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Three Beavers throw perfect game

Meaux, Lopez, Meredith combine on 5-0 blanking of River Cats
June 10, 2006
Ryan Meaux, Aquilino Lopez and Cla Meredith combined on a seven-inning perfect game Friday night as the Portland Beavers blanked the Sacramento River Cats, 5-0, to earn a split of their doubleheader.

Meaux struck out four over four innings. Lopez (3-1) retired the next six batters and Cla Meredith worked the final frame to complete the first perfect game in the 91-year history of the franchise.

It was the seventh perfect game in the 104-year history of the Pacific Coast League and the first since Nashville's John Wasdin threw one against Albuquerque on April 7, 2003.

Meaux wasn't thinking about making history.

"I just wanted to stay as ready as I possibly could," said the 27-year-old left-hander, who was making his first start of the season. "We had some guys swinging the bat well. I just wanted to keep the game close."

Despite superstitions, Meaux said the atmosphere in the dugout remained loose as the innings rolled along.

"We were talking more than usual ... about so many things other than baseball," he told KKAD radio.

Lopez survived a couple of scares in the sixth, starting with a deep fly ball off the bat of Jeremy Brown that nearly left the yard.

"Brown hit the ball very hard to center field," said Lopez, "but Ben Johnson made a good catch."

Left fielder Terrmel Sledge followed with a fine play of his own, running full speed to make a basket catch on Mark Kiger's short fly ball. Lopez then induced Charles Thomas to ground out to first baseman Jon Knott to end the frame.

Meredith appeared unfazed as he breezed through the seventh. He got Doug Clark to ground out to Knott and fanned Andrew Beattie on a borderline called third strike. Hiram Bocachica struck out swinging to end the game.

Meredith might have been relaxed because he wasn't aware of the situation, even as his teammates mobbed him after the final out.

"I didn't have a clue," he admitted. "I was shocked as hell. I was just trying to get some outs and go on back to the hotel."

Sacramento (31-30) had never been involved in a perfect game -- on the winning or losing side.

The Beavers (31-30) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a run-scoring groundout by Knott and a throwing error by second baseman Beattie.

Dave Matranga made it 4-0 with a two-run homer in the second. In the sixth, Knott stroked a leadoff double and came home on Manny Alexander's single to cap the scoring as Portland snapped a six-game losing streak.

Paul McAnulty led the Beavers' nine-hit attack, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Alexander chipped in two hits and a stolen base, while Matranga drew three walks.

Kazuhito Tadano (0-2) took the loss after giving up four runs -- three earned -- on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out five.

Neither Meaux nor Lopez had ever been involved in a perfect game. Meredith couldn't remember whether or not he had but savored this one.

"You don't throw a perfect game every day," he said. "Food can wait a little bit longer."

Zack Hample is a contributor to