Delabar dazzles; Wells a relief

Jared Wells seems to have found a home in the bullpen. Will Venable likes the leadoff spot more than you think. Nic Crosta collected half of Lake Elsinore's hits but Kyle Stutes could not retire a batter in extras. Steve Delabar perfect through 5.2 and dominate in tight game.

Portland lost 4-3 to Salt Lake (Angels)

Pete Laforest continued to snap out of his funk by going 2-for-4 with a solo homer - his 11th in 37 games. It is his second homer in as many days, the first time this year he has accomplished the feat. Seven of his 11 homers have come with the bases empty. Laforest had been in a 7-for-44 slump with two runs scored over a 12-game span.

Jack Cassel fell one pitch shy of reaching triple-digits with his pitch count, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk over seven innings. He struck out six but four of the hits he allowed went for extra bases and two left the yard. Cassel came into the game with four homers allowed over 14 appearances, including 11 starts, but it was the second time this year he has given up two homers in a game - the last time coming on opening day, April 5.

Jared Wells seems to have found a comfort level coming out of the pen that he lost as a starter. The right-hander worked two scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out four. After going 1-6 with a 7.25 ERA over 10 starts - allowing 70 hits and 30 walks in 49.2 innings, Wells has allowed one run over 7.1 innings in five relief appearances. He has given up four hits and one walk while striking out 11 over that span. As a reliever, 62.3 percent of his pitches have gone for strikes.

San Antonio won 10-7 over Midland (A's)

Michael Johnson, who struggled mightily in Portland, hit a second inning grand slam - his seventh Double-A homer - and scored twice. He has an 11-game hitting streak with San Antonio, dating back to May 1 with a month break between games when he was in Portland. He is 12-for-40 with seven extra base hits. In Portland, Johnson had 10 hits in 75 at bats with the Beavers. Johnson did commit his first error of the year in Double-A and fifth of the season.

Mike Ekstrom evened his record at 3-3 by pitching 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out four. Three of the four runs scored after he left the game with the bases loaded in the seventh. The right-hander has given up four runs or more in his last three games and seven times this year but is 2-2 in those games. He has won two of his last three starts while giving up 13 runs over 17.1 innings.

Will Venable went 3-for-4 with a walk, a run scored and two RBIs from the leadoff spot. The outfielder came into the game in a 1-for-17 slump over his previous five games. Venable has been in the leadoff spot six times this year and is 12-for-24 with six runs scored and five RBIs. He is hitting .249 when he hits elsewhere in the lineup. Venable was picked off first base in the first inning, right before a Brett Dowdy triple.

Brett Bonvechio will come off the disabled list and join San Antonio, replacing Chase Headley.

Lake Elsinore lost 4-3 to Rancho Cucamonga (Angels) in 10 innings

Nic Crosta collected two of the Storm's four hits on the night, going 2-for-2 with a walk, double, and two-run homer. He was lifted for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning. Crosta has 10 hits over his last nine games after netting just 18 over his first 26. He has seen his average jump from .180 to .217 with his recent stretch of hitting. Six of those hits have also gone for extra bases and 16 of 28 overall have done the same. He was caught stealing for the first time this year, making him 1-for-2 on the season.

Matt Buschmann allowed two runs on five hits and a walk over six innings, striking out five. Nine of his outs came via groundouts. The right-hander has allowed three runs over his last 13 innings after giving up nine over his previous seven. He has limited the opposition to two runs or less in five of his 14 starts and two earned runs or less in eight outings. Buschmann has surrendered 14 runs in the third inning - including on in the third frame on Thursday - over 13 games. No other inning has reached double-digits in runs allowed.

Kyle Stutes took the loss and dropped to 0-2 on the year. After pitching a scoreless ninth, the left-hander could not record a single out in the bottom of the tenth. He allowed three singles and a walk in succession to bring the winning run home. The side-armer has given up runs in three straight appearances after going 13 outings in Lake Elsinore with just one earned run allowed. Stutes has surrendered five runs on seven hits and two walks over his last three innings of work. The leadoff runner has reached in seven of the 18 innings he has started.

Fort Wayne won 2-1 over West Michigan (Tigers)

Steve Delabar was dynamite over seven innings, holding the opposition in check with just one hit allowed and two walks while striking out five. Delabar was perfect over his first 5.2 innings. The right-hander moved to 1-0 in Midwest League play with his scoreless effort. Delabar, who went 2-6 with a 5.59 ERA over 20 relief appearances in Lake Elsinore, and 0-0 with a 9.82 ERA over two relief outings with Fort Wayne, is now 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA over his two starts. The last time he pitched shutout ball over seven innings came on June 13 last year when he allowed one hit and walked one in a win versus Cedar Rapids.

"When I first got back down here," Delabar began, "Wally [Whitehurst the Wizards' pitching coach] asked if I threw the two-seam fastball and I said no, and he said ‘why not?'

"Tonight was the first night I really used it and it helped me to keep the batters off-balance."

Javis Diaz went 2-for-4 with an RBI to pace the offense - securing the only RBI of the game for Fort Wayne. Diaz was, however, thrown out trying to steal for the 10th time this year. Diaz has three straight multi-hit games and six over his last eight. He has safely reached base in 13 straight, going 21-for-53, a .396 average, with five walks and 10 runs scored. Diaz is just 5-for-15 in the stolen base department and has been caught in three or his last four attempts.

Fort Wayne came into the contest with a league-worst 4.34 ERA and fell two outs shy of completing their fifth shutout when Rolando Valdez surrendered a double with a man on first. Valdez did, however, pick up his fourth save of the year. The save was his first since May 19 and the run allowed was just the sixth time in 29 appearances the opposition has crossed the dish. Valdez has held opponents to a .143 average against with runners in scoring position and the run he allowed on Thursday was the first surrendered in the ninth inning or beyond this year - spanning 10 frames.


MadFriars Top Stories