Every starter had a hit and a run scored. Eight players scored two or more times and eight notched an RBI. They reached base 30 times with 22 hits and eight walks. Lake Elsinore scored 63 runs over the three-game set in Lancaster. They homered six times on Sunday. Craig Cooper hit a grand slam – one day after Blanks did the same. Lake Elsinore has hit six grand slams this season.
Soon to be Hitter of the Week, Yordany Ramirez has more RBIs over his last three games than he collected in his first 39 games. Two days after setting a career-high with seven RBIs, Ramirez had eight on Sunday, hitting for the cycle – the first player in the system to hit for the cycle this year. He went 4-for-6 with three runs scored. He singled in the second inning, hit a two-run homer in the fourth, doubled with the bases loaded in the fifth to clear them, and then tripled with the bases loaded in a 12-run eighth. He has six extra base hits in his last four games after netting seven extra base hits in his first 38 contests. Ramirez also swiped his seventh bag of the year.
"I really worked hard this off-season because I have to prove to everybody that they have a reason to be excited because they have waited for me for a long time, and I have to do something to keep them believing in me," Ramirez said.
Chad Huffman homered for the third straight game, taking over the team lead with nine dingers, a lead that would last innings. He has four straight multi-hit games, going 2-for-4 with two walks and four runs scored. The outfielder has been plated 12 times over his last five games, scoring at least once in each contest. He has six extra base hits in his last four games, including four homers in his last three. He has 12 hits in his last 17 at bats and has walked four times and been hit by a pitch for a .773 on base percentage.
"It is pretty much the same thing – trying to stay up the middle," Huffman says of his success. "I want to swing at my pitch and not swing at bad pitches and take myself out of an at bat."
Brandon Gottier came to Lake Elsinore after spending a month in Portland where he had two hits in 16 at bats for the Beavers. After going 1-for-9 in his first two contests with the Storm, Gottier has gone 4-for-10 – all of his hits going for extra bases. He doubled and homered, knocking in three runs and scoring two. The homer was his first since June 11, 2006 while with the Fort Wayne Wizards. Gottier has scored a run in each of his four games with the Storm.
The California League leaderboard was turned on its head this weekend. While Lancaster touted the top three RBI men in the league, they found themselves infiltrated by Kyle Blanks who vaulted up to second in the league with his 39 RBIs. Blanks hit went deep for the third straight game, ending his night 3-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBIs. He has 11 RBIs over his last three games, going 11-for-19 with four doubles and three homers. His 24 extra base hits rank fourth in the league and his 52 rank fifth.
Four relievers combined to throw four shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out eight to preserve the win for Richie Daigle. Daigle allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits and a walk over five frames, moving to 3-2 on the season.
Portland won 7-2 over Las Vegas (Dodgers) in five innings [rain]
Clay Hensley worked four innings, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while whiffing two in a rehab assignment. He threw 66 pitches, 41 for strikes and induced five ground ball outs. He also tallied a sacrifice fly and an RBI. Hensley is 1-3 with a 7.62 ERA over six starts with the Padres. After allowing 21 runs over his first three starts. Hensley allowed five over his last three to lower his ERA from 12.21 to 7.62.
Jared Wells came on in relief of Hensley, just the second time in his minor league career that he did not start. Wells came on in relief on July 21, 2004 while with Lake Elsinore. That day he lasted just two innings and surrendered seven runs. Wells would pitch just one inning before the rains came, walking one and striking out two to pick up the win, moving to 2-5 on the year. Wells had given up 13 runs on 19 hits and five walks over his previous two starts.
Royce Huffman went 1-for-1, was hit by a pitch and drew a walk while driving in three runs. He had a first inning single with the bases loaded to drive in two and was plunked with the bases juiced in the bottom of the fifth. He had been hitless in his four previous at bats with the bases loaded and more than doubled his RBI total in those situations from two to five. Huffman came into the game with nine hits in his previous 75 at bats, a .120 average. He also doubled his RBI total from 15 May games.
San Antonio lost 6-0 to Frisco (Rangers)
Cesar Ramos went six, yielding three runs, two earned, on seven hits and three walks while whiffing four. The left-hander had allowed three runs over his previous three starts, spanning 21 innings. He has held left-handers to a .217 average this year but the opposition is hitting .351 off him with runners in scoring position. Twenty-one of the 47 hits he has allowed have gone for extra bases.
Dirk Hayhurst came into the game unscored upon over his first five innings of work, but a three-run homer ended further bids for perfection. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits and a walk over three innings – the homer the first he has yielded this year. He has surrendered runs in six of his 17 outings with Sunday's game his longest outing of the year. The opposition is 10-for-27 off him this year over two leagues with runners in scoring position.
Michael Wagner, who the Padres kept when Alfredo Fernandez was sent back to them after failing a physical due to arm trouble, went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. The outfielder is 2-for-12 with a homer over five games with the Missions. A right-handed hitter, he has gone 1-for-11 against left-handed pitching. In 36 at bats, Wagner has three homers, including going long in successive games played for the Storm. He has struck out 12 times this season.
Nick Hundley was ejected in the top of the ninth with Frisco batting.
Fort Wayne lost 4-3 to Cedar Rapids (Angels)
John Hussey lost for the second time in as many starts, giving up four runs on six hits and three walks while striking out two over four innings. The leadoff man has reached base in four of the seven innings he has pitched and lefties have a .667 on base percentage early in his season. Hussey lost just one game last year in 13 outings and had never lost two straight games – although he did drop three straight decisions in 2005 with the AZL Padres.
Pablo Menchaca made his season debut in the seventh inning. The right-hander hit a batter in a scoreless inning of work. The Mexico native also committed an error on a pickoff attempt. He went 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA over 13 appearances, including seven starts for the AZL Padres and earned the win in the AZL Championship game. In 51 innings he allowed 52 hits and walked nine while striking out 39. Menchaca received a late season call up to the Eugene Emeralds and allowed one run over three innings in his lone appearance.
"I am just happy," Menchaca said of moving to Fort Wayne. "It was a very good season for me (last year). I was struggling a little bit at the beginning but came on towards the end."
Jeremy Hunt went 2-for-4 and was the lone member of the Wizards to add an RBI to the scoresheet. The first baseman improved his hitting to .316 in day games, as opposed to his .227 mark in night contests. After hitting .324 in April, Hunt is hitting .222 in 12 May games. He is, however, hitting .395 with runners on base but just .258 with runners in scoring position.