Cooper Sparks Beavers to Open Second Half
Craig Cooper hit a home run and drove in three runs and Sean Kazmar provided the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the seventh as the Portland Beavers took the opening game of a four-game series with a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox at PGE Park Thursday night.
Cooper went deep in the fourth then added a two-run single in the seventh after Kazmar had given the Beavers (35-56) a 4-3 lead. Josh Barfield hit his first home run of the season and Craig Stansberry and Lance Zawadzki had two hits apiece as Portland got its seventh win in its last 11 home games.
Radhames Liz (6-5), making his first relief appearance of the season, pitched a scoreless seventh to earn the victory for Portland.
The Sky Sox (42-49) were held to five hits, including two each by Cole Garner and Matt Miller. Garner also drove in two runs with a pair of doubles.
Scott Rice (0-1) gave up three runs in the seventh while recording just two outs for his first decision with Colorado Springs.
Cory Luebke, making his Triple-A debut for Portland, struck out seven batters while holding the Sky Sox to three runs on four hits and three walks across six innings. He also added an RBI double in the fourth to pick up his first professional RBI.
Luebke's counterpart, Greg Smith, gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk in six innings for the Sky Sox.
Barfield got the Beavers on the board in the second with his first home run of the season, a solo shot to left.
Garner's two-out, two-run bloop double to center put the Sky Sox ahead 2-1 in the third.
In the bottom of the fourth, Cooper drilled his fifth homer of the year before Zawadzki singled and scored on Luebke's double to the right field gap to give Portland a 3-2 lead.
Garner doubled leading off the sixth and scored on Miller's game-tying single up the middle.
Pinch-hitter Dusty Ryan began the seventh for the Beavers with a single to right field and, after moving up to second on Cedric Hunter's sacrifice, came around to score on Kazmar's single off the mitt of leaping second baseman Chris Nelson. A two-out, two-strike plunking of Mike Baxter loaded the bases and Cooper delivered a two-run single through the right side to extend the Portland lead.
Adam Russell locked up his third save with a scoreless ninth.
The Beavers and Sky Sox continue their series at PGE Park Friday night at 7:05 p.m. (Pacific) on Zenner's $1 Menu Friday, with post-game fireworks to follow.
NOTES: Luebke was transferred from Class AA San Antonio earlier in the day as the Beavers placed right-hander Cesar Carrillo on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle ... Barfield started in left field for the first time this season; primarily a second baseman this season, he played in the outfield in 21 games for Triple-A Columbus in 2009 ... Barfield had not gone deep since Aug. 23, 2009 ... Cooper's home run was his first since June 11 ... Cooper leads the team with 48 RBIs and 14 multi-RBI games ... Luebke and Rice were teammates at San Antonio in 2009.
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