I had to miss a day, folks, and it turned out to be one of the more exciting rallies the Dust Devils have had this season.
They sent 12 men to the plate during a seven-run, seventh-inning outburst in a 9-3 win over Vancouver last night at Gesa. So Tri-City has handed two consecutive losses to a team that had won seven straight before that.
Props to Patrick Hutcheson who accomplished a rare feat with two hits in one inning and also to Tom Murphy, who extended his hitting streak to 18 games, the longest in the Northwest League this year.
Tonight, it's another good matchup of pitchers. The Dust Devils will start RHP Shane Broyles (3-2, 3.12 ERA), who has shown flashes of stardom this season. He earned NWL pitcher of the week honors for July 9-15 after winning three consecutive decisions.
He'll go against LHP Kyle Anderson (3-2, 5.96) of Vancouver.
Vancouver strikes first, getting Jason Leblebbijian — the Canadians' No. 5 hitter — in scoring position after he reached on an error and was sacrificed to second. A single by Dan Klein moves him to third.
Then the C's pull off the ol' double steal, and the Dust Devils took the bait on Klein while Leblebijian took off for home. Tri-City SS Rosell Herrera took the throw from catcher Tom Murphy at second, then threw back to Murphy to try to get Leblebijian. It looked like Murphy might have gotten him on the foot as he slid in, but home plate umpire Martin Gerich ruled that Leblebijian touched the plate first.
C's lead 1-0.
Dust Devils get the run back, as Derek Jones leads off the bottom of the second with a double down the line in right. No. 6 hitter Matt Argyropoulos struck out, but Miguel De Leon executed the hit-and-run nicely, swinging on a first-pitch fastball from Anderson to drive in Jones.
Score even at 1 after two innings.
Broyles looking good through six innings, although they'll likely pull the plug on him after throwing 88 pitches — a good majority of them for strikes. The first 11 pitches he threw, in fact, were strikes.
The 6-1 righty out of Texas Tech allowed just one run on three hits, walking one.
Tri-City watched it happen to them in the second, and now they make Vancouver suffer the same fate — a double steal that results in a steal of home by Derek Jones.
That starts a four-run outburst in the bottom of the sixth to give the Dust Devils a 5-1 lead. Now Broyles is in line for his fourth win of the year, and Tri-City continues to find new ways to score runs.
Vancouver reliever Jonathan Lucas allows four one-out singles with one out in the sixth, with Argyropoulos driving in Sosa for a 2-1 lead. Then, with De Leon at the plate, Argyropoulos took off for second, drawing a throw from C's catcher Klein. Once Jones saw Klein commit to second, he took off and scored on a high throw from Jorge Flores at short.
That made it 3-1.
Mehrten tried to lay a bunt down the first-base line but popped it up instead. First baseman Art Charles dropped the popup but still threw out De Leon at second.
Roja then singled to center to make it 4-1, and Mehrten scored on a wild pitch by new reliever Colton Turner to push the lead to 5-1.
Roja has two stolen bases in his first three at bats and singles with one out in the eighth. I'm thinking Freddie will send him.
Yep, he does. That's three stolen bases. Will he send him to third?
Yep, there he goes. But the slide leaves something to be desired. Roja slid head first and somehow ended up doing a barrel roll over the bag as Klein's throw beats him by a mile.
That'll probably cost him in Kangaroo Court.
A solid pitching effort for Tri-City. Broyles gets the win with six strong innings and eight whiffs. Matt Flemer, Tayor Reid and Seth Willoughby each contribute a scoreless inning of relief, and the Dust Devils win it 5-1.
That's three straight, but Boise still isn't cooperating. Whenever Tri-City wins, Boise wins. So the Hawks' East Division lead is still three games.
23 games left. Still plenty of time.