Beavers bats besieged by banged-up bullpen

The Portland Beavers tried for their first sweep of season in short series against Tacoma, but came up empty in ten innings. Tim Stauffer (2-2, 6.45 ERA) did not allow a hit until the fourth inning and sailed through the first three innings on just thirty pitches. The right-hander lasted seven innings while allowing six earned runs on nine hits while not getting a decision in the contest.

The Beavers offense burst out of the gate in the bottom of the first inning putting up two runs early. Mike Sansoe walked to lead off the inning and was followed by a double off the potent bat of Vincent Sinisi. An equally vital Craig Stansberry followed with a sacrifice groundout to score Sansoe. Then red hot Brian Myrow singled to score Sinisi. Then Royce Huffman stepped in.

Huffman appeared to be hit by a pitch low and inside. As he was heading to first base, the first base umpire, per the request of Tacoma Catcher Jeff Clement, subsequently overturned the call. Portland manager, Rick Renteria, along with Huffman, argued the call.

Renteria, after heading back toward the Portland dugout, noticed his player still arguing his case and stormed back to the field. After exchanging some heated words, Renteria was ejected from a game for the second time this year. After more heated words were delivered along with some dirt kicked from the skip's cleats to cover homebase, Renteria relinquished managerial and third base coaching duties to hitting coach Jose Castro.

Huffman stood back in to bat and gathered an opposite field single. As Myrow reached third, Castro crossed wires with his baserunner. From a "go" sign to a "stop" sign as Myrow reached third base, the runner halted and fell backward being tagged out by Tacoma third baseman, Ronnie Prettyman.

Stauffer's magical start deflated in the sixth inning when, with two on and runners going, Huffman hesitated on a Bryan LaHair fly ball that sailed over the right fielder's head for a two-run double. Then one out later, Clement belted a two-run homerun off Stauffer, putting the Beavers behind 4-2.

The Beavers put up seven runs in the next three innings, including two consecutive three-run frames, before losing the lead again for good in the top of the ninth inning. Continued stellar bat work came from Myrow and the Beavers, despite the loss. Seven of the nine Portland hitters reached base multiple times grinding out each at bat and diligently working Tacoma pitching.

Multiple hits came from Sinisi, Stansberry, Myrow, and 36-year-old Portland newcomer Frank Menechino.

Menechino, who last played professional ball on April 20 before being release by Colorado Springs, roped three doubles and a sacrifice fly and collected two RBI. His performance was only overshadowed by Myrow's four hits including two singles, a double, one towering homerun to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the eighth before it slipped away for good. Myrow racked up five RBI in the defeat.

Notwithstanding the raking of lively bats, the Beavers had some exceptionally disappointing moments. Making his 24th appearance of the season and entering the contest with a miniscule 0.65 ERA, reliever Royce Ring (3-0, 1.27) suffered his worst outing of the year, allowing a season-high two earned runs on three hits. Royce, who worked his most effective weapon, the knuckle curve, was touched for three consecutive singles, and despite fanning Jeremy Reed on his favorite pitch, was replaced by right-hander Aaron Rakers. Rakers (1-1, 4.11) was called upon to face the electric Adam Jones. Jones, who homered on his previous at-bat, was down 0-2 with two outs before blooping a single over shortstop and bringing in the tying run. Jones would go 4-for-5 and be one of four Tacoma hitters with two RBI in the game.

Perhaps the most crushing blow came when Portland's offense went silent when it was most needed. With the winning run at third base, a runner on first and one out, Luke Carlin grounded into a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play.

Rakers took the blown save and the loss after he gave up a pair of doubles in the top of the tenth. The topsy-turvy loss for Portland was just the third win for Tacoma in their last thirteen outings. Portland is currently 5.5 games out of first place behind leader Salt Lake and 1.5 behind Colorado Springs. The Beavers are in third place only three games ahead of Tacoma.

MadFriars Top Stories