LIVE BLOG: Dust Devils, Game 68 vs. Eugene Emeralds

Jack Millikin, Herald staff writerAugust 23, 2012 

Got a late start today, folks.

I was working on a Shane Broyles feature for tomorrow and had to finish it up before I started the blog.

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Both starters have been pretty amazing so far. RHP Peter Tago is going for Tri-City and he is in total control of this game. Good command of his fastball, and his breaking stuff is snapping right down into the strike zone. Eugene has four hits so far after four innings, but none of them have been hit very hard.

I watched Tago a month ago when he gave up just three hits over eight innings in a 2-1 home win over Spokane. He was outstanding that night, and he's looking just as good as he did then.

Here's the only problem for Tri-City: Tago's counterpart — RHP Joe Ross (0-2, 2.70) — has been equally good, allowing just two hits through four innings.

Anyway, for the baseball purists, this is one to remember. We'll see who blinks first.

No score after four.

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Speaking of Tago and Ross, the both have something else in common other than pitching very well tonight. Both are former first-round draft picks — Tago a supplemental first-rounder in 2010 and Ross a first-rounder (25th overall pick) in 2011 — who signed for big money.

The San Diego Padres gave Ross a $2.75 million bonus out of UCLA, and Tago got just under $1 million out of Dana Hills High School in Calif.

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The Dust Devils put one across in the bottom of the fifth, as Alec Mehrten — the No. 8 hitter — drives a double into the right field corner, and Zach Osborne follows with a single to right to send Mehrten to third.

Kyle Von Tungeln makes it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly to left field, just deep enough to bring in Mehrten.

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Tago still going strong after six innings. He's set down the last six in a row and eight of the last nine. I'll check with my next-door neighbor — Rockies' video coordinator Matt Pignataro — to see what his pitch count is, but I bet he can go at least another two innings.

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I was wrong, of course. Tago was up to 79 pitches after six innings, so he might have had one more inning at best.

After walking Dane Phillips — the Ems' No. 6 hitter — to lead off the seventh, Dust Devils manager Fred Ocasio pulled Tago on 88 pitches.

His replacement, Chris Dennis, gets into trouble almost immediately, allowing a double to Albert Martinez to send Phillips to third. Dennis then deals back-to-back walks to Corey Adamson and Stephen Carmon to bring home Phillips and tie the score.

1-1 tie after 6 1/2 innings.

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Ryan Arrowood replaced Dennis with bases still loaded in seventh in 1-1 game and gets out of the jam.

But Arrowood gets himself into a jam in the top of the eighth after a leadoff walk to Maxx Tissenbaum, the Ems' cleanup hitter. Felix Cabrera then reached on a nice bunt in front of the plate, moving Tissenbaum to second. Phillips then tried the same thing, and Arrowood tried to force Tissenbaum at third but was a hair late. That loaded the bases.

Arrowood struck out Martinez with a sweet curve and then got Goose Kallunki to hit a sharp grounder to Rosell Herrera at short. Herrera had to range to his right and glove the ball on the run. He had to get off a quick throw, but he did it from a low angle and the ball sailed high on the throw to catcher Tom Murphy.

Tissenbaum scored easily with what would be the winning run.

Eugene wins 2-1.

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One other note, the loss — paired with Boise's 11-3 win over Vancouver — officially eliminates the Dust Devils from playoff contention.

So the odd-even trend continues. Every odd year (2007, 2009, 2011) for the last six seasons, the Dust Devils have won the East Division title. Every even year, they have fallen short.

On goes the tradition.

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