Sometimes, all it takes is a big day to turn a season around.
Jordan Parris, a rookie catcher with the Tri-City Dust Devils, came into Sunday hitting just .088 with three hits in 34 at bats. But it was his bat that made the difference in a 5-3 Northwest League win over Salem-Keizer in front of 1,440 fans at Gesa Stadium.
Parris finished 3-for-4 with a pair of clutch RBIs that put the Dust Devils (6-7 second half) just one game out of the second-half lead in the North Division. The rest of the North got swept by the South, and Everett (7-6) clings to a one-game lead.
It was also a good day for Tri-City to play small ball. The Dust Devils racked up 14 hits and seven steals to raise their team stolen base total to 94, just one behind Vancouver.
Parris wasn’t the only one who had a big day. Sam Bumpers went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI, and three more Dust Devils — Drew Weeks, Josh Fuentes and Shane Hoelscher — added two hits apiece.
Tri-City closer Josh Michalec came in for a key save in the ninth inning. Michalec, a 21st-round draft pick out of Baylor, had given up four walks and four earned runs in his three previous appearances but was clean Sunday. He gave up just one hit to earn his fourth save.
John Sheehan (3-0) picked up the win for the Dust Devils, allowing an unearned run and two hits in 11⁄3 innings. E.J. Encinosa (3-1) took the loss for the Volcanoes.
After falling behind 2-0 early, the Dust Devils got one back in the bottom of the fourth as Cesar Galvez — one of four NWL All-Stars from Tri-City — hit a two-out infield single. Galvez then stole second and scored on a bouncing single to right by Drew Weeks to cut S-K’s lead to 2-1.
Tri-City got two more in the fifth to pull ahead 3-2 thanks to back-to-back doubles by Ryan Garvey and Sam Bumpers. Parris followed with an RBI single to left center.
The Volcanoes tied it up at 3 in the top of the seventh, but Parris struck again in the bottom of the frame, driving in Sean Dwyer with a hard single up the middle to make it 4-3.
The Dust Devils added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to make it 5-3. Weeks doubled to lead off the frame, stole third and came home on a wild pitch by Volcanoes’ reliever Jose Reyes.
Rodriguez started off a bit shaky but settled down after the second inning, retiring nine batters in a row at one point. He allowed two runs over six innings to keep his NWL-leading ERA at 2.14.
Notes: The Colorado Rockies made a couple of moves last week, sending 1B Roberto Ramos, a 16th-round draft pick out of College of the Canyons (Calif.), to Grand Junction (Colo.). LHP Sam Moll, who went 3-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 10 games for Tri-City as a rookie last year, has been sent to Tri-City to begin a 30-day rehabilitation assignment. LHP Evan DeLuca, who compiled a 0-0 record and a 7.43 ERA in 13 appearances, was released Saturday. DeLuca, who was signed as a free agent before the season.
w Jack Millikin; 582-1406; email@example.com