Portland falls to Iowa in hard fought battle

Portland, OR – The Portland Beavers' loss to the Iowa Cubs Friday night was a back-and-forth battle. Making his first start at home since May 4, starter Jared Wells allowed four runs on eight hits through five plus innings as the Beavers dropped the game by a score of 5-4. Wells, however, was not credited with the loss, as late inning heroics by the Iowa lineup swayed the game in their favor.

"I wish we had come out on the upper end, but we didn't," Beavers manager Rick Renteria said. "And if they keep going about it just like the way they have been going about it we'll always be in every game and that's all I can ask them to do. And ultimately it'll all balance itself out and hopefully we can come out on top more times than not."

Iowa jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Scoring early is something the Cubs are accustomed to. Iowa has scored 50 runs in the first inning this year. The two runs came in to score on first baseman Micah Hoffpauir's ground rule double down the right field line which took a leaping bounce over the fence, driving in Felix Pie and Mike Fontenot.

The Cubs' lead lasted only moments, as the Beavers answered back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame, tying the game 2-2. Vincent Sinisi smashed an opposite field solo homerun to left, which was followed by Brian Myrow's RBI single which drove in Craig Stansberry from second base.

The tie score, however, was short lived. The Cubs forged ahead to take a 4-2 lead by tacking on solo runs in the second and third innings. In the second inning, Scott Moore scored from third on a sacrifice fly to left by starting pitcher Les Walrond. Fontenot scored his second run of the game in the fourth inning when Chris Walker reached on a fielder's choice.

The Beavers staged a two-out rally in the fifth inning to tie the game 4-4. After getting two quick outs on four pitches, Walrond tubed a few pitches which Mike Sansoe and Sinisi tagged for back-to-back doubles. They were followed by an RBI single off the bat of Stansberry, which brought the tying run home to score.

After putting men at the corners with nobody out in the sixth inning, Wells was relieved by Royce Ring who managed to get Portland out of the inning unscathed. Ring worked two scoreless innings for the Beavers. Over his last 3.1 innings, the sidearming lefty has struck out eight batters.

"Ring did a really nice job getting us out of the sixth and the seventh with all the lefties." Renteria said.

Taking over for Ring in the eight was Andrew Brown. Brown has been in a harsh slump his last eight outings, giving up nine earned runs and watching his earned run average spike from 0.47 to 3.42. On Friday night, Brown's misfortune continued. After getting two quick outs, the tall, hard throwing right-hander worked a full count to third baseman Scott Moore who subsequently wrapped a ball just around the right field foul pole for a solo homerun, giving Iowa a 5-4 lead.

The Beavers threatened in the bottom of the ninth inning. Sansoe led off and sliced a ball into the irregularly shaped right field corner of PGE Park. As the ball continued to skip around in the corner, Sansoe sauntered into third base with a stand-up triple. With two outs, and Sansoe still dancing off third, Craig Stansberry came to bat for the Beavers. Stansberry is one of the team's major run producers and leads Portland in multiple-RBI games with six. Iowa brought in reliever Rocky Cherry to face Stansberry for the last out. With a 0-2 count, Cherry bounced a ball to home plate that got away from catcher Geovany Soto. Sansoe hesitated slightly, and then broke for home plate. He was thrown out by about three feet to end the game.

"The difference was just a little hesitation he had in the read... the reality was he did a real nice job of hitting a triple to start off with... He had the right idea. The ball definitely kicked away enough but it was just the tad hesitation," Renteria said.

Game Notes:

- Today Clay Hensley was reinstated from the Padres' disabled list and optioned to Portland along with Oscar Robles. The two are scheduled to arrive in Portland either Sunday or Monday.
- The Beavers announced the finalization of their sale to Shortstop LLC, and Merritt Paulson will take immediate control as majority owner and General Manager of the Beavers.
- Sinisi has an eighth game hit streak going.
- Hoffpauir for Iowa was 9-for-17 against Portland this series.

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