Beavers warm up arctic Portland

PORTLAND, OR- What is April baseball in Portland? Try forty degree temperatures with windy swirling pre-game rains and maybe an hour or two of partial sunshine in the afternoon.

A "let's play two day" it ain't.

Cesar Ramos kept the Beavers close over 5.1 innings, despite not having his best stuff. He didn't retire any of the Redhawks in order and allowed either a walk or an extra-base hit every inning. Still, he held Oklahoma City scoreless over the last three frames to maintain a one run differential and keep Portland close.

In the second inning, Redhawks first baseman Kevin Mench tripled to right-center, in all probability his first and last of the season, greatly aided by a slick warning track as his ample frame rumbled around the bases. Third baseman Ryan Roberts brought him home with a single to right. Left fielder John Mayberry, who was just promoted from Double-A, then smoked a double to left-center scoring Roberts.

Ramos came back to get the next three batters, stranding Mayberry at second and limiting the damage to two runs in what could have turned out to be a big inning.

The Beavers rallied with catcher Nick Hundley's sacrifice fly scoring first baseman Bryan Myrow to cut the Redhawks lead in half. Right fielder Nelson Cruz then came back in the Redhawks' half of the inning with his second home run of the series, both of them over right-center.

In the bottom of the third with runners on first and third, left fielder Chase Headley was called out on three straight pitches, the third called strike nearly bounced on home plate as the umpire signaled a rather theatrical punch-out.

Headley, suffering from a rough first month, didn't take the call well, indicating with his bat where the ball landed causing him to be thrown out of the game, the first Beaver this year.

"The first thing I try to find out is why he got tossed and if I deem the response half way understanding then I go with it. Chase is frustrated and he overreacted a little which is why he was ejected," said Beavers manager Randy Ready.

The Beavers, however, came back with a two out broken bat single by jack-of-all trades Edgar Gonzalez, who was in right field today, to right to drive in two. Gonzalez, a career .297 minor league hitter, has been one of the Beavers bright spots this year, playing six different positions and leading the team in batting average.

In the sixth, Ramos was pulled for Mike Adams with runners on first and third and one out. Hundley gunned down the runner trying to steal second and on the next pitch and Adams induced a ground out to first.

In the seventh, centerfielder Chip Ambres, who replaced the ejected Headley, homered to left with right fielder Jody Gerut on first to give the Beavers the lead for the first time in the game.

Dirk Hayhurst came in for the final two innings striking out the side in the eighth on eight pitches and then finishing off the Redhawks in the ninth with an additional strikeout for his first save of the year.

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