The Helena Brewers took a two-run lead, but couldn’t find another run as the Missoula Osprey surged ahead for a 9-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Kindrick Legion Field.
“They pound us on the strike and they mix it up with sliders and fastballs inside and it made the guys guess too much,” Brewers manage Nestor Corredor said.
The key moment for the Brewers (10-11) may have been the third inning, when it appeared they were in for a huge payday. But with bases loaded and only one out, the Brewers couldn’t squeeze any more runs out of really the only offensive spurt of the day.
“That caused our plan, and if you see in the third inning we executed our plan with sac bunt and safety squeeze and stolen bases,” Corredor said. “We got bases loaded with one out and we can’t execute. We gotta have one more hit we might put the game on our side. Different game.”
The squandered opportunity lagged the Brewers both offensively and defensively, as starter Rodrigo Benoit in his next inning pitched gave up four runs.
“Definitely you know when those situations happen and we can’t take advantage of opportunities, always the energy go a little bit down. Of course, Benoit a little bit, he gave up four right away. That blew the energy on our side.”
Rodrigo went four innings, giving up six hits and four earned runs, while striking out three.
The Osprey pitching platoon -- starter Luis Madero, Cole Stapler and Gabe Gonzalez -- yielded only seven hits and struck out nine, as Madero came away with the win for Missoula (11-10).
Not even 10 minutes after the loss, Liu Rodriguez gathered his hitters in a practice area and addressed batting approaches and the worrisome game trends from Sunday. It was that kind of day for Helena, as overcast skies provided some relief from a scorching week in the Capital City.
Madero started on the mound for the Osprey (2-1, 4.24 ERA), for his fifth start and earned the win. Madero worked through a tough third inning to go six innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs while striking out six and walking one.
Dominic Miroglio became the first base runner in the game when he hit a blooper to right field and squeezed it into a double, but Benoit bounced back to generate the two outs to get out of the inning.
The third inning proved to be the Brewers' boon, too. Franly Mallen and Yeraldy Martinez both singled to get the Brewers on board with no outs. Chad McClanahan laid down the sac bunt to advance runners to third and second.
Nick Roscetti lined to left field to bring in the first run of the game, and give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.
Jose Gomez bunted and caught Madero off kilter, as he both brought in a run and advanced to first. The Brewers loaded the bases up, but couldn’t push any more runs across the plate.
The Osprey came out strong in the fourth inning, as Eduardo Diaz singled on a line drive to left field and then Joey Rose flew a double off the center field wall, scoring Diaz. A throwing error by the relay man, short stop Antonio Pinero, gave Rose third base.
Andy Yerzy hit a blooper to left field and scored Rose. Then Joel Novas hit a single to center field and scored two more runs, giving the Osprey a 4-2 lead, generating five hits in the fourth inning.
Roberto Delgado replaced Benoit in the top of the fifth and had a short day on the field. Delgrado threw one inning and gave up three hits and two earned runs with one strike out.
Gabriel Maciel led off with a triple against Delgado, showing his speed and capping it off with a face-first slide into third. Diaz singled to score Maciel, and Yerzy hammered his second RBI single and scored Diaz.
Cody Beckman supplanted Delgado in the sixth inning, and brought some stability to the mound. Beckman receive two innings of work and struck out three while giving up a single hit.
Matt Hardy, fresh off joining the team, came in during the eighth inning after recently being called up from the Arizona Brewers affiliate team. He had a mixed outing, giving up three hits and two earned runs while striking out one.
“We lost two good guys in Herrea and (Andrew) Vernon, but those two guys, I like what I see today,” Corredor said. “Beckman was really good today. Hardy gave up a couple runs on missed plays, we should have had those outs. Good feeling about those guys. Benoit did something that we asked him for today out of his start.”
Miroglio scored on a passed ball, a fielder’s choice that didn’t find the mark allowed Maciel to score and then Yerzy grounded out to score another run, and inflate the Ospreys’ lead to 9-2.
The Osprey retired 14 consecutive batters before McClanahan got in base in the ninth inning with one out.
The Brewers and Osprey conclude their three-game series on Monday, with the first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.