Tri-City coming off a 4-3 extra-innings win in Yakima on Thursday night and looking for another tonight.
The Dust Devils need to start stringing together a few wins if they hope to earn that second-half playoff bid. They've lost 7 of 10 while Boise has won 5 of its last 6 to take the East Division lead after 10 games.
Tri-City has one of its best starters on the bump, Shane Broyles (3-1, 2.52 ERA), to try to keep the momentum going. He'll go against LHP Alex Carreras (5-4, 4.04), the workhorse of the Bears' staff with 49 innings pitched.
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Tonight is Autism Awareness night, and the Dust Devils are wearing alternate jerseys to be auctioned off during the game.
The jerseys are pretty sharp — blue with white sleeves, and adorned with what look like different-colored puzzle pieces. My description isn't doing it any justice, but they'd be a nice addition to any jersey collection, especially for a Dust Devils fan.
Yakima takes the early lead, getting a one-out triple in the first by Kevin Medrano followed by an RBI single from Joe Loftus for a 1-0 Bears' lead.
The Bears get another in the top of the second, getting a leadoff triple from Mike Lang — the No. 7 hitter — and an RBI groundout to shortstop by Mark Ginther.
Yakima leads 2-0 after 1 1/2 innings.
Tri-City gets one back in the bottom of the second. Jarod Berggren steps up with one out and drives a ball deep to left center that looked like it might carry out of here. It didn't, but center fielder Lang couldn't make a play on it as it fell in for a one-out triple. Berggren scored on Miguel De Leon's grounder to short to make it 2-1 Yakima.
Yakima takes advantage of a mental error by Tri-City to score twice in the top of the fourth.
Broyles isn't commanding the strike zone the way he was in the middle of last month. He's thrown over 50 pitches through three innings and getting behind too many hitters. Broyles gave up back-to-back two-out singles to the Bears' No. 8 and 9 hitters, Mark Ginter and Josh Parr, before Yogey Perez-Ramos lines a ball to center that looked like it should have been out No. 3.
But center fielder Kyle Von Tungeln made a bad read on the ball off the bat, taking two steps in before quickly realizing the ball was hit better than he thought. The ball cleared Von Tungeln's head and rolled to the wall, scoring Ginther and Parr for a 4-1 Yakima lead.
Yakima has found the sweet spot at Gesa Stadium for sure, hitting five triples and two doubles tonight. Ginther's ninth inning double starts a two-run outburst. Michael Wolford, who allowed the double by Ginther and a single by Parr, gets charged with both runs as the Bears take a 6-1 lead.
Francisco Sosa jumps on a 2-1 fastball from Yakima reliever Enrique Burgos and sends it off the groundskeeper's shack in left to make it 6-2. It's too bad there couldn't have been a runner or two on base, but an impressive shot nonetheless.
Alec Mehrten, who came in as a replacement for Matt Argyropoulos at third, followed with a one-out single, but Berggren hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
That's it: 6-2 Yakima. But the Dust Devils are still just three games out of first place in the second-half standings after Boise lost to Spokane. There's still hope, but Tri-City does have to play much better than it did tonight to have a chance.