Tayron Guerrero has three losses in as many starts, his third coming on the heels of a 6-3 Friday loss to the Tri-City Dust Devils (24-25, 5-6). The Eugene Emeralds (19-30, 6-5) have had no problems swinging the bats lately or battling back with opponents, but consistent starting pitching seems to be the glaring missing piece staring the Ems in the face in the second week of the new half.
Guerrero had two starts under his belt and seemed to have the trust of the coaching staff to continue his starting stint, but had another tough go as he suffered four of the six runs from the Dust Devils — all of which came in the third inning.
He burned through the first two, striking out three including the first batter he faced and two Ks to end the second — really burning up the Devils when he got up to the high-90s on the gun early on. After striking out the leadoff batter of the third — his third K in a row — he gave up two singles and a wild pitch. All told, four crossed the plate by the time Guerrero was pulled for steady reliever Jairo Gomez.
Gomez, Jeffrey Enloe and Vladimir De La Cruz combined for five hits and just one earned run, but it was too late, and the Ems never reached the four-run mark the Devils set in the third.
Johendi Jiminian led the Devils’ pitching out of the gates and gets the win, his second. He allowed just five hits in six innings and the Ems mustered only one more hit, in the ninth.
Two came from Maquiel Brito — one a double — who has been simply a revelation out of the Ems’ dugout lately, improving his average to a .265 clip. Brito, an outfielder, could be a key part of the Ems as they might move forward without one Hunter Renfroe as he should soon take his talents up the ranks of the Padres organization.
Eugene returns to the diamond in Tri-City at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday. With two more in this series, the Ems need to win both to get one more scalp before the all-star break.
Salem-Keizer, Hillsboro and Eugene are all tied for the South division lead in the Northwest league with a 6-5 record. Hillsboro and Eugene both won Thursday and lost Friday, while SK is on a two-game winning streak, so the race will stay hot even after this upcoming midweek break.