Dust Devils slip against Vancouver

Craig Craker, Tri-City HeraldAugust 7, 2012 

PASCO, Wash. -- With Javier Avendano flat out dealing, the Tri-City Dust Devils could ill afford to give away runs.

But a pair of errors in the second inning led to three runs, and Avendano struck out 10 in six innings as the Vancouver Canadians picked up a 5-1 victory Monday at Gesa Stadium in Pasco.

"It's disappointing when you lose, but when you give away runs it's really frustrating," Tri-City right fielder Derek Jones said. "Those are the things you can control. When you don't have a clean outing it's definitely frustrating, especially when they have a guy on the mound who is throwing as good as he was."

The Canadians scored their first run on an error by Tri-City shortstop Rosell Herrera, who booted a grounder hit right to him by Jason Leblebijian. After a groundout, Vancouver's Balbino Fuenmayor hit a grounder to Miguel De Leon.

The first baseman bobbled the ball but recovered, touched first and flipped the mound heading to the dugout. The problem for De Leon was it was only the second out of the inning and Leblebijian scored from second. Carlos Ramirez capped the scoring with an RBI triple for a 3-0 lead.

"Those are the ones we talk about," Tri-City manager Fred Ocasio said. "The physical error, those are going to happen, but the mental error ... not knowing how many outs you have; you have to be in the game. That cost us a run."

And with the way Avendano was going, it was all the Canadians would need.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound righty ran into trouble twice, finishing with just one run on four hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts to lower his ERA to 1.53 on the season. It was the first time the Dust Devils had faced him this season, and they had issues all night picking up his pitches.

"He commanded the zone," Jones said. "He had that mound presence and he knew what he was doing. He was hitting both sides of the plate.

"He took advantage of what the umpire gave him, and when you do that, it is a tough night to hit."

Jones was one of the few Dust Devils to solve Avendano, driving in Herrera on a two-out, 3-2 single to right field in the fourth to pull Tri-City within 3-1. De Leon then hit a long fly out to right to end the inning.

In the top of the sixth, Herrera led off with a triple, but Avendano struck out Tom Murphy, induced a groundout from Francisco Sosa and struck out Matt Argyropoulos to end the threat.

"That's one of our struggles all year," Ocasio said, "bringing the guys in from third. You get a run there, and pull within three, you never know what might happen."

But the Dust Devils couldn't get the run in, and went down meekly the rest of the game.

Roberto Padilla took the loss, lasting just 1 2/3 innings and giving up one earned run on one hit. Angel Reyes and Matt Wolford were strong in relief for the Dust Devils, combining on four scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Herrera led the offense, finishing 2-for-4 with a run scored.

NOTES: Tom Murphy extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a single to right field in the ninth inning. ... Sosa had a nice running grab in the top ninth, catching a ball just before running into the left-field wall. ... Tonight's pitching matchup features Vancouver's 17-year-old phenom Roberto Osuna against Tri-City's Ben Hughes.

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