On a night of missed opportunities, Francisco Sosa didn’t miss his biggest one.
The burly center fielder hit a fly ball that was dropped in right field, scoring Rosell Herrera with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Tri-City Dust Devils beat the Spokane Indians 6-5 on Wednesday night at Gesa Stadium.
“I tried to find a high pitch because the pitcher was throwing a lot of sliders,” Sosa said through interpreter Robert De La Cruz.
Herrera doubled to lead off the ninth, a night after making a costly error that cost Tri-City the game. He moved to third on a wild pitch, and after a pair of walks loaded the bases, Sosa got the job done, hitting a high pop down the line. Spokane right fielder Preston Beck dropped the ball, and the play was ruled a sacrifice fly, with an error charged to Beck.
“There was a lot of missed opportunities for both teams,” Tri-City manager Fred Ocasio said. “Sosa came up big, putting the ball into play. We got the ‘W.’ That’s what counts.”
The Dust Devils had the bases loaded with one out in the eighth inning, but Zach Osborne grounded into a double play to end the threat.
Spokane had the bases loaded with one out in its half of the eighth, but reliever Matt Flemer got the two biggest outs of the game, retiring Royce Bolinger and Ryan Rua on pop-outs. Bolinger was 3-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs entering that at-bat.
“I was just trying to get a double play,” Flemer said. “I tried to get ahead of him so I could go to my breaking stuff. I knew he’d be aggressive, and I just made a couple of good pitches and got him to pop up.”
Tri-City ended a two-game losing streak, both one-run losses.
“It’s good to win a one-run ballgame,” Flemer said. “We were able to do the little things. Herrera made an error that cost us the game (Tuesday night), but steps up and gets the biggest hit of the game (Wednesday night).
“It shows we’ve got guys who can rebound and get the job done.”
Flemer earned the victory, allowing one hit in 1 2/3 innings pitched. Sosa finished 2-for-3 with the one RBI.
Spokane jumped out 2-0 in the first inning, but Herrera tied it with a two-run single to center in the bottom of the third. Spokane went back on top 4-2, but Tri-City’s Tom Murphy crushed a two-run home run to left-center in the bottom of the fifth to make it 4-4.
Spokane again went on top in the sixth, but the Dust Devils rallied in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly by Alec Mehrten.
The teams then traded big scoring opportunities until Sosa got his big hit.
NOTES: The official scorer could have awarded an error on a rare play in the bottom of the first but elected not to do so. Tri-City’s Murphy hit a foul pop-up down the right-field line, and Spokane first baseman Barrett Serrato was camped under the ball ready to make the catch. Second baseman Cam Schiller ran him over, and the ball dropped to the turf. The dropped ball allowed Murphy’s at-bat to continue, though he struck out looking on the next pitch. If he had scored, it should have been considered an unearned run. Spokane center fielder Hirotoshi Onaka robbed Miguel De Leon and Derek Jones of extra-base hits on consecutive plays in the second, going deep up the right- and left-center gaps. Peter Tago (2-4, 5.89 ERA) is scheduled to start for Tri-City today against Spokane’s Eric Brooks (1-1, 3.00 ERA).