Tri-City LHP Roberto Padilla is eager to forget about his last start, when he allowed seven runs on seven hits in a 17-6 loss in Eugene on Aug. 11. He's got his work cut out for him against a Boise lineup that's hitting well. In the lineup today for the Hawks is Albert Amora, the first-round draft pick of the Chicago Cubs and the sixth overall selection, who signed for $3.6 million.
Boise's pitcher today, RHP Pierce Johnson, was the Cubs' supplemental first round pick with the 43rd overall selection who signed for $1.2 million.
Fans looking for some serious bonus babies are getting their money's worth tonight.
The Dust Devils are also getting their first look at C Richard Pirkle, who played his first game of the season in a 5-3 loss at Eugene yesterday and will make his first home start today.
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This is a critical series for Tri-City, which comes into today's game trailing Boise by five games. The last time the Hawks came through town, the Dust Devils recorded the sweep. That could be much more difficult with Boise having found itself in the second half.
Padilla off to a rough start. After walking the leadoff guy, he got a big break when Stephen Bruno lined a ball to shortstop Rosell Herrera, who caught the ball and stepped on second for the double play.
But Padilla walked Jeimer Candelario, who scored on a monster double off the center field wall by Wilson Contreras to make it 1-0 Boise.
On the other hand, Johnson off to a fantastic start. He struck out the side in the first despite walking Herrera and balking him over to second. A passed ball sent Herrera to third, but that hardly mattered. Johnson was untouchable, striking out Tom Murphy and Francisco Sosa — two of the Dust Devils best hitters — to end the inning.
Scary moment in the top of the second. Padilla threw a breaking ball in the dirt that got away from Murphy and hit home plate umpire Nate Tomlinson in the throat. Tomlinson hit the ground immediately as both trainers — Andy Stover of Tri-City and Bob Grimes of Boise — came running to his aid.
It took him a few minutes to recover as Murphy and Padilla looked on nearby with concern. After taking a few sips from a cup, Tomlinson was back to work with a nice round of applause from a pretty good Thursday crowd.
Padilla gives up another run in the second. Almora hits a bloop double down the right field line but gets thrown out by Murphy trying to steal third.
But Xavier Batista — the Hawks' No. 7 hitter — walks and scores on a double to left by Carlos Escobar to make it 2-0.
Johnson strikes out Derek Jones and Matt Argyropoulos, giving him five strikeouts against his first six batters. The guy has a good, live fastball with a lot of movement, but his cutter is devastating.
But he's on a short pitch count, so we won't see him much longer.
Hawks hitters catch fire in the top of the fourth, hitting three doubles off Padilla to open up a 5-0 lead. The killer was a two-run double by Candelario that drove in Gioskar Amaya and Stephen Bruno.
Chris Dennis replaces Padilla after another RBI double by Contreras. Another bad start for the big guy out of Union City, Calif. Let's hope he can find himself in one of his last two starts of the year.
Tri-City gets two runs back in the bottom of the fifth. Patrick Hutcheson singles off Pena to lead off the inning, and Richard Pirkle walks. Yafistel Roja bunts them over 90 feet, and Herrera lines a two-run single up the middle to cut the lead to 5-2.
Boise tacks two more on in the ninth, but by then it's over.
Hawks win it 7-2 and lead Tri-City by six games with 16 left to play. That's a magic number of 10 to eliminate the Dust Devils from playoff contention.