Sometimes in baseball, all it takes to win is the right things happening at the right time. Thanks to bloop hits and taking advantage of poor throws, the Eugene Emeralds (11-10) were able to scrap out a tough fought 7-5 win over Tri-City (9-11) on Monday night at PK Park.
The Ems would draw leadoff walks in their first two innings, but failed to score either of those runners. In the first, Corey Adamson was picked off at first after walking. Then in the second, Maxx Tissenbaum also walked to start the inning. But after advancing to second off a wild pitch, then to third on a fielders choice, the Ems weren’t able to score Tissenbaum, leaving him stranded at third.
Eugene found itself in a bit of a jam in the fourth inning. With one out, shortstop Felix Cabrera bobbled a routine toss from Tissenbaum, botching a double play that would have ended the inning. Then with runners on the corners and two outs, Emeralds starting pitcher Joseph Ross was able to escape the inning unharmed thanks to a groundout to second.
The Ems would finally put together some offense in the bottom of the fourth inning. After two straight walks, designated hitter Jonathan Roof singled to left for Eugene’s first hit of the game, driving in Tissenbaum. Roof would advance to second on a wild throw from Tri-City left fielder Francisco Sosa. After a walk to load the bases, Cabrera would draw himself an RBI the painful way getting hit by a pitch to walk in a run to extend Eugene’s lead to two.
Padres 2011 first round selection Joe Ross threw four shutout innings in what was a rehab start without allowing a hit.
“There’s so much life in his arm,” said Eugene hitting coach Chris Prieto. “When he’s down in the strike zone it’s really fun to watch him.”
Prieto was standing in as manager while head coach Pat Murphy serves a suspension.
In the bottom of the fifth, Eugene would tack on insurance runs off a sacrifice fly to deep right-center field off the bat of Tissenbaum, as well as an RBI single from Gabriel Quintanato increase their lead to four.
Tri-City’s bats would come alive in the top of the sixth, scoring five runs on five hits, including three straight RBI hits. Emeralds’ reliever Brandon Alger would leave the game with two outs in the inning. Alger lasted 1.2 innings in total, giving up five runs on seven hits while striking out two.
Eugene would take advantage of a poor throw from Tri-City catcher Tom Murphy to get back a run in the home half of the sixth. With two outs, Jeremy Baltz hit a dribbler down the first base line that looked as if it had gone foul. Murphy scooped it up, throwing the ball away down the right field line, allowing a run to score.
Luck would continue to be on the Ems’ side in the bottom of the eighth inning. With runners on the corners and one out, Jeremy Baltz popped up a blooper into shallow left-center field right in no-man’s land, driving in the go-ahead run. In another turn of fortune for the Emeralds, a wild throw from Murphy while attempting to throw out Mallex Smith stealing third sailed into left field, scoring Smith.
That would be all Eugene would need as Roman Madrid struck out the side in the ninth to give the Emeralds the win. Madrid (4-0, 1.73 ERA), who had come on to pitch in the eighth inning was credited with the win, while Matt Flemer (2-1, 2.60 ERA)
Despite scoring seven runs, Eugene was only able to get four hits in the game
“I think we’re trying to do too much,” said Prieto. “Because we’re having to take a lot of walks, that contagious hitting isn’t happening.”
The Emeralds, who trail Vancouver in the west by two games, will go for the series win on Tuesday night against Tri-Cities. First pitch is slated for 7:05 pm.