The Eugene Emeralds entered this three-game series with the visiting Vancouver Canadians on a hot streak, taking four of five from Spokane over the weekend, but that all ended Tuesday night when they were held to three hits.
On a hot streak of his own was left fielder Chad Huffman, who saw his 13-game hit streak end. Huffman, who was named Player of the Week in the Northwest League for his performance last week, was hitting .521 during the 13-game stretch with two homeruns and ten runs batted in. The streak boosted his on-base percentage on the season to a league best .442. Huffman, the Padres’ 2006 second round draft pick out of Texas Christian University, was no exception to the silence as he went 0-for-4.
After escaping a shaky first inning, Drew Miller was roughed up for two runs in the second. A Lorenzo Macias triple was followed by a dribbler off the bat of Ramiro Mendez’ bat back to the mound that scooted under Miller’s glove, plating the first run of the game. Mendez, who reached first on the error by Miller, stole second and went to third base when catcher Kody Valverde’s errant throw was knocked into left field. He scored on a two-out single to right by Larry Cobb.
Vancouver poured it on in the third, as every batter in the lineup came to the plate against Miller. They strung together five hits in a row with one out, which led to five more runs, extending the Canadians lead to 7-0.
On the other side of the ball, Vancouver pitcher Inoel Deaza, who had struggled of late giving up 12 hits and six runs in his last 8.2 innings, kept the Emeralds bats at bay as he pitched a two-hit gem over seven innings. He struck out three as he improved his record to 5-3 on the season.
Ben Krosschell (Listen to Audio from gameday) and the rest of the Emeralds bullpen was the only positive note from tonight’s game for Eugene fans as they combined to pitch six scoreless innings in relief of Miller. Krosschell allowed two hits in his three innings, followed by Nick Tucci for two innings and Justin Mattison struck out two in the ninth. The bullpen held the Canadians to four hits in those final six frames.
With the bullpen giving the Emeralds a chance to get back in the game, the Ems had baserunners in each of the final three innings, but could not mount a rally for their home fans. Patrick Currin and Jason Fernandez helped preserve the shutout by pitching an inning apiece in relief of Deaza. Miller (1-1) picked up his first loss of the season with his performance.
“You can’t win them all,” Krosschell said simply. Krosschell has struggled to find consistency through much of the season, despite a 2-0 record. Tonight was a different story. He came in and stopped Vancouver hitters that had eight hits and seven runs in the first three innings.
“It was nice to go out and do well and feel like my old self, finally,” said Krosschell. “It was just me, going out there, trying to have fun, throw strikes and do what I know I can do. And have confidence in myself.”
The Emeralds host the Canadians again Wednesday night at 7:05. The Emeralds will send Matt Buschmann (3-3, 2.67 ERA) up against Scott Deal (6-3, 2.35 ERA) in the pitching match up.