The Tri-City Dust Devils were one inning away from wiping away the memories of a disastrous month of July on Wednesday night at Gesa Stadium.
With the Dust Devils up three and closer Josh Michalec coming in, the comforts of the Pasco pitcher’s park would surely deliver the team’s first home victory in 30 days.
But Salem-Keizer scored four runs in the top of the ninth to give the Volcanoes an 8-7 win and keep Tri-City hungry for that elusive win.
Ryder Jones followed up Seth Harrison’s RBI single with an RBI grounder for the tying run. After Skyler Ewing struck out, Austin Slater bounced a grounder to reliever Jerad McCrummen. McCrummen knocked it down, but his throw to first was not in time to get the runner. Harrison scored from third on the play to put S-K up 8-7. Tri-City first baseman Sean Dwyer threw home to gun down the runner trying to score from second, but the damage had already been done.
The Dust Devils sent up their 2-3-4 hitters — Chris Rabago, Josh Fuentes and Dwyer — up in the ninth, but none could make any headway against Volcanoes closer Eury Sanchez, who set them down 1-2-3.
Tri-City fell behind 1-0 in the second but then took a commanding 5-1 lead in the bottom of the inning, thanks in part to a two-run single by NWL All-Star Cesar Galvez and a pair of RBI singles by Denzel Richardson and Rabago.
The Dust Devils added another run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Richard Prigatano.
Salem-Keizer struck back with three runs in the seventh inning, as Travious Relaford highlighted the frame with a two-run double, and Tri-City’s lead was cut to 6-4.
Ryan Garvey lined a leadoff home run to left field to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning to give Tri-City an insurance run at 7-4.
McCrummen (3-1) took his first loss of the year, allowing a run on two hits in one inning. Wasted was a strong starting effort by Dust Devils starter Ryan Castellani, who went four innings and allowed just one hit and one earned run.
S-K starter Jose Reyes was bailed out by his bullpen, which allowed just one run on two hits over four innings. Sanchez earned his eighth save.