The Voyagers didn’t wait until late to break the Brewers on Tuesday.
Great Falls put up six runs in the fourth inning and piled more on late, as the Voyagers took down the Helena Brewers 13-1 at Kindrick Legion Field in front of 1,164 fans.
“Try to come back tomorrow like nothing happened,” Brewers manager Nestor Corredor said. “Obviously it’s hard to do when you lost a game like this, but at same time it’s early in the season and we need to be able to make adjustments quick.”
Harold Chirino on the mound for the Brewers got the start on the mound, and found his way out of trouble early until it all came undone in the fourth inning.
Chirino got out of a bases-loaded situation in the first inning as catcher Payton Henry and the Brewers visited the mound several times, trying to straighten out signals and perhaps relieve some pressure.
Whatever it was, Chirino found his groove and fanned Craig Dedelow to get out of the inning.
Jose Gomez, a night after going 0 for 4, found his first hit of the season to lead off for the Brewers. It would not be the start of a refreshed hitting approach for the home team, however, as it finished with five hits on Tuesday, a night after scoring only one run and recording eight hits.
“We’re taking too many fast balls for strikes and following the breaking balls in the dirt,” Corredor said.
The Voyagers instantly nixed the Brewers’ offense, turning a double play after Zach Clark hit a chopper to third baseman Justin Yurchak, who turned to Tate Blackman and then to Reyes at first.
Chirino moved another runner onto the bases with a walk to start the second inning, putting Nate Nolan on. The Brewers’ pitchers went on to walk 14 batters on the evening.
Chad McClanahan showed his defensive chops from the third base spot when he made a play on a short hopper to gun out a runner at first, bare-handing the catch and firing a pinpoint throw.
Like the first, Chirino found himself out the second inning by striking out Tyler Frost. Chirino played the 2016 season in Arizona, and the 19-year-old is in his second professional season. Tuesday he went 3 2/3 innings and gave up three hits, five earned runs, while walking seven and fanning two.
Luis Ledo got the start for the Voyagers on the mound, showing strong command over his pitches early, extracting ground-outs from the Brewer batters. The 22-year-old, right handed pitcher is in his second season with the Voyagers, and playing in his fifth professional baseball season. Ledo went 2-1 in three starts for the Voyagers last season as he split between Great Falls and Arizona.
In the fourth, the Voyagers got to Chirino.
Nate Nolan doubled down the left-field line, slapping a well-hit ball to the corner of the stadium, allowing Justin Yurchak to score from first, making it 1-0.
A wild pitch moved Nolan to third and also gave Blackman a walk, putting runners on the corners. After a coaches’ visit to the mound, Frost hit into a fielder’s choice and brought in another run, 2-0. Chirino walked Curbelo, his sixth walk issued of the night. He then walked Luis Gonzalez after a full count, and threw a fourth ball, walking his seventh batter and ending his night.
Juan Diaz, the 24-year-old right-handed pitcher in his fourth season, came to the mound. A passed ball by Henry scored a run for the Voyagers, and then Villa doubled to left field off Diaz to keep the Voyagers’ batters mining the Brewers. Reyes struck a ball to center field to drive in another runner, pushing the Voyagers' lead to 6-0. Diaz finished his night pitching 3 1/3 innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs, walking two and striking out two.
Dedelow got his second at-bat in the inning, and bunted with two outs. The Brewers put him out and got out of their hellish frame.
“Today was a hard-fought inning with Chirino; he gave up six,” Corredor said. “We couldn’t recover after that. Hopefully tomorrow things will change. We get new pitchers tonight and will be part of the team after tomorrow. We hope we can figure out. I got full confidence in our starting rotation. I know (Carlos) Herrera is going to be fine. Chirino had one bad inning. (Nelson) Hernandez is a strike thrower. We feel good about starting pitcher. We need to figure out the bullpen.”
As the Voyagers' half of the inning felt like it would never end, the Brewers’ fifth inning felt like it never started. Ledo retired three batters in short order to bring up the Voyagers batters again. Ledo (1-0) finished the game pitching six innings, giving up three hits and one earned run, walking one batter while striking out six.
The Brewers finally got another runner on base in the sixth inning, the first time they had done that since the second inning. Gabriel Garcia reached on an error. A ground out, followed by a double play ended the Brewers scoring hopes shortly thereafter.
Nick Roscetti put the Brewers on the scoreboard -- literally. Roscetti took the first pitch from Ledo of the Brewers’ at-bat and homered off the scoreboard, giving the Brewers their first and only run of the game.
In the top of the seventh inning, the Voyagers began moving runners around again. Dedelow singled to left, Yurchak walked and then Nate Nolan, who finished 3 for 4 with an RBI, singled to load the bases. Blackman popped a sacrifice fly up to score Dedelow from third. Before the damage could grow, the Brewers turned a double play to get out of the inning.
Ryan Boelter took the mound for the Voyagers in the seventh inning. Boelter was taken in the 33rd round of the 2016 MLB draft by the White Sox. The 23-year-old left handed pitcher played collegiately at Gardner-Webb. He pitched two innings and gave up two hits while striking out four.
Lindell entered in the bottom of the seventh. The 21-year-old righty from West Linn, Oregon, gave up a few hits early, before Reyes lined to the left corner of the stadium and drove in another run for the Voyagers. Lindell went one inning, giving up two hits and two earned runs while walking and striking out one batter.
Dedelow hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring another Voyagers run. Dedelow went 2 for 5 on the night.
The Brewers opted to put infielder Julio Mendez on the mound in the ninth inning, hoping to preserve arms for the upcoming road trip to Great Falls. Using Mendez on the mound was an idea that Corredor had toyed with for several months.
“Since Arizona, we planned that out,” Corredor said. “We knew at the beginning we were going to be limited on pitching. I didn’t want to waste another pitcher and put myself in a tough position tomorrow. Mendez did the best he could and got through the inning. It saved an arm for tomorrow.”
Mendez gave up three hits, four earned runs and walked four in the ninth.
One of those hits was a two-run home run by Curbelo, who finished 3 for 5 at bat for two RBIs.
Wednesday, the Brewers travel to Great Falls to resume play against the Voyagers at Centene Stadium. Brewers pitcher Nelson Hernandez is scheduled to dual Brandon Agar.