The Tri-Cities went over the century mark today. The temperature topped out at 107 degrees earlier this afternoon, and it's still well over 100 degrees at game time. Every once in a while, a welcome breeze will come through the press box and cool things down a bit, but it's still a sweaty, sticky mess up here.
Dust Devils RHP Peter Tago (1-3, 8.00 ERA) gets the start. Two years ago, he was the 47th overall pick in the MLB draft and made his debut at Asheville in 2011, going 3-5 with an ERA of 7.07 in 19 starts. He got off to a rough start this season, giving up 15 runs in his first three starts before delivering a strong performance in a 6-4 home win over Boise in his last start.
Tago will be opposed by RHP Connor Sadzeck (0-3, 5.28), the Texas Rangers' 11th-round pick in 2011.
The forecast called for the possibility of some thunderstorms. I'm seeing some ominous-looking clouds off toward the Blue Mountains, but I haven't seen any lightning.
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Tago gave up an unearned run in the first after an error by shortstop Rosell Herrera, who is making his Dust Devils debut after being reassigned out of Asheville. Ryan Rua then drove in the game's first run with a triple down the right field line.
Still, Tago, didn't look too bad. He was getting ahead of most of the hitters and fought his way out of trouble with Rua at third.
1-0 Spokane after one inning.
Now Tago is fighting some control issues in the third. He walked Gabriel Roa to open the inning and then gave up consecutive singles to Rua and Royce Bolinger to load the bases.
Patrck Cantwell made it 2-0 with a flyball to left that was just deep enough to score Roa. Tri-City catcher Anthony Aguilera called for the appeal at third, thinking Roa had left the bag too early, but it didn't stand up.
Joe Maloney, the Indians' No. 6 hitter, then doubled down the left field line, scoring Rua to make it 3-0 and advancing Bolinger to third. Brandon Garcia then hit a liner to center that nearly eluded Francisco Sosa in center field. Sosa made the catch, but Bolinger came home easily with the third run of the inning.
Spokane leads 4-0 after three.
Tri-City offense (and, to an extent, the Spokane defense) gives Tago a gift in the bottom of the fourth — four runs to tie the game.
Sadzeck walked Francisco Sosa to lead off the inning and then hit Miguel De Leon before Derek Jones lined a double to the right center field gap, scoring Sosa. Jarod Berggren then laid a nice safety squeeze up the first base side. Rua tried to bare-hand the ball and couldn't come up with it as De Leon scored easily to cut the lead to 4-2.
Patrick Hutcheson then dropped ANOTHER safety squeeze along the third-base line. Spokane 3B Smerling Lantigua picked it up and threw to first, not really checking Jones behind him at third. Jones got a good jump on the throw to first and beat Rua's return throw home to make it 4-3.
Aguilera then hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Berggren to tie the score at 4.
Dust Devils pull ahead 5-4 in bottom of the eighth.
Herrera singles to lead off inning and takes second on wild pitch by Cody Kendall. After advancing to third on groundout by Sosa, Herrera scores on another wild pitch.
Great job by Ryan Arrowood, with 2 1/3 perfect innings of relief to set Tri-City up for the win. Seth Willoughby then shuts Spokane down in the ninth despite giving up a pair of one-out singles.
He struck out Roa looking with a 93 mph fastball on the black and then got Rua to ground into a fielders choice for the win.
That's 7 wins in 8 games for Tri-City (12-12), which wins it 5-4 and keeps pace with Yakima (14-10) in the East.