PASCO, Wash. — Pretty hot night out here at Gesa Stadium, but the fans don't seem to mind. A fantastic crowd for a Friday night I'm guessing about 2,900, but we'll see how it turns out.
RHP Ben Hughes (3-4, 3.51 ERA) takes the mound for Tri-City. The big Minnesota native hasn't given up a run in his last 11 2/3 innings over three games. He'll go up against Boise RHP Justin Amlung (0-0, 4.50), a 12th-rounder out of the University of Louisville still looking for his first professional victory.
Tri-City starts the scoring in the bottom of the second, getting a leadoff double to right field by Derek Jones. Matt Argyropoulos advanced him to third with a single over second baseman Stephen Bruno.
Anthony Aguilera bounced a room-service grounder to Marco Hernandez at shortstop, who flipped the ball to second to get Argyropoulos to get the out at second while Jones scored.
Interesting note for those scoring at home: If that had been a double-play ball, Aguilera wouldn't get credit for the RBI. Since Aguilera beat the throw to first to prevent the double play, however, he does get the RBI.
Dust Devils lead 1-0 after two innings.
Boise takes the lead with two runs in the top of the third, getting a two-out RBI single from Jeimer Candelario and then an RBI triple from Dan Vogelbach that barely stayed in the park.
Hawks lead 2-1 after three innings. Hughes' scoreless-innings streak ends at 14 1/3.
Bruno just made a fantastic defensive play at second base, diving to his left on a hard ground ball by Rosell Herrera and bouncing up for a quick throw to first to end the inning.
Gotta recognize the great leather work.
Boise breaks it open in the top of the fourth. Albert Almora starts things off with a leadoff double to right, and Izaac Garsez dropped in a Texas-League single down the third-base line to send Almora to third. Lance Rymel drove Almora home with a bunt single up the first-base line.
But the big blast came from Bruno. He hammered an 0-2 pitch from Hughes over the wall in left center field, close to where Vogelbach's triple hit the wall, for a three-run home run.
Hawks lead 6-1 heading to bottom of fourth.
Boise adds another in the top of the fifth, but Tri-City is working on a rally in the bottom of the fifth.
The Dust Devils loaded the bases with nobody out and the top of the order coming up to the plate.
Von Tungeln hit a liner to right field that was caught by Garsez but brought home Aguilera to cut the lead to 7-2.
Herrera singles to right to load up the bases again, and Tom Murphy the No. 3 hitter draws a walk from reliever James Pugliese to make it 7-3.
Bases still loaded with one out, and Francisco Sosa coming to the plate with a 10-game hitting streak on the line. He grounds out to Hernandez at short. Boise gets the force at second, but Sosa beats the throw to first to bring home Zach Osborne.
Jones strikes out to end the inning. Jones is in a terrible slump. He was 0-for-his last 18 heading into tonight before doubling in the second. Hopefully, that might turn things around for him.
Tri-City's hopes of a playoff spot may be bleak, but they're still showing some fighting spirit.
The Dust Devils score two more in the seventh, as Osborne and Von Tungeln draw walks against Hawks reliever Su-Min Jung to open the inning. Herrera drives them in with a two-run double into the right field corner.
But Herrera missed a chance to score from third on a wild pitch when Jung bounced a pitch in the dirt that rolled to the backstop. For some reason, Herrera stayed put. It's a play that Tri-City manager and third base coach Freddie Ocasio almost always sends the runner, so I have to believe maybe Herrera didn't see the ball get away from the catcher.
But he certainly would have scored on the play.
7-6 Boise after seven innings.
We've reached the ninth with the score still 7-6 Boise.
Von Tungeln draws a one-out walk, and Herrera singles to right to put a man in scoring position.
Now Sosa up to bat with two outs in the ninth and a chance to win or tie (or lose) the game.
This is the situation every kid dreams about when they're playing ball in the yard.
Boise closer Eddie Orozco gets Sosa to chase a 1-2 slider to end the game with the tying run on second and the winning run on first.
Hawks collect their fifth consecutive win over the Dust Devils, who fall seven games behind East leader Boise.
Magic number is down to 10 for the Hawks, but Tri-City's elimination number (combined Dust Devils losses and Hawks' wins) is down to eight games.