History celebrates individual sports feats more than it remembers pure team victories.
But what the Tri-City Dust Devils have done over the last week and a half -- six shutouts in 10 games -- could land them in rare territory.
The Dust Devils, after their 2-0 Northwest League victory over the Boise Hawks, moved to within two shutouts of the NWL team mark with 27 games left in the season.
The Northwest League record for shutouts by a team is 10, shared by the 1990 Boise Hawks and 2002 Vancouver Canadians.
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Their latest blanking, in front of an announced crowd of 2,378 fans, came courtesy of another strong performance by the pitching staff, yet another errorless game by the defense and some timely hitting in the late innings.
All on just a few hours sleep.
"We had a tough bus ride last night (from Eugene). We didn't get in until 4 or 5 this morning," Dust Devils manager Fred Ocasio said. "Today was pretty ugly, but it was good to see us get away with a win."
Tri-City starter Ben Alsup scattered five hits over six innings, and Craig Bennigson and Rafael Suarez followed up with three innings of scoreless relief as the Dust Devils pitching staff recorded back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season.
Bennigson (2-2), who has been a part of three solid Tri-City pitching staffs since 2009, said it's no accident that this staff is on the verge of a NWL record. But in spite of some outstanding individual performances, he said it goes beyond what happens on the mound.
"This pitching staff has really come together. They throw a lot of ground balls, and we've got a really good defense," said Bennigson, a NWL All-Star in 2009. "Our offense gives us a good chance to win."
After 6 1/2 scoreless frames, Tri-City finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh when Ryan Casteel reached first on an error by Hawks' second-baseman Zeke DeVoss. Taylor Featherston then drove the first pitch he saw from Boise reliever Jean Sandoval high off the left field wall for an RBI triple.
David Hernandez, who leads the Dust Devils with a .311 average, then bounced an RBI double down the line in left field to score Featherston for a 2-0 lead.
"I was hoping (left fielder Blair Springfield) wouldn't catch it," Hernandez said. "We got up 1-0, but getting that second run helps our pitching staff."
Alsup got bailed out a few times by his defense. In the first, Brad Zapenas hit a one-out double, but was later thrown out at home trying to score on a single by Pin-Chieh Chen.
Chen hit a hard grounder that bounced off the glove of first-baseman Matt Argyropoulos and trickled into short right field. But second baseman Tim Smalling recovered the ball in time to fire it home to Casteel and get Zapenas at the plate.
"That was a huge confidence builder right there. That saved a run," Alsup said. "Our defense is playing great. When they're making plays behind us, it gives us the confidence to throw the ball over the plate."
Casteel also threw out Wes Darvill trying to steal third base after a leadoff double in the fifth.
"Baseball is contagious in all aspects," Alsup said. "We've gotta keep up the momentum, fire and edge."
Suarez tossed a perfect ninth for his fifth save.
Notes: Today's starters: Tri-City RHP Chris Jensen (0-0, 8.53 ERA) against Boise RHP Benjamin Wells (3-2, 4.24). ... Dust Devils alumni update: At High-A Modesto, SS Josh Rutledge (2010) went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs in the Nuts' 6-3 road win over High Desert. Michael Marbry (2008) earned his 10th save for Modesto. At Double-A Tulsa, OF Brian Rike (2007) went 3-for-3, and SS Thomas Field (2008) and OF Mike Mitchell (2007) combined for four hits, three runs and three RBIs in a 4-1 seven-inning home win over the Springfield Cardinals to cap a doubleheader split. Rob Scahill (2008) went the distance to even his record at 9-9.