Cory Luebke went six strong, allowing one run on three hits and a walk while fanning nine. The lone blow came via a solo homer. Luebke has given up six homers over his last four starts. This was the third time in seven Portland starts that he has allowed two runs or less and the second time he has given up two hits or fewer. He has held the opposition to a .212 average for the year.
Josh Barfield hit a three-run homer in the sixth inning that provided the cushion needed to eke out the win. He was 2-for-4 on the day, running his RBI total to 34. He has successive multi-hit games and five over his last 10 games. Over that span, the utility man has 10 RBI and seven runs scored. He has a .310 average across his last 31 contests.
San Antonio (24-25, 59-60) won 6-4 over Springfield (Cardinals)
Erik Davis improved to 2-0 in the Texas League and 12-3 overall, giving up one run on two hits across five innings, striking out four and recording six ground ball outs while hitting one batter. The right-hander has allowed two runs or less in two of his three San Antonio starts and in 11 of his 23 overall across three leagues.
Craig Cooper had a pinch-hit single with the bases loaded in the sixth inning during a three-run frame. The right-handed hitting Cooper is 6-for-12 as a pinch-hitter across two leagues with four RBI. He is 3-for-15 since returning to Double-A, missing two weeks to injury. Cooper hit .248 in 102 games for Portland with 64 RBI and 43 runs scored. He also went 5-for8 in his final two games with three homers and seven RBI.
Lake Elsinore (26-23, 72-47) won 18-6 over High Desert (Mariners)
Five batters into the opening frame, Jaff Decker connected for a grand slam homer. It was the first hit of the day for Lake Elsinore, although far from the last, and his second grand slam in four games. Decker added a two-run homer two innings later. The outfielder ended the game with three hits and six RBI before getting a breather. Decker has three homers in his last four games and seven over his last 12. He has 20 RBI over that span and has scored 16 runs, touching home in 11 of those contests.
Cody Decker cracked his 22nd homer of the season, a two-run blast in the sixth. He also added a double, falling a triple shy of the cycle on a 3-for-6 day that included three RBI and three runs scored. With 54 extra-base hits, he is tied for fourth in the California League. He had been in a 6-for-35 slump coming into play. Decker is fourth in the circuit with 120 strikeouts.
Fort Wayne (30-19, 66-53) lost 5-3 to Lansing (Blue Jays)
Pedro Hernandez delivered five innings of one run ball. He allowed five hits and a walk while fanning three and recording six ground ball outs. The left-hander has posted a 3.31 ERA across 11 starts with the TinCaps, allowing one earned run or less in six of his outings. He has allowed just three runs in the first two innings of the game.
Stiven Osuna suffered the loss, giving up a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth to break a 3-3 tie. He would fan two in his two innings of work. Osuna came into play having allowed one run over his previous 11.1 innings of work. The right-hander has a 2.03 ERA since the All-Star break and is holding right-handed hitters to a .191 average on the year.
Eugene (10-8, 25-31) won 2-1 over Yakima (Diamondbacks)
Matt Branham worked five innings of one-run ball. He yielded two hits and the lone run to score should have been unearned, as the runner stopped at third base before Rymer Liriano booted the ball. He tossed 75 pitches, moving to 4-3, by allowing the one run on two hits while fanning six.
"I was throwing all three pitches down in the zone and it seemed to work," Branham said. "It was a good, close game that was a lot of fun to watch. Getting ground balls is what I am trying to do."
The right-hander threw 13 first-pitch strikes to the 19 batters he faced, mixing in his fastball at 89-91 and a changeup that filtered in at 79-82 with great bite.
"The changeup is a pitch I have been working on all year long," he said. "It was feeling really good and I went out there and threw it today."
Branham battled back from a few 3-0 counts and went deep with a few of the Yakima hitters.
"I don't want to give in and throw them a pitch down the middle," Branham said. "At the same time, I don't want to walk them. It has to be a quality pitch that is down in the zone."
Cole Tyrell hit the first Emeralds home run Rico Noel belted one on August 1. He took a 1-0 fastball over the left field wall. He also added a sacrifice bunt in the seventh inning. It was his second homer as a professional after hitting one with the AZL Padres.
"Just like any at-bat, I am trying to get a good pitch to hit," Tyrell said. "I was able to put a better swing on it than my first at-bat and it left the yard. Right place at the right time, the fastball ran into my barrel.
"We have been playing well at home and better in the second half. As long as we keep that up, we will be in good shape."
Tyrell entered play with three hits in 32 at-bats for the Emeralds.
"I have been feeling better," he said. "I haven't been getting a lot of at-bats because I have been working on catching – that is the reason I got brought up here. Now, with injuries, I have more playing time. More regular at-bats and better pitch selection is what it is about."
Moved to third base, the ball seemed to find him a bunch during the game and he made all the plays.
"I have a magnet in my glove," Tyrell said. "It was nice to get some action over there."
Wes Cunningham drilled a first pitch double into the right-center gap following the Emeralds first hit of the game, a single by Tyler Stubblefield that opened the fifth. The two-bagger put the Ems ahead 1-0. He also added a walk. Cunningham is hitting .284 on the season with runners on base, adding six extra-base hits in those situations.
"It was a fastball," Cunningham said. "I try to keep the same approach with runners on base. Sometimes it is hard not to put too much pressure on yourself. I am trying to keep it up the middle and put a good swing on it.
Robert Sabo was saved by a ground-rule double in the ninth. After a one-out walk, a ball one hopped the wall and put the runner rounding third back on the bag. He walked the bases loaded before getting a double play on a 3-1 pitch to end the game.
"A real close game with not many hits," Cunningham said. "In that last inning, you are hoping to get the ground ball. It was a bang-bang play at first and we lucked out."
Faced with the prospect of going 0-0 with four walks, Rymer Liriano drilled a 3-0 fastball into left center field for a double.
AZL Padres (16-27) win 11-4 over AZL Angels
B.J. Guinn reached base three times out of the leadoff spot, going 2-for-4 with a walk. He scored each time he reached, stole a pair of bases and drove in one. Guinn also notched his first triple of the year. The outfielder has swiped 13 bags in 16 opportunities across two leagues, stealing more than one base in four games. He has reached base safely in 19 of his 20 AZL Padres games.
Gunnar Terhune reached base three times from the two-hole, scoring each time he touched. The outfielder also notched an RBI, his third, and stole his third bag – all three coming in his last two games. Terhune has scored six times in his last two after touching home five times in his first 14. He has drawn two walks or more in four games.
DSL Padres (24-38*) lost 8-2 to DSL White Sox
Cristhofer Martinez reached base three times on a day that saw the club manage three hits. He walked twice and added a single, scoring both DSL Padres runs. Martinez owns a 25-to-34 walk-to-strikeout ratio, pushing his .212 average up to a .322 on-base percentage. He is hitting .276 over his last 11 games but he has scored just three runs over his last 18 games.
Andres Cornelio suffered his eighth loss against zero victories, giving up eight runs on 10 hits and five walks across 3.2 innings. He also hit a batter and tossed two wild pitches. It is the seventh time in 12 outings that he has allowed four runs or more. It is also the eighth time he has walked at least four. He has issued a free pass to 49 in 42.1 innings while hitting nine batters and tossing 15 wild pitches.
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