Aldemar Burgos went 3-for-4, coming a triple shy of the cycle, driving in three runs and scoring twice, and the Tri-City Dust Devils topped the Spokane Indians 5-1 on Wednesday night at Gesa Stadium, they’re second win by a comfortable margin in as many nights.
On Tuesday, Tri-City (6-1) won its home opener against the Indians 10-1. The finale of the three-game set starts at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.
Burgos’ home run — a solo shot out to left in the bottom of the second — was just the second in his three years as a pro. He picked a good night to hit it, as his parents were up from Puerto Rico to see him play in a professional game for the first time.
“It feels great having this day in front of my parents,” Burgos said. “Hitting that homer, and dedicating it to my mom, it felt great and was pretty emotional.”
The ball left Burgos’ bat at 100 mph, according to TrackMan, and used the heavy breeze out to left field to clear the fence by a fair margin. Even with the wind pushing the towering fly ball, the Padres’ eighth-round pick in the 2015 draft wasn’t taking any chances.
“I hit the ball and I start running,” he said. “I’m not a power hitter. The guys are always asking me ‘why are you running so fast?’ So I started running, and when they finally told me that it was gone I reduced my speed around the bases.”
Emmanuel Ramirez (1-0) made his second Dust Devils start of the season and, save for a couple of walks, was phenomenal. He gave up one run on one hit and struck out seven over six innings, and, like Jim McDade the night prior, Tri-City manager Ben Fritz said he could have gone back for more.
“In control, there’s nothing that fazes him,” Fritz said. “He had a few three-ball counts, had a walk, but nothing really rattles him, he just gets back to doing what he was doing before. His poise, that’s why he started Opening Day for us on the road, you know what you’re going to get out of him.”
Playing the best baseball in the Northwest League through the first week of the season — Vancouver beat Everett 8-4 on Wednesday to keep pace a game back in the North — the Dust Devils were again scoring early and often in this one.
They opened the scoring in the bottom of the first when Justin Lopez and Luis Almanzar hit back-to-back, one-out doubles.
Josh Magee singled home Burgos in the bottom of the second, then Burgos blasted his homer in the fifth and hit a two-run, two-out double down the left-field line in the sixth to plate Luis Almanzar and Boomer White to give Tri-City a 5-1 lead.
The result was the Indians never really threatening the lead for the second straight night and the Dust Devils continuing to look like the team to beat in the NWL.
“I’ve been watching this team this year, and we’ve got a lot of young guys that are very hungry, they want to play baseball to win,” Burgos said. “That’s the great thing that we have with this team, and we’re just gonna keep it that way.”
Right-handed pitcher Austin Smith — the San Diego Padres second-round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft — pitched 1/3 innings in relief of Ramirez, and left the game after issuing a walk to Curtis Terry. He immediately pointed to the trainer after the last pitch and held his side as he walked off the field.
Fritz said Smith had some lower-back tightness, and was hoping he wouldn’t be out for too long.
“I was the pitching coach in AZL when he was drafted two years ago, and he’s been a horse,” Fritz said. “He’s getting used to throwing out of the bullpen now, whatever it is, hopefully it clears up soon.”
After the series wraps up Thursday, Tri-City hosts the Everett AquaSox for a three-game home set and Spokane will head to Vancouver for three against the Canadians. Both series begin Friday.