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Portland edges Timberjacks, 8-4

Southern Oregon drops a game back in division

The Southern Oregon Timberjacks' hopes of capturing their first NorthwestLeague South Division title in eight years were dealt another blow by thePortland Rockies on Thursday night.

Southern Oregon, battling Portland for the divisional crown, was beatenby the Rockies for the third time in four games, suffering an 8-4 defeatto close a crucial four-game series at Miles Field.

The loss drops the Timberjacks a game back of the Rockies in the divisionheading into a three-game set in Portland beginning tonight. Southern Oregoncompletes its season with a three-game series at home against Salem-Keizerthat begins Monday and ends Wednesday.

Before a crowd of nearly 3,000 on Thursday night, the Timberjacks grabbeda 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. Hipolito Martinez was hitby a pitch, went to second on a single and third on a fielder's choice beforescoring on an error.

Southern Oregon's lead lasted until the fourth inning when reliever RandyGlaze (1-2) walked one batter and hit another before yielding a three-runhomer to Portland's Andres Mitchell.

The Rockies extended the lead to 5-1 in the fifth when Brad Blumenstock,the third of five Southern Oregon pitchers, yielded a walk and then an RBIdouble to Jose Gonzales. Whitey Schwartzbauer followed with a triple toscore Gonzales.

The Timberjacks' offense, handcuffed most of the night by Portland starterJustin Miller, got its first earned run of the night in the seventh whenBrad Gorrie singled and Victor Hernandez doubled to left field to drivehim in.

Portland countered with a pair of runs in the eighth. Gonzales led offwith a double and later scored on a single by Jason Franklin, chasing Blumenstock.Southern Oregon brought in reliever Dave Waites, who joined the team twodays ago from the Oakland

Athletics' Arizona League team in Scottsdale. Waites retired one batterand then walked another before yielding an RBI single to Jeremy Jackson.Mitchell was thrown out at the plate on the play to end the inning.

Southern Oregon seemed to be building a rally in the eight, scoring arun on a passed ball, another on an RBI triple by Martinez and a third onan RBI double by Javier Flores. But, after the Timberjacks loaded the bases,Victor Hernandez struck out to end the inning.

Portland added an insurance run in the ninth.

Gorrie and Flores had two hits each for Southern Oregon, which broughta seven-game winning streak into this week's series with Portland.

After tagging out Southern Oregon's Javier Flores, Portland's Michael Johns tries to complete a double play. - Photo by Jim Craven</P