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The Portland Pickles are red-hot and rollin’.


With a 5-1 victory over the Sacramento Stealth on Friday at Walker Stadium, the Pickles (12-10) extended their longest win streak of the season to five games.

Left-hander Peyton Burks out of Clark College, normally a reliever for the Pickles, started and pitched a gem. Burks (1-2, 5.47 ERA) went six innings, giving up four hits and no earned runs.

Zander Clarke, normally a first baseman but playing right field on Friday, was spectacular for the Pickles. Clarke went 2 of 3, with three RBIs and a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth.

On defense, a 9-6-3 double play that began with Clarke’s diving catch garnered a standing ovation from the crowd of 876.CLARKE

Clarke said early work this afternoon and throughout the summer led to his performance — in both the batter’s box and the outfield.

“I’ve been coming out early most days, and I knew I was going to get an outfield start at some point,” Clarke said. “There’s a lot of work that I put in before.”

For Sacramento, starting pitcher Donald Wanner (1-4, 4.66 ERA) took the loss despite putting in plenty of his own work on the mound. Wanner threw 114 pitches. He allowed nine hits and five earned runs before he was mercifully pulled from the game in the eighth.

The Stealth (2-15) scored in the top of the second on an error by Pickles center fielder Denis Shanagher.

Clarke got his stellar day started in the bottom of the frame, however, plating a run from third via a sacrifice fly to tie the score.

In the third, an RBI fielder’s choice from designated hitter Stefan Panayioutou gave Portland a 2-1 lead.

In his next at-bat, Clarke crushed his home run to left — his first HR of the summer and the second in team history — to extend the lead to 3-1.

Pickles manager J.J. Altobelli said it’s nice to see the power-hitting Clarke finally get that elusive first homer.

“He’s been taking some really good swings,” Altobelli said of Clarke. “His timing’s getting back, and it was only a matter of time before he hit (a home run).”

But Clarke still had one more RBI left in this game, and it came in the form of a ground-rule double to right that was the final straw before Wanner was sent to the dugout.

Wanner’s reliever, left-hander Joey Tieman, surrendered a sacrifice fly to center off the bat of Pickles pinch-hitter Joey Sanchez to bring the game to its final count of 5-1.

Two singles by Sacramento in the top of the ninth may have made Pickles fans uneasy, but nothing came of it as right-hander Ryan Alsworth escaped his only inning of work unscathed.

“Our pitching staff was outstanding,” Altobelli said. “It was a grind-it-out win for us. We weren’t playing our best baseball, but we just executed when we got the chances.”

The Pickles will have a chance to make it six straight on Saturday at Walker Stadium in the third and final game of this series against Sacramento. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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Twitter: @RyanTClarke

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