Derek Jones lost track of all the times Matt Argyropoulos came through in the clutch when they were teammates at Washington State University.
“Countless,” said Jones.
Argyropoulos didn’t come through for the Tri-City Dust Devils in a 7-3 loss to the Yakima Bears on Monday night at Gesa Stadium, stranding Jones — the potential game-winning run — at third with one out in the 10th inning. But Jones knows he’ll get another chance.
“He’s frustrated. It was a good pitch to elevate. He squared it up, but it just went straight into the ground,” Jones said.
Tri-City manager Fred Ocasio doesn’t always have a problem with players swinging at the first pitch but said it was the location of the pitch that bothered him.
“I don’t mind it if it’s up and it’s something they can drive, not down and in,” Ocasio said.
It was the Dust Devils’ fifth consecutive loss, which dropped them three games behind first place Yakima (6-5) in the East Division.
The missed opportunity was a continuing theme for Tri-City all night. After Tom Murphy staked the Dust Devils to a 3-0 lead in the first with his first professional home run, Tri-City allowed seven unanswered runs, including Josh Parr’s grand slam off reliever Chris Dennis with one out in the top of the 11th.
The Dust Devils had 11 hits but left 10 runners on base. They went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position after Murphy’s home run. If that wasn’t enough cause for frustration, Murphy, who leads the team with eight RBIs, left the game after legging out an infield hit in the bottom of the fifth.
Ocasio said Murphy is considered day-to-day with a hamstring pull, but the team won’t take any chances with the Colorado Rockies’ third-round pick out of the University of Buffalo.
“We’re going to have to have some other guys step up and pick up the slack,” Ocasio said.
But most frustrating for the seventh-year skipper was seeing another chance at a win slip away.
“It’s very frustrating. You go out and get all your work in, and then get three runs in the first. You’re thinking you’re going to score some runs today,” Ocasio said.
Yakima scratched its way back into the game with a run in the top of the fifth, although a smart defensive play by Patrick Hutcheson probably saved a run.
Mark Ginther hit a one-out double off the left-center field wall, and headed for third when Danny Poma’s hard grounder bounced over Matt Argyropoulos’ glove at third base. But Hutcheson stayed with the play, going deep in the hole to get the ball, and caught Ginther leaning toward third.
Ginther was thrown out in the ensuing rundown as Poma headed to second. Poma later scored on Kevin Medrano’s two-out single to make it 3-1, but the damage could have been worse.
Two innings later, Poma drilled a 2-1 pitch from reliever Trent Blank over the left-field wall to tie the game at 3.
Blank and Dennis combined to allow all seven runs over 5 1/3 innings. Tri-City starter Ryan Arrowood was impressive over the first 3 2/3 frames, allowing no runs on just two hits, but he left after nearing his 60-pitch count.
Dennis (1-1) took the loss, while Yakima’s Victor Capellan (1-0) earned the win with three scoreless innings.
“What we can’t do is start pressing on offense and defense,” Jones said. “All the breaks are going the other team’s way. The best thing is to put the odds in our favor by coming in focused (today) with the same intensity and passion.”
Notes: Attendance was 1,618. ... Today’s pitching matchups are Tri-City RHP Josh Slaats (0-0, 2.25 ERA) against Yakima RHP Bobby O’Neill (0-0, 3.60). ... Dust Devils 1B Jordan Ribera and SS Joey Wong were sent to Low-A Asheville (N.C.). Ribera was the team’s RBI leader with five, while Wong was tied for the team lead with five runs. RHP Roberto Padilla was moved up to High-A Modesto (Calif.) to give some rest to the Nuts’ pitching staff, which used seven pitchers in a 7-6, 18-ininng win Saturday. ... Tri-City also added two players: 1B Miguel De Leon, who hit .222 with a pair of home runs and eight RBIs in five games at Grand Junction (Colo.), and OF Kyle Von Tungeln, the Rockies’ 13th-round draft pick out of TCU.