BOISE, Idaho – The Everett AquaSox and Boise Hawks had pitchers on both sides shaking their heads in disbelief Thursday as they searched for some elusive third outs.
Both teams scored five runs on two-out base hits, but Everett (20-22) also took advantage of five Boise errors to score four unearned runs in a 10-6 victory at Boise’s Memorial Stadium.
The victory was Everett’s third in a row over the Hawks and its fourth in six games as the two teams are in the midst of 10 straight against one another. It was the first time this season Boise (29-14) has lost three straight.
Everett’s Tim Merritt, playing in just his second game after a week on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, went 4-for-5 with five runs batted in. He had RBI hits in each of his first four at-bats, two doubles followed by two singles. He also scored twice.
Perhaps no pitcher was shaking his head more than Everett starter Gus Martinez. After pitching four shutout innings, he took an eight-run lead into the fifth, but failed to qualify for the decision.
Reliever Ryan Ketchner (1-2) got the last out in the fifth, after Boise had scored five runs. He pitched two more innings to earn the win. Jorge Sosa closed out the game, retiring six of the seven batters he faced and allowing just one baserunner on a walk.
An early indication that it might be Everett’s night came in the second inning when Eduardo Figueroa scored the AquaSox’s first run despite striking out. Figueroa swung and missed at a two-strike wild pitch, but reached first before catcher Warren Hanna could retrieve the ball and make a play.
Figueroa advanced to second on a groundout by John Williamson and came home on Merritt’s double down the left field line. Orlando Hernandez later drove in Merritt with a two-out single.
The AquaSox capitalized on another Boise mistake to score three unearned runs in the third. All three runs also scored on two-out hits.
With one out, Jose Lopez grounded back to the pitcher, but reached safely when first baseman Brad Bouras dropped the throw. After Greg Dobbs walked and Figueroa struck out, Williamson had an RBI single followed by another Merritt’s two-run double.
Figueroa began a fifth-inning rally with a one-out double, moving to third on a wild pitch. After Williamson walked, Merritt drove in his fourth RBI with a single. Miguel Villilo reached on an error to load the bases for a two-run double by Hernandez.
The AquaSox needed every one of those runs as Boise came back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring four of its five runs on three straight two-out hits.
The Hawks loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk. One run scored on a groundout by Jandin Thornton-Murray. Then J.J. Johnson, the Northwest League’s RBI leader, tripled and scored on a single by Bouras, who in turn scored on a double by Corey Slavik.
Martinez then walked Condor Cash and was replaced by Ketchner, who struck out Eric Servais.
The two-out magic continued for the AquaSox in the sixth as they got a run back on a double by Williamson and another RBI single by Merritt.
But Boise matched the feat in the bottom half of the inning as Bacon walked and scored on a two-out double by Thornton-Murray.
The AquaSox added a fourth unearned run in the eighth inning. Dobbs led off with a double, one of a half-dozen among Everett’s 12 hits. With one out Williamson walked. Merritt hit a potential double play grounder, but the second baseman’s relay to first was wild, allowing Dobbs to score.