Luis Azcona hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning and the Billings Mustangs went on to defeat the Helena Brewers 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at Kindrick Legion Field.
Azcona’s first home run of the season came with two outs and nobody on against Brewers reliever Roberto Delgado (0-1), who would yield his second long ball of the day in the eighth inning to Mustangs catcher Pabel Manzanero.
The Mustangs' fifth and final run came courtesy of Azcona’s third hit, a single in the ninth off Rodrigo Benoit.
Billings needed every run, as the Brewers loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but Alfredo Mena worked his way out of the jam by striking out Dallas Carroll to end the ballgame.
As a team the Brewers (1-6) left 10 men on base and went just 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
Harold Chirino was outstanding to start the game for the Brewers, allowing two runs on seven hits in five innings. The 19-year-old righty from Maturin, Venezuela struck out five and walked just one. In his professional debut, Alec Bettinger worked a perfect inning in relief of Chirino.
Helena recorded just five hits as a team, the biggest being Franly Mallen’s first home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning that cut an early Billings lead to 2-1. The Brewers briefly tied the game in the sixth when Payton Henry scored on a passed ball, but it was all Mustangs from that point on.
The Brewers can still earn a split of the four game set with the Mustangs (5-2) as the series concludes Monday night. Roberto Hernandez (0-0, 3.60 ERA) will be on the bump for Helena opposite Tyler Mondile (1-0, 0.00) for Billings.