AquaSox finally get some relief

  • By Nick Patterson / Herald Writer
  • Saturday, July 17, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

EVERETT – The Everett AquaSox bullpen – pardon the pun – was in need of some serious relief.

Enter Mumba Rivera.

Rivera provided a much-needed breath of fresh air, bringing the Yakima Bears’ surging offense to a screeching halt, and the AquaSox defeated the Bears 8-6 in a Northwest League game.

Before the second largest crowd (4,801) in Everett Memorial Stadium history, Rivera tossed 32/3 innings of scoreless relief. That allowed the AquaSox (17-12) to go from trailing 6-5 to leading 8-6. He gave up one hit, one walk and struck out five against a team that had scored 38 runs in the first four games of the series, improving his record to 2-2.

“Every pitch was working,” Rivera said. “I felt great in the bullpen and my curveball was the key pitch. It kept the hitters off balance. I was also able to spot my fastball and I kept my change low, so everything was working.”

Aaron Trolia pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his third save of the season. Casey Craig led the Everett offense, going 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Everett finished 2-3 in the five-game series.

Rivera’s performance couldn’t have come at a more important time, considering Everett’s bullpen gave up 17 runs the previous two games, both blowout losses.

“I thought it was a big win for the bullpen and a big win for the team,” Rivera said. “The bullpen didn’t do a good job earlier in the series, but hopefully this will give the bullpen confidence. It was also a big way to end the series before going on the road to Eugene.”

Rivera also received strong defense behind him, with first baseman Brandon Green and second baseman Oswaldo Navarro standing out.

Everett starting pitcher Ruben Flores, coming off an eight-inning start, only made it a little more than half that distance this time. In 41/3 innings, he gave up six runs on five hits and two walks, striking out two.

Yakima starter Keith Whatley went four innings, giving up seven runs – five earned – on four hits and four walks, striking out two. He fell to 1-4. The Bears fell to 12-17.

It looked like it was going to be more of the same of what’s gone on all series when on the third pitch of the game, Erik Schindewolf smashed a liner over the right-center wall for a home run – his third of the season and Yakima’s 11th of the series – to stake the Bears to an early 1-0 lead.

But then the other thing that’s been prevalent throughout the series – Yakima errors – led to the AquaSox going up 4-1 in the second. A bad throw by third baseman Trey Hendricks on a potential double-play grounder allowed both runners to be safe, and shortstop Mark Reynolds threw away another potential double-play ball after recording the out at second, allowing Marshall Hubbard to score and tie it at 1-1. The errors were Yakima’s seventh and eighth of the series.

Later in the inning, with the hit and run on, Craig tripled down the left-field line, driving in two runs. Brent Johnson’s sacrifice fly scored Craig to give Everett a three-run lead.

Yakima pulled within one in a third inning that Flores would just as soon forget. Flores threw three wild pitches, made a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at second and hit a batter. The net result was two runs, cutting the lead to 4-3.

Everett tacked another run on in the bottom of the third. Green led off with a triple off the left-field wall. One out later he scored on Yung Chi Chen’s groundout to short, making it 5-3.

But then that bane of the AquaSox reared its ugly head again in the fifth when Reynolds belted a three run shot to left – his fourth straight game with a homer and his sixth of the season – to give the Bears a 6-5 lead.

Everett retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth, scoring twice with the benefit of just one hit – Hubbard’s single off the field umpire. Chen’s sacrifice fly and Mike Wilson’s RBI groundout brought home the runs as the Everett went ahead 7-6.

Everett added another run in the sixth when Navarro and Craig executed a double steal, Craig sliding home safely to make it 8-6.

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