Beavers Rally Falls Short Against Grizzlies
FRESNO, Calif. - Brett Pill hit a three-run homer and Kevin Pucetas pitched six strong innings as the Fresno Grizzlies nearly wasted a six-run lead but held on to defeat the Portland Beavers 7-6 at Chukchansi Park on Sunday.
Mike McBryde had two hits and Buster Posey had two walks and two runs for the Grizzlies (5-6), who were outhit by Portland 13-9 on the day.
Pucetas (1-1) was effective, holding Portland to one run on six hits, before giving way to a shaky bullpen.
The loss spoiled a four-hit effort by Portland's Mike Baxter, who was not retired until the ninth inning, with the tying run on second and two outs. Baxter had two singles and two doubles, Luis Durango and Chris Denorfia had two hits apiece and Aaron Cunningham had a key, pinch-hit, two-run triple as part of the Beavers' (5-6) five-run eighth inning.
Nathan Culp (0-1), making his Triple-A debut for the Beavers after joining the team from Class AA San Antonio earlier in the day, gave up seven runs (5 earned) on eight hits and three walks in five innings.
Up 2-0 in the third, Fresno extended its lead with Pill's three-run homer to left.
After Baxter doubled and scored in the fourth, Fresno tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the inning when Craig Stansberry fielded a grounder and threw it into the first base dugout. At that point, the Grizzlies had a comfortable 7-1 lead.
But the Beavers rallied for five runs off Horacio Ramirez in the eighth. With one out, Denorfia tripled and scored on Craig Cooper's groundout. Portland then strung together five hits, starting with singles by Baxter and Lance Zawadzki. Cunningham followed with a two-run triple and Sean Kazmar drove him in with a single. Chris Stewart doubled home Kazmar to bring Portland within a run before Denny Bautista induced a flyout by Durango.
After putting out the fire in the eighth, Bautista slammed the door on Portland in the ninth for his first save.
The Beavers wrap up their series in Fresno at 7:05 p.m. (Pacific) Monday night before heading to Sacramento for four games beginning on Tuesday.
NOTES: Before the game, left-hander Wade LeBlanc was recalled by San Diego to start against Arizona; he struck out seven and allowed one run over five innings in the Padres' win ... the Beavers had two triples in one inning for the second time this season after failing to hit two triples in any game in 2009 ... the eighth inning was the Beavers' third five-run inning in the last two games ... Baxter's four hits were his most since May 29, 2009 ... the Beavers' last five-hit game was on Sept. 2, 2008, when Justin Huber had five hits against Tacoma ... Durango stole his team-leading ninth base.
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Pacific Coast League Stories from April 18, 2010
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