Padres MLN: A losing effort

Portland is no-hit until the eighth. Mike Ekstrom pitches well but gets a no-decision. Jose Lobaton goes yard but in a losing effort. Aaron Breit lasts just two-thirds of an inning and Pablo Menchaca is shelled in relief.

Portland lost 5-2 to Tucson (Diamondbacks)

A leadoff single by Royce Huffman on a dribbler to start the eighth fended off the Tucson bid for a no-hitter. Pete Laforest hit a two-run bomb in the ninth to prevent the Beavers from being shutout. Laforest has homered three times in the ninth inning over the last seven days but none of the homers factored into a Portland comeback or even a Portland win. He has four homers in his last six games and four of his last five hits have left the yard. Laforest has also drawn 11 walks in his last 14 games compared to 11 strikeouts.

Mike Thompson took his fifth straight loss, surrendering four runs on eight hits in five-plus innings, walking two and striking out three. The right-hander has allowed four runs or more in each of his outings, giving up 45 hits and 11 walks in 21.2 innings. He has a WHIP of 2.68 this year and the opposition is hitting .400 off him with runners in scoring position. Sixteen of the 33 runs he has allowed this year have come in the first two innings.

Scott Cassidy worked two more scoreless frames, walking one and striking out two. He threw just 27 pitches and has now worked four scoreless with Triple-A Portland. The right-hander has yet to allow a hit, surrendering two walks in his four innings for a .143 on base percentage. Left-handers are 0-for-9 off him. He has thrown 55 pitches on the year, tossing 36 for strikes.

San Antonio lost 3-2 to Springfield (Cardinals) in 10 innings

Mike Ekstrom was on the sour end of two unearned runs, as the Missions had more errors than hits through the first five innings. He allowed those two unearned runs over five innings, yielding five hits, walking a career-high six and striking out two. The right-hander had not walked more than two in a game all year and had issued a free pass to five just once – coming on August 4, 2006 while with Double-A Mobile. He has gone four games without earning a decision.

Paul Abraham worked an inning and a third scoreless, allowing one hit and a walk while striking out two and tossing a wild pitch. He stranded two inherited runners and has stalled each of the six runners he has inherited on the year. The right-hander has allowed runs in just two of his 20 appearances on the year and has given up runs in one of his last 18 (five runs on May 10). Minus that one outing, Abraham has yielded just seven hits over 19.2 innings.

Arturo Lopez worked out of a jam in the seventh by inducing a double play line out, stranding one inherited runner. He was credited with an inning and a third scoreless, walking two. It was the first time this year he has walked more than one in an appearance. Lopez has given up runs in five of his 17 appearances on the year, and prior to Wednesday, six of the seven runners he had inherited have come around to score.

Josh Geer came on as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning but struck out.

Lake Elsinore lost 4-3 to High Desert (Mariners)

Manny Ayala worked five-plus, leaving with two runners on in the sixth. They would be the only runs charged to the right-hander as he gave up four hits and a walk in a no-decision. It is the eighth time in 10 starts that he has surrendered two runs or less and the fifth time he has given up four or fewer hits. While the opposition has a .288 average to leadoff an inning, Ayala has yielded just two hits in 30 at bats with runners in scoring position.

Jose Lobaton had five homers in 62 games across two leagues last year and pelted his fifth in game number 33 this season. Three of his homers have come over his last eight games and he has notched an RBI in five of those contests. His last double, and he has eight on the year, came on August 25. The catcher also drew his 24th walk of the season, giving him a .393 on base percentage. Lobaton is hitting .200 during the month of May with ten hits in 50 at bats after swatting .313 in April. His average has dropped from .340 to .263 over his last 17 games.

Seth Johnston went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. He also hit his third homer of the season with two outs in the ninth to close the gap to one run. The infielder came into the game with three hits in his last 25 at bats. After hitting .347 in April, Johnston was hitting .195 in May prior to Wednesday. It is the sixth time this year he has collected three or more hits and seven time he has scored multiple runs.

Fort Wayne lost 10-1 to Clinton (Rangers)

Aaron Breit was pulled after just two-thirds of an inning with four runs already in on four hits and three walks. He left the game with the bases still loaded, dropping to 2-5 on the year. His ERA ballooned to 6.57 from 5.73 as a result. Breit came into the game with one run allowed in his previous 11.2 innings. The right-hander is now 0-5 with a 8.56 ERA in night games but has gone 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in day contests. The opposition is hitting .432 off him with runners in scoring position.

Pablo Menchaca came on in relief and got the final out of the first. Things fell apart, however, in the third. He was tagged for six runs, all earned, on eight hits and a walk in his 2.1 innings of work – just his second appearance of the year. Menchaca had worked a scoreless inning three days ago. The opposition is now hitting .462 with six hits in 13 at bats off him with runners on base. Seven of the hits he surrendered came in that fateful third.

With the bullpen already taxed, infielder Jodam Rivera came on to work the final inning. He worked a perfect frame, inducing three fly outs. Rivera had never thrown a pitch in a professional game until Wednesday. He also went 0-for-4 at the dish, dropping his season average to .250. Rivera is, however, hitting .284 in May with nine walks to just three strikeouts in 67 at bats. He has seen time at second, third and short this year, hitting .295 when he plays the hot corner.


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