It was an inauspicious finale for the Helena Brewers on Thursday, as the Capital City crew fell to the visiting Billings Mustangs 7-1 at Kindrick Legion Field.
Helena managed just five hits in the loss, while also committing three errors.
The lone run for Helena came in the bottom of the fourth, where Ronnie Gideon crushed his Pioneer League-best 17th home run of the season. That made it a 4-1 Billings lead, but Helena was unable to touch the Mustangs’ bullpen.
Soid Marquez got the win, going five innings with the one run allowed on five hits, striking out three. But then Aaron Quillen (one inning), Alfredo Mena (two) and Carlos Machorro (one) finished the last four frames without a hit allowed, striking out two batters each. The Billings pitching staff did not issue a walk all night.
The defeat leaves the team with a frustrating season record of 28-46. The Brewers struggled mightily in the second half, winning just 13 games. Much of those struggles, though, were a result of players being advanced to Wisconsin.
A glance down the transactions since July shows Helena standouts Nathan Rodriguez, Quintin Torres-Costa, Lucas Erceg, Thomas Jankins, Trey Supak and Zack Brown all being advanced.
And with a roster filled with former Brewers, the Timber Rattlers (37-33) have clinched a playoff spot in the Midwest League’s Western Division.
Billings (41-34) will advance to play in the postseason, as will the North’s second-half champion, Great Falls (47-28).