EVERETT — Clean defense and strong pitching is working wonders for the Everett AquaSox on this homestand.
The AquaSox played their second straight errorless game and got solid outings from Oliver Jaskie and Jose Santiago as they topped the Tri-City Dust Devils 6-2 before 3,555 fans Thursday at Everett Memorial Stadium.
It’s the second straight win and fourth in the last five for Everett (12-10 second half, 28-31 overall). More importantly, the Frogs moved into a tie with Tri-City (12-10, 32-28) for the final Northwest League North Division playoff spot with 16 games remaining in the regular season.
“It’s pretty important because we’re playing for something,” Everett manager Jose Moreno said. “The first half wasn’t real good, but the second half was much better. We’re right there in the race, but we have to try to keep the focus day by day. Just try to win each game and then after that we can see if we get there. But don’t think too far. Just live the moment right now.”
The defense has been crucial for the AquaSox in this homestand. The Frogs committed five errors in Tuesday’s extra-inning getaway day loss at Boise and are the Northwest League’s worst-fielding club.
On Thursday Everett was flawless behind starter Jaskie, who fanned four and allowed three hits in four scoreless innings.
Santiago (2-4) took over in the fifth and scattered seven hits and allowed two earned runs in five innings to pick up the win.
Everett struck for five runs in the bottom of the first inning. Chris Torres and Eugene Helder opened with singles and after a strikeout, Onil Pena and David Banuelos each walked to force in Torres. After another strikeout, Joe Venturino drove in two with a single, and Ronald Rosario drove in two more with a double as Everett took a 5-0 lead. Helder drove in Torres with a two-out double in the fourth to make it 6-0.
That was more than enough for Everett.
Santiago worked out of a jam with runners at the corners in the top of the fifth.
The Dust Devils got to Santiago in the top of the seventh. Matthew Batten’s two-out single scored Luis Almanzar and Josh Magee to cut the deficit to 5-2.
Torres had two hits and scored twice and Helder added two hits and an RBI. Venturio and Rosario each drove in two.