Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Kratz, Stubbs lead IL to All-Star win
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Erik Kratz and Drew Stubbs each hit two-run home runs, leading the International League to a 6-5 victory over the Pacific Coast League in the Triple-A All-Star game on Wednesday night.
Esteban German of Oklahoma City hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth, but the PCL could not catch their IL counterparts.
"I thought we had something going, but you know what? It was fun regardless," said Chad Huffman, a PCL All-Star for the hometown Portland Beavers, the San Diego Pdres' affiliate.
Kratz, a catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates' affiliate Indianapolis, hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning to put the IL up 6-3.
Reid Brignac of the Durham Bulls doubled in a run before Stubbs, of the Louisville Bats, hit his two-run homer in the third inning to give the IL a 3-0 lead before a sellout crowd at Portland's PGE Park. The PCL answered with a solo home run from Brendan Katin of the Nashville Sounds (Brewers).
The IL added a run in the fifth when Rochester's Justin Huber sacrificed to shallow center and scored Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's Austin Jackson, who tripled. The PCL narrowed it to 4-2 in the bottom half on German's two-run single.
"I got an opportunity to start and play. I really appreciate the fans who voted me in," Kratz said. "You see these guys all year [his fellow players] so it's fun to catch them."
Right-hander Bud Norris of the Round Rock Express started for the PCL squad and fellow righty Justin Lehr of Louisville, Cincinnati's Triple-A club, started on the IL side.
Hall of Famer Dave Winfield, who was a 12-time major league All-Star and seven-time Gold Glove winner, and former Red Sox great Johnny Pesky, a Portland native, threw out ceremonial pitches.
A sellout crowd of 16,637 was on hand for the game at Portland's downtown ballpark, which will soon start undergoing renovations for a new Major League Soccer franchise that will begin play in 2011.
The refurbishment will make the stadium a soccer-specific facility, meaning the Beavers will need to find a new home after next season.
Talks over a new ballpark have stalled. A proposal to build the facility on a site next to the Rose Garden Arena -- home of the NBA's Trail Blazers -- and another that would build it at a southeast Portland Park, were both met with community opposition.
Beavers owner Merritt Paulson, who will own the new MLS franchise, has temporarily put off the search for a suitable stadium to direct focus on negotiation with the city over the financing for the PGE Park renovation. The City Council is currently considering a $31 million package that combines public and private funding sources.
PGE Park is also home to the Portland Timbers soccer team, which plays a step below the MLS in the USL's top division. The MLS team will keep the nickname.