A slightly rainy afternoon has kept a possible sellout crowd away, but still a good turnout for Game 2.
Tri-City starting pitcher Vianney Mayo got off to a good start, retiring the first two hitters. But then he walked the next two batters and allowed an RBI single to the Sox No. 5 hitter Jabari Blash. Mayo kept fighting control issues against the No. 6 hitter Mike Dowd, walking him to draw a visit from the pitching coach Dave Burba.
Mayo was shaky enough that Ching-Lung Lo got up in the bullpen and started some warmup throws, but he struck out Rudy van Heydoorn to end the inning.
In all, he was lucky. The inning could have been much worse, but he allowed just one run despite the three walks.
Tony Butler is starting for the AquaSox and so far looks fantastic. So far, the 6-foot-7 left-hander has stayed ahead of hitters using a nice fastball and a sweet changeup. He hasn't allowed a hit through the first two innings.
Everett adds another run in the top of the third off a pair of infield errors. Dust Devils shortstop Jeff Squier dropped a popup by Jetsy Extrano with a runner on first. The damage was minimal, since left fielder Tyler Massey was able to recover it and force the runner at second. But Extrano stole second, but the throw from Ryan Casteel bounced into centerfield and Exrano took third.
He then scored on an infield grounder from James Wood. The Dust Devils did bring the infield in to try to prevent a run-scoring grounder, but second baseman Dominic Altobelli had no chance to catch Extrano at home.
2-0 AquaSox after three innings.
Heading to bottom of fifth, still 2-0. Dust Devils haven't been able to get anything going since the first inning of last night. Part of that is Butler, a former Mariners' third-round draft pick who is doing a great job keeping Tri-City off balance with power and finesse.
He's been ahead of hitters all night, and his defense has helped him, too. When Leonardo Reyes dropped a nice bunt down the third-base line, it looked like a sure base hit. But Everett third baseman Danny Lopez ran towards home, barehanded the ball and caught Reyes at first by a half step.
Dust Devils still hitless and they trail 2-0.
Butler finally allows his first hit, a long double to the wall by Ryan Casteel after a leadoff walk by Jared Simon. Simon came around third to try to score, but a good relay throw from second baseman Mike Dowd was enough to get Simon at home.
Dust Devils remain scoreless. Still 2-0 after five innings.
Once Butler leaves, however, it's on.
His replacement, side-arming righty Jason Buursma, faced six batters but failed to record an out, allowing Tri-City to sneak back in it.
Buursma loaded the bases and then gave up a single to left by Tyler Massey, then a walk to Reyes and finally bloop single to Simon as the Dust Devils take a 3-2 lead.
Still no outs and bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth. New pitcher in, however, in Bryan Leigh.
Tri-City gets one more (credited to Buursma) off Leigh for a 4-2 lead. Leigh did a fantastic job putting out the fire, getting a run-scoring double-play grounder to short and then a flyout to right to end the inning.
Hey, there's the first Gesa Stadium home run of the season!!
The Dust Devils' own Dominic Altobelli jumped on a 3-2 fastball from Leigh with two outs in the seventh to give Tri-City a little insurance at 5-2.
He hit it on the screws, a line drive right down the left field line, and I think the wind might have helped it a little bit. Just made it to the shack in left.
As he was coming around third, I could see a big smile on his face ("I'm always happy," he said after the game).
I guess one good shot deserves another. Everett's leadoff batter in the eighth, Jabari Blash, got ahold of a 2-2 fastball from Rafael Suarez and hit a towering blast to left center. He hit it so high it disappeared into the darkness above the lights and probably landed across the freeway somewhere.
Man that guy is strong.
But it's a drop in the bucket. Still 5-3 Tri-City.
Make it 6-3 Tri-City. Massey hit a leadoff double in the eighth, and Casteel drove him home with an RBI groundout to second. Should be enough for the first win.
Isaiah Froneberger on to close out the game for the Dust Devils in the ninth.
He's getting a little dangerous, allowing two singles and a wild pitch to lead off the inning. One of them comes around to score to cut it to 6-4.
But Froneberger bears down and retires three of the final four to seal it up.