Piggybacking starting pitchers pace Fort Wayne

Dickerson's hitting streak reaches 11 games

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

The Padres have a number of promising young starting pitchers getting their starts at low Class A Fort Wayne this season. How do you get all of them regular work while protecting their arms?

The answer is called piggybacking -- letting two young arms share a start.

Friday night at Fort Wayne, it was 19-year-old right-handers Austin Smith and Jean Cosme splitting time in a 7-5 win over Burlington.

On Wednesday, it was 20-year-old right-handers Jacob Nix and Enyel De Los Santos combining on a four-hit shutout. Left-hander Logan Allen, 20, and right-hander Elliott Ashbeck, 22, have also been used in tandem.

On Friday, Smith (3.86 earned run average), the Padres' second-round pick last June, allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and four walks with two strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings. After right-handed reliever Emmanuel Ramirez (7.20) allowed a run on a hit and two walks with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings, Cosme took over. Cosme, who came to the Padres from Baltimore in February in a trade for right-handed starter Odrisamer Despaigne, allowed one run on three hits with five strikeouts over four innings to improve to 3-1 and lower his ERA to 4.50.

Offensively, designated hitter Ty France, a San Diego State product, went 2-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored to raise his average to .282. Third baseman Carlos Belen (.174) was 1-for-4 with a triple, two RBIs and a run scored. First baseman Brad Zunica (.239) had an RBI double in three at-bats. Shortstop Ruddy Giron (.203) had a double in three at-bats with a walk and a run scored.

Elsewhere in the Padres' system, Triple-A El Paso left fielder Alex Dickerson extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games, while high Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore starter Dinelson Lamet and two relievers held Lancaster to one run on five hits in a 1-0 loss.

Around the farm

TRIPLE-A EL PASO (9-11) -- Chihuahuas 6, FRESNO 5: Shortstop Nick Noonan, a Francis Park High product, drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly. Dickerson (.349) had an RBI double in three at-bats to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. C Jason Hagerty (.342) had a double and a homer in four at-bats with two RBIs and two runs scored. DH Ryan Schimpf (.278) was 2-for-4 with a run scored. OF Jose Pirela (.269) was 2-for-4. Starting RHP Carlos Pimental (4.87 ERA) allowed two runs on five hits and three walks with six strikeouts in four innings. LHP Frank Garces (3.65) issued five walks and had six strikeouts in two hitless innings. LHP Daniel Moskos (4.00) allowed three runs on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings. RHP Derek Eitel (1-0, 1.74) issued two walks with a strikeout in 1 2/3 hitless innings to get the win.

DOUBLE-A SAN ANTONIO (8-13) -- MIDLAND 19, Missions 7: CF Auston Bousfield (.188) was 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs. 1B Mike Olt (.224) was 2-for-5 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored. C Ricardo Valenzuela was 2-for-4 with a RBI. RF Yeison Asencio (.254) was 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored. Starting RHP Johnny Hellweg (1-3, 10.57 ERA) allowed seven runs on four hits and five walks in 1 1/3 innings. LHP Brandon Alger (12.00) allowed four runs on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings. LHP Kyle Bartsch (8.03) allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk with a strikeout in three innings. RHP Jason Jester (8.31) allowed four runs on four hits with a strikeout in an inning.

CLASS A ADVANCED LAKE ELSINORE (9-13) -- Lancaster 1, STORM 0: Lamet (3-1, 1.73 ERA) allowed one run on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts over five innings. RHP Trey Wingenter (0.00) struck out three in two perfect innings. LHP Kyle McGrath (0.00) allowed a hit with four strikeouts in two scoreless innings. LF Edwin Moreno (.186) had a double in three at-bats for Lake Elsinore's lone hit.