Huffman seeing double; Durango on track

The balls left the yard quickly off Arturo Lopez, as Portland lost. Chad Huffman doubled twice and Kyle Blanks hit the ball hard each time he came to bat. Mike Baxter and Jesus Lopez lead the hit parade for Lake Elsinore. The Northwest League hit leader from 2007, Luis Durango, started his campaign for 2008 in the Midwest League.

Portland (3-2) lost 7-1 to Sacramento (A's)

Arturo Lopez gave up a career-high three homers on Tuesday – a minor league career that began in 2002. He went six innings and it was only those three pitches that haunted him – all solo homers – as he walked one and struck out three. He last gave up multiple homers in a game on August 23, 2006. The left-hander surrendered just three homers across 30 appearances last season, spanning 35.2 innings. Lopez worked an inning and a third this spring for the Friars, giving up two hits and two walks but no runs.

Mauro Zarate lasted just one frame, giving up three runs on two hits and a walk, including a two-run homer. He had tossed a scoreless outing in his first Portland appearance. Zarate made four appearances this spring for the Padres, allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits and two walks over four innings. The right-hander pitched in four major league games for Florida last year after posting a cumulative 1.96 ERA in 59.1 innings across Double-A and Triple-A last year.

Adam Bass worked a scoreless inning, walking one and striking out one, giving him two scoreless appearances to open the 2008 campaign. Bass worked in a team-high 12 games for the Padres during Spring Training. He went 1-0 with a 4.85 ERA, allowing 17 hits and walking four while striking out eight. Bass went 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA for Triple-A Tucson in 2007 and has a career minor league ERA of 4.12.

San Antonio (3-3) won 4-3 over Tulsa (Rockies)

Chad Huffman banged out two more doubles to give him five on the young season and the outfield reached base three times in the game with an RBI and a run scored. His five doubles have all come over his last four games and he has three RBIs during that span. Huffman led the system with 104 RBIs across two levels last season, collecting 48 extra base hits.

Kyle Blanks went 3-for-4 with a double, but it was his line drive single to centerfield in the bottom of the eighth that proved to be the difference maker, giving the Missions with a two-run cushion heading into the ninth. The slugging first baseman came into the game with two hits in his first 15 Double-A at-bats. Blanks went hitless in six at-bats for the Padres this spring. Blanks was the only player in the system to collect 100 RBIs at one level, hitting .301 for Lake Elsinore with 59 extra base hits.

"I definitely felt like I put a lot more balls out or hit a lot more balls hard where the previous year I hadn't," Blanks said of his 2007 season.

Jon Ellis extended his scoreless streak to three four and five innings to begin the year, picking up the win while yielding just his second hit of the season. The right-hander has thrown 62 pitches on the year and 76 percent have gone for strikes. The South Carolina native walked 32 batters a year ago in 50.1 innings but has not issued a free pass this season. Dating back to last season, Ellis has allowed one run over his last 14 appearances.

Lake Elsinore (4-2) won 12-3 over Visalia (Diamondbacks)

Every player in the lineup notched a hit by the completion of the third inning and every player had a run scored or an RBI by the end of the evening.

Jesus Lopez cracked three hits, including a double, and drove in three to pace a Storm offense that saw six players record multi-hit games. It was the second time in as many days that Lopez has recorded three hits and over the last two games he has driven in five runs. Lopez had just three three-hit nights during the 2007 season for Fort Wayne and six multi-RBI games. Lopez hit .232 across 117 games for the Wizards, hitting .188 with runners in scoring position.

Mike Baxter walked in the first run in the opening frame and added two hits and two more RBIs to give him three on the night. Baxter doubled his hit output for the year with his tally on Tuesday and upped his RBI total to five. Baxter drove in three in a contest on four occasions last season for the Storm but it just .211 with runners in scoring position. He came into this game with one hit in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position.

John Madden came in with the bases juiced and two outs in the fourth. While one inherited runner would score, the right-hander worked a career-high 3.1 innings without allowing a run of his own, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out one to pick up the win. Madden worked more than an inning six times in 43 appearances last year and has never worked more than two innings in a game during his career. He already matched his win total from a year ago when he went 1-4 with a 5.74 ERA.

Fort Wayne (1-5) lost 5-4 to Dayton (Reds)

Left-hander Matt Teague surrendered just two hits in five innings, but both would come around to score – one via small ball and the other via the long ball. Teague retired 10 straight batters at one point and did not walk a batter while whiffing a pair in a no-decision. He had surrendered seven hits over his first three innings of work to begin the year. The southpaw has allowed homes in successive games after giving up six bombs in 48 innings a year ago.

With the game tied at 4-4 in the top of the eighth, Brad Chalk tried to score from second on a Yefri Carvajal pinch-hit single but was gunned down at the dish. Jeremy McBryde, who also allowed just two hits, gave up the game-winner, a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. Both hits allowed by the right-hander went over the fence, accounting for three runs, two earned, over 3.1 innings. It was the first time in his career that he has surrendered two homers in a game. McBryde allowed six bombs last season in 59.1 innings.

Luis Durango went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored from the leadoff spot. The outfielder also swiped his first bag of the year. Durango came into the game with two hits in his first 16 at-bats at Fort Wayne while getting caught stealing in his only attempt. He set a franchise-record for the Eugene Emeralds in 2007 with his 110 hits, as he was named Co-MVP of the Northwest League after leading the circuit with a .367 average.

"When I have two strikes I choke up my bat and I want to put the ball on the ground and in play and run hard," Durango said through a translator.

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