A wild second inning and one bad throw to first base was enough to cost Tri-City on Monday.
Starting pitcher Peter Tago appeared to have an Everett runner picked off of first base in the second inning, but instead threw the ball away allowing a runner to score.
Everett added three more runs with the inning extended, and rolled to a 7-2 victory at Gesa Stadium.
“That was my fault. The ball got away,” Tago said. “You are taught to throw it belt high, but (stuff) happens.”
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the second, Tago walked the leadoff hitter and then hit a batter. After striking out Everett’s Ketel Marte, he induced a force out from Michael Faulkner to put runners on the corners with two outs.
With Jamodrick McGruder at the plate, Tago caught Faulkner leaning off of first but his throw skipped past Jordan Ribera allowing Marcus Littlewood to score.
“That was a big play,” Tri-City manager Freddie Ocasio said. “If he makes a good throw, he gets out it.”
Things went downhill quickly for Tago, who then walked McGruder, gave up RBI singles to Chris Taylor and Taylor Ard, and then wild pitched in a run to make it 6-1 after just two innings.
“It was a lack of preparation,” Tago said of his rough start. “I wasn’t locating as well as I wanted to.”
Tago was the 47th pick in the 2010 draft, as the Rockies got him with a supplemental pick after the first round. He pitched the entire season at Single-A Asheville last season, struggling with his command throughout.
On Monday, despite the shaky start, he did settle down and retire the last six batters he faced and he said afterward that he can take some positives out of that, something his manager agreed with.
“He didn’t have command of his pitches today, especially his fastball,” Ocasio said. “It’s definitely something he build on. He had a rough start, but he found the strike zone and got in a little groove there.”
Tri-City fell behind 2-0 in the first, as Ard had an RBI double to right center. Alfredo Morales followed with a run-scoring double of his own.
The Dust Devils got right back in the game, though, as Charlie Blackmon crushed a 1-2 pitch from Seon Gi Kim over the right-field fence to cut the lead in half.
But that was all that Kim would allow, as the 6-foot-2 right-hander was in control throughout.
He threw six strong innings, allowing four hits with a walk and three strikeouts. He needed just 78 pitches to get through his night, throwing 53 for strikes.
“You get down early in this ballpark and it is tough,” Ocasio said. “We got down early and couldn’t get much going.”
Josh Hungerman was sharp in relief of Tago, striking out five in two innings of work. It was the second strong relief outing for Hungerman this season.
Tri-City scored its final run in the seventh on an RBI triple by Yafistel Roja.
Tago allowed six runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings pitched.
Ard, Taylor and Patrick Kivlehan all had two hits apiece for Everett.
NOTES: Blackmon was hit on the right foot with a Kim pitch during his second at bat. He took a long look at Kim, before trotting to first base. He was removed after five innings, but Ocasio said that was scheduled before the game and that he wasn’t hurt. The Dust Devils play their lone day game of the season today, facing Everett at 11:15 a.m. Tri-City plans to start Ryan Arrowood, while Everett will run out Jose Valdivia.