The Tri-City Dust Devils are second-to-last in home runs in the Northwest League, owing substantially to the fact they call cavernous Gesa Stadium home.
Their opponent here Monday, Boise, leads the NWL in bombs, in some part because they do not.
A pivotal rally in the seventh inning rebutted all ballpark logic — and set the stage for a stirring Tri-City comeback.
Ryan Garvey’s solo home run and Robbie Perkins’ two-run homer tied the game in the seventh inning, and Garvey’s two-run triple was the staggering blow in the Dust Devils’ six-run eighth as Tri-City roared from behind to beat the Hawks 11-5 and snap a two-game losing streak.
“Team win, all-around,” Dust Devils manager Drew Saylor beamed. “We kept our approach, came back and had answers. Our eighth inning speaks for itself.”The Dust Devils (8-10) had managed just two runs and five hits in the two games prior to Monday’s eruption. They scored six runs on seven hits in the eighth inning alone.
“I think you get to see character revealed in times of trouble,” said Saylor. “Good teams find a way. We did that tonight.”
The way, initially, was over the wall. Garvey’s towering bomb to left trimmed the Tri-City deficit to 5-3. If not for Perkins’ two-run shot, hanging and hooking toward the foul pole before finally disappearing, Garvey’s poke might have proved a mere footnote — the sixth home run for a team about to lose to a 17-homer juggernaut coincidentally kept in the yard in a winning cause.
The go-ahead rally was ignited by Sam Bumpers’ leadoff single in the eighth.
Francisco Sosa followed with a base hit. Josh Fuentes singled to score Bumpers with the go-ahead run. Garvey’s triple into the left-center gap padded the lead and opened the floodgates, with Cesar Galvez adding a RBI single, Marcos Derkes skying a run-scoring triple to deep center, and Drew Weeks knocking home the 11th run on a flare single over second.
Tri-City starter Blake Shouse wasn’t especially sharp, but endured long enough for the Dust Devils to play catch-up in the middle innings. Disaster was averted in the second inning when, after he walked two batters and hit another, Shouse recovered for an inning-ending strikeout to freeze the deficit at 2-0. He also stranded a baserunner at third in the next inning after plunking a batter leading off.
Boise stretched a 4-0 lead with two runs in the top of the fourth, but Tri-City turned its NWL-leading 20th double play to help Shouse book a scoreless fifth, and the Dust Devils halved their deficit in the bottom of the inning.
Ryan Garvey legged out an infield single to short and Shane Hoelscher slapped a base hit to left to start the rally, and a one-out, opposite-field double to left by 9-hole batter Cesar Galvez plated Garvey.
Hoelscher scored from third on a wild pitch in Boise starter Ben Wells’ ensuing confrontation with Marcos Derkes, eluding Wells’ tag after Hawks catcher Mark Malave had retrieved the errant pitch and beat Hoelscher to the plate with his throw to Wells.
Dust Devils reliever Jerad McCrummen kept it 4-2 — and helped Shouse keep the full run he’d shaved off his earned run average — by inheriting and resolving a sixth-inning crisis. With runners at second and third, McCrummen whiffed consecutive batters. The third out came courtesy of center fielder Francisco Sosa, whose instinctive jump gave him a bead on Rashad Crawford’s tailing blast deep into the left-center gap, and whose speed erased the liner’s head start.
Sosa’s fully-extended catch saved two runs.
Notes: Tri-City stole (3) bases Monday to increase its league-leading total to (38). ... Sosa made two other fine plays on fly balls, both hit directly at him. The first, on a dying liner in the top of the second with two runners on base, required a hard charge and slide to prevent the ball from falling in for a single. The second, on a deep fly toward the black batter’s eye in dead center, pulled Sosa into an awkward scramble and over-the-shoulder catch as he drifted onto the warning-track dirt.