But even Mike Zunino can't play the hero every night.
The Boise Hawks thwarted Zunino's attempt to extend the game, and the Sox fell 8-6 Wednesday night at Everett Memorial Stadium.
Everett played from behind all night Wednesday, trailing by as many as five runs. However, the Sox closed within two in the eighth on Taylor Ard's two-run homer.
Then Everett got exactly what it needed in the ninth, getting two runners on base to bring Zunino to the plate.
Zunino, selected third overall in this year's draft by the Seattle Mariners, has been the picture of production since joining the Sox a month ago. When put in similar positions in prior games he came through in the clutch.
Zunino nearly did it again Wednesday as he smashed Eddie Orozco's first pitch up the middle on a hop. Boise shortstop Marco Hernandez lunged for the ball and was only able to knock it down. However, Hernandez recovered and shoveled the ball to second, where it narrowly beat Jamodrick McGruder to the bag to end the game.
"We made it interesting," Everett manager Rob Mummau said. "We had Z up there with a couple guys on and a chance to at least tie it, maybe. He hit it hard and their shortstop made a play, so what are you going to do.
"We got a couple guys aboard for the 3-4-5 hitters to possibly tie it or win it, that's all you can ask for."
Rock Shoulders smashed a grand slam home run, and Dan Vogelbach also homered for Boise (10-5, 23-30), which maintained a three-game lead over Spokane and Tri-City in the Northwest League's East Division second-half standings.
Janelfry Zorrilla went 2-for-3 with a homer for Everett (6-9, 34-19). Ard's homer extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
Everett starting pitcher Victor Sanchez had an uncharacteristic subpar outing. Sanchez has done everything the Sox could have asked from a 17-year-old and more, anchoring the top of Everett's rotation. But even phenoms have off nights, and the Hawks capitalized.
It was clear from the beginning of Wednesday's start that Sanchez wasn't at his sharpest as he hit the first two batters of the game. Though he made it through five innings, he hit three batters, walked two and allowed two homers. The seven runs he allowed matched a season high.
"He wasn't as sharp," Mummau said of Sanchez. "He got some pitches in the middle part of the plate, he hit three guys, walked a couple leadoff hitters. It wasn't his best performance, he was just missing his spots."
Meanwhile, Boise starter Jose Arias was solid. He gave up three runs on four hits and two walks in five innings, striking out six in earning the win. Orozco picked up the save.
Sanchez has had issues in the first inning of games this season, and he found himself in trouble again when he hit the first two batters of the game, then threw away a pickoff attempt to second to put runners at second and third with nobody out.
But like he's tended to do, Sanchez limited the first-inning damage. Jeimer Candelario's single drove in one run. But Ard, playing third base for the first time this season, threw out Stephen Bruno at home on Vogelbach's tapper, and Sanchez escaped surrendering just the single run.
However, Sanchez did not get stronger as the game progressed as he has in the past. In the third Vogelbach golfed a ball down the right-field line and just inside the foul pole for a two-run homer. Then in the fifth the Hawks loaded the bases on a walk, hit batter and error by Ard, and Shoulders followed by tattooing Sanchez's first pitch well over the netting above the wall in right-center, giving Boise a 7-2 lead.
Everett chipped away and gave itself a chance in the ninth, but the Hawks held on.
More Sports Headlines
Snohomish mixed martial artist returns to her first love Mariners beat Twins 4-3 in 11 innings 4:03 p.m. Charles scores 29 points, Liberty beat Storm 78-62 4:49 p.m. Park wins Women's British Open, captures 4th different major 4:38 p.m. Perry wins 2nd straight Champions Tour's 3M Championship 4:33 p.m. Merritt shoots 67 to win Quicken Loans National by 3 shots 4:30 p.m. Triple Crown winner American Pharoah wins $1.75 million Haskell Invitational 4:25 p.m. Bills' Ryan names Incognito starting left guard 4:22 p.m.
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.