Shawn Estes (0-1) was tagged for eight runs, seven earned, on eight hits and two walks over 3.1 innings. Three balls left the park, accounting for five of the runs. The lefty has allowed 11 runs over his last 8.1 innings on 14 hits and four walks over two leagues. Estes has accumulated a 4.81 ERA over three leagues and eight appearances, including seven starts. The southpaw had allowed just one homer prior to Saturday.
Joe Thatcher plunked a batter, tossed a wild pitch, and struck out one in his scoreless inning of work in his second appearance with Portland. The left-hander worked in three games for the Padres after being acquired as part of the Scott Linebrink deal and gave up three unearned runs on one hit and two walks over two innings. Thatcher posted a 2.08 ERA with Nashville prior to the trade, allowing runs in five of his 24 outings and never more than one run in any appearance. He has given up two runs over his last 17.1 innings in Triple-A.
Frank Menechino fell a homer shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored. His two-out triple in the bottom of the ninth brought in two runs, and he would score on a ground out to bring Portland within one. The second baseman has been on base in all but one of his last 15 games – a pinch-hit appearance where he struck out – and has notched multi-hit games in four of his last five games and 12 of his last 21. Menechino is hitting .450 with 12 doubles, a triple, two homers, 15 RBIs and 20 runs scored over his last 21.
San Antonio lost 4-1 to Frisco (Rangers)
Mike Ekstrom (5-8) worked 6.2 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out four. He held the opposition to a 1-for-6 mark with runners in scoring position but five of the hits he surrendered went for extra bases. The right-hander has lost his last three starts with Saturday being the first time Ekstrom has made it into the seventh inning since June 24. Ekstrom allowed a homer for the first time since June 9, going nine starts without allowing a long ball.
Jon Ellis was tagged for a run on two hits in his lone inning of work. The right-hander has allowed runs in four of his last five appearances and five of seven. Eight runs have come home against him over his last 5.1 innings on eight hits and seven walks. The South Carolina native had given up just 24 hits over his first 35.2 innings of work. In total, Ellis has given up runs in 13 of his 45 appearances.
Lake Elsinore won 6-3 over Lancaster (Red Sox)
Wilton Lopez appeared in the closer's role on Saturday for the Storm, one day after a blown save from John Madden. Lopez set down the side in order, striking out a pair. After surrendering runs in three of his first four appearances in the California League, Lopez has given up runs in one of his last eight, lowering his ERA from 10.80 to 5.11. Lopez has not allowed a baserunner in three of his last four outings after a hitter reached base in each of his first eight.
Nic Crosta belted his 14th homer of the season, a three-run shot in third, and added an RBI groundout to give him four for the day. He became the sixth player in the lineup to surpass 50 RBIs for the year. Nine of his homers have come with runners on base and this was the tenth time in 66 games that he has knocked in three or more runs. Crosta did strikeout twice and has fanned nine times in his last 15 at bats. The outfielder has struck out once every 3.1 at bats.
Fort Wayne lost 6-5 to Wisconsin (Mariners)
With six pitchers already used over the first 10 innings, Jodam Rivera (0-1) moved from second base to the mound. After going 2-for-4 with two walks, a stolen base and two runs scored at the plate, Rivera retired the side in order in his first stanza but three hits and two runs followed in his second frame. It was Rivera's second pitching appearance of the season – his last coming on May 23 when he set down the side in order. At the dish, Rivera has walked (36) more times than he has struck out (29) this year.
Keith Conlon reached base five times in six trips, going 3-for-4 with a double and two walks. He also scored a run and drove in two, including one in the bottom of the 12th to cut the deficit to one. He was, however, doubled off second base in the tenth inning on a line out by Robert Perry. After beginning his Midwest League career by reaching base in two of his first 17 plate appearances, Conlon has reached base in 11 of his last 16 with five hits and six walks. He has reached at least three times in his last three games.
Eugene lost 11-9 to Boise (Cubs)
Mitch Canham went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, catching for the first time since being sidelined with a groin injury that required minor surgery. The backstop has reached base in 10 straight games to open his career with five multi-hit games. Canham also has an RBI in five straight games and a run scored in four straight. He snared one of two baserunners attempting to steal and has gunned down 4-of-9 on the season.
Jeremy Hefner (1-2) was clubbed for seven runs on six hits, a hit batsman and two walks over three innings – with all the runs coming over his first two frames. Hefner has lost his last two starts, giving up 11 runs on 13 hits and five walks over a 6.2-inning span. Hefner had allowed just five runs, four earned, over his first 26.1 innings. His ERA has ballooned from 1.37 to 4.09 with his recent streak. He has a 6.41 ERA in five starts and a 0.68 ERA in six relief appearances.
AZL Padres lost 3-1 to AZL Royals
Angel Mercado accounted for the only run of the game with a solo homer in the eighth inning as part of a 2-for-4 evening. He snapped out of a 1-for-24 slump that saw his average dive from .429 to .288. The outfielder has seven multi-hit games in 23 contests and the homer was his first since June 27. Both of his homers have come in the eighth inning and beyond and Mercado is hitting .400 from the sixth inning on.
Simon Castro (2-2) allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits and three walks over 3.2 innings. He also tossed two wild pitches, hit a batter, and struck out five. It is the third time this year Castro has uncorked at least two wild pitches and he has accumulated nine over nine outings this year. He has also hit six batters, including five over his last five outings. The right-hander has yielded just one earned run over his last 13 innings, lowering his ERA from 5.85 to 3.82.
Bryan Oland worked an inning and a third, coming on with two men on and two outs in the fourth and allowing one of those inherited runners to score. It was just the second time this year he has come on with runners on base and two of three inherited have scored. His line showed one hit yielded and zero runs while striking out two. Oland had given up runs in four of his last five outings, and with his appearance on Saturday, he has given up runs in six of 11.