Quakes pitching better, hitting worse

One game after allowing 17 runs for the second straight game, the Quakes had a more reasonable performance, yielding only five runs at hitter-friendly Stater Bros. Stadium on Wednesday night.

But the Quakes themselves could manage only six hits in a 5-1 loss to the Mavericks. Hank Conger was the only Quake with multiple hits. He was 2-for-4 with the team’s lone extra-base hit, a double.

The Quakes had tied the score 1-1 in the top of the seventh when P.J. Phillips’ RBI single scored Mark Trumbo. But in the bottom of the inning, the Mavericks scored four runs against starter Tommy Mendoza (3-7) and reliever Brian Chambers, making his first appearance for the team. Carlos Peguero’s single scored Greg Halman with the go-ahead run with no outs.

The Quakes also committed five errors on the game, but only one of the runs was unearned.


Quakes pitching falters again

For the second straight game, the Quakes scored seven runs, but unfortunately for the second straight game, the pitching staff also allowed 17 runs as they were routed by the host Mavericks 17-7 in Adelanto on Tuesday night. The 66ers won at the Epicenter against the Quakes on Monday, 17-7.

Starter Trevor Bell (5-6) allowed 12 earned runs in four-plus innings. The Mavericks (28-37) scored all of their runs in the first six innings. Greg Halman hit two home runs, his league-leading 18th and 19th of the season to lead the Mavericks and Carlos Triunfel added a two-run homer, his first.

The Quakes (27-38) had only six hits, two apiece by Anthony Norman, Ryan Mount and Hank Conger. Conger drove in four runs, while Norman hit his 12th home run of the season.

Quakes turn triple play in win over 66ers

Victories have been rare for the Quakes this season, but on Saturday the Quakes not only got that with an 8-6 win over the 66ers, but they got something even rarer: a triple play.

Trailing 8-4 in the eighth, the Sixers had runners on first and third with one out when Bridger Hunt hit a sinking line drive towards shortstop P.J. Phillips. Phillips short-hopped the ball, stepped on second to get Jaime Pedroza, then threw to first baseman Mark Trumbo to retire Hunt. Scott Van Slyke, who got a late jump waiting to see if the ball would drop, tried to score on the play, but Trumbo threw to catcher Flint Wipke. Van Slyke tried to get around Wipke and touch home, but he was tagged out before he could do so.

It was the first Quakes triple play since May 14, 2004, also against the 66ers, and was the fourth in franchise history.

It is believed the 66ers last turned a triple play in the 2005 season, when they turned two. One of those two was on June 2, 2005 at Arrowhead Credit Union Park, interestingly enough against the Quakes. Blake Balkcom hit a foul popup to first baseman Bryan Lahair, who caught the ball, then threw to double up two baserunners.

The Sixers had led 4-0 in the third inning (including a Trayvon Robinson home run), but the Quakes battled back with a two-run Anthony Norman home run in the third, and a six-run fifth against starter Tim Sexton (3-8). Phillips had a three-run double and Abel Nieves had a two-run double in the fifth.

The triple play looked even bigger in the ninth, when the Sixers ralled for two runs on Drew Locke’s two-out two-run double that closed an 8-4 gap to 8-6.

That brought on Quakes closer Ryan Aldridge, making back-to-back appearances for the first time since joining the Quakes. Aldridge, who hasn’t allowed a run and only four hits in 9 1/3 innings this season, earned his fifth save by striking out Austin Gallagher looking.





66ers win again on road


By Pete Marshall

Staff Writer

LAKE ELSINORE – Winning the California League South Division first-half title might be too daunting a task for the 66ers, but they are nonetheless picking a good time to put together back-to-back solid road performances, since they are in Game 4 of a stretch in which they play 22 of 28 on the road.

On Thursday, the Sixers built a six-run lead in the fifth inning and took an 8-5 win over Lake Elsinore before 2,772 at The Diamond.

The Sixers (25-35), a league-worst 6-18 on the road entering the game, won on the road for the second straight game and earned a split of the four-game series with the first-place Storm (29-31). The win also moved the Sixers into a fourth-place tie with the Quakes, who were swept in a doubleheader at Lancaster by 9-7 and 14-1 scores.

