Bees fall to Portland 7-4
Salt Lake starter Joe Saunders had trouble finding the plate, and when he did, Portland batters punished him with timely hitting to hand him his first loss on the season. For the second consecutive outing, the Angels’ first round pick from 2002 failed to make it out of the fifth inning, giving up five runs, all earned, on five hits and a half dozen walks in 4.2 innings. The six free passes is the most he has ever issued in a game as a professional.
Erick Aybar drew his first walk in 43 plate appearances on the year. Howie Kendrick, who had a single and double on the night to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, also has just one base on balls in his first 50 plate appearances. The duo has still reached base 40 times in the Bees’ first 11 games.
Although the club entered the game hitting .379 with runners in scoring position, they were only 3-for-11 in such situations on the night. The Bees stranded eight runners total.
Jason Bulger worked another inning and third of shutout ball in the contest. In 5.2 innings, the righty acquired from the Diamondbacks during spring training has allowed only three hits and struck out seven.
Travelers drilled by Tulsa, 7-6
A productive night from the middle of the Arkansas order couldn’t overcome a rocky start by Jesse Smith as Arkansas dropped their home opener to the Drillers.
Brandon Wood, Matthew Brown and Mike Eylward, the Trav’s 3-4-5 hitters, collected seven hits – four for extra bases – on the night, but Greg Porter was the only other player to collect a hit for the team. Eylward, who entered the night fifth in the league in hitting, went 2-for-4 and drove in a pair. Both hits drove in Matt Brown, who was a triple short of the cycle on the night. Wood was 4-for-5.
Smith, who entered the year with a 5.12 career ERA, has been hit hard in both starts so far this season. Sunday he gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings to take the loss. He has surrendered 16 hits and recorded only two strike outs in 11 innings of work. Right-handers have feasted on him for a .417 average on the young year.
Porter, who had a pair of doubles Sunday, has now hit in five straight. Brown has reached base in 10 in a row.
Rancho rocked by Lancaster 7-5
The JetHawks hit Quakes starter Karl Gelinas early and often, getting to him for seven runs on 11 hits over five innings. Top outfield prospect Carlos Gonzalez tagged him for a pair of homers, and Josh Ford hit a two-run shot as well to account for the scoring.
Gelinas fell victim to the challenges of Clear Channel Stadium, one of the most brutal pitchers’ parks in affiliated baseball. With the wind blowing up to 30 miles per hour, several routine pop flies turned into hits for both teams.
Catcher Ben Johnson hit his first homer of the season for the Quakes. The former Washington Husky, has seen his slugging percentage go up at each stop he has made at the bottom of the Angels’ system. The two-run shot ended Lancaster starter Matt Chico’s scoreless inning streak to start the year at 11.2 innings.
Cody Fuller’s two-out ninth inning double drove in a run and brought the winning run to the plate, but shortstop Devin Day, playing for Sean Rodriguez, struck out swinging to end the game.
The Kernels had the night off and open a four-game series at West Michigan Monday.