of the 23 hits he has surrendered have gone for extra bases.

"We have had some good outings," Renteria said. "You are going to have games like this. We weren't able to overcome the deficit. We kept battling even towards the end but it wasn't enough."

Craig Stansberry went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk, and an RBI. He also stole his second bag of the year. The double was his Pacific Coast League leading 15th and his 17 extra base hits sit tied for second, pending the night's action. The infielder has doubled in three straight and four of five. He has reached base safely in 21 of his last 22 games and is batting .480 with runners in scoring position.

San Antonio lost 8-5 to Corpus Christi (Astros)

After allowing four runs on five hits in the first inning, Mike Ekstrom settled down and pitched scoreless ball over the next four – his night ending with four runs, three earned, in on nine hits over five frames. Ekstrom has allowed seven first run innings this year over six starts – his worst inning to date.

Nick Hundley singled in Sean Kazmar in the second and hit a solo homer in the fifth. He also singled in the seventh but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. Hundley ended the night 3-for-4 with two RBIs – his first three-hit game of the year. He entered the game in a 1-for-20 slump. Hundley did have his first passed ball of the year but threw out one of two baserunners on the day.

Sean Kazmar went 2-for-4 with a double, a solo homer and two runs scored. It is Kazmar's sixth multi-hit game of the year. He also whiffed twice – his sixth multi-K game of the season. Kazmar is hitting .345 with runners in scoring position but just .197 with the bases empty. He also committed two errors in the field, one more than he had in his first 28 games. He came into the game leading all second basemen the Texas League with a .992 fielding percentage.

Lake Elsinore had a scheduled day off

Fort Wayne lost 10-4 to Peoria (Cubs)

Aaron Breit was on the hook for six runs on seven hits and a walk over 4.1 innings to take the loss. It is the third time this year – over six starts – that Breit has allowed six or more runs. The right-hander has not gone more than five innings in any start and dropped to 1-4 on the year. Breit did pickoff a runner at first and had allowed one run over the first four innings until Peoria's seven-run fifth. He has given up nine runs in the fifth inning this year in just 3.0 innings of work.

Rayner Contreras hit a 400-foot blast into the night – his first homer of the year. It was part of a 4-for-4 night for the infielder, shooting his average up from .300 to .344. He is in the midst of a eight-game hitting streak, going 13-for-31 with an extra base hit in three straight games. Contreras has collected RBIs in three of his last four games. He did, however, commit his tenth error of the year, which led to an unearned run.

"My body, the finish of my swing, and to connect on more homers," Contreras said in regard to what he is working on.

Jon Kirby's scoreless streak of 5.1 innings was snapped on Monday when he gave up a run on one hit, a hit batsman, and a pair of walks over two innings. It is the fifth time in ten games he has allowed a run. His two walks set a new season-high and righties have a .378 on base percentage off him while lefties have a .207 on base percentage.

Jesus Lopez and Brian Hernandez hit back-to-back solo homers in the ninth inning – each collecting their first jacks of the year.

Peoria pitching coach Dave Rosario was ejected in the third inning for questioning the strike zone. Rosario brought a towel to home plate to wipe it clean to tell the umpire what he thought of the umpire's vision. Manager and Hall of Famer, Ryne Sandberg, was then tossed when he went to the umpire seconds later.


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