Canham doubles up; Wilkes in Elsinore

Wade LeBlanc didn't look sharp in his first outing of the season while Chad Huffman got on the board with a homer. Mitch Canham slugged a pair of doubles, Nathan Culp notched another win, and Brandon Gomes looked great as a closer. Injuries beset Lake Elsinore, as Chris Wilkes was called up fron extended. Keoni Ruth had a big day and coaching thoughts after losing four straight.

Portland (3-1) lost 5-4 to Fresno (Giants)

Wade LeBlanc labored through four innings, tossing 76 pitches. The left-hander allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while fanning six. He surrendered two homers and was charged with three wild pitches. LeBlanc has allowed 13 homers over his last nine games dating back to last year. LeBlanc went 11-9 with a 5.32 ERA across 26 games for Portland, posting a 2.86 ERA after the All-Star break. He went on to San Diego where he went 1-3 with an 8.02 ERA across five games, including four starts. This spring with San Diego, LeBlanc allowed eight runs on seven hits and five walks in six innings.

Chad Huffman produced the lone multi-hit game for the Beavers, hitting a two-run homer in the eighth inning to cap a four-run frame. The outfielder went 7-for-25 with two doubles, two homers, and seven RBIs for the Padres in big league camp. Huffman hit just nine homers last season in Double-A San Antonio but did manage to bat .284. It took 17 games for his first homer to appear last season.

Arturo Lopez tossed a pair of scoreless innings, yielding two hits while striking out a trio in a 32-pitch effort that included 24 strikes. Lopez was brilliant in big league camp for the Padres, yielding three runs on 10 hits while fanning 12 across 12.2 innings this spring in his bid for a bullpen spot. Lopez spent much of last season in the Mexican League where he went 9-3 with a 3.45 ERA across 16 outings, including 14 starts. Coming back late in the year to the Pacific Coast League, Lopez went 0-3 with a 13.14 ERA in three outings.

San Antonio (3-1) won 10-7 over Tulsa (Rockies)

Nathan Culp worked five innings, yielding two runs, one earned, on seven hits while striking out two to pick up the win. Culp did not walk a batter in a 74-pitch effort that saw 66-percent of his pitches go for strikes. Culp has won 28 games over the last two-plus seasons and went 14-8 with a 3.83 ERA last season for the Storm. He allowed two runs or less in 12 of his 26 starts with Lake Elsinore.

Mitch Canham doubled in each of his first two at-bats producing a run in the opening frame and driving in another two an inning later. He ended the night 3-for-5 with a run scored and three RBI. He also went 0-for-1 in throwing out base runners attempting to steal and was charged for catcher interference and a passed ball. Canham went 3-for-13 this spring in big league camp with the Padres. The backstop hit .285 with Lake Elsinore a year ago, driving in 81 while notching 41 extra base hits.

Eric Sogard, who led the California League in doubles last year with 42, added two more on Sunday to give him three for the young campaign. The second baseman was 2-for-4 on the day with a walk and two runs scored. Sogard hit .308 across 133 games with Lake Elsinore last year, drawing more walks (79) than strikeouts (62). He has scored six runs on the young season with four extra base hits.

Brandon Gomes picked up his first save of the season, striking out the side on 14 pitches in the top of the ninth to preserve the victory. The right-hander has recorded five of his six outs this season by way of the strikeout. Gomes split last year between Fort Wayne and Lake Elsinore, going 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA across 22 appearances with the Storm and striking out 36 in 28 frames. He had a 3.49 ERA in 29 appearances with Fort Wayne but had never come in with a save opportunity.

Lake Elsinore (0-4) lost 5-2 to Visalia (Diamondbacks)

Jeremy McBryde was placed on the disabled list with a lower back injury. He suffered the injury during MLB camp where he pitched a pair of innings. The right-hander worked a bullpen session and felt a tweak earlier this week. The Padres decided to skip his start and go with Chris Wilkes out of extended. Wilkes was put on a 65-pitch limit after going three innings down in Arizona.

"I got a call Friday night and got here at about 11 on Saturday," Wilkes said. "I charted to see what there tendencies were to get an idea of the team I would be facing."

Wilkes lasted 3.1 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out one. He also hit a batter and tossed a wild pitch. He surrendered a two-run homer and had two on when he left but neither would score. Wilkes worked in the Arizona Rookie League last season. He went 7-1 with a 3.21 ERA across 15 outings. Sunday marked the first time in his minor league career that he has walked two in a game.

"I had the butterflies going and know I could have done better," Wilkes said. "I gave up one bad pitch – a two-seam that didn't stay down. It was a little flat. He took it over the big wall.

"I hadn't thrown in a week so I didn't feel like I could throw it where I usually can. I didn't feel like I had my velocity but I think it was because I hadn't thrown in a week, just bullpens and flat ground. My fastball – usually I can spot it but it didn't work out that well today."

"I think he got into a mode the second time through where it hurt him," Storm pitching coach Dave Rajsich said. "He threw fastball, fastball, fastball, and they adjusted."

Keoni Ruth had a night of perfection, going 3-for-3 with a walk and the lone Storm RBI. After hits in the second and fourth, Felix Carrasco wiped him out with double play grounders. Ruth hit .246 with the Storm last season, playing a variety of positions. He had three games with three hits or more across 82 overall.

"Double plays killed us," Storm manager Carlos Lezcano said. "In three out of four innings, we hit into double plays."

"Ruth swung the bat well," Lezcano said. "He hit well in spring training too. It is too bad he didn't hit with men on base."

"Execution will be real important," Ruth said. "When we get guys into scoring position, we have to score them. We have to get those RBI."

"Execution is really big," Storm hitting coach Shane Spencer said. "We talked about it numerous times during spring training. We have to get it done when the situation presents.

"It is a little bit like last year when we struggled with men in scoring position early in the year. It will get there, but we haven't had that big hit yet.

"It seems like all four games we have been a little passive. I know we are trying to see some pitches but after playing them four times you get a pretty good idea that they pound the strike zone early. Next series, if they are pounding the zone early, we will make the adjustment."

"I was a little disappointed because we threw a lot more strikes in spring training, averaging maybe one or two walks a game," Storm pitching coach Rajsich said of his pitching staff through four games. "We have walked quite a few through four games – that has surprised me. The leadoff men are on way too much. Us holding runners has been outstanding. We are pitching a little bit away from contact – maybe nibbling too much. We are falling behind way too much and not making good pitches when we are behind in the count. We stress the fastball command down and away and are not doing it."

McBryde will see how he feels in his next bullpen session before a determination on his eligibility to pitch is made.

Robert Woodard felt some shoulder stiffness after his last outing and awoke with pain the same night. He is being rested and is day-to-day. Wilkes will stay in Lake Elsinore while the fate of both McBryde and Woodard is decided.

Fort Wayne (3-0) had a scheduled day off

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