If you had told Roberto Padilla that he would give up just one hit through 5 2/3 innings in the Tri-City Dust Devils’ 2-1 loss to Everett on Friday at Gesa Stadium, he would take that any day of the week — and twice on Opening Day.
One thing he would love to take back, however, were the two leadoff walks that came around to score in the AquaSox victory.
“They came back to haunt me, but I can’t do anything about it now,” said Padilla, who was eager to return to the field after missing most of 2011 with a shoulder injury.
The Dust Devils took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second after Dillon Thomas roped a leadoff double to left center and then scored on Joey Wong’s one-out groundout to second base.
Padilla allowed a leadoff double to Jamodrick McGruder in the first inning but then retired the next nine batters he faced using mostly a fastball and changeup. Michael Faulkner walked to lead off the fourth, then advanced on a wild pitch and a steal before scoring on a grounder to second by former Washington State standout Taylor Ard.
“I’m coming out with my head held high. I made a few mistakes, but I’ll work on fixing those my next time out,” Padilla said.
Padilla walked Chris Taylor — Everett’s No. 9 hitter — to lead off the sixth. Taylor stole second and advanced on a wild pitch. Padilla struck out the next two batters and watched Janelfry Zorilla hit a fairly innocent grounder to shortstop Zach Osborne, but the ball skipped off Osborne’s glove, allowing Taylor to score for a 2-1 lead.
“I’m mad at myself for letting the team down. It definitely cost us,” said Osborne of his first ground ball in pro baseball. “I let my instincts take over, but I guess I was a little too excited and came up too early.”
Padilla left the game, and Osborne, a former Little League World Series MVP, hung his head while reliever Josh Hungerman warmed up.
“It was more about how I walked (Taylor) and let him steal second. I had him picked off — had him dead to rights — but didn’t get him,” Padilla said. “I told (Osborne) I’ll pick him back up with another ground ball.”
Padilla finished with six strikeouts, while Hungerman and William Rankin followed him with 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
Everett starter Victor Sanchez, a 17-year-old Venezuelan native, picked up the win, allowing just one run on two hits over six innings.Oliver Garcia tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn the save for the Sox.
Osborne redeemed himself with Tri-City trailing 2-1 in the seventh, working a 3-2 count against AquaSox reliever Brandon Plotz before bouncing a single up the middle. Anthony Aguilera then walked to put Osborne in scoring position.
Yafistel Roja then hit a two-out single to left field, and Dust Devils manager Fred Ocasio waved Osborne around third to try to tie the game. But Zorilla, the Everett outfielder, caught up to the ball in short left field and nailed Osborne at the plate by five steps.
“Roja didn’t hit it that hard, and I thought the grass might slow it down,” Ocasio said. “Osborne had a good secondary lead, but the left fielder made a perfect throw.”
Tri-City had five hits and walked five times, putting runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings. But the Dust Devils also left eight men on base.
“These are the types of games we’re going to play in Tri-City,” Ocasio said. “One thing we stress is not walking guys. They always come back to hurt us.”
Notes: Today’s starters will be RHP Josh Slaats for Tri-City and RHP Mayekol Guaipe for Everett. ... OF Jaron Shepherd was hit in the hand in his first at bat of the season and left the game in the first inning. He is considered day-to-day with a hand contusion but will get X-rays today to determine the severity of the injury.