Laforest with three; Madden on track

Pete Laforest hits three homers in a doubleheader split. Josh Howard is much better in Double-A. John Madden is back on track after early struggles saw him sent to Arizona. Aaron Breit loses control while Brandon Gomes impresses. Luis Durango has a first but not a last and Rey Garramone and Jeremy McBryde are nasty. Keoni Ruth continues his tear while Jose Mayi hopes he has just started his.

Portland won 11-1 over Colorado Springs (Rockies) in game one, lost 9-4 in game two

Jack Cassel notched a seven-inning complete game in the opener, allowing one run on six hits and two walks while striking out five to even his record at 7-7. It was his second complete game of the year and the fifth time in his last eight starts he has gone seven or more innings. The right-hander also went 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI. He has knocked in five runs this year. He is 3-for-12 with four runs scored and five RBIs over his last five games with an at bat. Cassel has earned a decision in nine straight starts, going 4-5.

Pete Laforest had two hits in game one – meaning two more homers. He belted a second inning solo shot and went yard with a two-run blast in the fifth, giving him 20 for the year. The last time he had a hit that wasn't a homer came on June 14. Laforest's last nine hits have left the yard and 10 of his last 11 have gone over the wall. He had just one hit over his previous 23 at bats coming into the game. He has five multi-homer games this season. He added a run scoring single in his first at bat in the second game to snap his streak but swatted a three-run homer in the next at bat to begin anew – giving him three homers on the day.

Jared Wells took the loss (2-7), giving up three runs on three hits, a walk, and a hit batter over one inning. He also uncorked three wild pitches. Wells has tossed four wild pitches this year – all coming in his last two innings of work after not uncorking one over his first 62.1 frames. He had gone 5.2 innings without a run allowed prior to Sunday but has surrendered seven runs in the inning and two-third surrounding that stretch.

San Antonio lost 4-2 to Wichita (Royals)

Josh Howard went 3-for-5 with an RBI – his first in Double-A this year. The outfielder has recorded a hit in each game he has started for the Missions and has a .533 on base percentage when he bats first in the order. Howard hit just .194 with 24 hits in 124 at bats for Triple-A Portland before being sent down. He did, however, collect 20 walks for a more respectable .301 on base percentage.

Mike Ekstrom was charged with four runs, three earned, on eight hits and four walks over 5.1 innings and saw his record go to 3-5 on the year. The right-hander has amassed a 0-2 record and a 6.08 ERA on the road, as he was Sunday, while posting a 3.55 ERA at home. Ekstrom has allowed four runs or more in nine of his 16 starts. Twenty-four of the 52 runs he has allowed have come over the first and second inning; he allowed one in each inning on Sunday.

Lake Elsinore won 7-2 over San Jose (Giants)

John Madden worked out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh inning, inducing a ground out in relief of Matt Buschmann. He went on to pitch a scoreless eight, hitting a batter and allowing a single. Since returning from the desert on June 4, Madden has given two earned runs over 13.1 innings on nine hits while striking out 18. Prior to his stint in Arizona, Madden was on the hook for eight earned over nine innings on 15 hits. He has lowered his ERA from 7.88 to 3.74 in the process.

Mike Baxter went 3-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored on Saturday. He had a .164 average in the 17 games prior to his recent four-game hitting streak with nine hits in 55 at bats. He is, however, 8-for-15 over his last four contests to up his average by 18 points. Baxter has notched two multi-double games in his last three – two of three games overall that he has notched multiple extra base hits.

Fort Wayne lost 6-0 to Dayton (Reds)

Losing for the first time in eight games, Fort Wayne managed just two hits – one from Daryl Jones and a second from Cedric Hunter.

Aaron Breit took his eighth loss, allowing four runs on one hit and six walks while striking out three over three-plus innings. The right-hander also hit three batters, including one with the bases loaded. His previous high for walks was four on August 10, 2006 while with Eugene. And Breit came into the game with two hit batsmen all year over his first 15 starts. It is the tenth time in 16 starts that he has not pitched through the fifth inning. Breit has lost four straight decisions.

Brandon Gomes, the first player to be promoted to Fort Wayne from the 2007 draft class, debuted and tossed two scoreless innings. He gave up a two out single after retiring the first five batters he faced and induced a ground out for the final out. Gomes has begun his career with 8.1 innings of scoreless ball over two leagues, yielding two hits and a walk while striking out six. The right-hander has yet to see a runner reach scoring position and has held the opposition to a .077 average.

Eugene won 9-3 over Everett (Mariners)

After scoring their first two runs of the game without the benefit of a hit in the top of the first, Luis Durango's bases loaded triple in the fourth inning capped a four-run frame. Durango, who walked and scored in the first, matched his RBI output for the year with his first three-bagger. Durango had four triples a year ago in the AZL. Four of Durango's six walks this year have come in the first inning where he sports a .600 on base percentage.

Rey Garramone left the game with runners on the corners and one out in the sixth with the Ems leading 6-1. While both runners would come around to score, Garramone would pick up his first win of the year with three runs allowed on four hits and two walks over his 5.1 innings. The right-hander has given up just eight hits in 13.1 innings on the year with Sunday marking the first time he has pitched past the fourth.

Jeremy McBryde worked the final three innings and picked up a save for his efforts. He allowed one hit, walked one and struck out two to preserve the victory. McBryde has allowed one hit while striking out seven over six innings in two away contests – both as a reliever – and has yielded four runs on five hits, including a homer, over 3.2 innings at home – as a starter. Right-handed hitters sport a .143 average off him.

AZL Padres won 11-7 over AZL Cubs

Keoni Ruth pounded out two this in four at bats with a walk, a triple and three RBIs to extend his hitting streak to eight games. The second baseman also stole one of six bags the squad collected Sunday – his second of the year. Ruth has collected five multi-hit games this season and has scored a run in six contests. He is in the top five in the Arizona Rookie League in average (.481), hits (13), and on base percentage (.563).

Alexis Lara faced the minimum over two innings, striking out the final two batters he faced. He came on with a man on third and nobody out, yielding the run on a ground out to second base. The right-hander has struck out seven over five innings this year and after allowing two runs on two hits, a walk, and a hit batter in his debut, Lara has retired every batter he has faced over three innings, fanning five.

Jose Mayi cracked his first homer of the year, sending a blast over the wall for a three-run shot in the fifth – his first RBIs of the year. The first baseman has a hit in each of his last three games after going 2-for-19 over his first five contests. Three of his five hits have gone for extra bases. Mayi has drawn six walks, including a free pass in five straight games during one stretch, while whiffing six times.

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