While the U.S. Olympic Track team fulfilled the high expectations in London, the Tri-City Dust Devils held their own track meet during a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canadians on Thursday in front of 2,036 fans at Gesa Stadium.
The Dust Devils recorded eight stolen bases — three apiece by Derek Jones and Yafistel Roja — and Miguel De Leon executed a textbook hit-and-run to break a 1-1 tie in the second inning. Tri-City also batted around for the second consecutive night, a sign that they may be ready to take the offense to another level.
“When you start feeling confident, you can go on a roll,” Roja said through interpreter and teammate Roberto De La Cruz. “I wanted to be aggressive on the bases. Every time I was on base, I was going to try to steal.”
Jones continued his hot hitting for Tri-City, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored. The former Washington State star scored the tying run on De Leon’s second-inning single and was credited with a steal of home during a dramatic double steal in the bottom of the sixth.
Roja also had three hits for his third multi-hit game this season and kept things rolling when his team needed it.
“He started out swinging the bat well but struggled a little. He needed this,” Dust Devils manager Fred Ocasio said. “Today, he came out with a big two-out RBI to keep a rally going.”
Vancouver took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after Jason Leblebijian snuck in under catcher Tom Murphy at the plate on a double steal with Dan Klein.
Tri-City tied the score in the bottom of the second, as Derek Jones hit a leadoff double into the right-field corner and then scored on a one-out, hit-and-run single by Miguel De Leon.
The Dust Devils then broke things open with four runs in the sixth with four consecutive singles off reliver Jonathan Lucas, including an RBI looper down the right-field line by Matt Argyropoulos to plate Francisco Sosa for the go-ahead run.
After the double steal made it 3-1, Roja lined a single back up the middle to score Argyropoulos and make it 4-1.
Shane Broyles (4-2) got the win, striking out eight and allowing just one unearned run in six innings.
“I had good command of my fastball. I was just working on throwing strikes,” Broyles said. “It’s good knowing this team is going to put a lot of runs up for you.”
The Dust Devils (25-28 overall, 8-8 second half) moved into sole possession of second place with Spokane’s loss but remained three games behind East Division leader Boise (10-5).
Notes: Murphy doubled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 19 games. The Colorado Rockies’ short-season record is held by Charlie Blackmon, who hit in 23 straight in 2008. ... Today’s starters will be RHP T.J. Oakes (1-1, 4.12 ERA), who picked up his first professional victory in his last start for Tri-City and RHP Taylor Cole (3-0, 0.30), who has allowed just one run in 35 innings pitched this season. ... RHP Taylor Reid made his first appearance since July 12 after missing a month with a blister on his finger. ... Jones, who is second in the NWL with five triples, nearly picked up his sixth in the second, but the ball took a favorable bounce toward outfielder Carlos Ramirez in the right field corner.Dust Devils alumni update: SS Joey Wong (2007, 2012) hit a ninth-inning single to score Juan Crousset (2010) and give the Modesto Nuts a 3-2 California League win over visiting Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday night. Isaiah Froneberger (2011) got the win for the Nuts. ...