Will Venable swatted two homers, giving him three for the young season. He hit a two-out homer in the opening frame and added another solo shot in the fourth. Unfortunately for Portland, Venable's homers were the only runs scored. He last smacked a pair of dingers in a game on May 12, 2008. Eight of his 17 hits this season have gone for extra bases – two doubles, three triples, and three homers.
Josh Banks, moved from a starting role to the bullpen, provided two innings of scoreless relief. He pitched to the minimum, striking out four of the six batters he faced. Banks had surrendered four runs on eight hits over a five-inning stint on April 13. Banks made five relief appearance sin Portland a season ago, giving up nine runs on 12 hits across seven innings.
Matt Buschmann was given the hook after four innings and 85 pitches thrown. The right-hander allowed three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out six. All three runs came across on solo homers by the opposition. The three bombs tied a career-high – matched on May 2 last year with San Antonio. All four of the homers he has given up have been of the solo variety.
San Antonio (5-7) lost 9-3 to Tulsa (Rockies)
After two hits and a run two batters into the game, Will Inman settled in over the next five frames, seeing one unearned run cross in the third. Four batters into the sixth, however, Inman had not recorded an out and was lifted. He was charged with six runs, three earned, on five hits while striking out five. He did not walk a batter - a feat he accomplished in just one of his 28 starts a year ago. Inman has allowed 10 runs over his last nine innings of work, as the opposition is hitting .429 off him with runners on base.
Neil Jamison was on the hook for two runs on two hits and a hit batsman in his lone frame. The right-hander, who changed his arm slot and is working even lower than in the past, has surrendered runs in three of his first four outings. Left-handed hitters are 3-for-4 off him to begin the season. Jamison has yet to strikeout a batter. Jamison went 1-2 with two saves and a 2.55 ERA in 29 appearances a season ago before losing the rest of the season to injury in mid-July.
Jesus Lopez smacked his first homer of the year, a two-run blast in the second. An error by Lopez to open the sixth inning, however, led to a five-run inning that saw two unearned runs cross. Lopez was replaced in that same inning. The shortstop committed 13 errors in 116 games last season across two levels. He already has four errors through 11 games to begin the 2009 season. Lopez hit just two homers a season ago - both coming in a four-game span from July 29 - August 1.
Lake Elsinore (6-7) won 6-3 over San Jose (Giants)
Cory Luebke was on the hook for three runs on eight hits and four walks over 5.1 innings. He also tossed two wild pitches while striking out a half-dozen. The southpaw had given up two runs over his first 12.2 innings of work. His four walks set a new career-high; he had previously walked three on four occasions – all coming last season. Luebke allowed eight or more hits seven times across two leagues a season ago.
Lance Zawadzki provided the lone Storm run through the first seven innings, hitting a solo homer off highly touted prospect Tim Alderson. He struck again in the eighth, hitting a two-run blast to tie the game at 3-3. The shortstop has three homers in his last two games and a five-game hitting streak to begin his California League tour. Zawadzki hit just two homers over his first 73 games in Fort Wayne a year ago before ending the year with seven total.
Bryan Oland came in protecting a one-run lead in the eighth, inheriting a pair of runners and nobody out. Two ground outs, which included a double play, ended the threat. He went on to work a flawless ninth to earn his third save. It is the first time this year in five outings that he has faced the minimum. Oland recorded five double play groundes a year ago and prevented all but one of the 12 runners he inherited last year from scoring.
Fort Wayne (10-1) lost 5-2 to West Michigan (Tigers)
Anthony Bass took the loss – the TinCaps first of the season. The reigning Minor League Pitcher of the Week in the Midwest League gave up one run on four hits and three walks while striking out five over four innings. It was his first run allowed after blanking the opposition over 12 innings in his first two starts. Bass came into the game having not walked a batter.
Eric Gonzalez allowed two runs on three hits while fanning three over two innings of work. The right-hander gave up more hits in this outing than he had in his previous six innings of work. Gonzalez had surrendered one hit all year and that hit was erased on a double play. In fact, Gonzalez had pitched to the minimum in his first six innings.
Colt Hynes also saw his ledger of perfection get nicked on Tuesday. The left-hander had tossed 4.1 innings of scoreless ball until getting touched for two runs, one earned, on two hits and a walk while fanning one on Tuesday. Hynes went 0-2 with a 4.60 ERA last season with the Wizards, appearing in 32 games. He allowed 60 hits in 45 innings while striking out 38.
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