Twelve hits are usually enough to win a Northwest League baseball game.
When you give that same team 15 free passes in the form of 12 walks and three hit batters, they're likely to take advantage.
That's what happened Saturday night at Gesa Stadium, when Tri-City Dust Devils pitchers issued a dozen base-on-balls and plunked three more in a 12-2 loss to the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in front of a sellout crowd of 3,757 fans.
"We just have to get back to square one with some of the guys that threw tonight," Dust Devils manager Drew Saylor said. "Everybody has a down night, and that's what we had tonight."
A steady rain around the seventh inning cleared out most of the crowd, but by that time most of the damage had been done. Dust Devils starter Ryan Warner went just 3 2/3 innings and took the loss, falling to 1-4 on the year.
"I'd definitely say walks and getting behind in counts (hurt me). I've got to do a better job of being more consistent throwing strikes and counting on the guys behind me," Warner said. "I kind of rushed myself a little. I've got to slow it down."
Warner, a Northwest League All-Star in 2013, gave up just three hits, but he walked seven and gave up six runs. He gave up a solo home run to Skylar Ewing to lead off the second. That wasn't a big problem until he hit a batter and followed that up with four consecutive walks, essentially giving Salem-Keizer two free runs. Ryder Jones drove in another run with an RBI grounder for a 4-0 second-inning lead.
That was enough to do in the Dust Devils, but the Volcanoes added two more runs in the fourth on a two-run single by Austin Slater, two more in the sixth and three in the seventh.
Tri-City picked up its first run in the third inning on Chris Rabago's RBI single, and Josh Fuentes accounted for the other run, driving in Shane Hoelscher with a single to left after his one-out double in the sixth.
Jason Forjet (5-0) was impressive for S-K, allowing two runs on seven hits over six innings while striking out seven.
Hoelscher continued to swing the bat well for Tri-City, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, raising his average to .291.
"In college they'll try to force-feed guys to the right side, trying to go opposite gap. Now, we're letting (Hoelscher) be a litle more uninhibited, and he's really taking to it, letting the barrel eat."
Ewing led the Volcanoes offense, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.