Baxter delivers to prevent system sweep

Cesar Ramos has a forgettable debut in Portland, as the offense musters just four hits. Chad Huffman and Josh Alley have three hits apiece but the rest of the Missions didn't do much. Mike Baxter scores to tie and provides the game-winner for Lake Elsinore. Felix Carrasco and Yefri Carvajal combine for six hits and Brad Chalk saves a run, but the Wizards still lose.

Portland (2-1) lost 9-1 to Fresno (Giants)

Cesar Ramos tossed 56 pitches over his first two innings of work and had 85 pitches in the books when he was pulled two-thirds of an inning later in his Triple-A debut – dropping him to 0-1 on the year. The left-hander surrendered four runs on three hits, a hit batsman and four walks, leaving with two men still on base. Ramos went 13-9 with a 3.41 ERA across 27 starts for San Antonio last year. He walked three batters on six occasions last year but his last four-walk outing came on August 18, 2006.

Kevin Cameron stranded two inherited runners and allowed a lone single over 2.1 innings, whiffing a pair and finishing his outing on an efficient 25 pitches. Cameron appeared in five games for the Padres this spring, allowing five runs in 4.1 innings. The right-hander went 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA in 48 appearances as a rookie for San Diego last season and has compiled a 2.89 ERA over 193 career minor leagues games.

Dirk Hayhurst made his season debut, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out three over two innings. In his last three Triple-A appearances, the right-hander has given up nine runs on 12 hits and a walk over 4.2 innings. In Double-A last season, Hayhurst went 4-1 with two saves and a 3.19 ERA over 59.1 innings. He posted a 2.05 ERA over his last 11 appearances in 2007, spanning 22 innings.

San Antonio (2-2) lost 7-2 to Tulsa (Colorado Rockies)

Steve Garrison made his Double-A debut, surrendering three runs on seven hits while striking out four across five innings. The left-hander did not walk a batter, tossing 73 pitches, including 51 strikes, in a losing effort. Garrison made seven starts for Lake Elsinore in 2007 after being acquired as part of the trade that sent Scott Linebrink to Milwaukee. Over 42 innings, Garrison yielded 32 hits and walked six while posting a 2.79 ERA.

Chad Huffman went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. The outfielder has been on base in each of the Missions first four games with three doubles in the last two. Huffman led the Padres' system with 104 RBIs last season, knocking in 28 in Double-A after collecting 76 in High-A. Huffman has notched 79 extra base hits in 196 career minor league games, belting 22 homers a year ago.

Josh Alley accounted for the other San Antonio run, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI in his season debut. The outfielder hit .297 last year for Lake Elsinore, drawing more walks (36) than strikeouts (35). He has a career .391 on-base percentage over three minor league seasons, although last year was marred by injury and kept him to 58 games played over two leagues. Alley hit .442 with a .556 on-base percentage in 12 playoff games for the Storm last season.

Lake Elsinore (2-2) won 8-7 over Rancho Cucamonga (Angels) in 11 innings

Right-hander Drew Miller worked four innings in his High-A debut, allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits, a hit batsman, and a walk while fanning two. Miller battled injuries in 2007 and was kept to 16 starts for Fort Wayne, going 4-6 with a 4.69 ERA. He allowed two runs or less in seven of his outings but pitched just 80.2 innings. He was at his best in day games, like Sunday, where he posted a 2.45 ERA last season. In 11 night games, Miller had a 5.96 ERA.

Mike Baxter came in as a pinch-runner in the ninth and scored the tying run on an Eric Sogard double. He would plate the game-winner in the 11th with a double of his own. Baxter came into the game with one hit in his first nine at-bats. The outfielder, who has seen time at first base this season, hit .239 before the All-Star break last season for the Storm and .318 afterwards. He is trying to avoid a sluggish start for the third straight year.

"I think the reason it might take a while to get in a groove is because I might be unbalanced off on my front side a little bit," Baxter said. "The goal this off-season was to negate that and keep the balance more in the center of my body."

Mitch Canham went 3-for-4 and scored three runs to pace the Storm offense. The backstop was, however, 0-for-3 in throwing out runners attempting to steal – all to Peter Bourjos who stole six bases during the series, five against Canham. Eight of the 12 runners attempting to steal during the series were successful, although Canham did get credit for a caught stealing thanks to a Corey Kluber pickoff. Canham has been on base eight times over his first three games of the season. The catcher hit .276 across two leagues last year, going 0-for-7 in a late season call up to Lake Elsinore.

Fort Wayne (1-3) lost 6-4 to Lansing (Blue Jays) in 10 innings

Felix Carrasco had a perfect day, going 3-for-3 with a sacrifice bunt, a double, two RBIs and a run scored. The first baseman has been on base seven times in his first three games to begin the year, sporting a .700 on-base percentage. Carrasco hit .238 over two leagues during 2007, striking out in 39.6 of his at-bats and collecting just three extra base hits. Carrasco already has two extra base hits in three games to begin 2008.

Yefri Carvajal banged out three hits in four at-bats, adding an RBI and a run scored. He was caught stealing in the second inning – the first time he has been snared in his professional career. Carvajal had swiped nine bases over two seasons without being caught. The outfielder hit .292 across two leagues last year with 41 RBIs in 56 games. He began the year with one hit in his first 12 at-bats before Sunday's game.

Brad Chalk kept the game scoreless in the top half of the opening frame, converting the third out with an outfield assist. Fielding a single with a man on second, Chalk launched a strike to catcher Luis Martinez to snare the runner trying to score from second. Chalk also plated the first Fort Wayne run with a ground out in the third and ended the day with two hits in five trips. Chalk hit .276 with 25 runs scored over 34 games and two leagues, battling a back injury through his first pro season.

Talk about this story on our subscriber-only message boards

MadFriars Top Stories