The Tri-City Dust Devils thought their first week in Boise was an aberration after giving up 39 runs on 56 hits while losing four of five games at Memorial Stadium.
But after losing 4-0 to the Hawks on Thursday at Gesa Stadium, the Dust Devils discovered that a simple homecoming maybe wasn’t the only solution against the Boise club.
The Hawks won their third straight against the Dust Devils, giving them eight wins in 10 games this year against Tri-City. Boise averaged fewer runs (5.5) but collected more hits (60) during the five-game series at Gesa Stadium than they did at home.
“Maybe it’s payback for last year. We won 4-of-5 in Boise and then did the same here,” quipped Dust Devils manager Drew Saylor. “In all honesty, they went out and competed. They’re a well-coached ballclub.”
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Jesse Hodges (8-for-20, six runs, nine RBI, three home runs) and Jeffrey Baez (7-for-22, seven runs, six RBIs, three home runs) banged out a memorable series for themselves, combining for 15 hits and 13 runs scored.
Boise starter Everett Clifton (2-0) waged a memorable pitching battle with Tri-City starter Helmis Rodriguez (2-2), who didn’t get a single run of support for the second consecutive outing. Clifton allowed just four hits during six scoreless innings.
Rodriguez was perfect through three but gave up a solo home run to Baez to lead off the fourth. He got into a bit of a jam in the seventh, too, allowing singles to Mark Zagunis and Hodges before a balk advanced them 90 feet.
Alex Tomasovic then delivered a two-run single to left center field to make it 3-0 Boise, closing the book on Rodriguez.
Giuseppe Papaccio drove in the Hawks’ final run with a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
The Dust Devils got a two-hit night from Miguel Dilone, who pushed his average up 35 points to .211.
Tri-City now heads to Everett for a three-game North Division series. The Dust Devils lost two of three to the AquaSox at Gesa Stadium in mid June.
“It’s a little different ballpark,” Saylor said. “We’ll try to get ourselves back on track.”
w Jack Millikin; 582-1406; firstname.lastname@example.org