Ambres RBI machine; Missions add arm

Brian Myrow gets on – Chip Ambres drives them in. The Padres added an arm, Philip Barzilla, on Monday – about the only bright spot in San Antonio. The Storm are shutout for the sixth time this month. Drew Cumberland is heating up – with a regular playing position.

Portland (26-23) won 6-3 over Salt Lake (Angels)

Chip Ambres reached base three times but it was his triple with the bases juiced in the fifth that put the Beavers ahead for good. He also drew a walk and was hit by a pitch, scoring once. Ambres took over the team lead in RBIs with his effort on Monday, giving him 35 for the season. He is 2-for-4 with seven RBIs with the bases juiced this season. Ambres has three triples in his last 10 games and nine extra base hits in his last 12.

Brian Myrow collected two singles and a walk, scoring each time he reached base. Over his last 25 games, Myrow is 32-for-88 – a .364 average – with 10 doubles, four homers, 23 RBIs and 23 runs scored. With 38 walks compared to 37 strikeouts on the season, Myrow has a .467 on-base percentage, which stands second in the Pacific Coast League.

Enrique Gonzalez tossed an even 100 pitches, giving up three runs, one earned, on six hits and two walks while fanning a half-dozen to move to 2-2. The right-hander has won his last two starts and has surrendered five earned runs over his last three starts, spanning 16 innings. Gonzalez had walked three or more in five straight games coming into the contest. He has given up nine runs in the first inning, but six have been unearned.

San Antonio (23-27) lost 9-2 to Arkansas (Angels)

Mike Ekstrom was pummeled over 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, a hit batsman and a walk. Five of the hits went for extra bases, as he dropped to 2-4. It is the sixth time in 11 starts that the right-hander has allowed five or more runs and the seventh time he has given up more hits than innings pitched. Thirty-one of the 73 hits he has surrendered in 47.2 innings have gone for extra bases.

As for dropping Ekstrom from the rotation in favor of Manny Ayala?

"I can't answer that," an exasperated Masse said.

The offense managed just five hits on the afternoon and no player managed a multi-hit game. They have hit 12 homers at their home park with Kyle Blanks leading the way with his three bombs. Only one other player has more than one. They have six more games at home than on the road but have 19 dingers away from San Antonio. The team is slugging .372 at the Wolff and .407 away from home.

"Sometimes when you get a homestand here it can beat you down offensively," Masse said. "You come in for three games and can sneak in one good game – and that is what they did this series offensively – but if you play here all the time, it beats guys down. Everyday you come to the park and the wind is blowing in 30 MPH straight in."

The Padres signed left-hander Philip Barzilla on Monday and assigned him to Double-A. The Texas native went 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA across seven games for Triple-A Tacoma this season before getting released in early May.

"I got the organization line, ‘it is a numbers game,'" Barzilla said of his release from the Seattle system. "I signed with them because they promised me a role, and San Diego, obviously, was also on my list."

Barzilla, 29, came into the year with a 46-38 career minor league mark after being drafted in the fourth-round of the 2001 draft by Houston. In 253 games, including 61 starts, he posted a 3.73 ERA, holding the opposition to a .269 average against. He worked in one major league game for the Houston Astros, giving up one hit and recording one out. He was a six-year free agent when he signed with the Mariners.

"I throw a fastball, curveball and changeup," Barzilla said. "Smoke and mirrors."

Barzilla's changeup came in the 73-75 MPH, his curveball hit 80 almost each time he threw it, and his fastball was clocked in the 82-84 MPH range during his one inning of work. He retired the side in order, striking out a pair.

"He threw it over the plate," Masse said. "That is all I cared about right then."

Lake Elsinore (23-28) lost 5-0 to Lancaster (Red Sox)

The Storm offense put the ball in play, striking out once, but managed just three hits on the day. Rayner Contreras tripled to open the fifth but he would not touch home. It was the sixth time Lake Elsinore has been shutout this month. Once the top hitting team in the league, they now have a .252 cumulative average – second worst in the California League. They have the second fewest number of homers in the circuit – more than 30 away from the league leader.

Brooks Dunn got the starting nod after spending some time in the pen, giving up three runs on five hits and a pair of walks over three innings, dropping to 2-3 on the season. The left-hander had worked in seven straight appearances as a reliever, posting a 4.15 ERA. Across eight starts, Dunn has amassed a 8.10 ERA. He has surrendered 63 hits in 42 innings of work, as the opposition is teeing off at a .360 clip and left-handed hitters are swatting .412.

Justin Hampson worked to the minimum over two scoreless frames, striking out a pair and getting four fly outs. The left-hander has not allowed a hit in his four innings of rehab work, striking out four.

Fort Wayne (25-26) lost 5-3 to Great Lakes (Dodgers)

On a night that saw the Wizards ground into four double plays, giving them 35 rally killers on the year, Drew Cumberland reached base three times via a pair of hits and a walk. He also scored a run. It was his fourth straight multi-hit game and extended his hitting streak to nine games. Cumberland is 14-for-36 – a .389 average – with just three runs scored. He has pushed his average up from .206 to .247 during the streak. His last 24 games in the field have come at shortstop.

Allen Harrington evened his record at 2-2 after allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings, striking out four. Four of those hits went for extra bases. The southpaw had allowed 11 extra base hits over his first 46.2 innings of work coming into the game. Harrington picked off a runner and was aided by a runner thrown out at home. The opposition has a .314 average to lead off an inning against Harrington.

Robert Woodard surrendered a run on two hits – both for extra bases – while striking out two over two innings. Twenty-three of the 41 hits he has surrendered this season have gone for extra bases. The right-hander has walked just two over his last 20.2 innings of work. Woodard has a 4.70 ERA as a reliever over seven appearances after compiling a 3.80 ERA across five starts.

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