Tri-City Dust Devils

Dust Devils defeat Yakima again

Christian Bergman made history after all.

In his last start, the Tri-City Dust Devils ace starting pitcher lost his bid for the longest scoreless innings streak in Northwest League history, falling one inning short of the record of 32.

"Afterwards, I was pretty disappointed in myself," said Bergman, a 6-foot-2 right-hander from Glendale, Calif. "I kind of used it as motivation for tonight."

Bad news, Bears.

Bergman locked in for a dominating complete-game shutout in Tri-City's 2-0 win over Yakima on Friday in front of 2,814 fans at Gesa Stadium. He allowed just three hits without walking a batter, and needed just 91 pitches to get it all done.

The shutout gave the Dust Devils their 10th shutout of the season, which tied the NWL mark shared by the 1990 Eugene Emeralds and the 2002 Vancouver Canadians. Bergman also tied Andrew Kreidermacher's team record of two complete games in a season.

But Bergman set himself apart with his second shutout gem.

"(Tying the record) means a lot. The best thing is doing it as a team," Bergman said. "Everybody chipped in. It just goes to show how good our staff is."

Tri-City (15-9 second half, 37-25 overall) managed just six hits on offense, thanks to a solid performance by Bears starter Teo Gutierrez. But Tyler Massey drove in a run with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly to make it 1-0 and then teed off on a first-pitch fastball from Gutierrez with two outs in the sixth to make it 2-0.

That was all Bergman would need.

"You always want one more run, but the way he's been going - throwing strikes and commanding all his pitches," Massey said. "I've never played with a more dominant staff."

Bergman, who was 1-4 with a 5.96 ERA at Casper (Wyo.) last season, threw first-pitch strikes to 28 of 31 Yakima hitters. Of the 91 pitches he threw, 70 were strikes.

"That's how you throw a complete game, by throwing strikes and challenging hitters all night," said Dust Devils pitching coach Dave Burba, who played 16 years in the bigs but rarely saw this kind of season from anybody.

"One thing I like is that you couldn't tell if he'd given up 100 runs or was pitching a perfect game," Burba said. "His demeanor never changed. Nothing bothered him."

Tri-City manager Fred Ocasio said Bergman was at 82 pitches of a 90-pitch limit heading into the ninth inning, and it wasn't much of a stretch to let him finish it out.

"Me and Burba talked about that, but he had eight pitches to work with. We decided to give him a chance to finish," Ocasio said.

Bergman did just that, retiring the Bears' 2-3-4 hitters - Danny Pulfer, Jimmy Comerota and Garrett Weber - in order to end the game.

"I try to go nine innings every time out. That's my style," Bergman said.

The win pushed Tri-City's East Division lead to four games over second-place Boise (11-13), which lost 3-2 in Spokane.

Notes: Today's pitching matchups: Tri-City RHP Ricardo Ferrer (2-4, 4.13 ERA) against Yakima RHP Jiamor Camacho (1-0, 4.67). ... The Colorado Rockies released Dust Devils 1B Blake McDade following Thursday's 3-1 win over Yakima. McDade hit .182 in 29 games this season with nine runs and seven RBIs. The Rockies also promoted OF Jarod Berggren from their rookie affiliate in Casper. Berggren, a 32nd-round draft pick out of the Universty of Northern Colorado, hit .289 with four RBIs in 15 games with the Ghosts.