Sixers starter Josh Wall (4-3) stuck out a season-high seven batters, but once again failed to make it through the sixth inning. In 11 starts this season, Wall has gone at least five innings six times but has never made it through six. Wall’s previous high in strikeouts was five this season.

Leading 6-1 in the sixth, Wall allowed a leadoff single to Eric Sogard and a one-out walk to Mitch Canham before he was replaced by Jordan Pratt.

Pratt allowed a wild pitch and with two outs, he gave up a walk, a two-run double to Jesus Lopez and after another wild pitch an RBI single by Aeden McQueary to cut Lake Elsinore’s deficit to 6-5.

In the seventh, the Sixers got an insurance run with two outs. Austin Gallagher hit a sinking line drive to center that skipped past center fielder Cedric Hunter and rolled all the way to the wall. Gallagher raced all the way home and his slide barely beat the throw home. Gallagher was awarded an inside the park home run, his first home run in 55 at bats with the Sixers this season.

The Sixers built an early lead, due in large part to Carlos Santana.

In the first, Santana homered over the ad monster in right field, tying for team-high honors with six.

Christian Lara had an RBI groundout and Trayvon Robinson added an RBI single in the second for a 3-0 Sixers lead.

In the third, Santana was hit by a pitch and scored on Drew Locke’s RBI double. Locke eventually scored on a Tommy Giles sacrifice fly and the Sixers led 5-0. Giles added an RBI double in the top of the fifth for a 6-0 Sixers lead.

Wall pitched out of trouble in the bottom of the fifth, allowing only one run out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation.

The late innings provided some arguments from the Storm with umpires Daniel Oliver and Brian Hertzog.

In the seventh, the Storm attempted a double steal with two outs and was successful, but batter Rayner Contreras was called out at the plate for interfering with catcher Esteban Lopez.

Manager Carlos Lezcano argued, to no avail. But in the bottom of the eighth, hitting coach Shane Spencer was ejected before he could get out to his first-base coach’s box.

In the top of the ninth, Lezcano was ejected for arguing after another controversial play.

Justin Fuller hit a triple to right-center. Fuller was awarded home plate after the umpires ruled the overthrow went out of bounds.

Lezcano furiously argued, pointing to the spot near the dugout but not out of bounds, where he said the ball went. After he was ejected, he kicked dirt onto home plate.

That left pitching coach Wally Whitehurst to manage the team and coach third base in the bottom of the ninth. Paul Koss earned his second save with a perfect ninth for the Sixers.


Sensitive time for 66ers pitcher James Adkins

When 66ers pitcher James Adkins was hit by a line drive from Lake Elsinore’s Eric Sogard in Tuesday’s loss to the Storm, it looked painful.

It was hard to tell exactly where it hit Adkins, but you could call it the lower abdomen or the upper groin. Whatever you call it, it’s a very sensitive spot for a man. Although the left the game at that point, Adkins said after the game he would not miss a start.

After the game, the Sixers were hit with one of their surprise drug tests. So they couldn’t get on the bus until every player peed in a cup. Adkins was one of the first players to get on the bus, so at least the accident didn’t affect his ability to fulfill his drug test responsibility.

Lake Elsinore the team to beat in Cal League South Division

I’ve felt this way for the last few weeks, through by posting this entry today, it might look like I’m jumping on the bandwagon late.

It’s been a tight, but not very good race in the California League’s South Division for the first half title. However, I think Lake Elsinore is the team to beat. Yes, the Storm is leading the division by two games as I write this, but I think the Storm is the least inconsistent of the South Division’s contenders. It’s hard to call a team that’s 28-29 consistent, but they maintained at least a share of the lead for about a month before briefly falling out about a week ago.

As for the second half, that’s anyone’s guess. There will be a lot of player movement between now and the end of the season, shifting the balance of power. So while I think the Storm will win the South Division first half title, any one of the five teams could be the strongest come September.


Cult status in the Cal League?

I wonder if one of the Lake Elsinore Storm’s newest players, third baseman/outfielder Brian Joynt, will earn the same cult status that former Quakes infielder B.J. Weed received because of his name.

Although you would think former High Desert Maverick Mike Stoner belonged in the same class as Joynt and Weed, Stoner was favorite because he tied for the league lead in home runs in 1997 with 33 and led the league with 142 RBI for the California League champions.