Greg Burke, given his first chance to save a game in Triple-A, would not succeed but picked up the win when Emil Brown doubled in a run. He allowed one run on two hits but pitched a perfect tenth. Burke saved his first 14 games in Double-A last season, going 23-for-26 on the year. The right-hander struck out 92 in 84.1 Texas League innings, allowing 76 hits. He allowed runs in 14 of his 59 outings.
Will Venable scored the winning run in the 10th, notching a one-out single before coming around on Brown's double. The outfielder also had a fourth inning triple and a double an inning later. Venable had two runs scored on the day but also committed an error that led to an unearned run. Venable hit .295 this spring for the Padres in 44 at-bats, collecting three extra base hits and seven RBI. He had six multi-extra base hit games with Portland last year before batting .264 in 28 games with San Diego.
It took Cesar Ramos 75 pitches to make it through four innings, as the left-hander allowed three runs, one earned, on four hits and four walks while fanning one. He also tossed two wild pitches in a no-decision. Ramos pitched in seven games this spring with San Diego, allowing 17 runs on 27 hits and nine walks over 14 innings. He went 9-11 with a 5.29 ERA across 28 outings a season ago. He walked four or more men five times in 2008.
San Antonio (1-1) lost 8-6 to NW Arkansas (Royals)
Chris Britton was on the hook for four runs on three hits and a walk in his lone inning of work. The right-hander was also called for a balk – something that has never happened during his previous eight seasons in the minors and majors. Britton – a candidate for the bullpen in San Diego – allowed two runs on four hits and four walks across 5.1 innings this spring. He opened the year with a career 2.82 ERA across 335 innings as a minor leaguer.
Will Inman made it through four-plus innings but was pulled after tossing 77 pitches. The right-hander allowed two runs on five hits and a walk while striking out four. He also hit a batter and induced seven of his outs through the air. Twelve times last season, Inman was pulled before pitching through the fifth inning – most due to a high pitch count. He was 9-8 with a 3.52 ERA for San Antonio a season ago, leading the Texas League in strikeouts and walks.
Luis Durango had three hits in five at-bats out of the leadoff spot, scoring a run and driving in one. The outfielder also added three stolen bases, swiping second each time. He has five hits over his first two games. He had three multi-steal games last year but had never been successful three times in a contest. Durango attempted three on July 4, 2008 but was caught once. Durango has only played 17 games in High-A, hitting .431 over that span. Durango stole a team-high four bags in minor league spring training.
Lake Elsinore (0-2) lost 5-3 to Visalia (Diamondbacks)
Jeremy Hefner was charged with four runs, one earned, on seven hits and two walks across 4.1 innings. The right-hander fanned four and hit a batter – leaving with the bases loaded only to see all runners come across and score. Hefner pitched on regular season game in Lake Elsinore last year, giving up two runs on three hits over five frames. Hefner went 10-5 with a 3.33 ERA across 29 games for Fort Wayne, surrendering 7.5 hits per nine innings.
Beamer Weems notched two hits in four at-bats, notching his team leading second double and scoring a run. The shortstop hit .186 with 13 hits in 70 at-bats for Eugene of the Northwest League but also drew 18 walks compared to 17 strikouts. Moved up to Double-A due to injury, Weems collected five hits in 17 at-bats. Eight of his 18 hits last year went for extra bases.
Dylan Axelrod came in with the bases juiced only to see an error ruin his chance for getting out of the inning with minimal damage. After the error, he issued a walk and gave up a two-run single. Axelrod pitched an inning and two-thirds and had no runs charged to his ledger. The right-hander stranded all but four of the 15 runners he inherited in Lake Elsinore a season ago. He was 2-1 with a 5.29 ERA across 32 games with the Storm, striking out 55 in 49.1 innings.
Fort Wayne (2-0) won 5-4 over Lansing (Blue Jays)
Nick Schmidt, pitching for the first time since July 27, 2007, allowed three runs on two hits and four walks while striking out five across four innings of work. Schmidt underwent Tommy John surgery and missed the 2008 season. The left-hander and former first-round pick worked just seven innings in his debut season before injury. He allowed five runs on eight hits and six walks over that three-game span.
Erik Davis pitched two scoreless innings of relief to pick up the victory, striking out three while not allowing a hit. The right-hander has allowed three runs over his last 24.2 innings dating back to last year. The Stanford alumnus posted a 2-0 mark and 2.70 ERA across 26.2 innings, giving up 19 hits while striking out 39.
Brad Brach earned his first save of the season, working a perfect ninth inning. The right-hander has struck out three across two scoreless innings to begin the year. Pitching for the AZL Padres last season, Brach earned four saves in five chances while posting a 2.01 ERA across 22.1 innings. He has allowed one run over his last 11 innings dating back to last year.
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