Portland Drops Series Finale to Tucson 7-2

Portland, OR-- Once again, Portland starter Ryan Ketchner did not get the run support he needed, as Portland dropped the series finale to Tucson, 7-2. Even though he has made nine starts this season, the lefty is still winless with a 0-5 record. These losses, however, cannot be solely accredited to Ketchner's performance. In his five losses, the Beavers offense has scored a combined seven runs.

Tucson was coming into the game with one of the hottest lineups in the league. Winning eight of their last eleven games has been a product of the Sidewinders' offensive success. With a .289 batting average, Tucson was in a first place tie with Fresno for the Pacific Coast League's team batting race. The Sidewinders also have the fewest number of strikeouts with 229 this season.

Portland jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the second inning when shortstop Luis Cruz tagged a two-run jack off the left field foul pole. Unfortunately for the Beavers, these were the only runs they could put on the board.

In the top of the third inning, Beavers manager Rick Renteria was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Shawn Rakos. Renteria started arguing after Rakos broke up his coach's conference at the mound with Ketchner and Carlin. After exchanging a few heated words with Rakos, Renteria stormed to home plate and proceeded to kick dirt over it until the plate was barely visible. Hitting Coach Jose Castro took over Renteria's third base coaching duties.

Tucson erased Portland's lead and jumped ahead 4-2 in the fourth inning. Runs started pouring in for Tucson after Augie Ojeda was hit by a pitch to load the bases with nobody out. All three of Tucson's baserunners would come in to score following a two-RBI single by Matt Morgan and an RBI single by leadoff batter Danny Richar. Morgan broke out of a 0-10 slump Thursday night by going 2-for-4 with three RBI. The RBI was Richar's sixth of the series.

Ketchner was relieved by Steve Watkins in the sixth inning. Watkins pitched two scoreless innings before giving way to Andrew Brown. Brown struggled right out of the gate, failing to retire any of the first five batters he faced. The tall, hard-throwing right-hander was tagged for three runs, extending Tucson's lead to 7-2.

Brown has been struggling as of late. After getting his ERA down to a miniscule 0.42 on May 11, Brown has seen it spike to 2.66 over his last five appearances.

Starter Yusmeiro Petit earned the win for Tucson, his fourth of the season and second against Portland. Over his five innings of work, eleven of Petit's outs came on fly balls and just two on grounders. Three Tucson relievers combined for four innings of scoreless relief.

Game Notes:

- Pete Laforest stole his second base of the season in the second inning. Over the last five years, Laforest has stolen seven bases.
- Cruz' home run in the second off the left field foul pole was his second homerun in the last four games
- Brett Dowdy took over the leadoff spot from Adam Shabala Thursday night. Shabala has struggled all season which has resulted in a .156 BA and an OBP of just .280.
- The Beavers had two bona fide web gems in the seventh inning. The first came when Richar hit a sharp bouncing ground ball up the middle that was snared by Steve Watkins on a behind-the-back grab. Moments later, Paul McAnulty made a magnificent sliding catch in left field to end the inning.
- In 2006, Tucson won the season series 11-5. So far in 2007 Tucson is leading 5-3.

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