If Jairo Labourt ever needs a job in engineering industry, he may want to check with HiLine Engineering and Fabrication.
The Richland-based company took a risk sponsoring Saturday’s $100 Hit Night promotion, which gave one lucky fan $100 with each Tri-City Dust Devils base knock at Gesa Stadium.
But HiLine likely saved a chunk of money with the 20-year-old Labourt on the mound. The Vancouver Canadians starting pitcher allowed just three hits over six scoreless innings to anchor the C’s 12-2 Northwest League win in front of 2,784 fans.
Labourt (2-2), a fourth-year pro out of the Dominican Republic, picked up the win and lowered his ERA from 2.83 to 2.34. It didn’t hurt that Vancouver slapped out 17 hits, four of them for extra bases, but it was Labourt who set the tone for the three-time defending NWL champions.
The last time Labourt pitched against Tri-City — during a 1-0 Vancouver win at Nat Bailey Stadium — he was even sharper, not allowing a single hit for six innings. His Dust Devils’ counterpart in that game was Helmis Rodriguez, who was equally impressive in allowing just a run on four hits.
Rodriguez (3-4) was not as impressive Saturday, however. He allowed a season-high six runs — only four were earned — on nine hits over 4 2/3 innings to fall to 3-4. Despite his uncharacteristically shaky outing, Rodriguez still owns the best ERA among NWL starters despite dropping 58 points from 1.61 to 2.19.
Rodriguez fell behind 1-0 in the first on an RBI triple by Max Pentecost, but gave up two more runs in the second thanks to RBIs by Roemon Fields and Tim Locastro. Sean Hurley knocked in one of his two runs with an RBI double in the fourth and came home on Fields’ single to make it 5-0. Chris Carlson made it 6-0 in the sixth, driving in Franklin Barreto with a looping single down the left field line.
The C’s doubled up on runs in the eighth, getting a three-run homer from Barreto off Tri-City reliever Evan DeLuca to highlight the outburst.
Barreto finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs. Alexis Maldonado and Carlson also had three hits for Vancouver.
There wasn’t much offense for Tri-City (14-22). The Dust Devils didn’t get their first run until the seventh inning, when Miguel Dilone reached on a fielding error and later scored on a single by Richard Prigatano to cut the lead to 6-1.
Tri-City scored its second run in the ninth, taking advantage of Sean Dwyer’s leadoff triple. Dilone drove him home with an infield grounder.
Prigatano came in batting just .109 but reached base four times, going 2-for-2. The 11th-round draft pick out of Long Beach State also stole two bases.
Vancouver (23-13) stayed just one game behind North Division leader Spokane (24-12). But with just two games to play and the Indians holding the tie-breaker, the Canadians need to win the next two and have Spokane lose their next two against Boise to win the division.
Notes: Colorado Rockies’ OF Charlie Blackmon’s appearance in Tuesday’s MLB All-Star game in Minnesota was the second year in a row a former Tri-City Dust Devil played in the mid-summer classic. In 2013, San Diego SS Everth Cabrera (2007), made his first all-star appearance.